Women’s History Month Spotlight: Gopi Kinnicutt of Bhakti Yoga DC

Wednesday March 31, 2021

This past month, we’ve featured a series of spotlight articles showcasing just a few of the many amazing women who serve our community. This Women’s History Month spotlight celebrates Gopi Kinnicutt of Bhakti Yoga DC. Read Gopi’s story in this MVT Women’s History Month spotlight:

MVT CID: What was your first job in the fitness industry? How did you get to where you are today?

Gopi: I started practicing yoga 18 years ago. I have been teaching yoga since 2003. I have not taught any other form of fitness. Yoga has provided me the coping skills and tools to help me deal with stress, anxiety and depression that was rooted from deep trauma. Being an Asian woman, I always felt less, and marginalized growing up in the United Kingdom where I had experienced a lot of racism. I was also born into a family of poverty and hardship that was coupled with trauma. Yoga has given me self-confidence and it has helped me deal with these issues on a very deep level. Because of the healing I got from yoga, I chose to help other individuals in the same way by teaching yoga! After practicing for some time, I opened a studio in Saratoga Springs, New York. Four years later I moved to Washington, DC and taught in many yoga studios all around the city for 10 years. I then decided to open up my own yoga studio in Mount Vernon Triangle with the hopes to create a holistic healing center.

MVT CID: Why do you think that your industry could benefit by having more female leaders?

Gopi: I think that women are more sensitive and in tune with their bodies both physically and emotionally, which makes them better yoga teachers (in my opinion!). Women are better equipped to be able to take the whole picture into consideration and are better equipped to create an emotionally safe environment. This is important in yoga. This quality is not often seen, or appreciated, or expected to use in leadership and business. Women are also more sensitive when dealing with people. The business will flourish if the staff and clientele are all taken care of. That natural nurturing side is key in successful business management but required when building a yoga community. The yoga community consists of 70% women, so it’s a great place for women to empower other women!

MVT CID: What is your advice to women looking to make it in the business?

Gopi: Believe in yourself and what you have to offer. The very thing that you may have been criticized for might be your leading strength in running a business. Act like a fierce mother protecting her child. And stand up for your rights like you would for your family!

MVT CID: If you weren’t in the fitness industry, what would you be doing?

Gopi: Probably coaching, counseling, caregiving, or social work.

MVT CID: What’s your favorite part about Life in MVT?

Gopi: The diversity that I see around in color, gender and sexuality. I also love getting to know the other business owners and meeting other empowered women.

Bhakti Yoga DC is located at 928 5th St NW, Washington, DC, 20001.

Read more Women’s History Month spotlights:

Lama Hamoudi of Chez Lily

Chef P’Boom of Baan Siam

Mariah Barnes of Orangetheory Fitness

Tessa Velasquez of A Baked Joint and La Betty

Commander Morgan Kane of MPD’s First District