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The Studio

The build out for the space for Bikram Yoga Nebraska-Omaha was extensive and  fortunately I managed to secure an SBA loan to pay for it (mostly).  Although the contractor was sketchy, his project supervisor was not and thank God for that!  Mickey had been a contractor for many years and knew what he was doing.  He really had my best interest at heart and within 90 day, give or take, the studio was opening.  Without Mickey, the studio would not have been so beautiful and I probably would have been in jail for killing the contractor.  I kid…but seriously.  There were a lot of problems in the beginning.  You get what you pay for. Lesson learned:  don’t always go with the lowest bidder.

Opening a studio to Bikram HQ specs was expensive and challenging and now, realizing that had I not been so determined to “do it the right way”, I could have save some money, found a smaller space and would, most likely still be in business.  The studio was really beautiful and big.  Here is a link for the build out photos.  https://www.flickr.com/photos/dancinyogi.

I was so proud of Omaha’s only Bikram Franchise!  It was my dream and hope for the future.  Still, the bad press and dissension within the Bikram global community hovered over my head and now that I look back on it, was warning me from the git go.  I wanted this studio and with it, my freedom.  I literally could NOT go back into the corporate world and knew that I could teach this yoga the rest of my days.   I knew it would be hard but I’ve never been afraid of hard work and felt it was my true dharma.  It was not sadly.

We opened Bikram Yoga Nebraska-Omaha on November 18th 2013.  One year to the day that I graduated from training.  So many new people to the studio!  Some past students and some friends, but very few of my past students came to see the studio and take class.  I found that odd.  I had such a good following at the studio where I taught for 10 years prior to training.  I was surprised actually, but it spoke volumes to me as to where I stood in the yoga community.  I felt I was virtually starting from scratch.

Long story short we had an amazing 4 years.  During the last 6 months or so, we were struggling.  The studio was expensive.  I overpaid the teachers and rarely paid myself, so I invested in a Bikram Yoga business coach.  It was helpful and I felt that I had support and direction.  I should have done it in the beginning.  It too would have helped me to have remained open…possibly.  The first quarter of 2017 was the best quarter ever!  I lowered the per class fee for the teachers which helped too. Things were on the up and up!  Then, I got the calls…First Scarlet called with her side of the situation and then mom’s friend Etheline called with hers.  It was ugly.  Mom was in trouble.

Mother’s care giver Scarlet who vowed, “I will take care of her to the end”, called and told me that she would no longer take care of mom.  She would have another person check on her until I arrived.  Shit!  There were several times that I told the teachers that I would have to leave immediately to see mom and ended up not going, but this time…I had to go.  This was not a drill.  I emailed the teachers and thankfully they were supportive and covered my classes and the studio.  I called my son Max and flew him from Yuma to Midland to then drive to Alpine with me.  He had NEVER been to see where his Grandma lived or that part of the country.

When we arrived at mom’s house, she was clearly over medicated.  Scarlet had overdosed mom on Parkinson’s, epileptic and and anti-depressants.  The day before she refused to take the meds that Scarlet was forcing her to take and had pulled her gun on Scarlet.  Mom had run out of the house with one shoe on, to her friend Ethelines house 4 blocks away and arrived screaming and crying. Scarlet called the Sheriff who confiscated her guns. And to make things worse, Scarlet had called Adult services on mom.  MOM’S CAREGIVER, CALLED ADULT SERVICES ON MOM.   WTF??

Mom was hallucinating, paranoid and super thin.  She looked bad.   We calmed her down and got some much needed food in her.  She was so weak.  She had to lay down a lot and it was pitiful to see her in this state. I met with the Dr. the following day..  This dude was a hipster, fresh out of med school douche.  I demanded to know why he was allowing the combo of drugs to be given to mom!!! I called him an idiot and was so pissed.  I told him what Scarlet was doing and it was almost as if he was like, “Right, we’re trying to kill her”. I honestly could not get out of that shit hole soon enough. I pissed Dr. Snowflake off and he refused to provide me with her medical records even though I had power of attorney.  He sucked.

