Happy 5th birthday to us!

There has been some questions about our 5 year mark, so allow me to clear it up!  A few years back, our wonderful Dana saw the need for hot yoga in the South Hills. Then, on March 1, 2010, she made that happen!  That same year, I happen to decide to move to Pittsburgh (after college, my husband and I moved to Denver Colorado and then to Pittsburgh where very little yoga existed at the time).  I stumbled into YI and after taking a few classes, asked to audition as an instructor.  If you attended my first class there – thank you for taking a second one.  The first one was a bit rough; I was so nervous!  After begging for a second chance to prove myself, Dana obliged and then added me to the team.  Time went on and the more and more Dana and I got to know each other, the more she heard about my ambitions, passions and untold “not yets.”  Eventually she asked “Would you be interested in adopting YI?”

On February 29 (leap year) of 2012 our deal was finalized and I was the proud new mama of Yoga Innovations. So, to summarize, YI opened on March 1, of 2010 and February 29, 2012 we changed owners.

Acknowledging this mile marker.

Five years is a big one.  Above all, this mile marker would not have been accomplished without the blood, sweat and tears of the teachers who make this place what it is.  This family, who shows up week after week after week and more so in many other ways, is always truly amazing.  You – the students – are truly blessed.  Likewise, I am truly blessed.  This studio isn’t a community, a home, or a family without those who make it up.  Yoga Innovations would not be what it is without the journey it has been through, the teachers, and most of all – you, the students.

My thank you letter to the students

To the students of Yoga Innovations. For those of you who have been with us these last 5 years, I owe you the biggest thank you of all.  You have stood by us through SO many changes, bumps and blunders along the way. You were there even after I took the clock out of the studio [man, so many of you were mad at me 😉 ] You were there after we changed EVERYTHING on you.  Even when we had a hard time showing up – you were there.  When we tried something new – you were there.  When we fell on our face – you were there.  And all the while, you loved us.  You never wavered [or at least not too loud] in your trust and belief in us.  You were there when we needed feedback and advice.  You were all there cheering us on, believing in us, even when we questioned ourselves.  You are the fuel that keeps this place running, alive and flourishing.  For all of that, thank you.  Thank you for being compassionate when we messed up. Thank you for being understanding through our growing pains and through the awkward years.  I can’t say we are entirely passed them – but we are a lot further along than when we started!  Thank you for being exactly who you are and allowing us as, the teachers, to do what we love with people we love even more.

To the teachers.

Geeze, where do I begin.  Without you this place would not exist.  Let me put it out there to everyone – the teachers on this staff are some of the most passionate, understanding, motivated and driven people I have ever met.  They are loyal, trustworthy and have the stamina to show up each and every single time.  Because of them, my dreams are able to come true.  Let me also say, I have thrown them through the ringer.  I’ll be honest, this ‘owning a business thing’ is very new to me! In the past, I have worked on teams, and have strategized the path to accomplishing my goals, but I have never owned and operated a business with employees.  I have seen myself through trials and errors, obstacles and challenges, but never had the experience of leading an entire team to the finish line with a parade of people behind us.

These teachers have tolerated my learning curve, my ignorance and my experimentation with a smile on their face.  Ok sometimes it wasn’t exactly a smile but… tolerance goes a long way and it was always with love and support.

I am so very blessed.

To Dana:

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to fulfill my dreams.  Thank you for sticking around as a part of this family and being the supportive pillar that you have been from day one.  Thank you for sharing your wisdom, your listening ear, and your spirit with me.  It could not have been done without you.  Thank you for your constant support day in and day out to CONTINUE the dream of this family.  Being able to count on you for so much has been a true Godsend.  

To Candace:

It seems as if our paths were meant to cross since the universe time and time again put us together.  (For those of you who don’t know the ‘story’ I use to do work trade for Candace’s class when she taught at Amazing Yoga in 2010).  You were my first friend that I made in a new city.  To have you by my side as a woman, mother, and yoga teacher has made every experience better, more rewarding and most of all, so much more fun.  Thank you for being exactly the person you are and believing in me through the bleakest times.

To Jessie:

It has been so awesome to know you have always been in our corner, even when things in your life get busy, you make time for us.  You are a great piece of this puzzle and your heart and spirit are awesome to have around.  You have came through for us in our most crucial moments and I am forever thankful for that.

To Jennie:

My kindred Coloradian… at our first meeting, your gentle and loving soul was something I knew were worth looking deeper into.  You were someone from be beginning I hoped would be a long time member of this family. Someone who I knew right away should be held on to tight and close to the heart. As one of the first students to go through our teacher training program, you helped take this place to the next level and in turn, have made me and YI a better place. Your constant strength, determination and loyalty to what you believe in have been an inspiration to me as a woman, friend, mother and business owner. Thank you for embodying all that you do.

To Elsbeth:

This girl should get the super hero cape of the day. You have saved my ass – and lots of other people’s – time and time again. Having you on our team is truly a blessing. You are someone we count on (sometimes maybe too much) and have stepped up to the plate each and every time. Thank you for being that person in my life. Your subtle humor and gentle spirit is reassuring that great people do exist in this world.  As the other participant in the first teacher training, again, thank you.  You also helped the future of this establishment and it wouldn’t be what it is today if it wasn’t for all of your hard work and dedication.

