One Year Ago Today
September 2nd, 2018
One year ago today, I taught my first class at Transparent Heart Yoga Studio. It was a Saturday morning. Yoga On The Square had closed the night before, I was at the party. I was excited and nervous, but mostly excited. I had a full studio, a mix of supportive friends and Yoga On The Square regulars. All I wanted was for everyone to have a good class, enjoy themselves, and get to know me (and hopefully like me of course).
Sometime in 2016, I had decided that I wanted to open a yoga studio. I had been diving deep into the teachings of Yoga and Tantra, and was working on discovering what my dream was, what my life’s purpose was. I didn’t know the exact details. But I knew I wanted to help people. I wanted to help people figure out and live their life’s purpose, and see their wildest dreams come to fruition. I knew that the practices of Yoga, Ayurveda, and Tantra had changed my life in significant ways, and I knew I loved teaching these practices to anyone interested. There were two things that I knew: I knew I never felt better than when I had finished teaching a yoga class, and I knew I never felt better than when I had finished a session with a private client. That is what I loved and is what my purpose seemed to be.
But I was in an awkward place. At the time, I primarily taught Yoga classes at the local gyms and some corporate environments. The students were all wonderful. But there are rules at these places (spoken and unspoken). And even though the particular students that connected with me enjoyed my classes, I didn’t really “fit in”. So the answer was to open my own place (it’s the Sabbagh way) so I could teach exactly how and what I wanted to, and attract the people that liked what I had to offer.
So a studio it was. Tim and I pounded the pavement and did quite a thorough search of possible locations. I had some money saved from a property sale the previous year. But the process was quite disheartening. Murfreesboro was booming. Rent was no longer cheap, strip mall spaces were being leased before being built, not mention landlords not providing much or any credit in the way of build-out. We did our calculations, and the picture was grim. I had such a passion for this. With my savings, it was doable. But I’d be betting a whole lot on opening the doors and hoping to have a sustainable student population. And sustaining that financially over time. So the studio was still in the forefront, but slightly tabled until we could find the right space.
Christmas Eve 2016, my dad passed away suddenly. Life as I knew it, as we knew it, was over. Changed. I flew out to CA on Christmas Day, and stayed for about a month and a half. I was fortunate in that everyone at Gold’s and everyone at State Farm gave me the time and space to do what I needed to do. My brother in law and I, with the help of Tim, family support, and the staff, did what we had to do to figure out and keep my dad’s business running and provide for my mom. My only focus was the pub, and grieving my father’s death. (Yoga what?) (TN what?) But eventually life went back to pseudo normal. I came back to Murfreesboro, taught my classes. Tim and I settled back in with Griffen and our life. Except that I was now working full-time remotely trying to help run an Irish Pub in Long Beach. Except that I was flying back to Cali once a month, trying to balance 2 lives. How does this go together: Teacher of Health and Wellness, Seller of Alcohol? But the Pub was more than that! My dad created and built a community. But we are still making money on food and alcohol. I digress.
So life progressed like that for a while. Yoga in Murfreesboro, Pub in California. In the middle of all this I was working at growing my yoga business. I was doing Facebook Live videos and working on creating my website and online offerings. Life was chaotic, but ok.
Sometime in August, I sent an email to my State Farm students - alerting them of our upcoming classes. I received an email back from one student asking where I taught public Yoga classes? Her friend was practicing regularly at Yoga On The Square, and the owner was retiring. I asked, “Retiring, or closing the studio?”. She said, “Closing the studio”. I was devastated. Even though that was not my home studio (I mostly practiced at my home or where I could access free classes where I taught) I did not want to see another yoga studio close in Murfreesboro. Especially one that had been in the community for years. Especially one that I had been considering trying to teach at. I found out it would be closing in 2 weeks, and since I was going to CA for work that second week, I had to get to class ASAP.
I tried to get my friends to come with me to my last Saturday class at Yoga On The Square, but they were busy. So I went, with the intention to celebrate the space, and see if perhaps Angela wanted to sell any props or equipment. I took class. Chatted with Angela before and after. Asked her why she was closing, etc. In our conversation she shared that she was originally going to sell the business to another Yoga teacher, but the deal fell through. She was most upset that her students and the community she created had no place anymore. I told her that I would put the word out and let her know if I knew anyone who was interested.
I walked out the door of the studio. I was going to go home and get geared up to check out a piece of land that Tim and I (and his mom) were considering buying at auction. I started my car. I thought ‘I must go back there and ask Angela what the details of the business sale might be’. I left my car running and ran back across the street to the studio. After she was finished talking to a student, I asked her what the details of the business sale were. (BTW, I have no problems ending sentences in prepositions, Staci, and all you grammar nerds out there) I tried to keep a calm face, but it was almost too good to be true. I had the money saved. I’d been wanting to open a studio previously. After she told me the details, I told her I would ask around. She slid me her number and said, “Call me Monday”. I drove home. A little in shock. But no, I couldn’t do that. I had so much going on. We were about to buy land and build our retreat center.
I walk in the door of our house. Tim says, “So you buying a Yoga Studio?”. I said, “What? No!”. And then I said “Well…”. So we strapped on our boots and went to investigate said land. The land was amazing. This was our dream. It was going up for auction the following weekend. We would bid on it.
Sunday, Tim and I are full of words. Land. Studio. Land. Studio. You’ve always wanted a studio Courtney. But what if I lose myself in that and don’t invest time in our land? Those were the main questions in my mind.
Monday morning, I call Angela. We agree to meet the next day. I take class and discuss details. Tim, Angela and I drill down on some issues. Friday I give Angela my deposit, finalizing the studio sale. Saturday, we won the auction on the and (at a steal, I might add).
Holy Shit! All dreams coming to fruition right at the same time!
September 2nd 2018. I’m in CA for my best friend’s wedding. Didn’t even get to teach the almost 1 year birthday class on September 1st. But, but, but… However, however, however, however…
In this year I have learned: I love all of my students! I love owning a Yoga studio! I love owning my own business. I love creating a community of like-minded individuals. I love meeting, collaborating with, and guiding teachers. I love providing a space and a service to the community. I love everything about Transparent Heart Yoga! There is no place I’d rather be. Yes, it’s stressful at times. Yes, we’ve had ceiling tiles get soaked and collapse. Yes, the neighbors can be noisy. Yes, I don’t have much free time. Yes, the parking can suck. Yes, the construction on Lytle sucks. But for me, none of that comes close to comparing to the joy of seeing each student as they walk in the door, ready to feel good and make a small or large change in their life, in their day. This is where I’m supposed to be, right now, at this moment.
And I want to thank every single person who has played a part in this dream come true. Tim, my supportive family and friends, my teachers and mentors, and my lovely students. Thank you. Namaste.