I love where I live, and I also love what I do. I'm lucky to be able to work in a profession in which I get to build relationships; one that has me meeting new people each and every day and helping them to build new lives in my beloved city. I'm lucky enough to work in a profession in which I can marry cutting-edge technologies and marketing techniques to good, old-fashioned, nose-to-the-grindstone work. I am lucky enough to work in a profession that allows me to work as an advocate for my clients; to use every tool at my disposal to get a job done well for them, and with as little stress and expense as possible.
I love my city. I love my job. One inspires my excellence for the other.
Fresno? I say FresYES
Imagine the strength it takes to quit a well-paying, stable job to follow your passion.
For Liana Pierce, the decision wasn’t a matter of “if” but “when.”
After over a decade working in sales and marketing, Liana found herself not being fulfilled by her work. She wanted to bring her love for yoga and focusing on the self (and not being intimidated by those around you) to others. Earlier this month, that mission was fulfilled when she opened Four Corners Yoga at Chestnut and Shepherd in northeast Fresno.
I asked Liana a few questions about how she got started in yoga and what it was like to choose passion over paycheck.
FresYes: How did you get into yoga?
Liana Pierce: My love for yoga started around 12 years ago. I used to just be a “gym rat” of sorts and I remember I was doing a fitness program that had a yoga day. I had no knowledge of yoga at the time and remember going into the day thinking it would pretty much be my rest day. How hard could “stretching” be? Well, needless to say, the yoga day was by far my hardest day of the week. Once I gained respect for it on a physical level, I was hooked, and shortly after I learned to enjoy what it could do for my mind as well. It was the whole package.
FY: You left a corporate job to open Four Corners Yoga. Can you tell me about that?
LP: Yes, I did Sales and Marketing Management for 11 years for Commercial Insurance Carriers and while I am grateful for the experience, I was never passionate about my product. I worked way too many late nights, early mornings, and nights away from my family to not have a passion for the product I was sharing.
I always thought if I were to do anything else it would be within the health and fitness industry because it is a product/experience that I would find fulfillment in sharing with others. When I moved to Fresno five years ago, I recognized that there was room for growth within the yoga community. I was fortunate to have a business background with my sales and marketing career working with small businesses and decided to start putting pen to paper on how I could make my dream a reality. I joked and talked with my husband for four years about the studio I would open “one day.” And then something clicked and I put in the effort to make what was once a pipe dream a reality. I did a year of research and planning before taking the leap.
I was so passionate about the culture of Four Corners. It sounds silly, but I started with the name and the logo to light a fire under me. I feel so strongly about what the name means that once I had that, I quickly designed the logo to promise myself to not turn back. I had processed the thought too far to not try.
Leaving a stable, well-paying career is terrifying. But if you believe in something enough, you have to at least try. They say the only true failure is to not try. Of course, it helps that I have an incredibly supportive husband, family, and friends to support me and believe in me even when I cannot. I would not have been able to do this without them and I am eternally grateful for their encouragement and support.
FY: What draws you to yoga?
LP: Yoga/fitness has changed my life for the better and I can’t wait to share it with others. In all my years as a customer in the fitness industry, through many studios, it has always upset me to see that the factor of intimidation has stopped many people from pursuing their health. I am a firm believer that you have to start somewhere and what is right for one body is not always right for another. To worry about what anyone else is doing is to hinder our own progress.
When I discovered yoga, what attracted me the most was the concept of focusing your energy on what is in between the four corners of your mat—you. Not anyone else in the room, just you. However cliché it sounds, the reality is this world would probably be a better place if we all spent more time focusing on ourselves instead of comparing ourselves to others. And so, Four Corners Yoga was born.
Everyone representing Four Corners will honor and promote the culture we are trying to create, which is a culture that welcomes and encourages all body types, fitness levels, etc. This is from our welcome page that best describes the culture we are trying to create:
- At Four Corners Yoga, we turn stress into strength, doubt into confidence, and strangers into your community. With our encouragement, training, and support, combined with your open mind and heart, you will push yourself in ways you never thought possible.
- Four Corners Yoga is founded on the notion that in order to advance yourself both physically and mentally, you must focus on YOU and you alone. Too often intimidation and comparison prevent people from achieving their goals—especially in the fitness world.
- At Four Corners Yoga, we believe that your full concentration should be on what lies between the four corners of your mat—you—because what is right for one body is not always right for another. The Four Corners culture promotes focusing within and honoring what is best for your body and mind.
- Four Corners Yoga offers all of its students the opportunity to strengthen from the inside out by pushing yourself, for yourself.
FY: What kind of classes do you offer?
LP: Four Corners Yoga focuses mainly on Vinyasa Flow classes that offer a fitness experience that strengthens every muscle (and even emotion) within your body.
Vinyasa Yoga, also called flow because of the smooth way that the poses run together, is one of the most popular contemporary styles of yoga. It’s a broad classification that encompasses many different types of yoga, including Ashtanga and power yoga. Vinyasa is a type of yoga that links movement and breath to attain balance in the mind and body. These classes offer a variety of postures and no two classes are entirely alike.
We offer no heat, intro to heat (low heat), and heated Vinyasa classes.
The majority of our classes are “All Level,” which will offer modifications for all levels from beginner to advanced so there is something for everyone in the room. We will also have “beginner” classes to welcome those that have always had an interest in yoga, but have never tried and want to learn gently.
We are fortunate to have teachers certified in other exercises and plan to add Pilates and Bar workouts to the schedule as well.
FY: What has the feedback from clients been like?
LP: We have had such incredible feedback from the community. We invested a ton into the facility itself to make it a very pleasant customer experience, from a lounge area, to a tea/water/snack bar, to a vanity area with amenities, to a very large yoga room. We have gotten such positive feedback on the facility but, more importantly, people seem to relate to our mission statement, and that is the most encouraging. We have established a community of “founding members” who have been a part of the studio from the ground up when it was still in construction and we are forever grateful to have them!
All photos courtesy of Liana Pierce.