Kim Vopni: Entrepreneur & Pelvic Health Evangelist
Kim Vopni is an entrepreneur, a pelvic health evangelist, and mother of two boys. She is the founder of Pelvienne Wellness and co-founder of Bellies Inc. Kim is on a mission to break through the taboos and redefine how we think of women's health. This is an interview with Kim.
Kim Vopni is the founder of Pelvienne Wellness and co-founder of Bellies Inc. She holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Western Ontario and a Post-Grad Diploma in Health and Fitness from Simon Fraser University. Kim is a Restorative Exercise Specialist™, a Certified Personal Trainer, and holds many more qualifications. She is also the author of Prepare to Push and Your Pelvic Floor. Her newest course, Core Confidence, will be released on Embodia Academy very soon.
1. Tell us about you, your practice and/or your organization.
I used a product in my pregnancy called the EPI-NO and felt compelled to tell others about it. I contacted the manufacturer and became a distributor in 2004. I did it very much on the side with no intention of it becoming a business per se, but in 2007, the manufacturer needed someone to hold the import license so that made things a bit more official. In 2009, I was laid off from my corporate job and decided I should try and make a go of this EPI-NO thing - so I soon found myself tweeting to find other people talking about pelvic health. I quickly realized that much of what I was talking about to sell this product was based on fitness and physiotherapy principles. I rectified my fitness and was also fortunate enough to take some courses with pelvic health physiotherapists. I then created a workshop called “Prepare To Push” as a way to introduce myself in my community and lead to product sales. I slowly added more products and started doing in-home personal training. I also created an event called “Kegels and Cocktails” as a way to help get the conversation of pelvic health more 'out there' in a fun and informative way.
In 2010, I formed a second business with two other women - Bellies Inc., and created a recovery garment for women to use in in the first few weeks’ post-partum. We believe in the philosophy of mother warming and prehab exercises as well as core retraining. We also created education for movement professionals, midwives, doulas, and physiotherapists focused on the pelvic floor and diastasis recti in pregnancy and motherhood.
I manage both businesses with both wholesale and retail customers as well as coordinating the education. I have switched to offering online coaching and have two online programs as well - Prepare to Push and Kegel Mojo.
2. What types of services do you provide? Who can benefit from your services?
I offer online personal training specific to birth prep, postpartum recovery, and core retraining. I work with women in pregnancy, motherhood, and menopause.
3. What's the best continuing education course/conference you've ever taken (this can be clinical, business, webinar, live)?
I found Dr. Bruce Crawford on Twitter and was immediately drawn to his program. He was one of the first people I had found who wasn't trying to isolate the pelvic floor but rather incorporated it into movement. I coordinated a course in Toronto and had him come and teach it - loved it! Shortly thereafter, I moved back to Vancouver and he said, “Why don't we do one there, too?” That started a two year working relationship between us teaching his course in Canada and Japan.
I also loved Julie Wiebe's piston course – Diaphragm/Pelvic Floor Piston, as it helped me teach better.
4. What's your favourite book?
UnFu*k Yourself by Gary John Bishop. Sometimes as an entrepreneur, especially in a social media driven world, you can be filled with doubt and worry. This book helps me remember that I can get through the tough times and to just focus on what needs to be done and then just do it.
5. What is the book that you’ve gifted most frequently?
6. What's your favourite blog, podcast or online resource?
I used to read and listen more than I do now. I found I needed to cut out some of the noise, but one podcast I love is nutritiousmovement.com.
7. Why did you decide to host your online continuing education courses on Embodia?
Maggie was amazing, and when she explained her new technology to me when it was launched, it seemed like the market she was attracting was where my 'tribe' was. She and her team have created an amazing product and are always open to suggestions and recommendations. They are truly building an amazing platform. It was a no brainer to add my education there.
8. What types of online courses are you providing and who are they for?
Right now, Prepare To Push is there and it is a consumer product for pregnant women, but many professionals working with pregnant women also take it. Off of Embodia, there is a doula course (Down There for Doulas), a midwife course, and a certification for fitness/movement professionals that all have a strong focus on the pelvic floor and diastasis recti.
9. What advice would you give to your 25-year-old self?
Stop trying to grow up and 'be something' so quickly. Enjoy the journey.
10. What's something you've recently learned that you're really excited to implement?
I have been taking some courses that focus on hormones. I will not necessarily be implementing that into my coaching, but my understanding of hormones as women age will allow me to better coach them and direct them to practitioners who can help.
11. What is one “aha!” moment that you’ve had that changed you forever? What did you learn from this?
The biggest aha! for me was years ago when I was first learning about diastasis recti. I saw the link to the pelvic floor but always felt that trying to address just the transverse abdominis (TVA) was going to make the gap bigger. I am happy that the research is now starting to transition to tension over the TVA Confirmation that engaging the TVA would pull the rectus apart was big for me.
12. What is one thing that has led to your success?
Social media has helped for sure. It provided a platform to find the #pelvicmafia and has broadened my learning. I also feel my husband has played a big role. Many a time I have wanted to throw in the towel and he has talked me off the cliff, and helped me persevere.
13. If you could have dinner with anyone, alive or dead, who would it be?
Ina May Gaskin. She is a legend in the birth world and having an opportunity to sit and listen to her stories would be incredible. I also admire how she went against the grain and forged a path for normal physiologic birth.
Kim Vopni BA(Psych), Restorative Exercise Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer
Kim Vopni, is a Personal Trainer, an author, a passionate promoter of pelvic floor physiotherapy and mother of 2 boys. She also trained as a doula which had her known as The Fitness Doula for many years but as her work broadened to helping women at all life's stages she is now known as The Vagina Coach.
She also trained in a variety of diastasis recti abdominis (DRA) techniques and recognized the strong correlation it has to pelvic floor dysfunction. In 2009 she created the Prepare To Push™ program which is now available in several cities across Canada as a workshop and was also published as a book in 2015.
After educating herself on proactive pelvic floor wellness during her pregnancies she became the Canadian distributor for the EPI-NO which heightened her passion for increasing the awareness on this ‘taboo’ subject. Her main mission is to see pelvic floor physiotherapy covered by the government and considered standard care for all women.