In 2016, a seed was planted in Allisson Butler-Kublanov’s mind: the possibility of opening her own yoga studio. She could have easily – and reasonably – buried the thought deeply, with doubt and fear and excuses (after all, a baby on the way is a pretty fair excuse not to start up a new business). She could have easily said, “Maybe later.”
But instead, she forged on and watered that business-starting seed with dreams and determination. Against unlikely odds, Allisson opened the doors to Bee Well Yoga in November 2016.
How did Bee Well Yoga come about?
“Some things are just meant to happen. You don't know why and you don't always understand the timing and it doesn’t always happen like you plan it. But if you just let things flow, really great things can happen.
It was 2016. I had been teaching yoga for 10 years but I wasn’t really looking to open a studio. I was also pregnant with our fourth baby.
A friend of mine approached me about teaching a class for her while she was on vacation, and I agreed. She mentioned maybe I’d want to take over her studio someday. I wasn’t sure about that because it wasn’t very close to my house, but that’s when the business seed was planted.
When I taught her class, it was in this old studio space that wasn’t being utilized. It had an odd history: it used to be a jewelry store, and then it was a corporate office. But it had a really good energy and I thought it would make a great yoga studio.
I told my husband about it after I got home and he said, 'Well, why don’t you open up a studio there?'
My response was, 'Um, because I’m pregnant and in my third trimester!'
But he persisted that maybe it could work out.
A real estate agent coordinated a meeting with us and the owners of the building. We went to look at it and talked about what a timeline might look like to get it ready to be a studio. They said it’d take about three months.
That would have put us around the time the baby was due, so we told them we couldn’t do that. They immediately responded, 'Wait a minute, wait a minute, what would you need?'
I said, 'Well, I’d need you to get it done in four weeks.' I had three months before the baby, and I needed two months that I could really be there to get the studio up and running and NOT have a new baby yet. So that only gave us one month to build it out.
They said, 'Okay, we can do that.' And they did. They delivered. It was open exactly four weeks later. I was there every day of those four weeks, just making sure they were on track and things were being done in the way we needed them to be done. They were amazing.
We opened Bee Well Yoga on November 7th and got through the holiday season. I had the baby on January 15. He was 10 days late actually, which was convenient because I wanted to be there running my studio. After he was born, I took five weeks off and then was back teaching.
It was a little crazy, very intense. But I love the studio. I love the community we have. We have amazing teachers with strong backgrounds and really loving hearts. They take care of each other and the students. And because of the example they set, we see the students taking care of each other, too. It’s a really great community."
At any point, did you ask yourself, “What the heck am I doing?”
"Oh, of course! Having a new baby, you’re always really tired and you can feel completely overwhelmed. There were times I thought I should just quit and sell it. But I always came back to the great support system I had around me.
Everybody has hard stuff. Having a baby is hard. But babies grow and things shift, and then what? When the baby’s five, then I’ll do something? I could, but I’m a person that needs something to occupy my mind. I find myself feeling overwhelmed with only doing childcare and taking care of the home. Some women are fabulous at that. I’m not one of those women."
How do you manage raising four kids and running a studio?
"It’s definitely intense. I have a husband who supports me; that’s really helpful. And we have other help. We have to have help.
That has been something I’ve had to overcome. I wanted to be strong enough to do everything on my own. But we aren’t, and we don’t have to be. What I’ve found is that you have to be able to ask for help and humble enough to realize when you do need help.
I think people appreciate that and then realize that they need help, too. In the world we live in, a lot of people are busy. The more we can help each other, the better. The more useful we can be in our own lives.
That’s really what we’re trying for — not just in yoga, but in everyday life — is to live happy, peaceful, joyful lives."
Tell me about your yoga philosophy.
"Yoga is more than just fitness. It’s a whole practice of whole body, whole mind, whole spirit.
We may initially come to yoga for the physical aspect of it. But the way that yoga works, what it really does and what you can't help it doing is that it works not just on the physical body, but also on the emotional bodies. As we move our bodies, we release stored up emotions from our past. It also works on mindfulness in the mental body.
What ends up happening is that yoga becomes a moving meditation. When we go into this examination of our thoughts and we become more aware of our thoughts, we start to examine past patterns. What patterns have we fallen into as a result of the history of our life?
And we start to be a little more compassionate toward ourselves, in understanding those patterns and realizing where they came from. And when we realize where they come from, then we can start to shift them if we want to.
So as we practice, we dig deeper into the history of ourselves, the history of our past, the history of our ancestors, and we start to shift and change. As we shift and change and are more compassionate to ourselves, we also start to see how we can be more compassionate to the other people around us.
It doesn't have to be so hard either. If you can practice yoga and you can get the physical benefits of it, then you can also get the mindfulness of it and become a more compassionate, kind person. Why wouldn't you want to do that?"
Well, why wouldn't you?? If you're new to yoga and curious about trying it out, Bee Well Yoga runs a special $21 for 21 days offer for first-timers. And be sure to check out the Towny app for other (free) special perks + updates if you're already committed to the practice. Using Towny supports local dreamers like Allisson and strengthens the NWA's local economy - get in on that AND get rewarded for it! Don't miss out here!