Rolf Gates on His Yoga Business

Yogapreneur: Rolf Gates Blends Savvy with Compassion to Create Successful Yoga Brand

black man meditating yoga
Rolf Gates teaching in one of his popular classes
Yogapreneur, Rolf Gates

Rolf Gates is the exemplar Yogapreneur. In addition to owning what was named one of Travel and Leisure’s top yoga studios in the world, Gates conducts teacher trainings all over the world, penned a popular book, Meditations from the Mat: Daily Reflections of the Path of Yoga, offers DVDs and has added life coaching to his wellness stable.

With a past in social work and a legacy that includes six generations of ministry, being of service to his community seems to be his destiny. After battling an alcohol addiction, Gates credits his meditation and yoga practice in helping him feel more at peace and centered than ever before.

Gates has devoted his life to helping others see as he states,  “time on the mat and on the meditation cushion offers someone the chance to live from the inside out.” His wellness endeavors continue to inspire others to face life’s challenges and we honor his dedication with a spot in this year’s Yogapreneur series.

What was the impetus behind venturing into the health and fitness industry as an entrepreneur?

I had been working in the social work field and although I was very passionate about it the state and federal funding process felt chaotic and undermining to me. I saw entrepreneurship within the yoga space as a way to perform a potentially greater service to my community far more effectively and sustainably.

How has business been going for you? Tell us about some projects you are currently working on.

Business has been steady. More and more businesses enter the space but the space just keeps getting bigger.

What resources did you use to start and grow your business?

One of the things I love about working for yourself is that your business reflects your vision and that as your vision changes your business changes. Currently we are in a flection point. The current design of my business began in 2007 and has matured with regular teacher trainings throughout the U.S. online teacher trainings, weekend workshops, week long retreats, and personal coaching. As we move forward I am going to devote a couple of years to writing projects whose time has come and to the online trainings which are growing steadily it will mean more time at home while my children are still young and the opportunity to write again which I have been missing.

Your brand incorporates quite a few endeavors. Do you feel it’s necessary to diversify yourself to be a successful Yogapreneur?

The diversity of my company reflects my diverse interests more than a particular need for my business. That having been said, the various aspects of my business have always worked synergistically.

What are some of the challenges you face being an African-America man in the Yoga space, if any?

Although the Yoga world has been largely white up to now I have not felt that my race has been a factor one way or the other in terms of my experience as a professional.

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