When I got back to her place I hugged her tight and said, “mom, you’ve got to come live with us, you cannot stay in this toxic place”. There is no one to take care of you here.”  She looked at me with this pitiful look, lowered her head and said, “I know”. She was resigned to it and agreed so Max and I quickly got busy packing her stuff.  Things to take with us, and things for the movers. At first glance her little trailer was darling.  Nicely decorated and quaint but when we started packing her up we found dead mice and tons of droppings.  The window in her bedroom was broken and stuffed with blankets.  Her back door would barely shut and lock…Ugh!  What we also found was $30,000 in missing gold, missing jewelry and records from her accountant showed how much money that mom was withdrawing to pay Scarlet and it was a lot.

In 4 days, we managed to pack her up, sell her trailer to the owners of the trailer park, take tons of stuff to the thrift store, donate a ton of stuff to the church and schedule a mover and her friends daughter to supervise the relocation of her things.  Max left soon thereafter with the rental car to head back to Yuma with a little road trip up to Midland through Big Bend and Mom and I left the following Friday morning to drive her and her little dog Sahb up to Omaha. I had scheduled an appointment with a gerontologist for Mom on Monday.  We had to get out of that shit hole stat.  It was sad to see mom leave her house that she lived in for 20+ years, but it was way past the time that she should have moved up with me.  I had stopped her meds completely.  That was not a good thing to do, but I wasn’t sure what to give her and Dr. Douche was no help.

The trip was hard.  Mom was struggling without the meds but I gave her a Xanex a few times to take the edge off.  I knew what those were and did and was just trying to get her to maintain until Monday. Sahb was a little champion and I felt that she was glad to be leaving Alpine and somewhere other than with mom all the time.  Sahb was being neglected somewhat.  Mom was just not able to really take care of her.

We made it to Oklahoma City the first day and stayed at a pet friendly Hilton.  We got mom in a nice bath and got her into bed.  She was up and down all night, which meant that I was up and down all night.  This was total foreshadowing of what was to come.

We made it home on Sunday after another long day on the road.  It was a big sigh of relief for us all to be in Omaha, but the hardest work was yet to come. Big changes were coming.

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Update…finally

The last entry that I made was in October of 2012, so let’s bring everyone up to date shall we?

After returning home from training in November 2013 I was able to enjoy a month and a half of downtime which was badly needed.  I had to sober up from the Bikram Bubble/Kool-aid.  I found myself socially retarded and an outcast.  The Bikram sexual assault storm had broken and the entire global community was in a state of panic.  Why would this happen right when I wanted to open an authentic Bikram Yoga studio???  Fuck man. That should have been my first clue to rethink that idea.  In the short term, where would I practice?  I had no Bikram home studio to come home to and felt awkward taking class at one of the non-bikram “hot yoga” studios, especially the one where I taught for 10 years.  What to do?  I had limited resources and had to really make a decision to either find work or continue on to complete the post training internship required prior to even applying for a franchise.  Fuck it I thought.  I want what I want and I want my own authentic Bikram Yoga studio.  Fuck Bikram and his sexual scandal bullshit.  I will rise above.

Since I had my heart set on opening an authentic Bikram Yoga studio in Omaha and doing it “the right way” as Bikram would say, I had to first follow up my training with 75 classes taught at an acknowledged official Bikram Studio.  Since there were none in Omaha I was fortunate enough to find a studio in Chicago that would allow me to teach and even more fortunate that my son, who was a student at Columbian College Chicago, was heading to LA for the spring Semester.  That meant that I could stay at his apartment in Edgewater.  It was great!  Honestly, if I had not been in a relationship, I would have sold my house and moved up to Chicago.  I’m glad I didn’t because the studio where I taught closed down.  One of many to close due to Bikram Gate.

