For the past two months, Harmony Family Yoga founder and owner Cici Bo has reopened her business responsibly with low capacity, teaching at least four classes for adults a week, two classes for children each day and all of 20 or 30 people weekly. She has also done outcall to meet clients at their homes and has held special events, such as Bunny Yoga, a kiddie session with rabbits, outdoors.
For Bo, it’s been almost like opening a brand-new business because soon after she opened her studio in late January of last year, the virus hit stateside and forced her to shutter two months later.
For most of the last year, she switched her business model to small classes to survive.“We currently require eight people at a time at the studio,” Bo said. “It’s more like a boutique studio. Each client can be taken care of.” During the pandemic year, Bo optimized Zoom and other virtual platforms to keep her business alive. Virtual classes and sessions became normative.
“Personally, I grew from that experience,” Bo said.The pandemic caused some complications as the instructors who were with her at the business’s Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce-hosted grand opening ceremony on Jan. 23 of last year had no choice but to find new jobs.
“Most of our instructors were on unemployment,” she said, adding that she had recently hired her current teachers, who have “trauma-informed yoga training to focus on the alignment post- pandemic.” Bo, however, never quit working.
“I didn’t stop teaching the entire time,” she said, during a period which saw her shift her business from in-person instruction to live streaming, with a greater focus on private clients. Since reopening this spring, Bo has shepherded a gradual expansion of Harmony Family Yoga’s offerings per state and county guidelines. She added that some of the reliance on Zoom and virtual sessions from last year is carrying over into her business model going forward. Bo has landed large clients such as the science department of California State University – Channel Islands in Camarillo, which prefers to do their 90-minute healing sessions virtually from wherever they are located.
“I didn’t have to travel to their campus,” she said.
Bo is also leading mindfulness webinars and sessions for corporate clients.
As she looks forward to a full reopening following June 15, the date for restarting businesses in normal capacity, Bo expressed her excitement at finally getting to see her business blossom in real life and not just online. “We’ll definitely hold more classes during the week,” she said, noting that June through August will see yoga summer camp, Lego box building and more utilization of outdoor space.
Bo said that continuing her meditation routine plus the support from such local entities as the Greater Conejo Chamber and her studio’s understanding landlord have allowed her to get through the virus crisis.
With people now attending in person and her business embarking on the full cycle she never got to follow through on in person last year, Bo feels as if Harmony Family Yoga is “kind of starting from scratch.” “It’s exciting,” she said. “This will be my first full year.”