“Consider a yoga pose. Your foundation is everything. Here, our teachers are our foundation," says Tava Yoga co-owner Leah Heath.
Heath believes that investing in teachers will be the key to a successful business and an enjoyable experience for yogis. Tava Yoga, opening in Greenwood Village on Saturday, November 18, will offer more than sixty aerial classes a week in addition to traditional yoga classes, all taught by “happy, healthy instructors.”
The decision to invest in the teachers was the “base philosophy” of Heath and co-owner’s Gary Wita as they began mapping out their business plan. “I didn’t know much about the yoga business before getting into this, but Leah told me that most companies don’t have ‘employees,’ but rather use sub-contractors and don’t have benefits,” Wita says. “So I said, ‘What if we focused on that?’ What if we tried to make Tava Yoga really teacher-friendly?”
Wita and Heath not only offer benefits such as free professional training, but Tava Yoga offers health insurance to its instructors, as well. “Gary and Leah have built a community where all teachers are valued for each of our specific talents,” says Christina Pischel, aerial-yoga instructor at Tava Yoga.
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“We are treated as family and have amazing benefits, which include paid trainings and the option for health insurance, which is really unheard of in the yoga industry," she adds. "By welcoming us with their open arms, we are in turn able to provide the same love and support to our students.”
Another of Tava Yoga's aerial instructors, Kaits Wong, adds to Pischel's statement, saying, "There is so much understanding and support from Gary and Leah. Not only do they understand what it means to love the yoga practice, but they understand the professionalism of running a studio. They invite individuality in teaching and different styles of yoga."
While investing in their teachers is a priority for Heath and Wita, they were also extremely selective in who they brought on as instructors, wanting to create an “all-star team," filling their roster with well-known Denver fitness instructors.
“All of our teachers can draw attention to the place because they have their own following,” Gary says, talking about Pischel’s work with Foursee Apparel, Friday Night Yoga Club and Kady Lafferty’s Big Booty Yoga. “These are such great teachers, and one of our strategies for the business was to get teachers who are really great at what they do, really popular, and let them be a part of our marketing strategies. They’re helping let their followers know what they’re doing, letting them know that [Tava Yoga is] here.”
The teachers — with their minds at ease from checking in students and how they’ll pay for medical bills — will bring yogis through the door, and once they’re at Tava Yoga, they’ll have plenty to choose from. Hanging from the ceiling in the aerial room are purple and yellow silk hammocks, in both single and double-point spins. A variety of classes will be offered in the hammocks, from aerial yoga, restorative aerial, and even an aerial dance class. (As a bonus, ginger candies are kept in the room, and students are encouraged to eat one if they feel at all nauseous before or after any aerial inversion.)
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Traditional vinyasa yoga and hot-yoga classes will be offered in addition to the aerial classes. At the grand opening, Kady Lafferty will offer Hip-Hop and Hip Openers on Saturday afternoon, and there will be a focus on meditation, as well. A meditation room has been built into the studio, but Wita and Heath want to be careful about introducing the practice to their students.
“We’ve noticed the people that are coming into our studio are people who are interested in trying yoga but haven’t had much experience, so they may not be able to sit still for an hour yet for meditation,” Heath explains. We’re thinking about adding on intriguing classes over time, and maybe doing thirty minutes' split between a class and meditation.”
Tava Yoga will hold its grand-opening celebration at 6818 South Dallas Way on Saturday and Sunday, November 18 and 19, beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, and classes will be free throughout both days. For those looking to further their practice beyond opening weekend, Wita and Heath are offering a year of unlimited yoga for $365 through November 26, after which the price will increase to $900. A year of unlimited aerial yoga will be just $465 through the 26th, and then will go up to $1,200. Founding membership lifetime monthly rates will be sold for $75/month through the end of November.
For more information about Tava Yoga or to see a full schedule of the grand-opening events, visit tavayogadenver.com.