Yoga Tribe Finds New Home at Castle Community


Three years after launching her entrepreneurial vision, innovator Heather Ritenour-Sampson has found a new home for her business, Yoga Tribe. After growing her community for wellness in the former location of Cube Coworking on South Broadway, Ritenour-Sampson continues to expand her tribe alongside other like-minded creatives at the Castle Community.

Yoga Tribe, Ritenour-Sampson explained, is a yoga studio that provides a community for adults centered around health and wellness. The studio offers a variety of classes including restorative, yin, and vinyasa yoga and is open to people at all levels of yoga experience. 

“Fundamentally I want people to know that you are welcome here,” she said. “You are going to find all kinds of people [at] all ages and different physical ability levels.”

The first time Ritenour-Sampson tried yoga herself, which was incidentally from a rented VHS tape from her student union, she hated it. It wasn’t until after the birth of her first son that she got back into yoga again, this time having a much more positive experience through classes at the local YMCA. 

“It was hard. It was challenging. It confused me and frustrated me in a really good way because I needed that in my life at that time. And every single time I got done, I felt so much better,” she explained. “I feel that it started to get me more in touch with myself in ways that I hadn’t really considered before.” 

Propelled by a canceled yoga session at the YMCA, Ritenour-Sampson decided to get trained so she could teach classes herself. She enrolled in a weekend long training program to become a certified yoga instructor, eventually moving on from the “Y” to teach yoga classes with the Rochester Athletic Club (RAC).

Ritenour-Sampson said her time at RAC was incredible for mentorship and her own personal growth as a teacher. During this period, she also enrolled in an online coaching program to think about her career path. 

“What I realized from doing that process and kind of giving myself permission to dream bigger is that I was really treating my work like a hobby,” she explained. “I just had this feeling of really wanting to see what it felt like to do it on my own.” 

Ritenour-Sampson came from a very entrepreneurial family. She herself is artistic and innovative. Prior to opening Yoga Tribe, she was teaching yoga as a freelance instructor. She also does floral design and contract writing. In the end, opening up her own yoga studio, where she didn’t need to ask permission to do anything, didn’t seem like such a big leap. She felt the need to create something in the Rochester community focused on yoga that could bring people together to “laugh and cry and sweat and flow together.” Now, she has over five hundred hours of yoga teaching certification and is approved to teach others to become yoga instructors.

Three years after opening the business, Ritenour Sampson has learned multiple lessons.

“I feel like is has been baptism by fire for sure,” she laughed. “When I went into [Yoga Tribe] then and what it is now, the mission and values are similar, but the execution is different. I feel really grounded and I feel confident with what I am doing now compared to not really knowing and shooting arrows into the dark.”

A coach at her fundamental core, Ritenour-Sampson joked that “transformation is really my jam.” Connecting with people over a long period of time and witnessing their breakthrough moment remains her favorite part of yoga instructor life.

After growing Yoga Tribe for a few years on South Broadway, on April 1st Ritenour-Sampson moved her business just a few blocks north into the second floor of the Castle Community. She said the space and collective artistic community just feels right to her from a scaling standpoint. 

“For me being in a space with artists here, I feel like it’s going to help integrate who I am as a person because I am a writer, I play music and sing. I like to draw and paint and sometimes make things,” she said. “So I just feel this is more authentic to who I am. I really see yoga as a movement art and I see art as healing. So I just feel this is the right place to be.”

#Emerge Episode 22 with Janessa Nickell

Today on #Emerge we sit down with Portland native and current Rochester resident Janessa Nickell. Janessa is a business strategist turned entrepreneur who also formerly trained for Olympic weight lifting. Janessa recently launched her entrepreneurial vision with her brand-new business Sacred Circle, which she runs in her home in southwest Rochester. Sacred Circle is a space for people to learn, connect with like-minded individuals, and grow while understanding more about themselves through introspection and reflection.

“On paper it seemed like I had my stuff together. I was pretty successful by a lot of measurements. I was also incredibly burned out and tired.” -Janessa Nickell, Founder of Sacred Circle

Diverge Part 2.3: What Drives Rosei Skipper

"So I've thought a lot about what I wanted to do with my time before I actually made the change. It was hard to be patient, but you have to spend a certain amount of time, I think, just contemplating and investigating your options."- Rosei Skipper, Owner of Rosei Skipper Yoga and Wellness

Thumbnail photo credit: M Brandt Photography

Diverge Part 2.1: The M.D. Turned Yoga and Meditation Instructor

Welcome to the second installment of our brand new “Diverge” series, where we tell the stories of four Rochester entrepreneurs who left long careers to pursue their passions. 

 This next portion of the series shares the journey of yoga, barre, and meditation teacher Rosei Skipper of Rosei Skipper Yoga and Wellness.

This series was made possible by Rochester Home Infusionthe only in-home infusion provider in Southern Minnesota.


“When it came down to the day to day job, it wasn’t the kind of work that I wanted to be doing,” explained Rosei Skipper, a trained medical doctor, yoga, barre, and meditation instructor in Rochester, Minn.

Rosei spent four years obtaining her medical degree at the University of Alabama School of Medicine and then completed a five-year residency program at Mayo Clinic in Child and Adult Psychiatry. However, for someone with a lifelong interest in physical activity, she was spending most of her time in front of a computer or on the phone.

“I loved my patients. I love the relationships that I had with them. But sometimes I didn’t feel like, in my day to day life, I was helping people in all of the ways that I wanted to,” she explained.

By the time her residency ended, Rosei felt it was time for a drastic change in her career. Initially, she laid out one year for herself to just try out a new path and see what took shape. No matter the outcome, she knew she would always have her medical degree and training.

Her path since that point has continuously evolved but has centered around yoga, wellness, and meditation. She began this journey teaching barre- a ballet-inspired workout- at a small studio in downtown Rochester. Afterwards, she pursued a nine-month yoga instructor training program.

“And then, over time, other things just came out of that,” she explained.

Soon, she began running social media for a barre fitness and yoga studio in Rochester, which she said has been a nice side gig to supplement her instruction. Very recently, she started offering private and group yoga and meditation classes through her own business, Rosei Skipper Yoga and Wellness.

Before stepping away from medicine, Rosei said she mulled over the potential next steps for a lengthy time.

“It was hard to be patient, but you have to spend a certain amount of time, I think, just contemplating and investigating your options,” she explained.

In addition to her BarreAmped Certification and yoga teacher training courses, Rosei’s constantly refining her teaching and social media skills by consuming and absorbing as much information as possible through reading, podcasts, and videos.

“Anything that I do, I’m going to try and do it as well as I can,” she explained.

Uncertainty is a new challenge she’s had to face throughout this new phase in her career. During her time in medical school, she explained, her path and expectations were clearly defined.

“When you’re doing your own thing, of course, it’s really different. Every day things change a little bit for me. And some things work out, and other things, not so much,” she explained. As a result, she’s become increasingly more comfortable not knowing what her path will look like another year down the road.

Rosei said she was lucky to be able to make this change in her life, which she acknowledged is not the case for everyone unhappy with their current situation. At times, she still experiences days seeped in frustration.

“Those days get fewer and further in-between, thank goodness. But there are still moments when I’m like, what am I doing? Why am I not just sitting in an office right now, doing the normal thing?” she explained.

For others looking to make an adjustment in their lives, Rosei said you don’t necessarily have to make a big change to begin moving in a different direction. She advises learning more and more about what you want to do, and then to start practicing it. And if people around you say that you can’t follow your desired path or that it’s not practical, she said to surround yourself with different people who can help you grow.

“Because it’s your life. You can do anything that you want,” she explained.