I spent January and March 2013 in Chicago at the now defunct Bikram Yoga River North Studio and February at Bikram Yoga Cincinnati.  I did not care for  Cincinnati.  Maybe it was because it was winter and grey.  I just didn’t like the vibe.  After one month, I headed back to Chicago for one more month at BYRN.  It was then that I happened to be at the studio when a “celebrity” called for a private class.  I was there and available to do it.  In walks Lady Gaga.  She had just had hip surgery and was with her PT.  She’s a nice gal.  Very authentic and sincere.  We talked about her dancing, my dancing and why she had to have the surgery.  Within a couple of days, she booked another private.  She had more mobility and could do more of the poses.  Her PT was right there making sure she didn’t over do.  And when she left that day, she told me that I was a good teacher.  Honestly, that was the high light of the entire 3 month internship.  I’d like to thank Mike Frayer, Heather Maharg for telling me the secrets of opening a top notch Bikram Studio.

Needless to say I completed my 75 class internship and returned home.  Sidenote here: I had to pack up Max’s apartment and schlep all of his belongings home with me.  He would find a new place after returning from LA.  Many thanks to Keefer Peterson for coming to Chicago and helping!

Once I got home I could collapse and collapse I did.  Within 48 hours my body yelled at me, “remember that promise to take time to rest and regroup? Well, we’re taking it now!”  I was sick for the entire month of April 2013 purging every last bit of the last six months.  But I had to look for a studio space!  I  had to find financing!  Where do I start!  What the fuck am I going to do?  Should I go back into the corporate swamp?  No, anything but that.

In spite of the bad ju ju with Bikram, I steadfastly continued my path of opening a business.  Things seemed to flow smoothly as if it were meant to be.  I was able to secure a significant SBA loan, found an incredible space and a contractor that I thought would do a great job.

During the build out, I did have to go back to work.  I worked a a copier retailer and eventually got a job at Yahoo!  Now, you would think that Yahoo! would be a great place to work and I did too.  Just like every other company that I worked for that headquartered in the West Coast (LinkedIn, GiftCertificates.com, Inacom, Yahoo!) something gets lost in the translation of the West Coast fun and cool work environment to the no fun, too serious, hard working ethic in the Midwest.  I left after 6 weeks and just a few weeks until we opened.  However, I was able to get all of my physicals and dental work done prior to leaving, so that was good!

Coming soon….The Studio.

 

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Trusting the process

During my Bikram Teacher training, one of the things that was repeated ad nauseam, was “trust the process”.  We heard it from the volunteers, the staff, Rajashree, Emmy, Jim Kallett and Bikram.  Day in and day out.  Seriously, at one point I thought…”if I hear that one more time, I’m going to ….”.  But now, almost one year later, I keep reminding myself to “to trust the process” on this leg of the journey.  I know it’s been sometime since I’ve had much to say here, but now it’s time to catch everyone up with what’s happening with Bikram Yoga Nebraska – Omaha (BYN-O).

Many of you know that my dream has been to open my own authentic Bikram Yoga Studio, and that is what I’ve been working on since I returned from my post-training internship in Chicago and Cincinnati.   As we draw closer to opening, I thought it appropriate to take a few minutes to share my thoughts on the last 7 months.  It’s been a relatively smooth run and although at times I had some frustrations and came up against some pretty tall walls, I was able to rise above and continue to have positive forward motion.

Within the past two months I’ve been able to check off one more thing from my bucket list and that was to work for Yahoo!  I love the internet culture and Yahoo! perceive-ably is one of the most fun places to work.  I have to admit, I’ve gotten some pretty cool swag!  Still, it was always a temporary thing until I could finally open BYN-O.  As with the other internet companies that I’ve worked for, something gets lost in the translation when working on the West Coast and working in the Mid-West.  It’s really just not as fun.  I don’t know what it is.  I’m super grateful for the experience to work for Yahoo! and enjoy my light sensitive yodle that I’ve put in my bathroom, so when you turn on the light you hear Yahoooooo!  It makes me smile and giggle.

