Open a yoga studio

Tips for opening a Yoga Studio!

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hi guys Jessica Walsh here with another

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down dog update today I am here

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interviewing Jessie Thompson at the yoga

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loft in Bethlehem Pennsylvania the town

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of Lehigh University and we are in the

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gorgeous studio space with three rooms

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awesome entryway just a really wonderful

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space to practice yoga and I wanted to

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just talk to you a little bit more about

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your experience and how you’ve come to

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yoga what you guys do here at your

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studio if you want to tell us a little

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bit more sure

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so the yoga loft this is our ninth year

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and I opened this studio after moving

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back to the area from Los Angeles and I

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was out North Los Angeles for about 8

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years and I had started doing yoga

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before I moved to LA but la is where I

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did my teacher training and I started

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working at a yoga studio there in Santa

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Monica California called yoga works so

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so that was the original yoga works they

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since gone on the original owners sold

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the business and they’ve yoga works has

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since expanded into many cities in many

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places right yeah so but at the original

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yoga works I was I was there I worked in

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a few different capacities and then

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towards the end I was the general

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manager and and that’s where I learned

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sort of the operating of a yoga school

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and so I came into the yoga loft with

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it’s a pretty good experience and

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learning from some people that had been

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doing it for quite a long time and doing

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it really really well in my opinion yeah

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yeah so so that helped me make I think

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certain decisions along the way that

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have that have helped the yoga loft be

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kind of a stable place because I think

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sometimes a yoga studio pops up and then

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goes and it’s hard to you know hard to

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align all the things that that that can

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help you be in place in a way that you

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have that financial stability

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and like what are the things in yoga

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that that create that so I had some

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ideas going into it so we can talk a

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little bit about some of those things if

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you think that would be interesting to

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folks so you’re thinking about opening a

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yoga studio here’s some advice or my

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opinion anyway I think one of the things

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is to have parking yes and it’s like

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these these like these sort of boring

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practical things you know that you want

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to think about that you want to have I

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think sometimes they’re sort of a

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downtown location where the shops and

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restaurants are but if people just can’t

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get there and parked their car you know

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they’re not going to come it’s just too

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too stressful I think for folks these

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days like battling with a lot of traffic

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and and that sort of thing so so we have

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a you know part of our lease here with

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our landlord is is use of a nice big

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parking lot in the back so that and they

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always say location location location

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and and that’s partly true but it’s sort

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of parking parking parking I think maybe

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even takes priority over that so there’s

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that and I think you also have to have a

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decent amount of big empty space with

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heating and air conditioning that that

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has a reasonable amount of rent we are

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in a building that was originally a

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sewing factory so the third floor that

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were on here is almost 9,000 square feet

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it’s a lot of square footage but because

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I came into the space and it needed a

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fair amount of work I just like you know

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put my elbow grease into it and kind of

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fixed it up myself so I did it really

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inexpensively and and because it was a

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building where where it needed that work

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I didn’t come into it with a high price

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tag so I think that’s important to find

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find a lot of space for cheap yeah and

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if you need to just you know get the

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paint roller out and clean it up and fix

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it up yourself then I would do that

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rather than getting into a lot of debt

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spending a lot of money on like on like

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fancy stuff and renovations

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because it’s kind of a business where

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you have to build it over a long period

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of time so you don’t want to go into it

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spending a lot of money on the space

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because it you don’t have the revenue

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coming in at first to be able to pay all

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that off right away it does take some

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time right yeah and the nice thing that

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once you if you do find a larger place

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cheaper is when you walk in it’s just a

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nicer and there’s something about

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feeling cramped so that it’s just a

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little like not good for the energy

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almost so it gives a nice flow like

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that’s one of the things I was saying it

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nice rooms a lot of space which is I

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think definitely an asset yeah I think

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it’s conducive to practicing yoga or any

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kind of physical movement that you feel

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like you have the space to expand into

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yeah yeah it’s not worried about that

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you come into they just have a little

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front area in like one room it’s

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definitely a different feel yeah yeah I

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think there’s like there could be a nice

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intimacy to those smaller studios a

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coziness a you know a real family

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feeling but I do think we kind of got

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lucky here and I think it’s worth like

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looking around you know waiting till you

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find that like really right spot so so

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that’s helpful

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and and then I think like those you know

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finding those teachers that you know how

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share the same values with you people

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that you can work well with people that

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are reliable they have integrity they’re

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going to continue their practice and

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continue their studies deepening their

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knowledge you know setting up your own

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teacher training program so that you can

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you know the values that you had you can

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pass on to people and I have really