To Lauren:

Another spirit whom the universe was determined to connect me with.  From lost opportunity, to missed dates, something kept reuniting us.  And thank god for that.  You bring such a wonderful light to the room.  A smile that makes everything brighter and a spirit that challenges, but with comfort. Your willingness to experiment is a blessing.  Your dedication to making things happen is inspiring.  Thank you for everything you have taught me and have brought to this family… especially the endless amount of core work ;-).

To Kelly:

There was just something about you, from the first time you introduced yourself I knew you were someone I wanted to get to know more.  Someone who I wanted as a part of this team. You are such a genuine person wearing your heart on your sleeve and always facing your true self forward.  As a teacher right out of training, you were naturally talented. Someone who brought authenticity from day one.  Like a breath of fresh air, you know what you are getting and what to expect.  Thank you for being yourself and in turn giving others the space to do the same.

To Sarah:

Another one that I just needed to make a part of this team.  If you’re not familiar with Sarah’s story, I have been trying to capture this gem for our own from the beginning.  She was a student at YI and something in her made me need to reach out and do whatever it took to find a spot as a member of this family.  I’m thankful I finally found the way.  Your poise, your light hearted spirit, and your smile make you a pleasure to be around and someone who I always want more of.

To Dani:

Your spirit and personality is mesmerizing.  Like a shiny stone glistening in the sand I was drawn to learn more about.  When you approached me about a teaching opportunity at YI, I knew I wanted to make this happen.  Your self reflection and straightforwardness gives people the inspiration to also bring that out in themselves.  The passion and excitement you embody is undeniable and truly wonderful.  Thank you for everything you are.

To Tammy:

You light up whatever space you walk into.  Your energy, passion and personality fill the room and make everything better.  As someone who always knows exactly what to say and when to say it, your intuition is a blessing.  Your openness so very refreshing.  You have the perfect way to help others find their light to shine brightest and then give them to space, resources and guidance to make it happen on their own.

To Christen:

Your warm heartedness and open nature make you truly a pleasure to be around and another spirit that was a must addition to this team.  The questions you ask make us all smarter, the thoughts you share are intriguing and thought provoking, and your quest for wanting more is inspirational.  You have this amazing gift of empowering strength and softness at the same time allowing straight lines and beautiful curves to exist amongst each other in a perfect union that cannot be replicated.  Thank you for creating an atmosphere where everyone’s personal artist can exist and flourish.

To Jessica:

Our most recent addition to the Mommy & Me teaching team.  Thank you for jumping on board with both feet into the unknown and chaotic terrain of our family programming.  You came at exactly the right moment and filled the shoes that were empty.  Your honesty, openness, and willingness to try anything is empowering.  I truly look forward to getting to know you more as the days turn to weeks and weeks into years.

To Megan:

Our newest member to the team!  It’s funny how people reach out at just the right time when all the stars align and you have that aha moment of “YES! This is exactly how this should be.” Thank you for being that moment.  At our first meeting, the gentleness of your soul was obvious, and a sweetness supported by strength made you a perfect match for the YI group.  I am so blessed that you found your way into our door.

This thank you wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t include the unsung hero.  My husband.

To Adam:

Without you, this adventure would have never had the ground to take off on.  Your endless support and constant uplifting nature is key to the success of this company.  You find a way to take my lofty, neverending, rambling thoughts and turn them into real ideas.  You move my dreams from the clouds into fruition, and without you, this – all of this – wouldn’t be possible.  Thank you for tolerating, supporting, and cheering me on when I needed it most.  I love you.

I am truly honored to have everyone continuing on the Yoga Innovations journey and I am so excited for what the future of this amazing community holds.  You all are so wonderful and inspirational, and without you all – none of this would be possible.

Claire Baer

I am the meat and potatoes, caffeine and chocolate kind of yogi. I like a good glass of wine as much as a good Om. Yoga has always played a significant role in supporting my athletic lifestyle. In college, I majored in business management with a focus on advertising and marketing. While working at an advertising agency in Boulder Colorado I learned a valuable lesson: “you must sell the truth of the product.” The truth of the matter was, there wasn’t anything I believed in enough to commit to selling. On top of a mountain, while skiing I confessed this dilemma to my husband. His response seemed so simple, so obvious “why don’t you own a yoga studio?” Finally, I had found a way to combine my two passions: business and yoga. The next natural step was to formally go through yoga teacher training. At Core Power Yoga in Denver Colorado I received my 200 hour certification in Power Flow and Bikram styles; in addition, to children's yoga and prenatal. Then, after teaching and living in PA, Dana Barone offered me the opportunity of a lifetime: to become the new owner of Yoga Innovations. In 2012, we celebrated the birth of our first daughter, as well as the new business venture. I look forward to continuing to build the yoga culture in the south hills and sharing the passion I have for the practice- and maybe a tip or two on the juggling act we call life.

There are 2 comments on this post

  1. Jennette
    20 hours ago

    Congrats on 5 years! I am so glad Maijah brought me to YI…if you had told me over a year ago that I would be hooked on hot yoga, I would have called you crazy. But what makes it that much more addictive are the teachers and “community” that is YI. You all are amazing and I am so thankful to have taken up the practice of yoga. It has been a true mind/body/spirit journey that has helped me in so many ways! Love you all!!!

  2. Christen
    18 hours ago

    I can’t begin to thank Claire, Candace and Dana for the continued spiritual growth I have had since I began my teacher training at YI. The journey has continued with continued friendships with all the other YI teachers. It has been a rebirth into this forth stage in my life as my daughter leaves home and I contemplate retiring.
    Thank you so much,,,, all of you. I hope to be all that Claire has so kindly said about me and more.

    With lots of love, Christen


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