For some, Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to spend quality time with their significant other. For others, it’s a reminder to demonstrate love and vulnerability toward friends and family members. In the spirit of a belated Valentine’s Day, I want to share my honest, vulnerable story behind the creation of Yoga Fever - and the tremendous community we’re building together.
The Story of Yoga Fever (the abbreviated version!!)
This story starts in 2014, when my sister passed away unexpectedly at 41. It was definitely the toughest time of my life. It took a lot of soul searching, contemplation, forgiveness and letting go to move out of that state of constant grief. About a year later, when I was beginning to recover and rebuild, I knew something had to change. I had to do something meaningful with my life. No longer could I coast along doing things I didn’t love; I felt inspired - and almost obligated - to do more, to make my sister proud and to make a difference on a bigger scale in my community. Life is too damn short to not be happy. I was on a quest to find bliss by creating a life of purpose.
One afternoon, I happened to drive by a commercial space available for rent. I immediately was struck by the thought: “What if?! Could I possibly open a studio?” That light bulb continued to get brighter as I planned my perfect studio in my head (in under 5 minutes. Ha!). Every open commercial space caught my eye and got me thinking. Even at the very beginning, I knew I had to create a studio that captured the philosophies and traditions of yoga, paired with the modern hot yoga style. I hadn’t really experienced a studio that did both in the Midwest, but I assumed there had to be other like-minded individuals like me who wanted to mix classical yoga with modern hot yoga.
While these thoughts were beginning to permeate my mind, I was busy teaching corporate yoga at Steelcase Global Headquarters, teaching at a local studio, and working my day job doing marketing. I come from a long line of persistent entrepreneurs - but I certainly wasn’t wealthy. I had a small savings account and a big dream; great role models and my angel beside me.
So, I spent weeks drafting a business plan. Looking back, this was an incredibly tough time for me. I couldn’t eat, sleep, or do anything besides work on this plan. Once I finished my plan, with guidance and advice from family members, I ditched that plan and created a new one. The process was grueling but the final product was impressive. Finally I was ready to pitch my plan to local banks - all of whom turned me down. Losing steam and about to give up, I ended up at GROW Grand Rapids. This incredible organization believed in me when no one else did. I was able to sign a lease on my ideal studio space and officially launch into this journey. I opened Yoga Fever on January 18, 2016 and we still have students with us who came to our very first night. To say that is an amazing feeling is an understatement.
Yoga Fever has surpassed all of my expectations and grown into such a beautiful community. But I couldn’t do any of this without the help and support of Team Fever. I try to remain humble, as I rely on several family members, mentors and colleagues to guide me in my decisions for the studio. Every time I feel the weight of business owner on my shoulders I remind myself of my purpose, my reasons why I signed up for this and feel grateful that I am so blessed to have been given this opportunity.
We have big plans to expand our schedule soon, with new classes inspired by yoga, meditation, restoration, and fitness. The horizon is incredibly bright, my friends! In the meantime, we’re working together to create new workshops and events that allow us to practice in innovative ways.
To all of you who make the choice to practice with us, to learn about yoga, and to heal your body and mind, thank you and HUMONGOUS NAMASTE.
XO - S