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aimed to have sort of an identity for

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our school in that sense that we have as

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a school a method of sorts that you can

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come to a beginner class or an

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intermediate or advanced class and

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there’s things that the teachers all

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have in common that you kind of know

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what you’re getting when you come here

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is a certain type of practice a certain

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way of teaching yoga and I think that’s

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helpful too I think when it’s a lot of

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different people doing a lot of

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different things it might be sort of

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confusing for the student they don’t

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know sort of where to fit themselves in

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so I think it’s good to set up your

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classes by level so the students get

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into the right level I think that’s more

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important than than having a bunch of

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different styles emphasizing the styles

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interesting yeah most a few things yeah

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definitely very helpful because I know a

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lot of the times you might be your

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teacher training and then are interested

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in opening up the yoga studio but I

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guess there might be a certain amount of

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business knowledge that you need as well

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do you think – do I think you know I’m

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not I can’t say I’m a business person

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because I wasn’t in business before I

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did this

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that’s that certainly may have helped me

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yeah it’s I think having a good idea or

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a clear idea of how you want the yoga to

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be taught is a good starting place if

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you don’t have business knowledge then

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have that you know have integrity in

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what you’re doing as far as being a yoga

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teacher and teaching other people how to

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teach yoga yeah there are business

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things but I think you can learn them

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all along the way you know like it’s not

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it’s not so complicated that you can’t

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figure out like what kind of insurance

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do I need and I gotta pay workers comp

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you know figuring out payroll and

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billing and that those those things I

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think you can like learn as you go learn

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as you do and ask other people that work

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in business and you know anything about

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that there’s so many online resources

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and easier ways to do things online now

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you know services that are provided that

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I think you can make your way through

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that stuff but you do have to you know

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be on points about it you know you do

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have to get it done and you know do what

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it takes yeah a little bit more about

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specifically your school of yoga and

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what you guys focus on and what is

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important sure yeah

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we kind of have taken I think a blend of

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different styles and methods of teaching

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yoga the school I trained at Yoga works

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started out having two strong influences

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and one was ashtanga yoga and

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the other was a yang gar yoga so so the

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people that I did my teacher training

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with we’re kind of in some ways blending

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those two together and I think what has

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developed out of that or what you could

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say is a yoga work style class is a

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class that has some of the flow of

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ashtanga yoga the Sun Salutations the

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movement it’s more athletic but it also

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has sort of the attention to detail and

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the alignment of Iyengar yoga and and I

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think our classes here also are finding

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kind of a nice balance between those two

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things because some of the feedback I

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get from my teachers is like they

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realize people coming here after work

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sitting at a desk sitting in traffic

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like they really want to move they need

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to move so so a practice that is kind of

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solely static like I yang gar yoga never

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did as well here that said there are

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younger teachers in the area that that

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have a great following and they’re doing

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just fine like the people that want that

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have have found them but we find here

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that our students for whatever reason

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they seem to be looking to move to flow

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a little bit more but you also want to

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keep your student state students safe

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and that’s where the alignment comes in

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and your your own understanding of

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anatomy because we are working with the

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body and so I think teachers the yoga

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teachers are obligated to have a good

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foundation in understanding human

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anatomy so that they know that you know

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the kind of the relevant alignment to to

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that and teaching people safely so yeah

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so that’s kind of our balance between

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you know movement and alignment and then

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hoping that we that also that when

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people are practicing yoga they’re

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they’re not just being conducted by the

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teacher but maybe they’re also learning

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something about themselves learning a

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little bit about how their body works

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you know learning how this pose works

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and I think when people have a learning

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experience it’s a little more a little

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more motivating a little more inspiring

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a little more meaningful you know yeah

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yeah now besides classes you also offer

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teacher training when don’t you

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incorporate into the studio here that

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you offer um well we do things other

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than yoga

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we do we have an excellent Tai Chi

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teacher here her name is Hilary Smith

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she has been with the studio almost from

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the very beginning since we opened

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nearly all those nine years so she has a

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great great program running and we have

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a Pilates program also so there’s a

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studio within our studio called Olin

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studio and that is run by Paola Montes

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and she has also been here from nearly

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the beginning and and there’s another

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teacher that works in the studio also

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named Adrian Uihlein and Adrian has kind

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of her own clientele that come here and

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work with them one on one in the Pilates

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studio and then we have a couple of

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public mat Pilates classes yeah so so

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not just yoga and we used to have other

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things we used to have belly dance and

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stuff like that but that belly dance

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teacher moved to Hawaii luckily yeah so

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those things other than yoga and then we

