The Difference Between A Big Gym and a Boutique Yoga Studio

Not to long ago, I sent out an email to all my wonderful clients–it was during the middle of what had to have been the longest rainy spell since Noah’s days…I mean it, we had NINE straight days of rain, YUCK!  It wasn’t a special email, just part of a weekly studio update that I love to send to keep everyone informed of ALL the events we have going on in the studio, as well as a way to help me feel like I am connecting with my clients, and hopefully, all my clients can feel connected to me.  In the email, which was later posted here, I mentioned 4 simple things that you and I can do to not let the rain (or anything really) get us down.

Again, this was nothing groundbreaking, it was very simple actionable items that anyone could incorporate into their lives, especially when the goings were sorta tough, like they were, during the monsoon of 2019.  However, it’s the simple things, when reminded to me at least, that make all the difference in sorta shaking me out of whatever funk I’m in and then basically helping me put my proverbial “big girl pants on.”

Listen, after sending that email, I got hands down, the MOST response out of basically any email I have ever sent with the exception of when we were all voting on our new space and name and maybe one other topic.  Most of the readers were so thankful–it made me feel so good that I had been able to help brighten someone’s day (which is why I ultimately decided to share it here on our blog and therefore with the entire internet.) However, a couple of days after the email went out –and when the sun finally came out, I got one response to the email that was…well, maybe not as excited (to say the least.)

The person basically said, “well that’s not profound.”

(they didn’t sign the email and I couldn’t find any record of them having come to the studio but that’s ok, we have lots of folks that just keep up with us via email.)

And one more disclaimer, it’s also ok if folks don’t like my emails. I know I’m not for everyone, just like everyone is not for me. This studio, as hard as every teacher and manager tries to make it, we aren’t for everyone on the planet, and that’s ok. God made us unique and beautiful, and it’s our job to find the folks that we resonate the best with. Point is, no hard feelings.

It was after 8 pm when I got the message, and I was on my way home from the studio when I casually glanced down at my phone to make sure there was nothing else I needed to do.  I saw this email and I stopped trying to leave. I wrote out my response right then and there. My response was basically that, “no, the email wasn’t profound, it wasn’t meant to be, but I then asked if the person had done any of the suggestions?  I followed that up with making sure they knew I wasn’t judging them because I clearly struggled with those same suggestions, since here it was after 8 at night and I was still working –one of the suggestions had been to disconnect more.–

The point of the email (now blog post) wasn’t to blow you away with wise words of wisdom, but it was to 1) let you know you weren’t alone, 2) connect with you, 3) encourage you to do what you already know you can and should do, and 4) remind you that you have the power to do all those things…basically, You are an amazing, powerful person and you deserve to be reminded of that.

I never heard back from my reader friend. (which is seriously fine.)

This made me want to share something with you.  

When you join Thrive Yoga and Wellness, the actual physical studio, you are not just joining a big box gym like Planet Fitness or even the YMCA.  And let me just put this out there right away, I’m not disparaging big box gyms at all, in fact, I love the YMCA and grew up as a member, even working there as a lifeguard and swim instructor for many high school years.  My family still holds a membership, and I take my children there weekly to work on their swimming skills.

Point is, big box gyms have their place, but you know what? Never once, when I have come in, has a person greeted me by name. I rarely get assistance trying to get that nuisance of a key fob thing to sign us in while juggling swimming equipment for 3….but i digress. Never once, has someone reached out to me to see how things were.  Never once, has anyone in my local YMCA or even the Corporate Offices asked me for my opinion or even asked how I was doing. When I go into my local big box gym, I swipe my key fob, someone smiles and I herd my young ones down to the changing room where I wrangle them into all their miscellaneous swimming equipment.

When you enter a Boutique Yoga Studio–which is what Thrive Yoga and Wellness is– that experience is completely different.  We get to know you by name and you are engaged by the teachers and the other members. You make friends with the people practicing beside you.  You may laugh at my kids, or the kids of any of the other members or ladies on staff that are trying really REALLY hard to behave. When you haven’t been here in a while, we notice. We try to let you know you have been missed, and we try to make sure you are happy.  

I personally write to all our members nearly every week (sometimes more) to let you know what’s going on, to give you a glimpse into my world, and to remind you that this studio, your community, is also my community, and I cherish every single time you come and hope you do too.  Furthermore, In almost every email I send, I ask you if there is something else we can do to improve your experience with us. When you come to Thrive, You come in to a place that is remarkably different than a big box gym, and you make the choice to come to Thrive, at least in some small way, because of that difference, because of that connection you make, to me, to the studio and to all the members there.

You can get Yoga at a big box gym, you can get it for free online –several of the teachers here at Thrive and I are even leading free classes regularly online for you to be able to do when you can’t get into the studio!  However, you know there is a difference, and, my hope is, you love the difference that you get when you practice with us.  You don’t come to Thrive Yoga and Wellness because we are teaching something that is ground breaking or not being taught anywhere else.  You come to Thrive Yoga and Wellness because you love the community, you love the encouragement, the environment, and you appreciate the accountability that comes with being a member to a small, inclusive studio.  You don’t come and practice with us because we have the secrets to something no one else does. You come to practice with us because we share the “secret” with you in loving, comforting, fun, creative, community-centered ways that keeps you (I hope) engaged and thriving.  

The difference between a big box gym and a boutique yoga studio is basically this: it’s the connection.  The connection you make with me, with the other teachers, with the other members–and that connection keeps you growing, improving, and in tune with the magical knowledge already embedded deep down in your being, the knowledge that you matter, are important, and deserve to be well.  As a member of Thrive, you get access to the reminders to keep that knowledge in the front of your mind which enables you to THRIVE, and THAT makes all the difference.

Guess what–even if you aren’t in Chattanooga, that same community is available to you, virtually. Whether you are following us on our Youtube Channel, or you are a member of our Thrive Online Community. When you subscribe and ask questions, you get a response from me, usually pretty quickly. When you’re in our Online Community, you’ll get virtual access to me for feedback, drills, postural cues, and so much more. You aren’t just one person in the masses, you are a beautifully unique gift that deserves to be seen and challenged, encouraged and allowed to grow.

I hope you keep reading these blog posts.  I hope you know you can always respond to them.  I also hope that you’ll subscribe to our Youtube Channel–it’s a growing library of resources, but we need 1000 subscribers to be able to officially name it the Thrive Yoga and Wellness Channel, so if you haven’t done so already, go like and subscribe! Just so you know, I read all the comments and emails, and I respond to them all.  You aren’t just a number to me. You are an integral member of the Thrive Community–which wouldn’t be the same without you.

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