During the stay-at-home orders I have been conscientious about how I spend my spare time (there is actually no such thing as “spare” time-- but that’s a different blog post!)
As I knew there was no lack of work to be done (we’re up-leveling many aspects of our business in preparation for reopening) and since I value rest-- I resisted the (ok, not that strong anyway) urge to learn to crochet or bake my own bread, like seemingly everyone I follow on Instagram.
There was one opportunity though, that I knew I wanted to invest my attention in.
For 6 days in a row, I got to peek into the lab of Gil Hedley, famed Integral Anatomist. Gil studies human anatomy by dissecting cadavers. His goal seems not only to be exploring what he calls “inner space” but also to help laymen cultivate an appropriate level of awe and appreciation for our bodies.
Gil’s perspective is interested in connections and continuity, and aligns perfectly with the teachings of yoga. For the first time ever, Gil was allowing viewers to tune in online to 1 hour per day of what is usually an intensive full-time week of dissection in his lab.
So when I got his email invite, I was doing it!
One of the most special moments of the week was getting a closer look at the human heart. Gil actually calls what’s in our chest the “heart center” since the whole organ is more like a “heart-tree,” whose branches extend throughout the body in over 60,000 miles of blood vessels (!!) and even beyond the body through the vibrations of the heartbeat.
As his cohorts in the lab took turns gently cradling the heart in their hands, Gil explained something which I'd never thought about in quite this way before:
The heart feeds itself first.
A quick anatomy lesson:
Your coronary arteries (from Latin corona meaning "crown") wrap your heart like vines. The coronary arteries connect to the aorta. The aorta is the (huge! about 2cm in diameter!) blood vessel that spins freshly oxygenated blood from the heart up to your brain and out to the rest of your body.
As this oxygenated blood rushes from heart out into the aorta, the coronary arteries divert some of it right back into the heart directly to provide it with oxygen.
The heart feeds itself first.
There is a room in Gil's lab labeled "Teacher's Lounge." It's where the cadavers are kept! It is so true that the human body has great quantities to teach us. By observing relationships within the body, we can gain insight about our relationships, too.
You would never call the heart "selfish" for nourishing itself first -- and yet many of us have been taught to believe that we should put others' needs before our own.
We back-burner our own self care – compromising sleep, neglecting to make time for exercise or eating well, sacrificing the activities that feed our souls. It’s a well-meaning, misguided attempt at being a good person.
Observing how the heart works, offers us a different lesson: we should be feeding ourselves first.
But does prioritizing our wellbeing, somehow take away from what we have to give others? I’m going to say nope, and the heart will back me up:
When the heart feeds itself first, it doesn’t adversely affect the rest of the body. Your coronary arteries are relatively small vessels that redirect a relatively small amount from the abundance of blood which supplies the rest of the body.
In other words, a small amount of self-care can be profoundly nourishing. Your 90-minute yoga class (or even a 5-minute savasana!) offer rewards that far exceed the time you invest.
Your body depends on your heart’s health to live. So the “self-serving” aspect of the heart is a loving act which ensures that the rest of the body thrives! In the same way, your self-care is essential to the well-being of your family, your friends, and your community.
You know when you’re on an airplane and the flight attendants tell you to put on your oxygen mask before helping someone else with theirs? It’s like the heart has listened to that lecture.
When it comes to making yourself a priority, remember this lesson from the heart. Feed yourself first. Only when you are nourished, can you fully show up and care for other people.
Every night at dinner in our family, we all go around and say what we are grateful for that day. (Ok, our toddler just mostly says "mnxrbfthnuuhh")
Including the usual suspects like: "my brother, shelves, rainbows and toilets" there have been many special people on our gratitude list lately!
We felt it was time for a shout-out:
Thank you to the workers.
BIGTIME appreciation and respect to all the health care workers and other essential workers on the “front lines," including many of your fellow yogis!
We know who you are, we’ve got your back (literally!) and thank you.
We know it’s gotten real out there and you guys are doing your “karma yoga” (that’s the yoga of action!) for sure right now.
Thank you to our amazing team.
The truth is, most yoga teachers did not get into this industry imagining they'd be teaching people via Zoom meetings!
Jeannie, Maggie and a host of guest teachers from around the world have put on their '21st century' hats and got busy learning new skills, stepping outside their comfort zones and getting at it with Virtual Bikram Yoga classes.
Stacy and Jennell, our brand new front desk crew (we hired them mere days before closing!) are quickly becoming powerful forces behind-the-scenes, helping us connect via social media and up-level our cleaning and safety procedures
Thank you to our members.
You have kept up your membership and support (for us and each other) in all kindsa ways!