I’m excited to be working with a fabulous agency on my branding and roll out and am looking forward to the next few weeks when I’ll be able to open the doors to Omaha for authentic Bikram Yoga in a beautiful space, huge studio and fabulous locker rooms.  It will be a place where people have room to breathe, work hard, sweat and heal.  I know the power of this yoga and what it has done for me and I’m proud to be able to help others rediscover their strengths, their weaknesses and finding their authentic selves.  Within our day-to-day lives, so much of ourselves get lost in our jobs, our children our relationships and the never ending lists of what we want to have, be and do.

This studio has been a labor of love and I’ve had a great crew of people making this dream come true.  Without becoming too schmoopy, I am so grateful for all that I have, am and do, and promise to be the best Bikram teacher I can be for all of the students that choose to come to Bikram Yoga Nebraska – Omaha.  Cheers to trusting the process!

Onward and Upward!

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Onward and Upward

I’ve been home for 3 weeks now.  Within 48 hours of returning to Omaha, I got very sick.   My body said, “Hey!  Remember those days off you promised me before you went to Chicago?  Yeah, I’m taking them NOW!”   I was pretty much down for the count.  Relieved that I didn’t get sick during the last 7 months and grateful to have finally completed my internship, I was so happy to be home so I surrendered.  I missed my life so much while I was gone, but I’ve hardly gone out since returning.  Not even to see my Loom family.  Nothin’.  A quiet dinner with friends or Mr. McGowan is about all I’ve been able to commit to.  Finally on the upswing, I’ve gotten quite a bit done!  I’ve planted my garden, re-did some of my landscaping to combat my ongoing erosion issue and setup my visiting teacher’s room in my house.   I’m moving on….but before I do…

I’d like to reflect a bit on the past 90 days prior to being home, with a quick recap.   I arrived in Chicago on January 3rd to start my internship with BYRN.   My dialogue was iffy, and I was nervous about big city livin’.  The people at that studio from staff to student made me feel welcome from the moment I stepped in.  Mentoring with actionable, manageable bite sized feedback.  No fuss, no muss, no drama, just love and respect.  Deep bow to Mike, Heather and all the teachers there for an incredible learning experience in January and March.

In between January and March I was in Cincinnati.  That is where I learned, absorbed, lived, breathed…the dialogue.  Chelsea Young worked and worked with me to make sure that I had “Paddy” in it, but mostly that I didn’t have to think about it…it just came.  I will be able to teach anywhere.  I’ll always think fondly of my time in Cincinnati and the friends that I made there.  I’m sure Mike and Heather were relieved when I got back to Chicago that I actually knew the dialogue!  *wink*

Now for the big deep breath.

I’ve submitted my Bikram affiliation application for Bikram Yoga Nebraska – Omaha.  HQ should receive it today.  Hopefully, we can move things along expeditiously once everything is approved.  The next blog will be about that part of the ride, but in the meantime, I’m happy, I feel MUCH better and there is forward, albeit slow, motion.  Mostly, I’m just plain grateful.  Everything I’ve worked toward for the last 10+ years has brought me to this point.  I’ve got everything I need today. It’s now time to move Onward and Upward.

Look forward, your head up, chin up.

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Here Comes the Sun…Doo doo un doo

“Here comes the sun” by George Harrison, is the song that started as I turned on Pandora to have some background music as I update the blog. It is the “Concert for Bangladesh” version. I felt it completely appropriate even though it’s the first day of spring and it’s 23 in Chicago. Oy. Still, I’m excited, for winter only has one, or at the most two weeks of really cold weather…and then the big thaw. Here comes the sun, here comes Spring! I’m sure I’ve missed my crocus blooming…but I’m hoping to see the tulips and daffodils in my yard. I’ve planted my yard so that I always have flowers in bloom from Spring to Fall. Still working on it.

Here comes the sun. Literally. Here it comes. We will be in warm weather in no time and I for one, will be out in it, every minute I can. Effing Yay. Seriously…EFFING YAY!!!

Now, Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish you were here’ is playing on Pandora. One of the top 5 of my favorite bands. Couldn’t be more apropos. Random, I know.

