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
Today, we are excited to present Ra Yoga to the Yoga Studio Spotlight. Telling the Ra story, Bobby Kittleman shares about the studio he and his partner Jenny Vande Hei started.
- Tell us a little about your background in yoga. When did you start and how did you progress to where you are now? My experience with yoga began circa 2008. My background as a corporate strategic planning analyst within the stressful confines of the cubicle world left me seeking relaxation and escape. About two years after making a New Year’s resolution to start practicing yoga, I entered my first yoga class and never looked back. Since then, I’ve learned to rejoice in the physical, emotional and spiritual challenges yoga has presented to me.
- What do you enjoy most about yoga? I personally love how yoga welcomes everyone. It’s truly all-inclusive; beginner to advanced, athletes to math-letes. With all of the different types of yoga practices and the diverse range of instructors, everyone can find something in yoga that speaks to them.
- What inspired you to start a yoga studio? I opened Ra Yoga in Costa Mesa, California with my friend and partner Jenny Vande Hei in 2011 in an effort to positively impact our community with the same light and love that yoga has brought into my own life.
- What do you think makes for a good yoga session? Great music playlist, creative instructor, hot temperature, and a community of supportive and grateful yogis. But in all honesty, practicing yoga at all (even for 5 minutes) is better than no yoga session!
- Your studio obviously offers hot yoga. What are some of the benefits to practicing yoga in a hot environment? The benefits of practicing yoga in a heated environment are endless! It facilitates an excellent cardiovascular workout, warms up the body to allow for deeper stretching without injury, and helps to detoxify the body through sweating.
- What advice would you give to prospective students who are on the fence about trying yoga or making the switch to hot yoga? Don’t fear the heat! Being in the heat may be a challenge in the beginning because most people are not accustomed to being in that kind of environment, and because most of us have an aversion to intense sweating. After a few classes, however, students begin to get acclimated to the temperature and find that they start to crave being in the hot yoga room — yes, even in the summer!
- What are some characteristics you look for in a studio? When I first began practicing, I found that the community and personal connections I made at my local studio were transformative. So in opening my own studio, I sought out to create a platform for that same collaborative atmosphere, bringing people together through a shared love of yoga.
- How did you go about designing your space? My partner Jenny and I designed our space hoping to create a friendly, open, and home-away-from-home environment. We tried to maximize the space of the yoga rooms as much as possible while also creating space for a lounge area where students and community members can relax and connect.
- What were some of the biggest challenges you faced with your studio? How did you overcome them? I found that embracing gratitude was essential in overcoming the many and various obstacles that we faced during the initial construction and opening of Ra Yoga. We have a large chalkboard in our front lobby, and during trying times my partner and I would write down all the places, things, and people that we were grateful for.
- If you had to start over would you make any changes? Perhaps, but overall I am extremely happy with our community of yogis at Ra and am so grateful for this opportunity to inspire, connect, and share yoga.
- What has been the most rewarding part about the experience? The most rewarding part for me is witnessing the deep and ever-changing transformations that our students experience on and off the mat.
- What are your goals for the future of the studio? We are SO thrilled to announce that we are opening a second location in early 2016 in Newport Beach, California!
- For more information about Ra Yoga find them online or contact them at:
3077 Bristol St, Suite A
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
1617 Westcliff Dr.
Newport Beach, CA 92660
3176 Pullman St Suite 103
Costa Mesa CA 92626