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have some some meditations some restore

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to yoga within our teacher training

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programs we have yoga philosophy classes

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and things like that so that’s

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interesting you know the philosophy is

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something that you don’t hear offered

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too often but I feel like that was very

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interesting

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insightful kind of course yeah it kind

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of like hinges into our teacher training

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program but where I’m starting a class

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in the fall and I’m calling it yoga

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sampler so it’ll have a little bit of

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philosophy it’ll have a little bit of us

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in a practice and and a little bit of

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meditation and then some restorative at

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the end for resting so it’s sort of a

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way for me to see if people are

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interested in kind of how can we

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incorporate some of the the kind of core

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ideas of yoga philosophy keeping them in

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mind as we practice you know how can the

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practice facilitate a little deeper

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understanding of those core ideas and

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then how can we meditate in a way also

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that kind of brings the ideas into our

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awareness so I’m just trying it out this

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fall and hopefully people will

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give it a shot yeah yeah I definitely

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would be interested in that okay

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actually have come to a few I only live

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about an hour away from the studios no

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I’ve come when we had a workshop with

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Sean corn

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great two years ago now and then I saw

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it one recently for Jason Crandall okay

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yeah studio as well and for Valentine’s

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Day I brought my boyfriend I kind of

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dragged him along to do the partner yoga

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with the couple who did that class and

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it was amazing and it’s funny because

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after the class my boyfriend was like

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you know what I really enjoyed that and

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it was a three-hour class and you’re

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kind of wondering like three hours well

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00:13:46,069 –> 00:13:48,680
better like him doing yoga like three

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hours he was like time flew by like I

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00:13:50,870 –> 00:13:53,269
really have fun with that so you know

332
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it’s really cool to do those kind of

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specialty things and things that might

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bring people into a yoga studio that

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maybe otherwise would be like oh I don’t

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00:14:00,050 –> 00:14:02,180
do yoga and kind of like introduce them

337
00:14:02,180 –> 00:14:04,100
that’s a great example

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yeah of a way that I think we do see

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people coming in to try for the first

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time in the partner yoga cuz their

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partners like hey come on yeah yeah so

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00:14:16,970 –> 00:14:19,490
it’s definitely really anything yeah and

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I think it’s you know kind of getting

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back to like what works at a studio you

345
00:14:23,269 –> 00:14:25,189
make a good point because I think you do

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have to have a variety of things you

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00:14:27,079 –> 00:14:28,310
know stuff you do that’s more

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lighthearted and fun that people would

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just want to do something a little

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different yeah and it can be you know

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more as a novelty thing that they try

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and then another stuff for the more

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serious students that are really

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00:14:38,870 –> 00:14:40,819
dedicated really interested in kind of

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00:14:40,819 –> 00:14:43,250
digging deeper yeah yeah a nice range is

356
00:14:43,250 –> 00:14:46,730
hopeful yeah that is very true and for

357
00:14:46,730 –> 00:14:48,589
the people that are around the area that

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might want to come to the studio you

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00:14:49,699 –> 00:14:51,319
guys have a website they can check out

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and of course come in and check out your

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00:14:53,750 –> 00:14:56,089
schedules online I’m sure so they can

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00:14:56,089 –> 00:14:57,740
get it find out what’s going on yeah

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00:14:57,740 –> 00:15:01,459
we’ll go the yoga los yes yeah so it’s

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00:15:01,459 –> 00:15:04,730
the yoga left of Bethlehem calm awesome

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00:15:04,730 –> 00:15:08,899
yeah you guys are Facebook Instagram all

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00:15:08,899 –> 00:15:11,420
that good stuff working on our YouTube

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00:15:11,420 –> 00:15:15,079
channel and yeah awesome yeah very cool

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00:15:15,079 –> 00:15:16,209
so definitely if you’re in

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00:15:16,209 –> 00:15:18,459
area checkout and maybe at some point

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00:15:18,459 –> 00:15:20,319
you guys will have some videos for

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people that aren’t local yes they we’re

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00:15:22,420 –> 00:15:24,369
heading in that direction I think yeah

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as you are doing that’s where things

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seem to be heading yeah will join in

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00:15:28,029 –> 00:15:30,459
very good awesome well thanks so much I

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00:15:30,459 –> 00:15:32,050
really appreciate this and thank you

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00:15:32,050 –> 00:15:33,790
love coming to your studio great thank

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00:15:33,790 –> 00:15:35,619
you and thanks guys for watching we’ll

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00:15:35,619 –> 00:15:36,600
see you next time

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no mistake

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you

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