The June 2020 closing of Yoga One after 14 years of operation in Charlotte sent me into a mental tailspin. It was a sacred space for me — where I experienced my first yoga class and where I learned how to be a better human. Its closing left a void in my practice and heart. Sadly, Yoga One was just one of many local businesses forced to close its doors by the pandemic. Yet, looking back, it is Yoga One’s closure that hit me the hardest — on what could only be described as a soul-shaking level.
However, as Paulo Coehlo states, “If you’re brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello.”
It is during this strange, Bermuda Triangle-like span of pandemic time that I’ve been seeking what my new “hello” might be. The long-awaited introduction has been made, and the yoga dry spell has been broken! Allow me to introduce you to QC Yoga. If you, too, are a lover of hour-long, fast-paced yoga in a 90-plus-degree room, QC Yoga is for you. I found my Hello.
Eagerly emerging from my solo sessions at home like a little yogi butterfly, I stepped through the doors of QC Fit, a new facility located on Zebulon Avenue in west Charlotte’s Smallwood neighborhood.
Since the first thing I saw when walking through the front doors is a space dedicated to CrossFit classes, my eyes darted frantically around the bare industrial lobby. Was I in the right place? Was I about to embark on a hot yoga/WOD mashup? Just as some are intimidated by yoga, I am admittedly intimidated by CrossFit — uncharacteristically, as I do love working out. I exhaled a sigh of relief when I saw the sign pointing me to QC Yoga on the second floor.
I was greeted by an amicable yoga teacher who directed me to the changing rooms. Talk about a luxurious locker room experience. I spent my youth in swim-team locker rooms, and nothing compares to those in the QC Fit building. Most health toiletries were provided: hairdryers, makeup wipes, tampons, even free protein bars. I threw one in my gym bag for later. It’s probably melted to the bottom by now, in the backseat of my car, but I digress.
When I returned to the yoga studio, I rolled out my mat, eased into child’s pose, and was immediately soothed by the stillness provided by the slowly warming studio. Inhale. Exhale. Flow.
The Hot Power class proved to be exactly as described on the website: a one-hour, fast-paced yoga class in a 90-plus-degree room with powerful poses, complex transitions, and bumpin’ music. This word combination is my love language, and QC Yoga spoke it fluently.
After practicing at home for so long, and profoundly missing hot yoga classes, I felt refreshed by the third-party guidance through poses, mindfulness and breath. The challenging nature of the sequencing was unexpected, a welcomed diversion from my inner-asshole thought circuit. One thing I have learned through the years (and often tears) on my mat is how you show up to yoga is how to show up to life; your practice is a mirror of how you take up space in this world.
Do you confront your practice and life head-on, or do you shy away from the complex parts and poses? Hardship can be a catalyst for growth, my friend, and growing pains are real.
My teacher provided a refreshing outlook on yoga as he guided me and five fellow yogis through mindfulness and breath in a high-energy fashion that was only strengthened by the heavy beats backing him up. This made the hour (dripping in sweat) fly by.
Do you know what else was refreshing? Breaking free of my Plaza Midwood and NoDa bubble. I felt deeply appreciative to explore west Charlotte, avoid the chaos of South End, and see a different part of the city develop in a positive, community-focused manner.
With that being said, if you or anyone you know is a health and wellness entrepreneur, please look toward east Charlotte; it’s thirsty! My side of town (Albemarle and Central avenues) is one of the city’s six Corridors of Opportunity, part of the $38.5 million investment to renew the city’s commitment to affordable housing, community safety, infrastructure transportation, workforce and business development, and urban design.
My plea is that you, dear entrepreneurs, please consider east Charlotte as part of your business growth plan, especially if you’re planning a hot-yoga studio — but only if you’re doing community outreach in a way that ensures your neighbors are included in that growth. Because that’s what a corridor of “opportunity” is about. Now if I can just get someone to open up shop over on my side of town (the Albermarle Road corridor), I’d be set. But alas, I shall not complain in the meantime. I have found my Hello.