Here's an example: one anonymous member recently wrote to us asking if we would help them send out a bunch of $100 gift cards for groceries, to any yogis who might be in need!
This is what our kickass community does!
Thank you to our biz community.
We are grateful to be part of generous, supportive networks of entrepreneurs! Our community of yoga studio owners around the world has come together more than ever during this time.
Locally, the St. Johns Boosters Association has been especially helpful in connecting our neighborhood businesses with resources and with each other.
For so many of us this time apart has been hard in many ways.
It's taking these moments to be grateful for the abundance of access to LOVE we all have, which is going to pull us through. Every one of us who has been a part of Home, is part of this love!
We can't wait to get started helping you heal your “computer neck” and get all your organs pumping happily and do some hot, sweaty yoga in person together again.
It's just a matter of time, so stay tuned for updates!
For now, our virtual classes are ongoing-- and our gratitude is flowing.
Short answer: constantly!
We want Home to feel like... home! That means it's got to be super clean and super safe, so you can focus on your yoga practice and connecting with your community. We've always cleaned a LOT, and you can expect us to keep doing that.
Our Home team does routine cleaning at the start, middle and end of every shift-- plus, we're now bringing in the pros for regular deep-cleans. Following weeks of tireless research into the best practices supported by science, we've up-leveled how we clean and the products we use! Our standards for choosing products or processes are:
Below are a few of the main tools we're using to keep our safety levels top-notch.
Force of Nature
Force of Nature is the multi-purpose cleaning product on EPA’s List of Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19. It's totally natural and super cool if you're into science!
This product uses electricity to change the chemical composition of salt, water and vinegar into a powerful cleaner & disinfectant. There are no harmful ingredients, residues or fumes. We love that.
At Home, we spray Force of Nature multiple times a day on all high-touch surfaces (including hard floors) until wet, let sit for 10 minutes, then let it air dry or wipe it with a clean cloth.
Flotex flooring is an antimicrobial, non-porous waterproof specialized flooring. Unlike carpet, the fibers are plastic fibers which stick straight up rather than loop. This means there is nowhere for germs or viruses to hide, and nothing soaks in! Everything sits on the fibers where it either evaporates, dies in the heat, gets sucked up by our vacuum, washed out by our water extraction cleaner-- or destroyed by our new hydroxyl generator.
Newaire Hydroxyl Generator
Hydroxyls (HO•) are molecules created naturally outdoors when the UV rays of the sun react with oxygen and water vapor. It's a natural process that constantly occurs in our atmosphere, cleansing the air.
Hydroxyls don't appear naturally indoors, so the Newaire machine mimics nature by safely generating hydroxyls, which find and kill a wide range of bacteria, mold and viruses both on surfaces and in the air. Hydroxyl generators are safe to use in occupied areas, while still being effective against a wide range of bacteria and viruses.
Today is International Yoga Day! (Of course, every day is “yoga day” around here.)
Too many people see yoga as a luxury item -- something to be disposed of when finances or schedules are tight. If there’s one thing I want you to know today, it’s this:
Practicing some form of yoga is not only essential to having a meaningful life, it’s absolutely necessary for a large number of us to practice if we’re going to create and maintain a peaceful, just society.
Practicing yoga is not like other forms of “self care” it tends to get lumped in with. Yoga is not like getting your nails done, taking a bubble bath or even having a massage (though I’m not knocking those things!)
Yoga is not about yoga postures.
When you practice yoga (raja yoga, bhakti yoga, jnana yoga, karma yoga, mantra yoga and hatha yoga-- which Bikram Yoga is one style of-- are the 6 main types of yoga) you cultivate Faith, Self-disicipline, Determination, Concentration and Patience within yourself.
If you’re doing hatha yoga, you’ll get pain relief, increased flexibility and strength and a litany of other physical health benefits too. You’ll improve the quality of your life. Which is amazing! But that’s not all you do.
The ultimate goal of any yoga practice is Self-Realization.
That’s Self with a capital “S.” Your highest Self, the greatest version of who you are. The word realize (v.) means "bring into existence," from French réaliser "make real" (16c.), from Middle French real "actual.")
Self-Realization means then, bringing your highest Self into existence.
When you practice yoga, you become able to pull the BEST version of yourself out of your pocket when you need it most:
If you keep practicing yoga, that Best Version of You appears more and more frequently. Eventually, the way you live begins to align itself with your full potential. You behave like your Self more often than not. Your Self is the part of you most in tune with nature. It’s the part of you which is connected to all other parts of you, which feels connected to all of humanity and even all of the cosmos.
