The other day we were in Tulum and stopped to talk to Richelle Morgan the owner of Yoga Dicha Studio. We wanted to ask here what living in Tulum is like and how is it to run a business in Tulum.
Richelle has over 16 years of holistic fitness coaching & training. She currently lives in Tulum where her latest adventures include opening the first dedicated yoga studio in Tulum town, launching her yoga inspired clothing line dee~cha apparel, and creating Dicha Tours with her partner.
Here is our interview.
Where are you from and why did you choose Tulum to open a business?
Originally I was born in the United States, but spent my life in Canada. Moving from east to west and back again until finally settling in a small city east of Toronto, Ontario.
After hosting a yoga retreat in Tulum, I was hooked. I came back many times before making the decision to pack up my life and drive via motorhome with my dog & cat as co-pilots to Tulum. My intention was not actually to be living in Tulum. I planned to stay for a couple of months and then head north. With plans to eventually settle somewhere along the west coast of US or Canada.
Three months led to six months which eventually turned into a year and a half. My partner and I were actually on the verge of heading to the west coast late last spring when we made the decision to stay in Tulum and plant some roots. Once that decision to stay was made, I decided to open a yoga studio in Tulum town. There were already a bunch of studios at the beach, but nothing in town for those of us that are living in Tulum. I’d pass the space that we’re in now time and time again on my bike and always thought it would be the perfect space for a yoga studio. Four months later, I signed my lease and here I am. I knew eventually I would open a yoga studio or retreat center (next dream!), but I never in a million years thought it would be here living in Tulum.
Was it hard for you to open a business and if so what things did you have to overcome?
Opening a business always comes with challenges and this is something I’m definitely used to from having built a business back in Canada. This time around I had to add maneuvering around permits, language barriers, understanding laws and the ins and outs of opening a business. I think the most challenging trial to overcome was the weather. We had so much rain last fall that it delayed renovations and painting due to water leaks in windows and walls needing to be repaired due to water damage. At one point we’d just finished painting one of the walls when we discovered that due to leaks in the roofs, the space behind the wall had filled with water. We came in to find the walls seeping water… it actually looked like they were crying. I’ve definitely found a sense of humor and patience I didn’t know I had throughout this adventure.
Why do you think Tulum attracts a yoga crowd or like minded people?
There’s an energy here that is palpable. You feel it in the people, on the beaches, in town and in the many amazing & natural scents and ruins that can be found in the area. This energy allows for your spiritual and physical practice or therapy to be heightened, infused and inspired. And at the same time there’s a laid back vibe that helps calm stressed bodies and busy minds. Everywhere you look, you will find something that inspires, intrigues or makes you smile. The brilliant blue skies, the turquoise sea, the lush jungles, smiling faces of locals, a paleta from a local vendor or spicy salsa from a street car. Your senses come alive and for some, paths become clearer.
What has been the response to your yoga studio in Tulum?
The response has been wonderful… from both locals and tourists. We love our clients and the energy they bring to classes and the studio. It’s new so we’re still working on getting the word out there and getting our voice heard. I believe we have a lot to offer and I’m super proud of the Yoga dicha team of teachers.
What are some of your business plans for the future?
I hope to keep providing great yoga to the community and watch the Dicha kula grow. I dedicated a lot of my energy into getting Yoga Dicha open and operating and am now ready to launch dates for yoga & SUP yoga retreats for 2014-2015. These retreats will focus on exploring and deepening your practice in the studio and exploring like a local off your mat. Teacher training will launch at the end of the summer with month long intensives, new classes, workshops with visiting teaches and some wonderful collaborations in the works. We’re also super excited to announce that Yoga Dicha will be a part of OMfest in Playa del Carmen and I’m super honored to have been asked to be a part of the line-up of great teachers from the Mayan Riviera. Teacher trainings, new classes, events and wonderful collaborations are in the works so that we can keep growing and moving forward. My dream is to one day expand and open other dicha studios and, maybe one day, a retreat center.
What is your best tip for travelers coming to Tulum?
Come to town!! Explore, wander through the streets by bike, experience the other side of Mexico. Venture off the beaten path and do something every day that challenges you or takes you out of your comfort zone. Let your senses be your guide. Taste something new. Stay up late and dance in the streets. Talk to strangers… we promise we’ll talk back and share our stories. Let go of expectations and you’ll enjoy the ride even more!
What are some of your favorite places in Tulum, for eating out, beaches or going out?
Other than the yoga studio, of course, when we want to escape, my partner and I pack a lunch and head out to explore some of the incredible cenotes and remote beaches in the Sian Ka’an. For food & nights out, we tend to stay in town mostly. Family owned local restaurants, taco stands and juice bars for quick meals. El Capitain & El Camello for ceviche, fish tacos and beers. Xoco Loco and Kibok or Pan Comido for afternoon meetings/chats over coffee and snacks with friends. Batey, Curandero or La Mosca Verde for drinks and late night adventures in town. For beach adventures, Restaurare for amazing vegan food, Mateo’s for sunset drinks, Zamas for live music and Gitanos when we want to keep the party going. The list of places to eat & drink at is long so I haven’t even scratched the surface. These are just a few of my favorites.
What is the best thing about living in Tulum?
I am never bored! Each and every day something new or magical happens. An incredible sunrise, a brief tropical storm rolling through town, butterflies dancing around you as you walk or bike through town. The people, the energy, the fact that I’m challenged daily to step out of my comfort zone. Life is ever changing here, like the tide. You learn to climb aboard, ride the waves or get tossed out on your backside.
How have you seen Tulum change over the past few years?
There’s been a progressive growth and a shift that’s been happening. Last year we got hit with fashionistas and movie personalities that made Tulum the latest hot spot. This year I notice more families are visiting Tulum. The high season seems to be spreading itself out to fill those pockets that were normally super quiet. New businesses have been opening and old businesses getting facelifts. A ton of building going on behind the scenes and on the beach road. Change and growth is inevitable, but many worry that with this growth, we’ll lose the magical charm that is Tulum. Growth means money and money can change how people treat others and the space they live in. I believe and hope that if we continue to grow with respect to local communities, culture and the environment, we’ll do okay. We foreigners who have chosen to make this space our home and create or work in businesses that cater to the yoga community & tourists have to make a conscious effort and choice to give back in some way. Support a local charity, educate guests on how to help protect the environment, etc. At the studio, we dedicate events and classes to helping raise money for animal shelters (Tierra de Animales). We all need to make a living, but I’ve always believed this can be done by supporting each other and the community we live in.
For more information about Richelle and Dicha Yoga :
Here is Richelle’s new Tulum tour company: Jungle Ja.
Also be sure to check out her new line of yoga wear which is becoming very popular locally and internationally!
Thank you Richelle for talking with us. It is nice to hear a different perspective from everyone we talk to. It is also nice to about life in Tulum.