Show Niyama Some Love
“Self-care isn't selfish (it is a gift to all concerned). You can't serve from an empty vessel."
Niyama opened 16 years ago: January 7th, 2002. Since opening, it has always been a studio looking to provide yoga and create community while being committed to an idea of Karma: unselfishly trying to do some good, while not worrying about the fruits of that, and trusting in that.
SO MUCH of Niyama revolves around that. It's why every year we've had 100% of our Thanksgiving classes go straight to the Greater Chicago Food Depository, and why we work with RefugeeOne during the holidays with the Giving Tree to help global refugees new to the Chicagoland area. It's why when we choose our Karma Charities we've always looked for local, small-scale charities to work-with: where we know the money we donate truly does provide the most good from Curt's Cafe and Syd Rocks, to Feed the Dream, Designs for Dignity and all the other groups we've worked with over the years.
At a certain point though, Niyama needs a bit of love/self-care for itself, in the form of fixing up the studio so we can continue. It's not just self-care, but something that is a bit overdue. For it to succeed though, it requires help from the community that has grown here since we first opened.
How are we hoping to show Niyama some Love, so it can continue to grow?
We'll raise money from now through May/June 2018 for improvements. The Friday and Saturday Karma classes will be directed to this, along with some other events and workshops in the near future and this GoFundMe.
The studio would close in the middle of August (the slowest time of the year for us) in 2018 for approximately a week. Depending on the amount raised by May/June, we will use this time for the improvements. After this completes, we will go back to working with a local charity to do some good.
Tier 1 Improvements:
Sand/Resurface the window area at the front of the studio
Replace Fixtures, Fans, Benches/Desk/Cubbies, Doors
Improve Studio Signage
Tier 2 Improvements:
Tier 1 impovements as well as:
Having the front portion of the floor replaced/redone with a non-slip surface that can better deal with the heat and moisture fluctuations, especially in winter.
Tier 3 Improvements:
Tier 1 and 2 improvements as well as:
Having the main studio floor also replaced with a new wood floor that can handle heated classes and the normal room temperature classes.
Tier 4 Improvements:
Tier 1, 2 and 3 improvements as well as:
Having the studio windows replaced with thicker, double paned class to further help maintain the floors and create less draft in the winter.
To accomplish only Tier 1 & 2 improvements will require approximately $10,000-$12,500.
Tier 3 (1, 2, & 3) will require approximately $25,000.
Tier 4: getting everything accomplished, will require approximately $35,000-$40,000.
As an example, even though the goal is set at $35,000 if it turns out that we end up raising $16,000 we will at the very least complete the Tier 1 and 2 Improvements and decide what else can be accomplished.
Why are we doing this?
Mac has always thought of Niyama as a one room, joint that is dedicated to daily practice - we don't sell or promote anything: be it water, towels, merchandise or teacher-trainings.
The reality is that Niyama is in a much more crowded marketplace today, not just with other studios, but also with yoga being offered at health clubs, commercialized yoga chains, and the rest of the 'fitness' industry. It's also that our culture has progressively become increasingly more hyper-paced, making it harder for us to feel like we always have the time for yoga.
Along with the challenge of retaining a student base against an ever increasing fitness marketplace has been a slow but steady increase to rent over the years. Our rent itself has remained fairly steady, but structured with that is a portion of the property tax for the property, which has increased over the years. With recent construction/development in and around Wilmette, that trend will likely continue.
Adjusting prices (for a one time improvement) doesn't make sense. It runs counter to what Mac and even myself have always felt: yoga "works". For each individual, yoga might provide that person something slightly different...but it works and benefits that person, and more importantly, it's something that should be accessible to everyone. I would not want to do something that would in any way prevent someone from giving yoga a chance, or from making it a part of there life or from making it to a class when they're going through a rough patch in their life.
For those that know me personally, my biggest fault is at times asking for help. I can be stubborn and prideful to the point it does me more harm than good. I know that this studio has meant an enormous amount not just to Mac but so many of us. There are teachers and students who have been at the studio for well over a decade. For many of us, myself included, this was where I first even gave this thing called "yoga" a try.
What always surprises me, especially in November is how many people show up to classes, that may have moved away and are just in town visiting or the college kids that are home for break. They come back, because this studio truly is community. It's a community I want to continue to see grow. And for that to continue, we need to take some time this coming summer to take care of the studio a bit.
If you would rather, you can also donate at the Karma classes or if you'd prefer, can write a check directly to Niyama.
If you have any questions, let me know, either by email or when you see me at the studio. I'm always around and available and would much rather have a conversation than having someone with unanswered questions.
We still have a ways to go, and less than 3 months to go, to get there. We're raising through May, so that we know what we have to work with when we complete the renovations in the summer.
So if you haven't donated yet, please take a moment and consider what this studio has provided you over the years: mentally, physically, spiritually or just by allowing you to be a part of community.