Anyway, I will complete my internship on March 29th, teaching the 6am & 8am respectively, and I’ll take myself to coffee and croissant at Whole Foods when done. I struggled with whether I’d make it to this point. So many times I wanted to “JUST COME HOME”.

Again, I cannot thank “Team Paddy” enough. We’ve got Mommalicious (my mom, Lisa)who has mustered and pulled herself up by her bootstraps to be healthy and there for me. Mr. McGowan who is the best personal assistant that I’ve ever had. He’s gone above and beyond also keeping Chip and Ruby, the “Kirrrrrens”. Mrs. Plonsker who’s been with me at every stop/step of the way, keeping my head on straight and keeping me focused, fed, housed and loved! Keefer who will be coming up here to help me move Max’s stuff to Omaha (more on that later). Adam and Max for holding down “Team Max”, Jennifer, Jaimee, Anissa, Patty M., Carrie K., Kay Mc., Christine and Lisa D., my Bikram Yoga Family both collectively as well as “Group Ay-deen” and last but certainly not least, my Omaha Tribe which is too far-reaching to name everyone. Most Importantly, I’d like to thank Mike Frayer, Heather Meharg, Chelsea Young and all the teachers and front desk yogis in Chicago and Cincinnati. Deep bow. I’m a changed person to the core because of these people.

Ok…next steps. Bet you never thought I’d get to it? For the next 11 days, I’ll be teaching, taking and packing Max’s apartment. Keefer is coming up to help me load the uHaul and drive back to Omaha with me. Max is in LA for the semester and has gotten a couple of Internships for the summer. That’s Great! It’s awesome! However comma, it’s a pretty big workout for me with regard to this move, but it’s the least painful for everyone involved. Well, except for me and Keefer. But still. I’m looking at this project as I’ve looked at this entire journey. Just one more thing to do that I’ll learn something from.

Once I’ve decompressed for a day or two…the work begins. I’ll start a blog on that process, once this phase of the journey is complete. Prep work has been initiated.

It has felt so natural being back in Chicago, that I seriously considered just shifting my life to this lifestyle. I’m so used to it now. Maneuvering life in “the big city”. I have a solid routine with the only variable being class times. Easy, comfortable and with Saks, Tiffany’s, Michael Kors, Chanel and Prada right there, in your face everyday. Fabulous! However fabulous, I don’t feel it is my destiny. Omaha is my home. It’s where I raised a family and have the best friends that anyone could have. I’ve lived in a neighborhood, BensonHurst, for 20 years and it will be nice to be home. I have a car! And, a Vespa! I have a huge backyard and garden. I have my newly done hardwood floors and a bunch of cool new furniture. I am so looking forward to coming home. It’s been a long road for me. But here I am. I made it to the next level!

Wipe your hands, shift your weight to the left leg. Interlock your fingers and grab your right foot in front of you, exactly 3 inches below the toes. Hold it. Nice and tight grip.

Namaste’

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55 At 55

Today I taught my 55th Official Bikram Yoga class, in my 55th year of life. That’s somethin’ I suppose. At least in my mind it’s somethin’. I will complete my 75 class requirement on the 30th of March and I’ll be home on April 1-2! It will be so good to be home…OMG!!!

I’ve had a great and incredibly easy internship with the two fabulous studios that hosted me. I’ve learned so much, met so many great people and can count on one had the number of “eye rolls” that I’ve caught in class. I’ve come to really appreciate the Omaha Yoga Tribe, especially the Bikram students and what a pleasure it is to have them in class. Honestly, in many of my classes out here on the road, I just can’t read the people. I’m getting better, but in the beginning it was weird. I would think, “Jesus, these people hate me’, but then after class I would get compliments and sincere thanks. Yoga teaches you so much about others…and yourself, of course. People that have a consistent Bikram practice are a different breed…and I mean that in a very good way. There’s just something about the purity of the yoga, the simplicity that is so powerful and empowering.