Yoga comes from the word “yuj” meaning “to yoke together.”
When you access a place inside yourself where everything is united: mind, body and the rest of the world, that is Self. Because you become aware of the connection between you and all of humanity, Self is where your compassion for others lives.
If you still think that yoga is something to do:
How would this Father’s Day have been different for George Floyd’s family, if Derek Chauvin had been able to access the Best Version of himself for 8 minutes?
Yoga is not about yoga postures.
When you step on your mat today-- remember that the important work you are doing inside yourself has the power to change the world.
I've been writing this for 2 weeks, trying to get it just right. But (like yoga) done is better than perfect when it comes to speaking up. So here we are.
Racism and injustice are NOT new.
But it's true that (while these issues have always been important to us) we’ve never used the studio's platforms to speak out in a significant way about them before.
(That's about to change.)
Before I go on, I want to (1) acknowledge that we know we are late to the party, and (2) to ask that you please do not congratulate us for saying something now. We don't deserve any kudos (though we would love to listen to any feedback you have about how we can do better!)
At Home Hot Yoga, we support the Black Lives Matter movement.
If you've been to the studio, you know: we welcome and respect all people of all colors and backgrounds. We are firmly anti-hate, anti-racism, anti-injustice and anti-harm.
Which is why I'm writing, to add Home's voice to the sea of voices who've just starting chiming in, because it's better late than never:
Black lives matter. They have always mattered. For too long, they have been treated as if they don't.
And that's why it needs saying now. Over and over until someday it hopefully won't need saying anymore because it will just be something everybody understands.
We know that no email, no post on social media, no sign we put in our window can "fix" the atrocities inflicted on human beings because of racism.
Demonstrating our support is important, but on its own cannot stop the terrible injustices which are still going on today.
We understand that action is needed. One of the first actions we need to take is to begin intentionally engaging in respectful, open-minded conversations about the issues of social justice and race.
Talking to each other is the place to start. We're committed to having those important talks.
IN FACT... keep your eyes peeled for a super special event coming SOON that is all about just that...!
Some resources for now:
If you don't know a lot about race issues yet, it's time to start learning. We're so lucky to live in a time when resources are EVERYwhere. Here are just a few:
What does this have to do with yoga?
Stay in your lane, right? We are.
We started a business because we know that business leadership is the most important leadership of our time, and we wanted to make a difference.
We chose to build our business on Bikram Yoga because we know that not only can ALL people practice and benefit from Bikram Yoga, but this yoga has the power to bring people together like nothing else around.
Yoga means "union," and we are all about super-sizing the amount of unity in the world.
Our work in the hot room (and in our online classes) gets us closer to this end.
You can now expect to see us putting our yoga into action "off the mat" even more from here on out. We're so excited for you to join us on this journey.
If you have any ideas about ways that Home can be of service in the cause of racial equity, please reply to this email or reach out to us by phone at (503)505-9805.
Tools for you
Got any questions about this stuff, or anything related to reopening? Check out our FAQ here.
When you practice at a studio, you benefit from the watchful eye of a trained instructor. But when you start doing yoga at home, it’s up to you to make your own corrections and look out for any less-than-helpful habits.
Here are several common mistakes to avoid when practicing on your own:
Mistake: Tweaking your neck to see the screen
Why you do it: If you take an online class with video, especially if you are a visual learner, you’ll be tempted to look up at your screen. That might be to check your alignment, check out that cute puppy crawling on your yoga buddy’s savasana, or see if your technology is working correctly.
Mistake: Pushing too hard
Why you do it: Overexerting yourself during a home Bikram Yoga routine is something to watch out for, especially if you’re an experienced student. If you’re used to being strong and flexible in the hot room, you may tend to push yourself at home. Remember that your intensity needs to account for the fact that you’re not as warm. Take it easy.
Mistake: Getting kinda lazy
Why it happens: It can be challenging to stay motivated when you practice on your own. There are so many more distractions at your house than at the studio! And you don’t have the heat to demand that you focus on the present moment. You may find yourself “going through the motions” or even skipping the poses you don’t really enjoy. The problem with that is, the poses you dread the most are likely the ones you need the most! Bikram Yoga is a balanced full-body physical practice, and skipping the same poses repeatedly may aggravate asymmetries, tightness or injury.
Mistake: Allowing Interruptions
Why you do it: If you don’t architect an environment that supports your yoga practice, distractions will abound: kids, phone calls, Facebook notifications, pets, the list is endless! Without a reserved time and space for yoga, there is always something vying for your attention.
Why you do it: When you’re not joining others in-person, it can be challenging to hold yourself accountable.
