Between Angela’s yoga practice and Corey’s Reiki skills, the couple created a one-stop-shop for people who don’t feel like they fit in with “traditional” fitness models.|
INDEX-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
When Angela Sabatino first started practicing yoga nearly 15 years ago, it was difficult to find a studio where she fit in.
As a mixed-race woman who doesn’t have what she considers to be the “typically yoga figure,” she didn’t always feel comfortable in classes full of thin, white women — a look that is commonly marketed in yoga and wellness spaces.
“I took random classes here and there, but I never really felt comfortable in the classes I took,” Sabatino said. “I didn’t feel like I fit.”
Now, with her wife, Corey Sabatino, they’ve launched Flow Sisters, a Sonoma Valley health and wellness community geared toward women who may also feel like they don’t belong in typical yoga classes.
Angela’s been practicing more seriously for the past five years, and in May, she completed her required 200 hours of teacher trainings and became a certified yoga instructor.
She wanted to teach yoga and create a space where everyone — no matter their body, clothes or experience, would be welcome.
Corey also got into practicing Reiki earlier this year. Reiki is an energy healing technique in which a trained practitioner uses gentle hand movements to guide the flow of healthy energy (what’s known in Reiki as “life force energy”) through the client’s body. It is said to reduce stress and promote healing.
Between Angela’s yoga practice and Corey’s Reiki skills, the couple thought they had the makings of a good business model: a one-stop-shop where people who don’t feel they fit in with “traditional” fitness models can find community and healing.
Flow Sisters, the Sabatinos’ new business, will embody that purpose.
“I don’t want people to feel what I felt when I first started going into the studios,” Angela said. “We want to help the women in our community find their flow and find their power.”
This isn’t the first time the couple, who have been married for 19 years, has worked together.
For years, they ran a decluttering and organizing company called Clutter Bug, which closed in 2016. They were both ready for something new. Angela started working as a veterinary technician in Santa Rosa, which she still does four days per week, but they missed working together.
Longterm, they hope to make Flow Sisters their full-time job, but they’re just getting started.
For now, they are offering yoga classes, Reiki treatments and intuitive coaching sessions, which is similar to life coaching. Corey has a master’s in organizational development from Sonoma State University and has worked as an integrative coach on and off for years.
In an email to the Index-Tribune, Angela described the business as “a proud black-owned LGBTQ+ business promoting holistic wellness and inclusivity. Our intention is to help empower individuals to harness their energy, embrace their inner strength, and nurture lifelong holistic well-being.”
They officially launched the business on Sept. 9 with an open house that included a mini yoga class. A woman with no yoga experience joined in, and afterward told Angela she’d always been curious about yoga, but never felt comfortable with the communities at other local studios. But after taking Angela’s mini class, she was eager for more.
“There’s no judgment. Just come on over and we’ll work on the mat,” Angela said. “I want people who are like ‘I’ve been interested in yoga but I don’t know where to go because I don’t know where I’ll fit.’”
While the couple welcomes everyone into the Flow Sisters community, their mission is geared toward women, specifically women who have felt left out of the traditional wellness spaces.
Angela hopes to get more women from the Hispanic community, and people who are totally new to yoga.
As an instructor, she focuses a lot on modifications for each pose to make yoga accessible to everyone. She also tries to take the stigma away from using pose modifications, since there’s no “right way” to do yoga.
“It’s not yoga perfect, it’s yoga practice,” Angela said. “I want you to focus on what you can do versus what you can’t do.”
All of their services are offered at their private El Verano residence, where Corey has a Reiki room with a massage table, and Angela has a shaded outdoor studio on their back porch. It’s small for now, with classes limited to six people due to capacity, but she also offered one-on-one classes.
Angela’s group classes take place on Saturday mornings at 9 a.m. and cost $20 and her one-on-ones are $50 an hour. Corey’s Reki sessions are $60 an hour, and her integrative coaching sessions run $75 an hour.
Booking can be done online through the Flow Sisters website at flowsisters.simplybook.me. They also have an Etsy shop with some of Angela’s art as well as Reiki-infused jewelry. Some of their items are also available at Community Supply.
“We’re looking at growing our sisters’ tribe,” Angela said. “We hope they leave with more than what they came with.”
You can reach Staff Writer Rebecca Wolff at email@example.com. On Twitter @bexwolff.