Things are continuing to go amazingly well. Mom is so much stronger now and joined her little Alpine Country Club to play golf and maybe swim. Such great news as this will be fabulous physical therapy for her and give her something fun to do!

Max has a couple of internships in Los Angeles, one is with Warner Brothers Studio and as he was leaving his interview, Clint Eastwood past him and said, “hey” in only the way Clint Eastwood would say it.

Mr. McGowan is doing a great job as my personal secretary, banker, house sitter, kitty sitter and over-all great boyfriend. Couldn’t do it without you Handsome Man!

Looking forward to Christine, Lisa and Mrs. Plonsker coming to Chicago this week! It’s gonna be a fun St. Paddy’s weekend!

Well, that’s about all for now. Life is Good!

Turn around lie back. Complete relax. (that’s right…complete, not completely)

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There and Back Again

It’s been a long time since the last little blog, but I’ve not been up to boring you or me with the minutia of my day-to-day during this internship. Since last we spoke, I’ve already been to Cincinnati for the 2nd leg of my teaching. I was teaching for Chelsea Young at Cincinnati Bikram Yoga. That’s where (finally) the dialogue came together. Now, I’m just tweaking and working on the additional verbiage and nailing down the 2nd side of things. Chelsea is just a great woman and really spent a lot of time with me sharing her knowledge and experience with opening a studio. I was staying in a fabulous condo downtown in the Over the Rhine area. It’s a great area with tons of great restaurants, shops and serious urban renewal. I had a great month of teaching, shopping, eating and practicing while in Cincy, but am glad to be back in Chicago. I figure I’m paying for two residencies, I should probably live in at least one of them. Ha!

I’ve taught 3 classes since I’ve been back, which brings me to 48 of 75 classes. It feels good to have my teaching confidence back and to be comfortable on the podium. Such great people here. I’ve been so happy the last couple of days…and grateful! I got my 30 day transit pass and use the iPhone app like a pro. I feel like a Chicagoan…and that’s cool.

My practice has plateaued, but I’m doing the 30 day challenge, so that will help. I taught the 6 and 8am this morning, which means leaving the apartment at 4:30 for the train. Kinda scary walking during that time, but fortunately I’m in a pretty good area and it’s amazing how many people are up and around at that time. I was planning on going back tonight for class, but I’m just too tired. Came in late Saturday, taught Sunday and today and it all just caught up with me. I’ll take class tomorrow, I’ve got drag ass today.

I’ve started looking at bigger spaces in Omaha. I’m going to go bigger with the space. Primarily because I want big locker rooms for the ladies…and ok the guys to, but MOSTLY for the ladies. I know what I want in a space and have learned so much visiting all the studios in the past couple of years. It’s important that women have the space and privacy that they need and Omaha women in particular are pretty persnickety about that. I’ll be going for modern, clean and a spa like feeling. I also want a bigger yoga room and am working through making the hot room exact and perfect. That’s down the road and so much to do before that part of the journey, but you know me…I’m a planner, or try to be.

It feels pretty good to write this blog and not be depressed, discouraged, afraid, lonely and worried. I’ve vented so much during this process that a positive spin on things is just what the doctor ordered. I’ve got so much to be thankful for, so much to look forward to and super grateful that I’m healthy, happy and loved. I’m looking forward to Lisa and Christine coming to ChiTown so we can do a little bit of whoring! Ha! Jaimee may try to sneak up here too, which would be fabulous! March will be a fun month!

Max is doing great and finished his semester in LA. He’s been interviewing for internships and is looking to stay out there until school starts in the fall. Things are in flux for him and we’ll see what happens next.

I’d like to give kudo’s (again) to the following people for continuing to support me on every level imaginable: My mother, Max, Mr. McGowan, Mrs. Plonsker, Pearl Plonsker, Keefer, Adam Krupa on Team Max, and all my friends for your words of encouragement and support. Also, deep bow to Mike Frayer, Heather Meharg, Chelsea Young, all the teachers in Cincy and Chicago, my guardian angels and dieties who protect me 24/7.

Turn around, lie back, savasana. Completely relax.

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