Excellent news for Bikram Yogis regarding COVID-19 has emerged:
It turns out humid air may be a useful tool in slowing coronavirus spread!
Scientists are finding that dry air makes it harder for your lungs to clear out respiratory viruses like SARS-CoV-2. Not only that, but dry air may also make it harder for your immune system to fight it off if you do get infected.
According to Yale immunobiologist Akiko Iwasaki, the virus seems to survive and transmit best in dry indoor environments.
On the flip side, the research reviewed by Iwasaki and her team suggests that a relative humidity between 40 and 60 percent may make it harder for the coronavirus to take hold. (Guess what range we keep the humidity at in our hot room? ;)
Iwasaki collaborated with Swiss physician Walter Hugentobler. They had noticed that pilots and flight attendants seemed to catch the flu a lot, even if they were generally healthy. Their study linked this to the constant exposure to extra-dry cabin air. Following up that research was this review of other studies, to see if this finding applied to COVID-19 as well.
In another study, MIT engineer Hazhir Rahmandad looked at why COVID-19 was spreading more rapidly in some regions than others. He noticed that the warmer, more humid parts of Iran, India and South Asia saw lower rates of the virus, even though the population density and traffic with China should have made those areas hot spots of infection.
Rahmandad and his team found that infection rates start to drop big-time as temperature rises above 77 degrees and humidity goes up.
It’s important to remember that just because the humid air of the hot room (or summer in Portland!) may help slow down this virus, it’s not an excuse to start French-kissing the handle to the yoga room, coughing all over your neighbor’s mat or not wearing your mask to the store.
Social distancing and the other precautions we’re taking around the studio (and around town) are still important and will help us lessen spikes in infection or outbreaks as we move back into drier weather this winter.
Find out more about the research here.
Booking online is now required for all in-studio classes. Check out these quick tutorials we made on how to do it:
Booking online "101"
How to book from your computer:
How to book/ cancel using the Mindbody app:
If you can't make it to a class you have booked/ waitlisted?
A 12 hour minimum notice is required for all cancellations to avoid being charged a fee.
(This policy doesn't apply to Virtual Yoga classes, only in-studio ones!) Late Cancels will be charged a $15 fee, and No Shows will be charged a $20 fee. Check out the details of our policy here.
If you have trouble booking online and this post didn't help you, feel free to reach out at (503)505-9805 or email us and we'll do our best to assist. See you at Home!!
Yogis. As you may have noticed, we’re still not open for in-person classes. :(
So, what’s up with that??
First, the GOOD news:
Some guidance was finally released last week by the Governor about reopening yoga studios! We're really excited as our industry was the LAST to receive these guidelines of all the industries included in the first phase of our state's reopening. We have been waiting with baited breath to know what our reopening could look like.
And now we know.
Let’s back up a bit though:
Oregon is reopening for business in a “phased” plan, where restrictions are lifted slowly and carefully so as to avoid disaster. The details of this plan tend to be more conservative than the Federal guidelines for reopening.
(We think slowly and carefully is a good way to go!)
Oregon is giving certain counties permission to open before others, based on many factors involving their preparedness and how much COVID they’re dealing with.
31 of the 36 counties in Oregon have now been approved to begin Phase 1 of reopening, which began on Friday, May 15. Multnomah County is not one of them, which is to be expected because of our population. We expect to probably be the last county to open.
Multnomah County officials have said that reopening the Portland metro area is at least several weeks away, and possibly more.
So that’s the sad news.
Look. We’re in the business of helping people save their own lives.
So while we KNOW you miss the hot room (and we miss you!) we'll be in no rush to reopen, until it seems reasonably safe to do so. This means, even when we are allowed to reopen, we might not open right away. Your safety and the safety of our team are our highest priority.
Ya can't get to radiant health and wellbeing if ya don't feel safe!
There is so much we still don’t know about what reopening will look like. But yogis have been asking, and we hate to leave you hanging.
Here are a few things we do know at this time:
What was the “bad news”?
No bad news.
Our community is alive and we are getting through this together. We are going to come back to our studio, and we’re going to do it as safely as we can.
Meanwhile, we get to do yoga online together!
If you have any questions this email didn't answer, please check out the Closure FAQ on our website. We’ll update it whenever we get new info.
And of course keep following us on social media and in your email (drag us over to your inbox!) so you don’t miss out on any Home-coming (hint hint) 🕺🕺 plans...!!
Until we meet again: wash your hands, hug on your loved ones, and keep living your days in a way you can be proud of. We'll see each other again in all our sweaty in-person glory, sooner than it feels like.
Boss lady, yoga-doer and life-lover, Kay D.