Keeping the Faith through Failed Attempts

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by Roberta Whitney Hughes, Founder of PeaceFull Living and PeaceFull Living TV

From the moment I went through yoga training, I dreamed about having my own yoga studio. My first attempt was in 2007. A friend of mine, Susie, who owned a Pilates studio at the time, encouraged me to sublease the unused space from her studio. After much thought and consideration, I chose to take the leap. With some blood sweat and tears, me and my family built out the studio, and I opened The Yin Yoga Center.

One year after opening, a new landlord purchased the building. He would not honor the sublease agreement I had with Susie. Initially, he proposed a lease that was triple the amount of my sublease. After several meetings and dozens of email exchanges, I negotiated a three-year term with the new landlord. My rent would increase bit by bit, one year at a time, offering The Yin Yoga Center time to grow. The night before the scheduled meeting to sign the lease agreement, two things happened.

Serendipity

First, Kristin, another friend of mine, called to ask if I would be interested in stepping into her position as the yoga coordinator at Lifetime Fitness. Kristin was not passionate about managing the studio; her passion was for teaching. She thought I would be perfect for the job. I told Kristin I was grateful for her vote of confidence, but I was preparing to sign a three-year lease for The Yin Yoga Center. She told me she wasn’t in a rush to make a change and to let her know if I had a change of heart.

Second, I received an email from the landlord later that evening. I didn’t even need to open the email to get the message. The subject of the email said “No Lease.” I remember how my heart sunk to my stomach when I saw those words. No lease. What was I going to do now? The next morning, I called Kristin and told her I would love to step into her role if the offer was still available. Within seven days, The Yin Yoga Center was cleaned out and closed for good. I was hired and working as the Life Studio Coordinator at Lifetime Fitness.

Keeping the Faith

As time passed, life took its’ twists and turns. I became a certified Pilates teacher, left Lifetime Fitness, started a non-profit, got divorced, and started a new relationship. With all of the ups and downs, I never lost my faith that one day I would be able to have a studio of my own.

In August 2019, I took another leap. I opened b. Restored, an intimate boutique yoga studio nestled inside b. Pilates, owned by my friend and mentor, Sara. At b. Restored, I specialized in the restorative and healing forms of yoga: Yin Yoga, Gentle Yoga, and Yoga Nidra classes to no more than four students at a time. With the help of a special friend who happens to be an interior designer, b. Restored felt like a relaxation room in a spa. After five short months of opening, COVID-19 shut our world, and the studio, down indefinitely…

Blessings in Disguise

During quarantine, I reconnected with my passion for teaching. I could feel how people were struggling from isolation; I wanted to do something to help. In March 2019, I started teaching yoga classes on Facebook Live three times a week. The classes were absolutely free. I stumbled through those beginning months trying to figure out technology, sound, lighting, wifi, and camera angles. I had more failures than triumphs, but I kept going. There was no harm in failing. My students were happy when things worked; they were understanding when things went wrong. 

New Beginnings

Over time, I started recording the audio when I taught a Facebook LIVE class. By the time April came, I enlisted help from my son, Connor. He has his own LLC, Phoenix Edits, and is a fantastic audio and video editor. By May, Connor and I had created the first Serenity Series. Two short months later, on July 1, 2020 PeaceFull Living TV was born.

I sit here now, a year after quarantine, feeling gratitude for my two failed attempts. The work I get to do each day, creating content to help people feel better, is what I am meant to do in this life. Had either of the other studios worked out, I would not be sitting here writing this blog and PeaceFull Living TV would not exist. I realize now I am meant to have a virtual yoga studio. A studio where you can come home at any moment to take a breath, pause, and feel better with me.

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