The Business of Yoga: The Exquisite Risk

When I opened Yoga Nook 12 years ago, people assumed it had been a lifelong wish of mine to be a studio owner. Actually, it wasn’t. It just felt like the right thing to do at the time. One of the local gyms where I taught had closed its doors, making five yoga classes homeless. I wanted to grow my business and teach more classes in a facility that provided the right atmosphere. I was so tired of dirty floors, no props and frigid air conditioning.

But opening a yoga studio in Simi Valley was quite a risk. It had never been done successfully before. I opened the first Yoga Nook on Stearns Street in November 2003. I remember being late on the very first morning, as I had been up until 1 a.m. staining the yoga studio doors. I had forgotten to get rubber gloves for the project, and I couldn’t get the stain off my hands.

I arrived half an hour late, convinced there would be no one waiting to sign up. A small crowd of students cheered as I arrived, and I shed tears of gratitude as I opened the doors for the first time. Some of those students are still members today.

About a year later, I began thinking about having two studios. I entered negotiations in 2007, but then pulled out as the recession reared its ugly head and kept us battened down until late 2009. I revisited the idea in 2009 and began a search for the location of the new Nook. But family illness and the need to visit England frequently stopped me from taking the last step.

In 2012, I felt the itch to move Yoga Nook. Knowing that I was nearing the end of my lease on Stearns, I looked for a facility that could afford space for private AIM therapeutic sessions as well as yoga classes. I began renovations for the current location in May 2012, and we moved Yoga Nook lock, stock and barrel in September 2013.

Yoga Nook 4449 Cochran
Yoga Nook’s current location at 4449 Cochran St.

Phew! I needed a rest. I wanted to continue to establish the new location, building the garden and putting the finishing touches in place. It took over a year to recover from the many hours of work invested in such a huge project. I was convinced that this was it—I had laid my last yoga floor!

As January 2015 rolled around, I once again began to consider my original plan for two studios. I asked my staff, and their eyes lit up with excitement. I asked my business advisers; they said go for it. I asked my husband, and he rolled his eyes (which is as good as a yes). The search was on.

I was looking for a certain type of space; and of course, location was very important. I wanted to make our yoga classes more accessible for residents of the west side of Simi Valley, Moorpark and Thousand Oaks. I searched for all of March and most of April, trolling up and down Los Angeles Avenue, First Street and Madera.

Finally I came across a unit on Fifth Street—east-facing, on a quiet road, 1600 square feet of space, with enough parking to serve a football stadium. Giant sycamore trees provide shade, and a wide greenbelt separates it from the road. A quiet spot with easy access from Los Angeles Avenue and the convenience of a supermarket close by, it proved to be the ideal home for the new Yoga Nook @ Fifth.

Yoga Nook @ Fifth students
Students eagerly awaiting the opening of Yoga Nook @ Fifth!

We are all eager to embark on this new chapter. The studio will have a purple-and-grey color scheme; the vibe will be just a touch industrial. We’ll maximize natural light with the studio entry design and careful use of overhead lighting. We will be using the same studio doors that we had at the original Yoga Nook, and yes, I will be putting down another floor!

Watch this space and subscribe below for updates on Yoga Nook @ Fifth as the remodel gets underway. We plan to have our grand opening in early September. Thank you for coming along with us on this exciting journey!

 

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