This is a new installment for my Inspiring Business Series which highlights businesses that are inspiring and innovative. For this post I will feature Lotus Living Arts Studio in downtown Concord, NC.
Business Name: Lotus Living Arts Studio of Concord
Location: 52 S. Union St., Suite #3, Concord, NC 28027 (upstairs)
Phone Number: (310) 721-9818
Business Owner’s name: Lotus Living Arts Studio is a Co-operative (or Co-op) managed by Vicky Geros Holmes (Director) and Gerald Moose (Assistant Director)
I first learned about Lotus Living Arts Studio via a flyer they had posted at Dilworth Coffeehouse of Concord regarding a program they were offering. By the time I saw the flyer it was too late to participate in the program but the advertisement did get my attention. I have been following Lotus Living Arts Studio on Facebook ever since.
When I first thought of the idea of my Inspiring Business Series, Lotus Living Arts Studio was one of the first businesses that came to mind as a possible feature. Though I had been following them on Facebook I had never visited the studio so I sent them an inquiry via their website and soon thereafter was able to meet with Vicky Geros Holmes (one of the founding members and current Director).
Vicky and I met at the Lotus Living Arts Studioin the late morning
on Monday,May 21. Union St. (the main street in the historic section of downtown Concord) was busy with the traffic and commerce of a late spring morning. I walked up the stairs at 52 S. Union and walked to Suite 3 where I met Vicky for the first time. She showed me the studio – a nice, simple space designed optimally for yoga, meditation, t’ai chi classes etc.. – and the first thing I was struck by was how quiet and peaceful it was. Being located on the 2nd floor of a historic downtown building opposite from the busy street below, helps make this studio an oasis from the busy life you leave behind when you walk up those steps.
Vicky and I chatted for a while and I learned that Lotus Living Arts Studio is actually a co-op. Basically, anyone that wants to become a member of the co-op (usually the class instructors) pays a low monthly fee. From there, these co-op members have the right to reserve classroom space at Lotus Living Arts Studio in order to teach classes, hold workshops, host meetings, etc. A glance at their web site shows that they currently have a total of 11 instructors offering classes and workshops in various forms of yoga as well as t’ai chi, meditation, ecstatic dance and drumming, massage, and more. These classes are offered at convenient times and are available for every student at every level.
Vicky started Lotus Living Arts Studio because she saw two needs when it came to yoga in a relatively small suburban town. First, instructors in the living arts like yoga and t’ai chi needed a place where they could get exposure without having to pay high rents for individual retail space. Second, people interested in these disciplines needed a comfortable, non-intimidating, and inexpensive place to explore them. Vicky partnered with Gerald Moose and soon Lotus Living Arts Studio was born. Vicky emphasizes that yoga and the other disciplines being offered at her studio are still very much in their infancy in most towns and cities in the United States and she enjoys being a bit of a pioneer in bringing them to Concord. To her the most rewarding part about what she does is being able to see people’s lives changing with every class.
Most classes currently being offered at Lotus Living Arts Studio can be attended for $5 per person per class. New instructors will often offer free classes or donation classes (classes offered for no charge but with a suggested donation) until they become established. The inexpensive pay-as-you-go/per class format offers a nice alternative to the monthly commitments that you often find in other studio environments. I have personally never attended a yoga class but have been interested in the possibility for over a year now. Having the option of being able to try yoga at my own pace at $5 per class certainly increases the likelihood that I will try yoga seriously in the future, so if my viewpoint here is any indication, I would say that Vicky’s co-op idea is working.
For me, any person, business, etc. that promotes awareness, peace, understanding of other people and cultures, etc. is an asset to the community it serves. Lotus Living Arts Studio helps to promote all of these messages and accomplishes this through an innovative co-op system that enables instructors to split overhead costs and therefore allows for more affordable experiences in the classroom instruction of yoga, t’ai chi, meditation, and other related living arts formats. I know that Concord has benefited from having this wonderful resource available and will continue to do so. I encourage everyone to explore and learn more about Lotus Living Arts Studio specifically and about the disciplines of yoga, t’ai chi, meditation, etc. that this organization promotes.
I also see another, less obvious, benefit that Lotus Living Arts Studio brings to our community in Concord. Because this type of co-op structure allows participants to split the overhead cost of the studio space, it offers people with new ideas an affordable means of starting new programs. Spaces like this are the possible breeding grounds for new and innovative workshops that offer new ideas on how to approach things, how to create social change, how to solve some of the world’s issues. I look forward to watching this transpire with Lotus Living Arts Studio of Concord and to hopefully participating in some way.
For those of you that live outside of the Concord, NC area, what similar businesses are you aware of in your community?
Highlight: One offering that Vicky highlighted that really sounds interesting is Yoga Nidra (something I had never heard of). “Yoga Nidra” means Yogic Sleep and it is a type of meditation that I would like to try someday. Yoga Nidra is offered at Lotus Living Arts Studio on the first Sunday of each month.