It's been a busy week at the yoga centre. Most of the electrics have gone in upstairs, new doors and walls have gone up, more flooring has been pulled up and a second skip has been filled. The second studio is shaping up nicely...
The former occupiers were a Language centre and they had named each of their classrooms after famous Cambridge scientists. So at the moment Studio 1 is called Crick, after Francis Crick, who's work led to the identification of DNA. Studio 2 is currently called Newton, and the Community Studio is called Darwin. We have Hawking lying about somewhere too.
As great as this is, we won't be keeping these names, and will hopefully be coming up with something better than 'Studio 1' and 'Studio 2'. We have a few more fire doors which we will be putting on Ebay (including Hawking), so if anyone needs any please let us know.
We have also taken up all of the carpet tiles in the cloakroom and on the stairs, as well as ripping up the rather ugly yet brilliantly practical matting in the reception area. There has been a few husband and wife conversations based around practicality versus aesthetics. Aesthetics won.
The Therapy Room is also in the process of being built as I write. It is situated on the ground floor next to the Community Studio. We are going to be offering a whole range of different kinds of therapies, from Therapeutic Massage to Wellbeing Coaching.
I hope that we will also be able to offer Counselling, CBT and Psychotherapy, including in the longer term, Child Psychotherapy.
And finally, we have been busy trying to finalise the colours of our logo and are now working with a wonderful artist and designer who has really helped us to add in the depth of colour that had been missing. Once this is done we can get a move on with the shop front and the marketing, which will be really key to getting the business successfully up and running. We are now going to have 2 symbols which will represent the different elements: fire, air, water, earth and ether. The elements appear universally in spiritual traditions across the world, from Native American traditions, Shamanasim, Wicca and Paganism to Chinese Philosophical traditions. In Indian Philisophical traditions, including Yoga, Buddhism and Tantra, the five elements are known as theTattvasand are said to constitute the whole of creation. We like the idea of our logo being all-embracing. Although, not quite finished, the symbols are going to look something like this:
So unfortunately our builder was ill yesterday, which was the day we were due to do the next step of serious renovation work at the centre. However, Paul and I pressed ahead with taking down one of the groundfloor walls and between us, we managed to get it down in a couple of days...
It won't be quite as big as this as we are going to build a small wall and place the Therapy Room at one end, however it will be big enough for the space to be used for classes, workshops, meetings and other community activities.
For us, having part of the centre available as a facility for community use is really important, not just from the income that it will bring to the centre but because of the variety of different people that will (hopefully) benefit from its use. But when we say 'community', what do we mean?
By being a 'community' yoga centre, which community are we referring to, who are we representing? The yoga centre is situated in a really interesting position in that it sits on the boundary between East and West Chesterton. West Chesterton is a very affluent area with just 4.5% of families being on low incomes. East Chesterton is one of the wards in Cambridge with the highest rate of child poverty, with 21% living on low incomes. Many years ago as a young Youth Worker, I did outreach work on the streets of East Chesterton, connecting with the children and young people of the area and supporting them to get involved in positive activities. To this day it still has a very different feel to that of West Chesterton. But within both of these areas there will be hundreds of different communities, and I want people from all of these diverse communities to feel that they can access activities at the centre, whether that be yoga and meditation, or groups that they themselves run from the Community Studio.
How we make this work in practice might be much harder. 20 years on and I can see some more outreach work coming on...
My daughter on Wednesday, doing a handstand at Jesus Green Lido.
I almost can't believe it has only been 2 weeks since we moved into our premises and began work. In that time the upstairs space has gone from this...
We are now working out how to lay out the ground floor space. In the process of creating the Community Studio, we will sadly be losing our lovely kitchen area, so I have been wracking my brain to work out where to put it! Finally we have a solution and it will be relocated to a cupboard in the lounge. Not a perfect solution, but one that we think will work.
Meanwhile we have had lots of visitors to the
centre. Friends, family and yoga teachers have all dropped in for tours and for tea. My dear friend Ana Silvera spent the day with us last Saturday and gave some much needed advice and guidance on the website and on our use of social media. Getting my head around the whole Twitter and Instagram phenomenon is a bit of a thing . My Twitter posts are so far, quite frankly, crap. And I really need to get to grips with hastags. I have been driving my kids crazy this week by repeatedly saying: "Hashtag YOLO" (for those not in the know this means You Only Live Once, which then evolved into my saying: "Hashtag YOLTOT" (a more yogic perspective: You Only Live Thousands Of Times". *Titter*
I am also trying to persuade Ana, who is a gifted songwriter, singer and musician, to come and sing at our opening event. It means her coming all the way over from Copenhagen, where she is now settled, preferably hauling her new harmonium with her. So it is a big ask. But, you know, YOLO.
The timetable is coming along beautifully and it looks like we are going to have some fabulous teachers and classes happening at the centre. I am truly heart-warmed by the response I have had from so many teachers about this project, people who are genuinely excited by the idea of teaching in a community-focused yoga space. My students are all very excited too. I am already teaching an intimate Monday morning class with a few students, in the downstairs back room (what will be the Community Studio). We are enjoying the calm, quiet space, away from the hustle and bustle of the next door cafe (the excellent award-winning Stir Cafe), where the class was previously held. But of course they get to pop next door for coffee after class, so they get the best of both worlds.
This week will see more walls coming down, the beginning of the floor sanding process, deciding on lighting and painting and decoration the office/reception. This, alongside teaching group and 1:1 yoga and meditation sessions in Cambridge and beyond, meeting up with more potential yoga teachers and trying to give my children a fun and enjoyable summer holiday. Oh and posting up some good Twitter and Instagram posts, with relevant hashtags. Watch this space.