Neighborhood Yoga, a local woman-owned business, is celebrating its “Sweet 16” anniversary the weekend of October 22. In that time, they have offered over 20,000 yoga classes to the community and trained over 200 teachers. Their mantra is “Come Exactly As You Are, Awaken To Your Essence.”
The operation began as a micro-business in proprietor Valerie Midgett’s backyard. Valerie and her husband, Ed, designed and built the 600 square foot studio themselves. For 10 years, Neighborhood Yoga held classes in this space, slowly growing their base of yoga practitioners.
“It was a labor of love. Our clients are the heart and soul of our work. In those 10 years, a tight-knit community formed. In that tiny space, we witnessed each other’s growth, formed friendships, and shared our challenges.”.
While Midgett holds this original space close to her heart, she had a dream of moving into the downtown district, just a few blocks away. Once the studio’s popularity grew and the space reached capacity, she decided to relocate.
She found the perfect location in an underutilized space on the third floor of the historic building that is now the Shoppes at Farmers. Valerie had a vision of transforming the space into a beautiful expansive oasis for practicing yoga in the middle of downtown. She was dedicated to preserving the integrity of the historic building by maintaining much of the original architecture like the brick walls, wood floors and tin ceiling).
“Because of the community that grew around the practice of yoga, we were able to spread our wings, and take the next step to relocate to our current location in downtown Boone. Still, it was a big leap of faith”, said Midgett.
This leap of faith landed the studio on shaky ground, when the coronavirus pandemic forced Neighborhood Yoga and many local businesses to close their doors. The studio transformed into a virtual business overnight. While their base shrunk as a consequence, there was a strong core group of members who stuck it out, taking classes online, as the studio’s instructors taught those classes from their living rooms, porches and backyards.
With a combination of creativity and perseverance, the studio managed to remain viable during those 14 months, with little to no help in the form of government assistance, but instead because of the strength of the community and the dedication of its teachers. They were able to finally re-open in June of this year, once COVID vaccinations made it safer to come together indoors. Now the studio is set up for “hybrid” classes, where students can choose to come to the physical space, or they can livestream a class from the safety of their home.
While the business is slowly regaining its footing, an expanding and more regular client base is needed to keep the studio doors open. In order to entice a broader base of people, Neighborhood Yoga is offering a free weekend of classes on their anniversary weekend of Oct 22 to celebrate 16 years of yoga in the community. Midgett believes that once people step into the space, take a class and meet other practitioners, they will want to stay and become part of the community.
Pre-registration is encouraged as class space is currently limited to 16 as a safety precaution. Other safety features include a fresh outdoor air exchange system, an air purifier, with some classes requiring proof of vaccination to join. Regardless of whether proof of vaccination is required, proof of vaccination and social distancing is still required to remove your mask at the mat.
In addition to a weekend of free classes, they are also initiating a membership drive. You can purchase a monthly contract for a minimum of 3 months to receive the best pricing on individual classes and receive other perks. Neighborhood Yoga hopes to recruit 20 new members by year’s end.
“We can’t do it without our members. It’s because of the strength of our community that we can still ‘Be Here Now’,” said owner Valerie Midgett, quippin from the popular book on meditation by the same .
So if you are “yoga curious,” join Neighborhood Yoga in celebrating 16 years in the Neighborhood and take some free yoga classes this weekend. Their weekly schedule offers something for everyone, from the Tao of Yoga to Vinyasa Flow. Visit their website, neighborhoodyoga.net, for more details on the schedule of events and their membership options.