A vision of a future business space led a Lancaster yoga teacher to a new spiritual hub in the city centre.
Colette Corcoran launched The Urban Buddha in the former art school at The Storey in Lancaster last April, following a two year hunt for the right premises.
Along with the building’s owners Lancaster City Council, she has invested heavily into the once dilapidated roof space in the Meeting House Lane building, turning it into a viable business and what she hopes will be a community hub for Lancaster.
Originally from Widness, Colette, 38, taught English at Central Lancaster and Garstang High Schools, before taking a position with Cumbria County Council, where she was a consultant for 15 schools, with a remit to improve English results.
“I’d been doing yoga since I was 19,” she said.
“I had stressful jobs, and I used it as an aid to stress. Then I met someone who wanted to set up a yoga studio, so I agreed to be the business behind it while she did the teaching, and we set up Yoni Yoga at The Bay on Morecambe promenade. At the same time I trained with one of the top seven UK yoga teachers - Anne-Marie Newland, who has a reputation for being very, very hard.
“That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”
Colette ended up taking on both the business and the yoga teaching side of things after her business partner emigrated to Australia.
“I quickly grew out of the space, as classes got so busy, but I knew there was a place waiting for me.
“I’d been given a vision in a meditation of what it looked like. It had a circular window, and there were all these Georgian square windows, and I knew it was an old lofty room, so I started a two year hunt to find it. While I was teaching Yoga temporarily at the Rainbow Centre in Clarence Street, the Storey asked me to come and teach a class there on a Thursday night. I soon built up the class to around 40 people.
“One night I was chatting to a staff member on the stairs, and the alarm went off, and he said to me it’s in that room at the top which is really spooky, so I said I’d go up with him.
“There were no lights, it was all in pitch black, and I walked in and I just thought ‘wow!’, this is it.”
Following lengthy negotiations with the city council, Colette got the lease and set about converting the rooms, which had been derelict for 23 years.
She opened in April 2014, and now works with three other practitioners in the space, which includes a treatment room.
“It’s a place where people can get an hour out of their busy lives,” she said.
“I get doctors, solicitors, MMA fighters, former prisoners. Bolton Wanderers goalkeeper Andy Lonegan comes for one to one meditation as well. My business is with everyday people, and it literally changes people’s lives.”
For more information visit the-urban-buddha.co.uk.
There will be an open day at the studio on May 9.