Healing, Happiness, and Health at Horizon Hot Yoga
Healing, Happiness, and Health at Horizon Hot Yoga
Horizon Hot Yoga continues to add opportunities and workshops for both beginners and those with experienced practices. They’re also making it easy to be flexible in where you practice. Come in for a physically-distanced class, or stay home and join them online. Learn more about their new opportunities and how you can get started or take your practice to the next level.
[00:27] What’s new at Horizon Hot Yoga
[01:54] Things to look forward to
[06:50] Horizon’s Kundalini Class
[09:42] Specials for newcomers
[11:01] Horizon’s Workshops
[13:34] Reinventing Horizon through COVID
[16:58] Find Horizon Hot Yoga online
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Welcome to the Frisco Podcast. I’m your host, Scott Ellis. And on this episode, we are bringing back Mary Von Ahnen from Horizon Hot Yoga. And, uh, Mary, how are ya?
Feeling great, thanks.
I know it’s been a year or so since we had a chance to sit down and talk and, oh, certainly a lot has happened, especially in 2020. So, uh, wanted to kind of catch up with you and hear what’s new at the studio and what you guys have going on.
Yeah, so we, um, we’re so fortunate that we are still growing. Um, obviously we’re very limited in our class sizes since we have to, you know, keep the social distancing. But we, we get new students every week. So, there are people right now who want to take yoga. Um, and we’re excited about that.
How are you guys handling most of your classes? Is it, are you doing able to do some in-person or is it all virtual or how is it kind of breaking down right now?
No, I guess when we look at the positives of COVID, which sometimes is hard to do, one of the things that it forced us to do was to redesign our business model so that we could offer online classes. And we still do offer online, um, almost every day of the week. I think we have six, um, six online classes. But, almost all of our classes are in person. They’re just, like I said, very limited in size. And we have a huge cleaning protocol, you know? People need to wear masks until they’re on their mat, because once they’re on their mat, they, they’re socially distanced. Our rooms are taped so that your mat is separated, your body is separated from the next person. There’s been a change.
Yeah. I’m sure that’s been a little bit of an adjustment for you as it has been for a lot of Frisco businesses. Um, I know one of the things we talked about the last time was that you guys were pretty big on was visiting, uh, instructors. Uh, you’d have, you know, special- people who were specialists or have competed and done very well, that would come through and do certain types of classes or certain things for you, guys. Is there anything like that that we have to look forward to?
Yeah, definitely. Um, so we- Hot 26, which is the classic Bikram yoga, uh, has been our fastest-growing and most successful format. Um, most of our classes these days completely sell out, uh, with the limited capacity, of course. And we are having two visiting teachers, one in February and one in April, who are coming to do, um, some workshops around the basic beginner series that we offer and also intermediate and advanced, um, because we have not, so far, offered intermediate and advanced as classes. But, this will give the students a chance to try on the more-advanced style and see if they like it. And then, they like it, we like it; bring it on. So we’re really excited about that and also just about the growth of that format, in general. And then, you know, we’ve tried to kind of supplant with the inability to bring on visiting teachers from around the world. We’ve challenged our own teacher community to step up with their own talent, um, which is considerable. And so, they’re offering their own workshops, which have been very successful. We, I guess two or three weeks ago, we had a handstand/forearm stand workshop that was, um, oversold. So we, uh, our own teachers have been able to bring a little bit of what we used to be able to do with visiting teachers.
Yeah, I know you guys have some exceptional teachers that are there on a regular basis. The Handstand Workshop sounds interesting. Uh, what, what is the, you know, for those of us that maybe are still very, uh beginner-level, what is the, the, the advantage of doing something like a Handstand Workshop? Why would I want to go do that? What am I learning there?
A lot of the more advanced practitioners do incorporate handstands into their practice. It’s very common. So, this workshop was just designed if you are interested in learning how to incorporate handstands, headstands, forearm stands into your practice, but haven’t done it, yet. This workshop was designed to show you how to do that with hand placement, with shoulder-stretching, et cetera. And if you already had handstands, headstands incorporated, it just gave you a few extra tips. And it’s totally a choice. I mean, there’s, there’s nothing in our dialogue that our teachers give that force people to try to do a handstand if they’re not ready for that. But, there’s certain places in every class where a teacher will suggest, “If you have a handstand practice, you can take your handstands now.”
Would you consider that as a part of someone’s practice to be intermediate or advanced, or is it something that beginners can also incorporate?
Oh, I think beginners can absolutely incorporate it. It’s, you know, it’s um, and I’m, I’m coming from the place you are, Scott. I’m not- I don’t have a handstand practice. Um, but, I think with just some, some diligence and practice that, you know, anybody can learn to do a handstand. So if it’s interesting to you and you’re passionate about it, you go to a workshop like that, which many people did, and you learn the basics and then you practice during your class working on the moves that will get you into a handstand.
