Earlier this month, we said our final farewell to the upstairs of 7025 N. Lombard Street.
We built out this studio in 2015 with a negative amount of dollars in our pockets, our first kid on the way and fistfuls of crazy dreams.
In March of 2020 we had a thriving business guiding people to become healthy, happy and empowered!
It employed awesome people, attracted visiting yoga teachers from around the world, raised funds for important causes, held space for countless friendships to bloom, and helped people save their own lives by practicing Bikram Yoga.
It fed and clothed our family of 4, and surrounded us in real-deal, got-your-back style community.
The rest is (literally) history.
2 months into our second mandated closure in one year, we have left our keys and closed the door.
But I want you to know:
This is not the sad story of another small business killed by Oregon's misguided Covid-era regulations (although they sure didn't help)
It's the story of 2 parents who made a choice.
We chose to release our physical location and stop fighting a losing battle - while we still had the means to support our children AND keep connecting our community to Bikram Yoga (and with each other) through our online classes and resources.
As we practice in yoga, we made peace with what was not under our control, and we chose to focus on what is.
Of course this was not the way we imagined our exit. But what ever goes as planned?
And why am I writing all this??
I want to draw attention to the reason at the heart of why we opened Home Hot Yoga in the first place:
It's that we each only have this one life.
A lot in it is out of our control. But SO MUCH is up to us!
We believe that no matter the circumstance, no matter what is lost or what disappoints or even hurts us, none of us ever have to be victims. Being a victim is a choice.
Taking the wheel of your destiny-car is also a choice. Bikram Yoga helps us practice taking the wheel for 10-20 seconds at a time, 90 minutes at a time!
When things really get good though, is when we start putting that practice into action- off of the yoga mat.
So here we are, walking the walk and taking the wheel.
For us that means selling most of our belongings including our home and getting on a plane to Mexico (today!!) for starters.
All our things fit in a few suitcases now. We'll be spending more time with our kids. We'll be living lighter, spending less and working on exciting new ways to serve humanity. (Stay tuned!!)
Best of all, thanks to the magical technology of our age this move doesn't have to mean goodbye! We still get to practice this life-changing yoga together in our online "studio." (You may see more palm trees in the background of our videos from now on!)
Keep in touch, Homies.
Walk that walk. Take the wheel.
Practice being in your outside-of-yoga life as badass and in-charge as you feel when you nail that Standing Bow Pulling pose without falling over. (Or better yet, when you do fall over but you stand up and try again anyway without mentally berating yourself at all!)
See you soon in class.
“If we could master breath, everything after that is going to be handled a bit better.”
That's a quote from James Newbury, an athlete who completed the entire 5-hour bike ride and 4-hour run of an Ironman race, breathing only through his nose.
“We’re going to live at a higher level.”
Living at a higher level sounds good.
Here is my nose:
Maybe you’ve been here:
Huffing and puffing through the first few poses in one of your first hot yoga classes, your face turning bright beet-red. The more you try to breathe, sucking air in through your mouth- the harder it seems to get.
From somewhere in the distance, you hear the instructor’s calm, encouraging voice:
“Close your mouth, breathe through your nose.”
You try it.
Nose breathing is the way
Many people have been taught or just naturally start breathing through their mouths while exercising, especially when it gets intense. But emerging research suggests nasal breathing (like we do for about 80 out of the 90 minutes in a Bikram Yoga class) is actually where it’s at.
That’s no big surprise for yoga practitioners, who have been harnessing the power of breath for centuries! (But we always love when science backs up what we do!)
Breathing by the nose helps athletes perform better
For example, this recent study looked at runners who used nasal breathing and found their maximum rate of oxygen consumption was unchanged compared to mouth breathing.
At the same time, their respiratory rates (breaths per minute) and ratios of oxygen intake to carbon dioxide output decreased, which means they didn’t have to work as hard to get the same amount of oxygen!
Researchers believe the lower breath rate caused by breathing through your nose (a much smaller opening for air than your gaping maw) allows more time for oxygen to get to the bloodstream.
That means you get more oxygen to your cells from each breath, which allows you to breathe less.
Wait a sec? Is breathing LESS a good thing?
Don’t worry: no one is telling you not to breathe. It’s about being efficient.
By breathing through your nose "you actually can perform your big physical tasks – running, cycling, things like that, you can perform them using less oxygen because you're not having to breathe as much to perform them,” says researcher George Dallam. “Which turns this not just into a health thing, but also into a performance thing too.”
Nose breathing helps with daily wellbeing too
I recently read a fascinating book called Breath, by James Nestor. In it Nestor “explores the million-year-long history of how the human species has lost the ability to breathe properly and why we’re suffering from a laundry list of maladies—snoring, sleep apnea, asthma, autoimmune disease, allergies—because of it.”
One thing Nestor did as part of this book was an experiment where he plugged his nose completely for 10 days, forcing himself to breathe only through his mouth. Spoiler alert: the results were disastrous!
Other spoiler alert: everything got better when he began breathing through his nose again.
Among other things, it turns out people who breathe primarily through their noses have:
Nasal breathing calms ya down
Breathing slowly through the nose is associated with the parasympathetic aspect of your nervous system, known as the “rest, digest and reproduce” state. (You probably know that one from yoga class!)
Breathing fast, through the mouth, or too much (hyperventilation) activates the sympathetic nervous system, putting you into a state of “fight, flight or freeze.” (You know that one from if you’ve ever been stressed out.)
That’s because nasal breathing activates the lower part of the lungs, which is associated with the parasympathetic nerves.
Oh hey, we made a video about that!
“You’re dealing with what is called a vagal response,” Dallam says. “You’re actually activating your vagal nerve to do the action of the lung itself when you breathe that way. That’s why a relaxation breath is a deeper breath. If you breathe deeply and activate the diaphragm well, and activate the lower portion of the lung, then you create some immediate relaxation.”
It ain't always easy, but it's worth it
As James Nestor and James Newbury found, breathing by the nose during physical exertion isn't necessarily easy.
The key, whether in a Bikram Yoga class or training for a triathlon, is to only challenge yourself as much as you can while maintaining nasal breathing. This means you may need to back off on intensity at first and be patient with the process.
(Helloooo, psychological benefits!)
When you breathe calmly through your nose, you take charge of your own nervous system
The more you practice, the better you'll get at nasal breathing and the more your health will improve as a result.
Don't take my word for it though! Try it in class today ;)
This week I was interviewed!
Liz asked me about the birth story of Home Hot Yoga, why I love St. Johns, what it's like to be a shut-down business during a global pandemic- and how the heck I expect people to do hot yoga in their bathrooms!
Check it out:
That sale I mentioned?
Studio leader, yoga-doer and life-lover, Kay D.