Throughout the years we have had the privilege of working with hundreds of yoga studios that have helped shape our business and become a part of our story. We want to give back to the yoga community and open up the floor for studios to share their stories with us. To do this we’ve launched a Yoga Studio Spotlight section on our blog. We will select a yoga studio we have worked with and invite the owners to share their story. If you’re interested in having your studio featured please email evelyn@HeatingGreen.com
This week we are honored to present Patricia Carrera, owner at Bikram Yoga Kapolei in Kapolei, Hawaii.
- Tell us a little about your background in yoga. When did you start and how did you progress to where you are now? I discovered Yoga in New York City, April 2009, while I was working as a visiting scientist at the American Museum of Natural History. My first yoga class was at a Bikram Hot Yoga studio and I immediately fell in love with the practice. It was there when the idea of becoming a yoga instructor grabbed hold of my heart. After my Yoga Teacher Training in 2010, I continued my education as a yoga teacher assisting different Workshops, Master classes and Posture clinics. Nowadays I am the proud owner of a Bikram Hot Yoga Studio on Oahu.
- What inspired you to start a yoga studio? After teaching for different yoga studios around the U.S., my partner and I decided that we wanted to change our career path as scientists and dedicate our lives to help others experience the benefits of yoga. The idea of owning our own studio was the next natural step.
- What do you think makes for a good yoga session? Yoga is for everyone who is willing to try it. I believe the best yoga session is when the Yoga teacher is present and connected with the students; aware of their needs, limitations, and challenges. I enjoy guiding the moving meditation and creating a sustainable yoga class for everyone, of every age and ability. It is my honor to lead students through the yoga practice and let them find their own physical and mental strength, which will eventually guide them to open their hearts and discover self-love and compassion through the practice.
- Your studio obviously offers hot yoga. What are some of the benefits to practicing yoga in a hot environment? The heat in the studio cleanses the body by flushing toxins and allows for the deepest possible stretch. It also assists with injury prevention while reducing stress and tension. In our studio we teach the original Bikram series, which stimulates and restores health to every muscle, joint, and organ while increasing blood circulation to all parts of the body. All yoga is great, but when practiced in a heated environment you speed up the healing benefits of any given yoga practice. A common misperception is that you need to be an advanced student to practice in a hot room, however, people at any level can practice and experience the great healing benefits offered by the heat.
- What advice would you give to perspective students who are on the fence about trying yoga or making the switch to hot yoga? I would tell them that the only way for them to find out if it is right for them, is to try it. For some, it takes two or three sessions before they really relax in the room. I let people know that they are welcome to take breaks when they need them, and everyone is encouraged to work at their own level.
- What are some characteristics you look for in a studio? I think a yoga studio should have a warm feeling from the minute you walk through the door. A yoga studio needs to be welcoming and inviting. You may have the most gorgeous facility, but if the teachers and general staff are not compassionate and honestly care about their students, the experience is not complete.As far as aesthetics, I personally love fun earth tones. We went with dark wood colors, dark grey, and pops of red. We spent weeks on the design of each room of our studio; ensuring each area flowed into the next one. Our bathrooms have an earthy modern look to them, while our hot room focused on light reflection, which brightens the room and enhances the practice. We also have in-ceiling speakers, so we can play music before class, and during the final Shavasana. One of our main focuses in the design was cleanliness. With all the hot bodies running around, we wanted to make sure we had the ability to efficiently clean and sanitize our entire facility efficiently.
- How did you go about planning and designing your space? We built our space from the ground up, so naturally this project would not have been possible without the expertise of engineers and architects. After the design, all four owners spent weeks picking out colors, tile, trim, flooring, even down to the shower pans used. We constantly put the customer at the forefront, asking ourselves what we would want if we were students there. The final look of our studio has exponentially exceeded my wildest expectations.
- What has been the most rewarding part about the experience? Being able to bring the healing benefits of Bikram Hot yoga to a community where there was nothing like it before. The people in this area had to commute up to 3 hours roundtrip in order to take a Bikram hot yoga class. We are very proud of building a great community of yogis and yoginis, who feel grateful for the opportunity to take care of their physical and mental health through this practice.
- Looking ahead, what are some of the goals you have for your studio? We are still a new studio, so we definitely would like to be able to add more classes to our schedule and hire more staff. We are also on the constant search for creating special events for our members, like Master Classes with International Yoga Experts, Workshops, Posture Clinics, and Yoga retreats. We believe that having a great variety of options will allow us to grow as a business and therefore better serve the community.
- Is there anything else you would like to share regarding yoga, your studio or Heating Green? We ran into a ton of issues early on with contractors. Because of this, we were low on capital and had to become a bit thrifty. We ended up subcontracting a lot on our own in order to save money, so we could maintain the integrity of our studio. We didn’t want to sacrifice a single thing. We felt like we had taken an enormous amount of time during the design phase, and anything less than what was planned was unacceptable. We have five beautiful windows that students can peak through to see a class in session without bothering anyone. I remember at one point we calculated how much money we could save if we didn’t install them, but we all agreed we just needed to try harder to make it work. We called several contractors back to see if they could work with us on pricing. Several of them did! From bathroom partitions, to mirrors, to the paint crew, and of course Heating Green. I have taken the time on several occasions to thank each entity that helped us make our dream come true. We couldn’t have done it alone. Not only did Heating Green work with us on a few modifications that could save us money, the panels work better than we had hoped.