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Dawn M. Rivers | Ohio | Daybreak Yoga

Founder & Owner of Daybreak Yoga

Dawn’s yoga journey first began in 1999, when she bought a Rodney Yee VHS yoga videotape. She made a habit of practicing yoga every day to bring fitness and stress relief to the ups and downs of daily life. After gaining some momentum and comfort in her practice, Dawn met her match at a local gym a few years later. For the first time, her poses were on public display-meaning: hands-on adjustments, cues, and practicing openly in front of others. After conquering this obstacle, she was led to seek out a permanent yoga studio and a place she could use as a hideout to put her restless mind on the back burner for an hour or two. Dawn saw a postcard in a local restaurant with an introductory offer for a week of Hot Power Yoga. Being a librarian at the time, she decided to wait until Spring Break to start taking classes. Coincidentally, right when she first began practicing in 2009, Hot Power Vinyasa Yoga was quickly emerging as a popular style in the yoga community. This became her practice of choice-a method which soon transformed her entire life. Dawn realized that as she was growing in her mental strength, the demand of power yoga helped her to grow in her physical strength, as well. Coupled with some new healthy eating habits, she began noticing her clothing fitting a little looser and her mind at ease more often.

Dawn’s love of the practice made her take the step to become a “Karma Yogi”-which meant she could take classes for free as long as she cleaned the bathrooms and the studio after each class. A regular to the studio at this time, she realized that the community of yogis was what she needed. Above all else, she felt safe and loved. Every day she practiced she found that she was challenged and grew. With the council, support, and guidance of many, Dawn followed in the footsteps of this journey and made her way to becoming a yoga teacher. did not happen quickly. It came at the expense of toxic relationships, growing in confidence, and envisioning herself teaching yoga-even when it was hard to do.

During her 200-hour teacher training, trainees were asked to write down the goals they wanted to achieve in 5 years. Intrinsically, Dawn knew she wanted to create a brand around the name and symbolism of “Daybreak.” She wanted her participants to have a true yoga “experience”. One that incorporated her spiritual walk as a Christian, and also made practicing yoga whimsical and fun to help sheepish yogis (like herself at the beginning of her journey) feel comfortable. Not thinking twice about it, Dawn wrote down that she wanted to open her own yoga studio in 5 years. As time passed, she forgot about the note and focused on teaching yoga at her local YMCA.

In 2013, she completed her 200-hour yoga teacher certification at Cleveland Yoga on a May Sunday morning along with 30 other trainees. They cried, laughed, sang, and danced for joy after receiving their certificates. This journey changed Dawn’s life and added another path leading to her dharma. She had trained in the style of Baron Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga and later pursued a 300-hour training with Faith Hunter at Embrace Yoga DC as well as Yoga Nidra training with Tracee Stanley in Atlanta. A dream come true, she completed both of these accomplishments in the Fall of 2019. As a full-time school librarian by day, she taught yoga around the city, at schools, to high school sports teams, groups, families, and at larger events in the afternoons and evenings. Following down this path, these connections lead her to rent a room in the back of a martial arts studio-a compromise of which lasted almost two years. In a way, this was her way of testing the waters to see if she had what it took to open up her own studio. She put her Bachelors’ degree in English and her Master of Library and Information Sciences degrees to work and research and prepared for her next steps in founding her own yoga studio. In August 2018, Dawn signed a lease for Daybreak Yoga studio in Bedford, Ohio. Remembering her note, she couldn’t believe that this happened exactly five years after she wrote her goal to open her own yoga studio! In October 2018, her studio hosted its first classes, as well as a sold-out special event. A true blessing, ever since the day she first opened her doors, the Daybreak community has supported her dreams. Today-through the studio-Dawn offers yoga teacher training, mindfulness and yoga workshops, collaborative projects, and even her own mentorship program as a way to give back to individuals who were once in her shoes. In class, she first uses vinyasa to warm up the body and mind for more challenging poses. This helps her students find their “edge”. The goal here is for students to become self-aware and truly build their confidence by staring fear in the face. This is done through the use of mudras, mantras, meditation, and movement.

Finally, she transitions them to a place of stillness through yin postures as a way to release their “fascia” or connective tissues. Dawn’s unique take on yin yoga can be found in her The Wind Down class. These techniques help to calm down the nervous system, as well as open up specific joints that store the most stress in the body. Overall, Dawn uses her early influences of power yoga and adapts them to the needs of her students because she knows that every “body” can do yoga. And this, she calls The Dawn Experience...because it is just that. An experience! Dawn can be found around Greater Cleveland offering group yoga sessions for local cities, organizations, associations, and corporations. As her own brand, she offers yoga teacher training, a mentorship program, and individual coaching sessions. Because of the work she had done in the community, she believes the power of the collective can make things better for all.

What were the biggest initial hurdles and how did you overcome them? The biggest struggles I have faced have come during the COVID-19 pandemic. In September 2019, I resigned from full-time employment to become a full-time entrepreneur. I was excited and ready to put all of my energy into growing and scaling my business. Then Ohio shut down and I had to temporarily close my business. It was Friday, March 13, 2020, when I sent out an email telling everyone that we would be closed and have no in-person yoga classes but we would be back online Tuesday,

March 17, 2020. I had no online classes on our schedule and wasn’t familiar with doing them. I was down teachers and the two still working for me weren’t comfortable teaching online yet. After a couple of months, one returned and I hired two of my recent teacher training graduates to teach. So in the beginning, I taught every class and had a yoga teacher training on the weekends. That was 10 -12 classes a week.

What books are you currently reading? We All Should Be Millionaires by Rachel Rodges

Retreat and Grow Rich by Darla LeDoux

Spiritually Fly by Faith Hunter

The Abundance Code by Julie Ann Cairns

All linked to - Daybreak Amazon store. We get a portion of the proceeds from each purchase.

What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started? I wish I knew how important it is to know your “money story” and how it creates limiting beliefs so I could have worked through them before opening up my business.

What advice would you give to an upcoming youth or talents locally and internationally? Two wellness friends gave me great advice. One said to drop the classes that have the lowest attendance and the other told me to ask my community for financial help. I did both and am thankful that I did. I was able to get the rest I need, reduce my stress, and share the burden with my community and clients.

Daybreak Yoga LLC - 794 Broadway Avenue, Bedford, Ohio 44146 Awakening Yoga Retreat Series

Silent Yoga Retreat at Daybreak Yoga:

Saturday, December 4, 2021, 11 am - 4 pm

Surrender & Relax Yoga Retreat

All-inclusive Yoga Retreat in Wakeman, Ohio:

May 13-15, 2022

All-inclusive Yoga Retreat in Puerto Rico:

June 9-13, 2022


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