Eight years ago today, I was a terrified 26 year old, opening a yoga studio on Lemmon Ave. I remember being so scared that I couldn’t sleep. What if no one shows up? This question has haunted me in my life. What if no one shows up to my party? What if no one shows up to my step or spin classes? What if no one shows up to my yoga studio? Oh crap, this is a really big deal. I can get over a scarcely attended party and a step class with only a few dedicated divas. But an entire business? What was I thinking?
These were the thoughts in my mind and in my heart on May 15, 2004. I knew that my dedicated few from 24 Hour Fitness and the seven other places that I taught would at least come by for a class. I knew my super awesome friend Holly H. would come as much as she could (and she did for 30 straight days). But then what? My dad had given me a small business loan, a set of wings and essentially said, “Fly Baby Girl.”
I will never forget the first few days and even the first few years of the studio. It was exciting, don’t get me wrong, but it was challenging. I was shlepping towels to my condo to wash them every few days, getting there early to clean the space, learning how to HTML code my website (blog website? not available yet!) and oh yeah, teaching a lot of yoga! There were many days and nights where I thought, ‘Is this worth it?’ The sexiness of owning a yoga studio had disappeared and reality had set in. I wasn’t a full time yoga teacher with a cool space. I was a small business owner, marketer, maid, tech gal, designer and oh yeah, I taught some yoga too.
At year three, I was done. Mending a very broken heart, alone, broke and tired of having crappy health insurance, I was OUT when my three year lease was up. My dad, who had been my biggest supporter (but silent partner letting me make all decisions thus far) said, “I really think you are so close. Give yourself just one more year. Ask your landlord if he will extend one more year. Do everything you have ever wanted to do. Drain the bank account and if you are going to go out, go out BIG.” I thought long and hard and really didn’t want to keep going but the Barrese’s have a skillful way of convincing you to do things you never thought you could or would do. And being my Dad’s biggest fan, I just couldn’t let him down.
So I extended my lease. ONE YEAR. That’s all I had in me. I told my yoga students and staff. I rallied them, was honest about my decision and asked everyone to show up. Ask? I had never thought of that! I hired a brilliant woman to re-brand the studio and the yoga man logo was born. With a fancy new design, new website, testimonial video and an army of support, YogaSport took off. Year four was a true breaking point in my career and in my life. I realized that I can do this and that asking for help is not only OK, it’s necessary for success.
On May 15, 2012, I look back on a roller coaster of eight years that I simply wouldn’t trade for anything. I have grown so much as a person, friend, daughter, partner and yoga teacher/mentor. Today, I look at The YogaSport Community (YSC) and am in awe of what she has become. Our incredible staff of teachers, and assistants and pretty much the coolest people in Dallas all work, play and sweat at 4140 Lemmon Ave. Aside from my home with my hubby and fur babies, it’s my favorite place to be.
So I thank each and every one of you who has shown up at YogaSport. You probably thought you were showing up just for you. But here, you are never alone. Without even knowing it, you were also showing up for me, the teachers and The YSC. YS is no longer my studio. She has a life, energy and excitement all of her own. I look forward to eight more years of sweat, smiles and seriously awesome yoga. In the comments below, I invite you to share what YS has meant to you.
In love and light,
Angela Wagner (formerly Barrese, I also found the love of my life in year 5!)