Okay, fair enough. It does sound kind of interesting. I see people, you know, on Instagram and places like that that I follow who are, uh, avid practitioners sometimes doing handstands and things of that sort, and I don’t think I could do one right now. But, it would definitely be worth learning. Yeah. It takes practice. No doubt. And I’m sure it’s great for, you know, upper-body strength and balance and things like that, as well.
Tremendous, absolutely. If you, you know, the, the Hot-26 style focuses a lot on the lower body, um, and on the cardio and the, some of the Vinyasa classes where you would incorporate a handstand really help round out that upper body strength. So that’s, as you know, from the last podcast, exploration is one of the tenants of Horizon Hot Yoga. So, if you explore a few different classes, and you kind of get your mix, um, then you got your body set for all kinds of great opportunities.
All right, sounds good. Um, are any of those going to be offered virtually, or are those just in person, as well, like things like the Handstand Class?
We, we did not offer that one virtually, um, but we have the technology now to offer anything virtually. So, we, you know, it took us awhile to, as probably you know, cause you’re probably living in the same world we are with, with, um, things needing to be remote, it took us a while to get our audio equipment, um, the, the high standard that we wanted and, but we’re, we’re set now. So, we do plan to offer the, particularly with the visiting teachers when they come in, we do plan to offer those, um, virtually, as well.
Gotcha. All right, let’s, uh, let’s move on. I wanted to talk about the, uh, Kundalini classes, as well, that you guys are offering or are going to offer. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Sure. So we, we’ve been, um- we’ve offered a Kundalini class for, about, the last six months. Kundalini is a pretty hard, um, class to find in the area. And it’s, it kind of speaks to maybe the more spiritual side of yoga. Um, there’s a lot of breath work and what they call mudras, which is the placement of your fingers, um, to stimulate certain parts of your brain. Uh, it’s funny because we say Kundalini Yoga, but in India, where yoga was born, they would just call that yoga. And almost everybody from, literally, little kid on up does Kundalini yoga or does some form of it. Uh, they just don’t call it Kundalini. So, we’ve had growing interest in that format. I think with the stress of COVID, um, you know, some of the classes that allow you to, to turn inward a little bit, to become spiritually, um, to focus on breath work that helps you, um, either calm down or there’s breath work that can, can bring you energy, uh, that really resonates with people right now.
Yeah, I can imagine. And that would be something that would be good for a lot of people to take. I practiced meditation for a while. And the particular class I was taking was, uh, very focused on breathing and things like that. And, uh, I was really surprised. I mean, as somebody who’d admittedly a little bit skeptical about things like that, I was pleasantly surprised at how stress reducing that can be. So, I would imagine, especially for, uh, you know, in times like this, that having a class and some instruction and something like that would be beneficial to a lot of people.
Yeah. It makes a huge difference. Even scientific statistics, like blood pressure, you know, there’s actually, you know, proven difference between people who don’t meditate at all and people who do. So, good for you that you, that you’ve practiced some form of it.
Well, admittedly, I’ve gotten a little out of practice. But, I need to, I need, I think about it pretty regularly and I need to force myself to get back into it. In fact, uh, in my particular case, quick sidebar, I was, I would do it first thing in the morning and knowing that getting out of bed meant, you know, going to the, the place where I would sit and relax and meditating made it a whole lot easier for me to get motivated some days to get out of bed, um, as opposed to having to, just to dive straight into work or something like that.
Yeah, I get that. Sometimes those foundational morning practices really set the tone for our whole day.
They really do. And I was again, pleasantly surprised by how much that was true. So, we’ll have to look into the Kundalini classes for sure.
Yeah, absolutely. Come visit.
Um, so, moving on, let’s talk about, uh, I know, you know, we’ve talked about some of the classes we’ve talked about some of the visiting instructors, some of the things your regular teachers are doing in the class. So for anyone that’s not already a member, uh, what sorts of things should they be looking for or thinking about if they want to consider joining up?
We have a great special that’s running through the end of the year. Our intro month is $59. Um, it’s been regularly $79. Um, and it, it’s met with wonderful reception. Uh, $59 makes the price point so inexpensive that you, you know, you feel like you can jump in and try a month. And it’s unlimited. So, anybody who’s interested in seeing what it’s like at Horizon and maybe trying, not just one format, but three or four of the different kinds of classes, uh, can enter at that price point. And then, right now we have a studio-wide sale going on. So, all of our merchandise, all of our longterm packages, 3, 6 and 12-month packages are on sale. Discounted pretty significantly. It’s the biggest sale we’ve ever had in our history. So if you try the intro month, which is definitely the best entry point, and you love it, then through the end of the year, you can buy into a longer-term package at a really cheap rate.
Okay. Good to know. Good to know. And then one of the other things I was going to ask you about, we talked briefly about this before we hit record, but, um, you were talking a little bit about workshops and some of the focus there. Can you elaborate on that a little bit as to what are the workshops specifically and who are those for?
