Our Grand Opening Story
Four years ago, I had just finished setting up a welcome table with my mother in my studio room. I had just a handful or printed schedules with myself and my other teacher, Randy Rainey. As I sat behind the table for my grand opening, my mother looked at me and said, “Jess, we will wait here an hour, and if no one comes, we can get Mellow Mushroom take out and go home.” I agreed, as I nervously looked down at my watch.
Six months prior I had made the move to Knoxville. I had decided to move close to my parents as I was struggling with PTSD from my time in Central America and needed to be around my family. I did not know anyone in Knoxville outside my immediate family, and I was still taking the time and space to allow myself to heal.
You can imagine my shock as I watched person after person walk through the front door. The lobby, class rooms, and massage rooms were filled with people congratulating me, wishing me well, and remarking on the peacefulness of the space. I remember going home that night and crying from just sheer emotion. I honestly don’t even remember advertising my opening anywhere other than my own Facebook wall.
The next morning as I entered my studio and looked upon my lobby filled with flowers and balloons, I knew that Blue Ridge Yoga had a power and energy behind it. I realized that I had physically created this space, but it would be filled and moved by many passionate people who would use yoga to be a force of good in this world.
Four years later, I see that my realization has in fact come true. As a studio, we have raised close to $60,000 for our community, have sent out a multitude of like-minded teachers into underserved areas, and are continuing to provide accessible, compassionate yoga for all ages and levels. I still feel a sense of joy each day I walk through the doors and am greeted by the friends who have become my family.