On Friday, Nov. 14, Be Luminous Yoga, a local Seattle yoga studio celebrated its five-year anniversary. More than 100 people showed up to enjoy an evening of “five years of practice, community and growth” with a live music performance, happy hour bites and a variety of prizes. We asked Be Luminous owner, Michel Spruance, to answer a few questions as she reflected on the past five years.

Seattle Yoga News: Back in 2009, what was your vision for Be Luminous Yoga?

Michel Spruance: Our vision was to provide an urban oasis — a place where people could retreat, however briefly, from the hustle and bustle around them and reconnect with themselves, their bodies, their breath and their clear nature, but also reconnect with others.

SYN: Tell us about the past five years; what has the experience been like?   

MS: Owning a yoga studio is like any other small business in that there is much to do, many big ideas, wonderful people to work with and never enough time.  Perhaps the difference in running a yoga studio and other small businesses is that we get to see people walk in one way, and leave another, almost without fail. More than anything though, I love the community.  

SYN: Being a yoga studio owner is not easy, what has been the hardest obstacle you faced during this time?

MS: Two things stand out for me:

1) The changing landscape of the Seattle yoga market. When we started, there were few larger studios doing a lot of classes each day.  Now there are quite a few. We tend to attract a core group of people who love what we offer at Be Luminous Yoga — a blend of very physical power yoga coupled with deeper teachings — and these folks stick around for years and years. The hardest thing for us seems to be getting people up here [to] our little plaza in South Lake Union.

2) People. People are both the reason for being in the yoga business and the the hardest part at times.  As a business owner, I realize that conflict is going to happen. What I love, and am challenged by, is that how I handle these conflicts is my practice — how can I live yoga as a way of being, most especially in business?

SYNWhat is the most rewarding experience you have had?

MS: The people we work with and their stories are so amazing.  We are deeply honored to have been part of people’s biggest and scariest and hardest moments in their lives.  I can think of the faces of two women right now who have shared with me that Be Luminous Yoga was their rock as they battled cancer.  I see the face of one man who shared that yoga has helped him be a consistently good dad.  I hear the voice of a past 200-hour teacher trainee saying: “This program saved my life.”  What we do at Be Luminous Yoga is give people a space to heal and thrive, and truly reconnect with their own Luminous Nature.  I’m humbled to be part of that.  It is not us — we don’t do this for people — we provide the context for people to do this for themselves.  That’s what I love about yoga.  It works.  We just share.  The other thing I think is amazing about being part of Be Luminous Yoga is the community.  The community is welcoming, gossip-free and all about being great in the world.  We get new college students and CFOs sweating next to each other, being human and helping each other out.  That’s a beautiful thing to watch.

SYNWhere would you like to see Be Luminous Yoga five years from now?

MSServing the greatest number of people in the greatest way possible — that might look like collaborations with other studios as we take our teacher training on the road.  It could look like programs in schools and with the Seattle Police Department. I would also love to see this place take off so that it can provide the teachers with a really great living. Being a yoga teacher, jumping from place to place, is not a sound way to make a living.  I would love to create a studio that is so abundant that our teachers can have an income that reflects their commitment and what they actually give to the world.

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