To celebrate the 2020 Season of Giving, I sought out to recognize Brighton businesses that showcased resiliency and community throughout the year. Blue
Circle Yoga came to me quickly in my brainstorm.
When Evan Mahan opened Blue Circle Yoga on October 19, 2019, he was surprised by the outpouring of support from the studio’s Brighton neighbors.
“When we started, we were totally embraced by the community,” he says. “It was greater than anything I could have anticipated. This was my first business so everything was new to me and it quickly exceeded what I could have anticipated this business moving to.”
Blue Circle’s classes and membership grew heading into the new year, and the team hit the ground running. But on March 13, after two days of no sales—a first for the studio—Blue Circle closed down due to the pandemic.
Evan printed out a sign saying “see you in two weeks” and taped it to the front door, as did many other Brighton businesses. When it became clear that the shutdown would last longer than two weeks, Evan made the choice to pivot to the online space. The Blue Circle staff began offering live classes on Instagram for anyone to watch and take part in.
It was important to Evan to make these classes available to everyone, as he knew hundreds of people were being quickly laid off. He froze everyone’s memberships, no questions asked, and switched to a donation-based pay model. Blue Circle members rallied together, offering enough financial support to cover the studio’s regular finances.
In July, after months of virtual-only classes, Evan was eager to bring the community together physically. So he reached out to Education First (EF) Brighton, where he had previously hosted introductory classes for the community, and set up a plan to host outdoor classes on their lawn.
Blue Circle instructors led the outdoor classes, set up with cones spaced out by 15 feet, where students placed their mats to partake at safe distances. The support outmatched what Blue Circle had experienced virtually. Evan noted that, more than ever, students were thanking instructors after class for the opportunity to engage outside. He heard “you have no idea how much I needed this” more times than he could count. Being able to interact in proximity to work together for an hour towards the class’s final rest was the hallmark between virtual and outdoor sessions.
With beautiful weather, unique collaborations, and the Blue Circle community together at last, Evan says “we had a blast all summer.” He takes pride in the fact that despite the year’s challenges, Blue Circle managed to hold classes in three different studios in 2020: their physical studio, then virtually, and at last, outdoors in a large space surrounded by beautiful trees.
“There are many moments when you want to pack up and run away, but it’s the people that keep you there,” he says. “These are very challenging times, and I think when things get tough is when people need these outlets, the support from other members of the community, and the businesses to support the community. We just kept on running towards the problem rather than away from it.”
Evan tells us he’s really proud of the way Blue Circle’s staff and instructors showed up, both for the studio as well as the students who kept showing up week after week. These students, he said, showed how well the classes gave an escape from day-long Zoom calls, being stuck in the house, or the general stress and uncertainty we all experienced.
Now that the weather is getting cold and the daylight ends early, Blue Circle is transitioning back to virtual-only class offerings. They celebrated their one-year anniversary this October, and plan to bunker down ahead of the holiday season and potentially their biggest challenge yet. But Evan isn’t phased. He’s excited to embrace this challenge hand in hand with the neighborhood.
“There’s no place I'd rather be than with the people we have and this community. These people are just incredible. It’s remarkable.”
If this story inspires you, keep this power of 10 going and show your support by giving $10. Your $10 may not feel like a big deal, but when combine with 10 of your friends and neighbor’s who join you to give $10, that starts to make an exponentially bigger impact. By working together we can do more than any of us can do alone. That’s the Power of 10.
Looking for more inspiration? Read more Power of 10 stories.