For our latest edition of “Looking Local,” we spoke to Cindy Johannessen, owner, operator, and founder of La Plata-based Live Out Loud Yoga. Founded in 2014 to help grow the community’s passion for yoga, Live Out Loud Yoga has grown 500 percent since opening, and now partners with two area companies that share a similar vision: Breathe Pilates Place and Dharma Kids. The studio now employs about 25 in Charles County.
Charles County Economic Development Department (EDD): What are the main advantages of doing business in Charles County?
Cindy Johannessen (CJ): I have, for the first time in my life, really had the opportunity to see how a county can support small businesses and organized community growth. Getting to personally meet and work with the Charles County employees has given me an inside view of real people with a genuine desire to make the community a better place. I think sometimes it is easy to see government without the human face. It has been a very cool adventure to experience those who diligently and honestly work for a greater good.
EDD: What is your favorite part of working and living in Charles County?
CJ: No commute! I also enjoy actually connecting to other people that I wouldn't otherwise get to connect with. Plus, I LOVE and STRONGLY believe in the practice of yoga. I love to see it change people’s health for the better in a relatively quick time.
EDD: Why did you choose to open your business in Charles County?
CJ: First and foremost: I live here. I love the beauty and heart of the county seat. In deciding to start my business, I saw a growing area that could benefit from yoga. I myself wanted to be part of a community that really sought a way of increasing healthy life connections through compassion and acceptance.
EDD: What would you tell someone considering looking to open a business in Charles County?
CJ: Dive in and hold on my friend—that may be advice to businesses anywhere, though. With regards to working with the Charles County Government: look into the opportunities the County offers to support local business.
EDD: What would you say to someone who has never tried yoga?
CJ: Yoga is the kind of body movement that safely keeps you intellectually and physically sharp, mobile and strong well into your later years. I want to encourage people to just try it. Yoga is for everyone, every body, every fitness level. Don't be worried about being judged or not being able to do it. You will rarely find a more accepting less judgmental environment.