HOT FOR YOGA – A BIKRAM COMMUNITY
THE PROJECT STORY
Holly’s Bikram Story:
My name is Holly and my journey with Bikram Yoga began as a total ‘yoga noob’ – I had never saluted the sun or downward-dogged, all forms of yoga was foreign to me, until a friend suggested I come along to a class.
His argument was the practice would inject some much-needed balance into my life (as a high stress, hard working finance professional) and add some variety to my exercise regimen; which consisted of long distance and marathon running.
My philosophy around fitness and wellness is I’ll give anything a go once, and I must admit I entered the class mildly skeptical thinking, “a bit of stretching in a warm room? I think I’ve got this.”
Ten minutes later everything had changed. (Little did I know this 90-minute class would be the catalyst for such a profound life change for me down the track!)
I won’t lie; it was tough – mentally challenging just as much as it was physically challenging, and whether it was the heat or the endorphins, after the class I had an epiphany. It was a kind of empowerment and clarity I had never experienced before and I realized, this is what I want to do, all day, every day. Forget finance, my world became all about Bikram Yoga.
For me personally, Bikram provides 90-minutes where the noise and chaos of life stops; where you feel intensely connected to yourself; where every minute is just for you. This kind of feeling is so hard to find these days!
Since that fateful first class, I practiced every day, sometimes twice a day. I just couldn’t get enough. I completed the (grueling) teacher training with the man himself, Bikram Choudhury, in Thailand and I’ve been teaching solidly since.
It continues to be a challenge and a learning process for me every time I do it. I’m not the best, and never will be, but that’s ok – being ‘the best’ isn’t what Bikram is about.
The reason I teach Bikram isn’t a particularly original one – all yoga teachers, no matter the style they practice, will say they teach because they want to share the transformative power of their discipline. This is true for me. But I want to take it one step further.
I want to create a welcoming space – a studio that is home to a ‘have a go’ culture where everyone feels like they belong and can be their best self and engage with this practice in their own time and at their own pace.
I want to dispel any preconceptions that you need to be fit, or young, or a yoga devotee, or have long legs, or abs of steel or perfect balance or wear the latest and greatest yoga fashions, to try and enjoy Bikram Yoga.
That’s why I am putting it all on the line – my 10 year career in finance, my home, my money, time, energy and spirit to try and make this vision for Hot For Yoga, a reality.
In January 2016 I hope to have launched Hot For Yoga, a pure, Bikram Yoga studio south of the river in Perth, based in Cockburn Central near the new Fremantle Dockers stadium.
A Wellness Space
Not only will the studio be home to Hot For Yoga Bikram classes, but will also accommodate associated wellness treatments/services with four treatment rooms available for rent, ideal for massage, acupuncture or natural therapy practitioners (although by no means limited to that!).
In addition there will be some retail floor space with room for a juice bar or café, active wear stall or anything, really! All in all it will create an activated, welcoming space that can be used by more than just Bikram students before and after class.
My finance career has equipped me well to do the sums and understand what I will need in order to get this project off the ground – I have the studio, but I will need a hand from the people of Perth to get it decked out to the highest standard, and open for January 2016!
It is my hope the project will resonate and have broad appeal for everyone: from wobbly yoga newbies (just like I was) who are curious about Bikram, through to athletes looking to enhance their existing exercise regimen and every type of person in between.
Together we can create something really special, I’m sure of it!
How the funds will be used
From my hours upon hours of research and number crunching (lucky that’s one of my talents!) I concluded that the best, and most viable, way to create the kind of space I have envisioned for Hot For Yoga is to purchase rather than rent a space.
I have the property purchasing covered, but where I do require some assistance is with funding the fit out.
The site I have purchased in Cockburn Central was formerly a gym, a huge advantage because it means the framework is all there; all we need to do is clean it up and make it our own.
All funds raised via this campaign will go toward transforming the space and creating the welcoming vibe I am going for.
I have quickly realised that the source of greatest financial expense for me in setting this up is heating! (It is also the most important!)
As there are so few suitable heater providers in WA, the reality is finding and buying a Bikram-suitable heater from interstate is going to be very expensive, starting from $60,000.
Our aim is to get at least $70,000 through this campaign to help with the heater cost, however, anything over target amount will be a wonderful help and could assist in any number of fit-out related ways!
To give you an idea of just some of the other costs:
- Mirrors: $12,100
- Showers, toilets, change rooms: $35,200
- Flotex flooring: $16,600
- Fit out consulting rooms: $16,000
First and foremost, as mentioned above being able to source and pay for a suitable heater is my biggest, most immediate challenge! But that is why I’m doing this campaign!
While WA has had its fair share of riches in years gone by, it is impossible to ignore the fact that right now times are relatively tough for a great many West Aussies. I appreciate that in tough times giving money away to others is a big ask, and it is certainly one of my biggest challenges in doing this! But it is my hope that those who believe in or identify with what I’m trying to create will get behind it in any way they can.
Another challenge, and a big one at that, is the risk that people might see this project as being just about Bikram Yoga, and therefore a bit exclusionary. My hope is that I have painted a picture that shows it is about more than just the yoga, it is about creating a community space with strong foundations in wellness, which the people of Cockburn Central and surrounds can feel comfortable and welcome coming to.
At the end of the day, I believe that if I build it, they will come! I just need your help getting decked out and warmed up!