I took over a small hobby-business called Hot Yoga Edinburgh in late 2014. It had been set up by two young yoga teachers who rented a space and ran a few classes per week.
I was working full time as a senior account manager for a craft brewer called Innis & Gunn at the time. I’d been practicing yoga for about 10 years as a way to manage my stress and keep my body and mind fit and well, and I’d recently taken a training course to become a yoga teacher. I’d been teaching for a few months and loved sharing this wonderful practice with others, and so when I was offered the opportunity to take over this little fledgling business, I took a deep breath and took the plunge.
Over the next year I slowly grew the business while continuing to work full time in my day job. It was a lot of work but I loved the challenge, and discovered that I could put all of my business skills into this little yoga business to build a successful, professional business while retaining the integrity, kindness and supportive elements which are key to a yoga studio.
During this time, yoga studios were popping up all over Scotland, and I knew that our few classes per week in rented space was not enough anymore. Our clients wanted a full schedule of classes to choose from, we were going to have to ‘go big or go home’. I decided to go big.
After a lot of searching, and 15 months of negotiations, I signed the lease on the perfect site for our own, custom-designed yoga studio. It was a completely empty unit in a beautiful office building. There was a concrete base and no walls, a single power socket and one tap from the water supply. It was a perfect blank canvas. I designed the studio exactly as we needed it, with a large airy studio space with plenty of light and ventilation, plus male and female changing rooms with showers, lockers and hairdryers.
It was very important to me that our clients would have a high-quality experience from the moment they walked through the front door until they left and headed back out into their busy day. We invested in the most efficient heating and fresh air ventilation systems to ensure the best hygiene and comfort for our students, and we used local businesses and suppliers for the project, supporting our local economy as much as we could.
I grew my team from two to six teachers and we opened the doors to our beautiful studio in January 2017. Since then, we have grown from strength to strength, welcoming tens of thousands of clients through our doors each year, offering a warm welcome to all, and embracing our ethos of Yoga for Every Body. Our team of friendly, highly skilled teachers has grown further and we have broadened our range of classes and styles of yoga to include Aerial, Beginners Courses and even our own Yoga Teacher Training course. We have developed a corporate client program which has continued and grown even through the past year of Covid restrictions, which have impacted our sector more than most. We opened our Online Yoga Studio within 12 hours of closing the doors to our physical studio, and we’ve continued to run classes every day without interruption, despite our studio space being closed for almost 10 months.
During these 4 years we have even won a handful of awards, the first one a mere 9 months after opening. While we have been very proud to receive them, especially those which were voted on by members of our community, these are not the things which matter the most to us.
What matters to us most is our wonderful clients, who rely on us to provide them with a safe, warm, welcome space to breathe, move and feel better. Their care of themselves and their support of our little community are the reason we do what we do.
Find us on Instagram @hotyogaedinburgh
My biggest challenge was
Finding the courage to follow my dream, leaving behind a successful career to invest in this little yoga business. I knew in my heart that I could make it work, but taking the plunge and leaving my safe, well paid job was the most difficult decision of my career. It was also the best thing I ever did!