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One Year Later… How the Pandemic Changed Everything and Nothing

By March 16, 2021No Comments

It was a year ago today – with the hope of flattening the curve – we shut our indoor facilities at HYA. In fact, we closed our doors one day before the official mandate in NC because we could see what was happening and wanted to do our part in protecting our loved ones and you. We also wanted to be ready to continue providing you high quality services without missing a beat.

Remember that? We were so naive to think we would only be closed for one week, maybe two weeks max!?! Ha! 

  • We closed our indoor classes and immediately flipped our offerings online. 
  • We offered 30+ LIVE ONLINE classes each week, and kept you active and connected to your body and each other. 
  • We continued to offer online classes all year. 
  • We ran outdoor classes and figured out how to navigate our business through these trying times so we would be here for you on the other side. 
  • At the same time, we built an online library of over 300 classes including tutorials, workshops and a variety of offerings you can enjoy any time! 

👉🏽 This year, we created yoga challenges and inspired one another to keep going, one day at a time. 

👉🏽 Added special virtual events – remember Well Fed Yogi with Rachel and holiday meet up with Julie?

👉🏽 We seamlessly adapted to strict new protocols.

👉🏽 Reached out again & again to check on our staff & our families.

👉🏽 Offered sliding scale memberships to our HYA community members who suddenly found themselves unemployed.

👉🏽 Helped each other grieve unimaginable losses.

And most importantly YOU…

💥 Bravely shared your stories of struggle, hope, & triumph with us in your class comments, texts, emails, and phone calls.

💥 Some of you went through tremendous growth – babies, relocating, new jobs, deeper family connections. 

💥 You never gave up on us.

💥 You never gave up on yourselves.

It was a lot and we all watched our lives dramatically change. Whether you experienced a job change, virtual homeschooling, schedule uprooting; we all adapted to mask wearing, dealt with political unrest, social disorder, or for some folks… maybe even experienced a better financial year (hello Jeff Bezos) – no one was unaffected by this pandemic. 

Every person went through extreme changes and no one had it easy. 

Personally, I spent 16 hours a day during our closure – editing videos, recording, adding music, running Live Zoom classes and managing all the behind the scenes necessities – to keep our amazing community together and strong. 

I applied for all the grants and loans we qualified for, in order to keep the studio going. I invested greatly in the future of HYA – from adding ionizers to our 4 HVAC units, to upgrading our “virtual” gear to offer you video classes, to keeping our staff employed – I did everything we could to ensure our reopening would be safe and possible no matter how long it took.

This year was the most challenging year for HYA to date. But thanks to you, we were able to make it through.  

A primary objective of yoga in its simplest terms is to live in freedom, health and harmony, and find balance between body and mind.  [Yoga Roots and Definition

This year, while demanding beyond belief, has taught me so much. I have never felt so much love and appreciation from our community.  You showed up for yourselves and HYA when we needed you most. You sent us love notes and emails, participated in our weird online challenges, you did your best to stay positive and inspired all year. Without these reminders along the way, I’m not sure we (or I) could have kept going. 

You kept us lit from the inside out and, I speak for all of us at HYA, to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts. This pandemic changed everything… and nothing at the same time. Because of you, we were able to keep our doors open and our studio alive. 

People often tell me how impressed they are with how I gracefully kept running HYA throughout the pandemic. (And side note: I could not have done it without our spectacular teachers and staff!) 

To this, I say thank you… but I also want to laugh a little. Because while it may have looked graceful to you, inside it was more trying that I can even put into words. 

Let’s just say that I lost a lot of hair (now grey hair) this year. My body and energy have taken a huge hit. 

I have spent the last 20 years working full time in yoga studios. From Santa Cruz to Israel to LA to Hawaii… I have dedicated my life (since I was 20 years old!) to being embedded inside of a hot yoga studio. Finding Asheville and opening HYA in 2008 has been my greatest professional achievement thus far and I’m so in love with our community. 

But this year, like many of you, I have had to deep-dive into my heart and listen to the needs of my family and my intuition. In order to live what I believe and desire for each of you, I must make a hard choice, but one I know you will come to understand and appreciate. 

I have decided that in order to live what I intend to teach, and lead from a place of authenticity and clarity, to take a personal sabbatical this spring from the in-studio daily operations. My kids are now nearly 7 and 11, and I want to be able to spend some time with them while they are still young. I have been living on adrenaline and fumes for years and professional burnout has been scratching at my door, and it’s time I listen.

My intention is to take some time away so that I can come back to you with more energy and veracity than ever before. I intend to teach online more often so those of you who may not live in Asheville or who are not ready to return to in-studio classes can join me online. I intend to continue to run HYA remotely and be supportive of our team and community at every turn. 

Here’s the general scoop for HYA… 

⭐️ Heather Parks will be in charge of our daily operations. Heather has been a top ambassador, lead teacher, and part of our yoga studio since 2012. She is a perfect person to help Hot Yoga Asheville continue to feel right at home. 

⭐️ Lynn Zinser (who will be back in-studio soon!) will be assisting Heather in all operations and memberships. 

⭐️ Becky Johnson will be your go to person for daily email concerns and account management. 

⭐️ Ruth Morrow is taking the lead on our social media accounts. 

⭐️ Joe Falco and I will continue to run our Teacher Trainings with our next Advanced 300 hour training tentatively planned for later this year. 

⭐️ And finally, I will be hosting yoga retreats for you from Costa Rica as soon as possible, so stay tuned! 

Upcoming Events happening ASAP 👇🏾: 

  • Free Ultimate Workshop with Joe on Hips March 27th
  • Yoga for the Menstrual Cycle April 3rd
  • Spring Break Week April 5-9th
  • Teacher Training begins April 10th
  • Book Study Club
  • Outdoor classes begin soon
  • Kid’s yoga outdoor classes soon
  • New studio software coming soon to make your life easier 🙏🏼

I hope you read this with warmth in your heart. I hope that I have earned the privilege of your trust after 14 years and you believe me when I say, this will be the best year yet at HYA! We have so many exciting things planned and are set up to grow back into who we were pre-pandemic, even better, more solid and sustainable than ever before. 

PS. To stay in touch off the mat, please email me at [email protected]