Yeah, I think, you know, our membership has, has come to kind of expect us to bring different things. So they, they come in, they get into a routine with our classes and they love our classes and our teachers, but most of our students really like to expand their horizons. And we’ve also found when we bring, for example, visiting teachers, um, or do a special workshop, we draw from, from other places in DFW. So, uh, not every studio does workshops. So when we have something special, sometimes we get people from- that are practicing in other studios. So, one thing that we’ve doing, and I think, again, back to COVID, it’s been really great for people, is we’re offering a monthly soundbath, uh soundbath healing workshop. And the way this works is that AJ Crowell, who is also, by the way, the, um, the founder of Dallas Yoga Magazine, she comes once a month and she does, she takes you through, about, 10 minutes of breathing, and that opens you up to receive the benefits of sound healing. Which, she brings these gorgeous crystal bowls, huge things, um, and makes this beautiful noise through them. She has chimes. She has a gong. And so the vibrations from the sound are actually kind of back to the science, proven to bring relaxation and healing. And those have been, uh, you know, sometimes they’re sellouts and we do, we do it every single month. It was just something different. It’s just a way to learn about another aspect of yoga and some of the natural healing. So that’s why, that’s why we focused on not only great classes, but on bringing in interesting workshops. It’s just something different for people to enjoy deepening their skills and their practice with.
The soundbath sounds fascinating to me, actually. As a musician, which I’ve been most of my life, I can imagine very easily how those kinds of sounds could really help someone get into a deeper meditative state, or relax, or what have you. That’s, that’s a very interesting- I’ve never even heard that of yoga classes like that before, so.
Yeah, it’s been pretty successful. And as you know, being a musician, I mean, there’s a, there’s a meditative quality to either listening to music or to playing music.
Oh, yeah. It definitely works different parts of your brain. No question.
Yeah, for sure.
One of the things I wanted to ask you about: your background, you’ve got a, you were a, uh, an executive at Fossil once upon a time. You’ve got a lot of, uh, business experience. What, what kinds of lessons, uh, from a business standpoint, would you say you’ve taken away or learned from having to deal with the pandemic?
Well, we definitely had to reinvent ourselves. I mean, we could, you know, go down with the ship and not jump on the technology bandwagon and not figure out new and exciting things for our people to enjoy, or we could integrate, reinvent ourselves and do things that weren’t initially comfortable for us and stay afloat. And so, we obviously chose the latter. And so I think, I think when times change, um, for whatever reason, you have to, you have to learn in a business model to change that business model so that you’re still serving your, your client base. And our client base, you know, we were literally closed. The actual studio was closed for two months. And so we, that’s when we got on Zoom and now we have people that still pay their, their monthly dues just to take that one Zoom class a day. So we’ve, we’ve continued to serve people who don’t want to come in the yoga studio yet, just because they’re, they’re isolating basically, but who still enjoy Horizon Hot Yoga.
How did you guys go about figuring that out, if you don’t mind my asking?
Um, well, we chose Zoom as a platform just because it seemed to be kind of the one that everyone was jumping on. So rather than go to some esoteric one that was maybe bleeding edge, as I would say as a CIO, former CIO, uh, we kind of chose the leading edge. And obviously many businesses that already tried Zoom we’re already on Zoom- it’s really user-friendly. Um, we reached out and asked experts that do wonderful audio. Um, already, we reached out and asked what’s the state-of-the-art audio setup, um, and we’d learned from, from people who had been doing podcasts and audio recordings of their classes and, um, visual recordings to buy the right equipment. And then it was trial-and-error. And, you know, we have such a great student population. They were just wonderful about, you know, sticking with us, telling us, “Hey, can’t hear you,” or, “that class wasn’t clear,” or “you didn’t have the, um, iPad pointed toward the teacher,” you know? We made all those mistakes, um, and like I said, to a very forgiving audience.
Yeah, I think that’s, you know, that’s an important point, though, too. You guys have a great community that you’re building there and people will give you feedback and you just have to be open and receptive to that and knowing that it’s not meant to be critical. It’s really just trying to help you get further along as you’re trying something new.
Oh, absolutely. Feedback’s a gift. So we, you know, we got good at it, largely due to people giving us, um, good feedback on what we need to do better.
All right. Well, Mary, thank you so much for taking some time out to talk to us today. You guys have a lot of great stuff going on, really excited to take part in some of those classes.
I always enjoy talking to you. I appreciate you having us on the podcast.
Likewise, likewise, and certainly let us know if you need anything. We, uh, we love what you guys are doing. And I also want to express our appreciation to everybody that’s out there listening to the Frisco Podcast. We’re still here. We’re still talking about Frisco and what’s happening in our local businesses. So, please go out and visit Horizon Hot Yoga. Uh, Mary, by the way, let’s leave off on this: where are the best places for people to find you online if they want to connect?
horizonhotyoga.com is our website. And then Facebook and Instagram are just @horizonhotyoga.
Perfect. So, @horizonhotyoga or horizonhotyoga.com. Go check’em out and thank you all again for tuning in to the Frisco Podcast. We’ll talk to you next time.