“Twenty years ago I attended my first yoga class, 13 years ago I started teaching and 8 years ago I opened the first yoga and meditation studio of its kind in Brentwood. From three students in my front room, we grew to a studio of 20+ weekly classes, workshops, events and retreats. Pre-pandemic 500+ people a month came through our doors. This has included growing a talented team of teachers, back office staff and guest teachers offering their care, experience and skill – giving locals a new, yogic, approach to life! Over the years, we hosted 4 charity yogathons raising £10,000 for MIND and much more. Several of my teachers went on to set up their own studios, many of our students went on to train to teach. We all have many great memories!
I’m extremely proud of all this; however what I’m most proud of is that we have built a community of the most wonderful people here in Essex. My aim has always been to – humbly – help local people manage their lives differently by using the tools I’ve learned over the years. I’m sure my teachers feel the same, I hope you agree that we’ve achieved this.
The past 18 months have been a great challenge, yet one I believe we have risen to. The week of lockdown we moved straight to Zoom. We weathered the storm of going back in and out of the studio and in and out of lockdowns. Due to social distancing, the numbers we were allowed reduced to 50% overnight. I invested in high-tech equipment so we could offer online as well as in-studio options to work with this.
In January I thought we were on the home straights… then the gym that housed us went bust. We’ve hung on, offering alternative events and working hard. With no news on our venue we began moving some classes to a new venue. Sadly last week, through no fault of our own, they gave us one week’s notice. Despite repeated attempts from us we have no definitive news from the gym. My classes have been fine but not all classes have survived this and I don’t believe it’s fair to keep the teachers hanging on indefinitely, as tenacious as they are!
So, I’ve come to the decision to practise what I teach – and to LET GO! As such, I will be scaling back Wellbeing Yoga as from 26th August. It will continue to operate with just me Jess, as a teacher of some weekly classes, including some workshops/events.
I’d also like to offer a heartfelt thank you to all of you (there are many) who by showing up each week have continued to support our local business. It’s testament to our talented team that you have continued with us and we sincerely thank you. I also thank my wonderful team of teachers – they know how much I value them! We genuinely love working with one another.
I’d also like to use this platform to make a plea. Please can Brentwood Council or local entrepreneurial organisations make it their aim to get behind small businesses. Brentwood has become rather faceless, amassed with chains, pubs, restaurants and nail bars. Rents, rates and business costs make it extremely difficult for small businesses to survive. In our search for alternative venues some of the council-run halls charge £85 per hour to rent. It doesn’t take a genius to see how unaffordable this is for a yoga business.
I feel saddened that we now live in a world that fuels paying £300 for lip fillers yet just £10 for a yoga class – some teachers charge £5 and I wish they’d value themselves much more. Certain yoga teachers (me included) invest thousands in their training, they are highly qualified and highly experienced; what they offer goes way beyond an exercise class, yet society batches it in with that. We still have much work to do to re-educate and change values.
While this is a change of direction for Wellbeing Yoga this isn’t the end from me. I will still teach and I will collaborate with teachers on events, so do keep following. Information on these events will be on the Wellbeing website and our social media in the usual way.
Please note that classes, including our Wild Water swim (22nd), is now the 15th & we will continue until 26 August. Any Class Passes not used by the 26 August will be refunded. However, please can you message email@example.com to let us know that you would like a refund because some people will choose to leave their credit in Wellbeing Yoga towards our costs. Thank you for your understanding.
Reducing the business as it stands gives me the space to reflect and get creative. I do hope that you will join me and the teachers in remembering all the great moments you have had with us along the way.
Thank you dear friends. Love & light,