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It seems like years since fitness fans have been able to step foot in the gym. Spin classes, boxing workouts and especially the hot-and-sticky power yoga classes have been canceled for over two months due to the pandemic.
With no real “return to normal” in sight, we caught up with Alison Adams, owner of Homegrown Power Yoga in Herndon. The two-year-old studio is known best for its radiating heat and Baptiste-affiliated practices, but has recently made the switch to virtual classes to continue to reach the community.
Here, Adams takes us through her pre-pandemic days, transitioning into online teaching and trying to keep a studio afloat during COVID-19. Highlights from our conversation below.
Before the pandemic began, what would a normal day look like for you?
The normal day prior to COVID-19 was to wake early, most days around 4:45 a.m. I am an early-morning person. The time where everyone else is sleeping and the house is quiet is the best time for morning meditation. After that I would make a coffee and head off to the studio. Either to take a class, teach or sometimes just to be around the space. I would make it home in time after class to see the kids off to school, pack lunches and all the regular mom things. Then shower and back to the studio, whether I was working from the studio space, teaching classes, taking class or working on some training. Most days I could be found at the studio during the day. Then on the road again, to pick up kids after school, and either home or some nights off to lead another class, and mostly home before 8 p.m. Then, we would begin the nighttime routine to get ready for bed. I am usually the first one in bed.
What do you love most about teaching and owning your own studio?
I wanted to build a yoga community in my community. For years, I had taught and moved around the DMV area and with my family life I wanted a place where people from the area I live in would get the benefit of the practice. Homegrown is very much about togetherness and unity of the people. I am passionate about this practice. I have been leading for as long as I have (over a decade with Baptiste, which makes me sound old!) because I believe in the positive effects of what yoga can bring to people’s lives and the world. And with the way our lives are set up, we need yoga. We all need time to connect. We all do, right now especially. That is why I do what I do.
When the pandemic came and fitness centers were forced to close their doors, what was that transition like for you?
Closing the doors was one of the scariest things I have done. We closed, and within 12 hours, all classes were moved to online. We were not anticipating being a digital yoga studio and here we are. I have learned a lot in the past nine weeks, and I am sure I will continue to as we move through this. The online practice is here to stay. People love the accessibility of the online. There is a component of being with others in real time, doing the practice that still gives connection, even in the digital world.
What does a normal day during the pandemic look like for you now?
My typical day starts around 5 a.m. I wake up and go through the normal morning routines. I head downstairs and sit quietly. I make a cup of coffee and hot water and head to the studio to teach online. I get to the studio early, as I like to practice before I lead class. On the days I don’t lead the early-morning class, I typically still maintain the same morning routine, only from home. In COVID-19 life, my husband and I are both balancing working and parenting two school-aged kids. We are continually shifting these pieces based on who has a meeting and needs some space. I will be in the studio most of the late morning to early afternoon, working, teaching private classes or group corporate classes via Zoom. Lunch is at home with the family and then generally back to the studio to lead either Homegrown classes or online private classes. Usually, I head home around 7:30 p.m. We have dinner as a family and start the evening routines, such as baths, books and bed.
How are you staying motivated to stay fit and active during this time?
Right now, there are ebbs and flows. There are days that I feel super inspired and creative, and days that I long for it to be what it was. I feel like this is part of the process. I stay plugged in to people, resources and ventures that bring me to action. My husband and kids and the Homegrown Power Yoga team are great sources of both inspiration and purpose. Having a community of yogis online to connect and take class with helps to keep things going too. For me, when things get hard, I find myself with a little extra energy to burn or build. I did also purchase a spin bike, so that’s new and I love the feeling.
For fans of Baptiste and hot yoga in Northern Virginia, what advice do you have to stay active and connected with the studio?
Just keep showing up, even in the digital classes. Take them like the practice is new again. Give up all of the “should haves” or “should be’s” and just show up as you are. That is the practice.
What do you miss most about being in the studio with students and teaching a class?
I love people. I miss hugs, I miss shared laughter. I miss hearing people breathe as they move. I miss people.
What has been keeping you hopeful through everything?
Purpose. Really seeing how we can adapt and be mindful about maintaining purpose in our actions. Reinventing, recreating, rebuilding. We have seen it in every part of the globe, business, industry and education. Humans can do some incredible things. I love that.
Is there anything else readers should know about Homegrown Power Yoga, or being a yoga instructor/business owner at this time?
I would like people to acknowledge and support the people and resources that you are using to support you. Take the time to thank people, let them know how or what they have done and how it impacted you. One of the things about the digital space is we can forget that humans are still behind the content. As a small business, it is not possible to keep up with the already existing major players in the digital field and know that the time and support we’ll put in now will only support our communities in the future.
Also, I want people to know if they are struggling to get started, to get moving, to take care of all of the things … just start. Start small, keep going, let yourself be a beginner. We are all just starting.
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