March Studio of the Month

This month, we have chosen to interview Eb & Flow Yoga Studio. Eb & Flow Yoga Studio is an impressive mother daughter duo, based out of Chicago Illinois. Eboni “Eb” Howard and her mother Peggy Moore run the studio, and absolutely love working together.

Introduce yourself and Eb & Flow Yoga Studio a bit.

My name is Eboni "Eb", and I am an E-RYT 200 in Power Vinyasa flow, a certified Baptiste Power Vinyasa Teacher, and also a certified Yin Yoga teacher. I earned a BA from the University of Chicago in psychology, and a doctorate in Human Development from Northwestern University. My mother Peggy is an E-200 RYT, an RYT-500, a certified Yin Yoga teacher and a certified meditation teacher. She has a bachelor’s and masters in social work, a master’s level business training from the University of Wisconsin, and she is a retired corporate finance and operations executive. Our studio has been open in Chicago for 8 years. Eb & Flow Yoga Studio offers both gentle and challenging group (and private) classes in the styles of Baptiste Power Yoga, Gentle Vinyasa, and Yin Yoga. We have beautiful, spacious, heated and non-heated practice rooms for everyone to use. Our mission at Eb & Flow Yoga Studio is to create a community where where we can have fun while feeling welcomed and inspired. As a family-owned business, we hope to share with others the knowledge, blessings, and laughter we find helpful in balancing the ebb and flow of life. Our vision is to make the practice of yoga accessible to everyone and “every body”, helping people discover new ways to experience health, strength, and balance in their lives. We created a studio of community connection that perfectly mirrored the neighborhood in terms of diversity regarding age range, economics, professional experiences, and personal vibe so that everybody and every BODY would feel welcome to practice with us.

What initially made the two of you get into yoga?

Eboni: I began practicing yoga after a serious injury to my knee and achilles. A friend dragged me into a yoga class (what I thought would be a “slow and boring” stretching class). As a collegiate basketball player, beach volleyball player, and competitive triathlete, I was simply not interested in stretching. But, I soon learned, there was nothing slow or boring about this. I was awakened to a whole new awareness about not only my physical strength but also my mental strength, stamina and personal well-being. Power vinyasa yoga has remained a constant practice for me, completely transforming my body, mind and life. Peggy: I originally used Hatha Yoga as cross training for sports such as running, race-walking, biking, swimming, and triathlons. Yoga was ancillary to my athletic life—a natural option for improving my strength and flexibility. I had never really considered it an endeavor in its own right until I also suffered a knee injury. Yoga was suggested to me as a way to build stability in my knee and increase my general physical strength. I soon noticed that, along with the rehabilitative benefits, yoga provided me with an overall feeling of content, relaxation, and wellbeing. Shortly after coming to that realization I decided to learn more about yoga and sought out ways to deepen my practice.

What made you want to open up a yoga studio?

We both were at a point where we were seeking deeper meaning, better health, and a way to sustain an inner peace in the midst of our hectic and stressful lives. We found yoga was a very useful tool in our personal lives, and we wanted to share that gift with others. We especially wanted to share the gift of yoga with a more diverse population, one that is not typical in America. Our overall goal is to expand the access and inclusiveness of yoga to a range of different people.

How does Eb & Flow Yoga Studio differ from other studios in general/other studios in your area?

Our classes and pricing are designed so that there is an option for everyone. We provide low cost ($10) community classes taught by the owners, and free classes taught by student teachers. For people looking to practice with us for the long term, we offer affordable class packages, memberships and specials to give people of all incomes the opportunity to practice yoga. We support many nonprofit community organizations and partner with other orgs in the community to sponsor yoga-fundraising events, and we also provide services companies in the Chicago area. We have always gone the extra mile to provide safe and sanitary practice rooms, bathrooms and lockers rooms--even before COVID requirements. Our studio has always valued cleanliness and the health and wellness of our students. The biggest thing that makes us different though, is that we are a welcoming and FULLY diverse community of students, teachers, and staff. You don't have to worry about what you look like or even what you wear to come to practice yoga in our studio (we've even had students arrive in their PJs to practice, knowing it would be welcomed and not judged!).

How is Eb & Flow Yoga Studio staying busy during the pandemic?

Eb & Flow Yoga Studio, like most yoga studios during this pandemic, has basically done a 180. We have gone from our in-person, well-being yoga classes that were tailored to the individual, to an online, live streaming platform using video conferencing technology (Zoom). Our goal is to create a seamless, stress-free experience for our customers. From navigating our website to attending yoga sessions from the safety of their home, everyone that practices with us knows that they will be satisfied and safe during these times. We have also expanded our services to corporations, especially meditation services. We continue to stay busy and keep connected with our students, teachers, and staff (even though we unfortunately haven't been able to see many of them since March of 2020).

Describe Eb & Flow Yoga Studio in one word, and why that word?

Welcoming! Regardless of body size, ethnicity, age, religion, gender, gender preference, or economic status, you will find us all here at Eb & Flow Yoga Studio embracing our passion for yoga. We would love to help any and everybody while they are moving along in their yoga journey.

Any advice to entrepreneurs looking to open up their own studios?

First and foremost, make sure you know how to run a business. Your passion for yoga will only take you so far, especially in the middle of a pandemic. A significant percentage of studio owners are abandoning their brick and mortar spaces because they can no longer afford the rent and other operating costs, and some are going out of business completely. One thing to understand is that owning a yoga studio is not a very financially lucrative business. The most successful, non-corporate yoga businesses are often just able to make a comfortable living. Most owners have another income coming from somewhere, so be cautious and wait for the right opportunity. Also, make sure you understand the "yoga business" itself. Know your specific market, consumers, and find a niche. Understand the total competitive landscape for yoga services. This has expanded beyond "stand-alone" yoga studios to corporate yoga business and franchises, health clubs and fitness centers, community centers, health facilities, schools and colleges, and on-line on-demand offerings. During the pandemic, our additional advice to entrepreneurs is to envision what the new business model will look like after the recovery, and develop a business plan around that as the ultimate end-state. You should expect this to be an ever evolving and re-invent landscape. Also, lastly, work with an accountant, bank, and attorney. They will all come in handy when establishing your business!

What would you like future potential members of your studio to know about your studio?

We are welcoming to all those bodies who wish to practice and continue to build a welcoming and inclusive community of students, staff, and teachers. All who enters Eb & Flow Yoga Studio, enters their new home.

For more information on Eb & Flow Yoga Studio, you can head to their website at www.ebandflowyoga.com, call them (773-227-7740), text them, (773-830-4288), or find them on their social media pages like Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/ebandflowyoga) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/ebandflowyoga/).

To get your studio featured, send an email with your studio name and the subject line: Yoga Studio Of The Month. Make sure to explain why your yoga studio should be featured! Until next month, Namaste.