When I started Bottom Line Yoga, I did it with one goal in mind – I wanted to offer the benefits of yoga to busy Chicago Loop Professionals. The City of Chicago has over 160 yoga providers that populate in a Google search and there are 16 pages of locations on Yelp dedicated to “Yoga Chicago.” Despite of all the yoga studios in Chicago, there are three yoga studios in the Chicago Loop, and two of them are Bottom Line Yoga locations, the third location is called Kundalini Yoga in the Loop.
Every day on average there are over a million people that work in the Chicago Loop. Despite where they call home – Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, or Illinois – more people gather in the Chicago Loop weekdays between 7am and 7pm than anywhere else between New York and Los Angeles.
Since BLY opened it’s second location, I’ve been asked several times, “What is Bottom Line Yoga?” And for the last year, I’ve struggled with the identity of the BLY, trying to create a memorable brand or appeal to the “right” people. My team would brainstorm Bottom Line Yoga is … a mindfulness company, corporate wellness, on demand yoga, office yoga, a mindful space, a lounge or nap space – blah, blah, blah. Personally, I just didn’t believe that yoga was enough.
In all my confusion, I met with a branding agency. The first case study they proposed was a comparison of Nike and Reebok. They asked, “So, what’s the difference between these brands?” And as most people respond, I responded, “Well, Nike is a brand and Reebok is a shoe company.” This insight only made me feel worse about Bottom Line Yoga, being a year old and realizing BLY wasn’t a brand made me question the company’s purpose.
For a couple weeks I felt some defeat, I would wake up morning after morning and ask for answers – What am I missing? What piece of the puzzle? I talked to several people and each person seemed to reiterate what the marketing team expressed – you need a brand. During this time there was a repetitive thought that I kept pushing away – “Why can’t yoga just be enough?” Everyone wanted us to be something other than yoga, which led to many suggested a name changes.
The truth is Nike didn’t coin it’s iconic slogan, “Just do it” until the 1980’s, more than twenty years after they were an established shoe company. Before the 1980’s Nike put all of it’s energy into being a really great shoe company. My “great awakening” occurred one morning when I woke up, asked the question, yet again, and my response this time was, “The brand will evolve – just be a really great yoga company.”
The realization was really humbling, and it helped my team and I refocus on what mattered – yoga. The definition of yoga being – to live in the union of mind, body and spirit. Bottom Line Yoga is special because we are the only yoga studio in Chicago that caters to working professionals. Our class styles and times, locations, daily nap schedule and accessibility for all levels make us unique. Once people experience BLY they will understand what we do and why we do it. The explanation is the experience. My elevator pitch to you is “come try it!” If you do try you will understand and if you don’t then you’ll never know. My suggestion, just do it and stop asking so many questions. Yoga can’t be explained – it can only be felt.