If Donna and Natale Rao said they didn’t work together, we wouldn’t believe them.
Perhaps we think that because of the calming energy in their co-owned Wellness Centre or that they understand how their two professions perfectly compliment one another, but the most probable reason why the Rao’s make the most likely partners in business is how openly content they are in their relationship.
With the reputation and report Natale has as a Registered Massage Therapist and the education and speciality Donna offers as a Internationally Certified Iyengar Instructor (a form of Yoga) we expected a very matter-of-fact conversation, packed with details, deserved resume line items and hand shake to finish.
Our interview was nothing of the sort. The Rao’s spoke to us with the same softness and patience they spoke to one another with.
Each bringing over 20 years of work experience to their working relationship, Donna and Natale have combined their practices under the same roof at The Namaste Yoga and Wellness Centre in Salmon Arm, BC. There, clients (who need to book an appointment with Natale months in advance due to his popularity) and students visit both sides of the serene hallway to practice yoga with Donna and receive treatment from Natale.
The Wellness Centre doesn’t have the hustle bustle of a trendy yogi hot spot nor does it have the formality of a big city clinic, but when you walk into Namaste Yoga and Wellness Centre, look out at their serene view of Shuswap Lake, you know you will leave feeling better than when you walked in.
You both appear to be very content with your career choices; did you always know you wanted to work two-gether?
Donna: I think so. We had a similar outlook on life and how we wanted to serve and focus our life. Of course it’s nice to make money as well, but we focus our attention on how we can help others more than what we can get out of it for ourselves.
Natale: It’s important to make money and to benefit from the work you do and be self sufficient, it’s also is important to be able to benefit people with that.
Donna: It makes our lives so fulfilling to do this. I hear local radio stations say things like, “We’ll play songs that make the day fly by!” It’s funny to hear I’ve always liked what I’ve done and not want to just get through the day.
You’ve moved around a lot with your separate practices; now that you share a business two-gether will you stay in Salmon Arm?
Natale: (Smiling) That is the conundrum. For me its important to always be evolving. The profession is constantly evolving and it’s important to not stay stagnant in our professions.
Donna: We both have a slight gypsy gene in us and move around a lot. This is the longest we’ve lived in one place…seven years.
If you were to move again, would you open another centre two-gether?
Donna: It’s not necessary.
Natale: Right. What is more important to us (than owning a business together) is to help people understand the strong relationship between body work and movement work. I think it’s most important that people see the importance of the two together.
What is your favourite part about working together?
Natale: She kicks my ass.
Donna: (Laughing) I love kicking his ass! But really, its we both can talk about things we both can relate to.
Natale: I think its that we can both understand where the other person is at and work with them and the point they are in their lives.
Learn more about the Namaste Yoga and Wellness Centre from their website.