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.
I feel pretty confident about spending 90 minutes in a hot room breathing with you during a global pandemic. There are a few reasons for that:
Ok... but what's an iWave?
The iWave is the air purification system we've installed in the hot room's duct system! When air passes over the iWave, ions produced by the device reduce pathogens, allergens, particles, smoke and odors in the air, without producing harmful byproducts.
How does it work?
iWave uses a fancypants technology called "needle-point bi-polar ionization" to create equal amounts of positive and negative ions. When the ions are released into the air, they break down passing pollutants and gases into harmless stuff like oxygen, carbon dioxide, nitrogen and water vapor.
When the ions run into pathogens like viruses, bacteria or mold, the ions remove their hydrogen molecules. Without these molecules, the pathogens have no source of energy- so they die.
The ions also attach to tiny allergens like pollen, causing them to stick together until they are large enough to be caught by our ventilation system’s hospital-grade MERV-13 air filters.
Is it safe?
Nature generates the same ions that the iWave’s technology does- with lightning, waterfalls and ocean waves. These natural processes break apart molecules, naturally cleaning the air. The difference between the iWave’s technology and what nature does is that the iWave does it without producing ozone!
Does it work on Coronavirus?
Yep! This system has actually undergone independent lab testing on COVID-19 and shown to deactivate 99.4% of the virus in just 30 minutes, in addition to significantly reducing a wide variety of other pathogens in the air and on hard non-porous surfaces.
Tools for you
NEW! Take our Home, to your home.
We understand that keeping up your practice away from the studio can be challenging! That's why you can now access yoga online with your favorite HHY teachers… ANYTIME, ANYWHERE.
Strength, flexibility, transformation and accessing your true potential is now possible, To Go! You'll find a variety of options ranging in length from a 5-minute guided savasana to 90-minute Bikram Yoga classes and more, now easily accessed right here from our website.
Have you ever struggled to find 90 minutes to yourself for a home practice?
We get it.
Look, we have 2 kids under 5 and run a small business! We know that finding time for yoga at your place can be TOUGH.
So while we believe whole-heartedly that the 90-minute Bikram Yoga class is the most effective yoga around (so effective that it's the only class we offer in the heated studio!) we also know that some days ya just can't fit that in.
The truth is that some yoga is always better than no yoga! Which is why HHY To Go includes a whole page of "Quickies." Quickies range from 5 to 60 minutes and include a variety of options for a shorter home practice when 90 minutes just ain't happening.
HHY To Go includes:
Interactive Zoom classes
Options from 5-90 minutes
Add HHYTG on to your current in-studio membership!
Current HHY members, please note that HHY To Go is a separate membership on a completely different platform than the one we use for in-studio classes. Questions? Check out our FAQ about HHYTG here.
If you have a current membership with us and wish to switch completely to HHY To Go, you'll need to EMAIL US to make that change. If you sign up for HHYTG but don't email us, you'll enjoy a subscription to both our virtual and in-person offerings: yay!
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.
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.
The order issued by Governor Brown on March 23 is called "Stay Home, Save Lives"
Which is almost kinda funny because... it's exactly what we do here! (Just not in quite the way she means.) Well: until now.
This order means a few important things for Home. In a nutshell:
Most importantly, keep doing your yoga. And if it's been a minute? Get back on your mat today. You know it will make you feel better, and taking care of yourself is hugely important right now.
As for re-opening (aka Home-coming!!) we're taking it 1 week at a time, so stay tuned for updates. And cross your (well-washed) fingers for all of us! We'll see you on your screen soon- and at Home before you know it.
I realize if you've made it to this page you probably already know what our new name is! Check out this video to find out how and why we came up with this name:
Big change is coming.
At BYSJ, our mission is to get the most people feeling the best by providing a joyful, inclusive environment for the practice of yoga.
We named our yoga school "Bikram Yoga St. Johns" because we believed it was helping us achieve our mission. Bikram Yoga is the style of yoga we teach. It is a highly impactful, even lifesaving, yoga system.
We chose (and kept) our name for the last 4 years, because we wanted anybody seeking Bikram Yoga to be able to find us easily.
Bikram Choudhury is the man who popularized this yoga system in the West and worldwide. He has also been accused of some abhorrent behavior.
We do not condone or support any of this behavior.
We are sad beyond words at what has happened, and we hope that everyone involved finds peace and a healing path forward.
We want you to know that BYSJ is and always has been independently owned and operated, by us.
Like most, if not all, yoga schools who teach Bikram Yoga, we have never and do not pay any affiliation or franchise fees to Bikram Choudhury or any other person or entity.
This is a fact which has been misrepresented in the media for years. There is no worldwide Bikram Yoga franchise as many poorly fact-checked articles have reported.
Perpetuating the myth that Bikram yoga studios pay fees to Bikram Choudhury does not right any wrongs and does not bring justice to any wrong-doers. In fact, it only harms two groups of people: (1) small business owners, many of them women and mothers, and (2) the yoga students they serve.
To us, Bikram the yoga and Bikram the man have always been separate and distinct.
We now realize that, seeing multiple studios worldwide with the name "Bikram Yoga" on their doors, it can be easy to assume that we are part of a chain. (We're not, but that doesn't matter unless it can be communicated.)
We understand if people don't want their money to go to Bikram Choudhury, and we can see how, because of this, the name "Bikram Yoga St. Johns" may prevent them from coming to our yoga classes. (And most people really need this yoga!)
It has become clear to us that our name is now getting in the way of our mission.
So, like anything that gets in the way of us helping people, we are letting it go.
Our hope is that our new name will communicate to the public that we are a locally owned, independent business, and also convey a sense of what we stand for as a business and a community.
We are changing our business name. We are not changing our values, our mission- or our personalities.
You can help us spread the truth about who we are by sharing this video, but even better, you can help by sharing your own positive experiences with the yoga and with us.
We are not changing the yoga.
Bikram Yoga is still the most powerful, most inclusive, and most joyful system of yoga that we've ever encountered, and we intend to continue practicing and teaching it as long as we possibly can.
We are looking forward to offering this impactful wellness technology to everyone, under a new banner that communicates what we believe in:
We think we've found the perfect name, and we look forward to sharing it with you!
Stay tuned for the big name-reveal coming soon...
Studio leader, yoga-doer and life-lover, Kay D.