Local yoga studio embraces flexibility in relocation to First Baptist Church | Local

Anke Neustadt

First Baptist Church will become the new home of alleyCat Yoga — a space that owner Susan Mathis described as more sustainable after the financial challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mathis announced the move in a blog post Tuesday, explaining though financial strains influenced the decision, some of it was “out of (her) control.” The building’s landlord plans to expand into the studio’s space and is not renewing alleyCat’s lease.

A 28% rent increase combined with decreasing client participation during the pandemic also impacted the studio “energetically and financially,” before the leasing issue came up, Mathis said.

The studio will officially transfer from its current location at 17 N. Fourth St. to a room in the church, located at 1112 E. Broadway, on June 1.

The general spirit among employees and students regarding the relocation is positive, Mathis added.

“We’re incredibly grateful just to have a place that we can go that makes sense and to be welcomed into sharing this space as part of another spiritual community,” she said.

Before the pandemic, alleyCat did not offer virtual classes, but their popularity has grown over time. Mathis said while this may no longer mean packed rooms full of students, people can benefit from the convenience and intimacy the online format offers.

“You certainly can create a sense of community online, and that’s part of our model moving forward. And it has its own flavor,” Mathis said. “We seek to have connection in that way just as we do when we’re in person.”

Along with the move, alleyCat will begin offering separate classes for online and in-person students as opposed to the current hybrid format where both sets of students are taught simultaneously. Creating separation will allow all students to receive the staff’s full attention, alleyCat instructor Lynn Rossy said.

Even though some changes are bittersweet, many of those involved with alleyCat Yoga have approached the move with an open mind, Mathis said.

“People, if they’re practicing yoga, have learned a certain degree of flexibility not only in their body, but in their minds,” Rossy said. “We don’t cling to things staying the same. So we have it kind of woven into our teachings, the way to be resilient around change.”

“So many students say this to me: The studio is the people and the practice. It’s not the place, it’s not the location,” Mathis said. “And that we will take with us.”


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