This blog post will be updated regularly with information regarding Luma’s response and offerings surrounding COVID-19, the impact on our community members and staff, as well as a telling of our small business story:

 

 

All health and wellness to you and yours,

 

Valerie

 

 


June 1, 2020

 

As re-opening continues to happen in different phases, we are working diligently to create safety protocols to ensure the well-being of all individuals.  Keeping you (clients, teachers, practitioners, employees) safe and well is our top priority. Thank you to those who responded to Luma’s re-opening plans survey– your input and feedback is extremely valuable to us.

 

With that said, YES, we are going to be open for retail purchases starting this week. See below for how we plan to execute this safely, what to expect when you come in, and our retail business hours.

 

We are tentatively looking forward to the day when we can safely practice together within the studio. Until then, we will continue to cherish the classes and community that has blossomed online.

 

Ready to come shop in person? We are following state and local protocols in order to keep both you, our shoppers, as well as our staff, safe and healthy.

 

We respectfully ask that shoppers adhere to standard safety guidelines:

  • Refrain from entering if you have a cough, fever, or do not feel well
  • Wear a mask (we will too)
  • Maintain a minimum of 6-foot distance between shoppers
  • Refrain from physical contact with anyone unless necessary
  • Only touch products that you plan to purchase!

 

Additional safety measures for Luma shoppers:

  • Hand-sanitizer readily available (we have more for sale!)
  • Monitoring the number of shoppers allowed inside Luma
  • Front door propped open so that you don’t have to touch the door to enter
  • Re-arranged retail, allowing more space between shoppers
  • If you are a Luma client, we likely have your credit card on file. If not, we can take your credit card number verbally to skip the step of swiping and handling your card.
  • Email receipts will be provided
  • Regularly disinfecting our countertops and other high-touch surfaces such as door knobs, handles, computer, phone, and retail throughout the day.
  • Our staff will continue to wash their hands thoroughly and use hand sanitizer multiple times a day.
  • Bathrooms will be closed for now while we are only open for retail

 

If you have questions about these, or any other protocols. Dont’ hesitate to reach out!

 

Shopping hours are: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays 12:00 – 3:00 pm. This is also the same time you can arrive for your curbside pick up.

 

We look forward to safely seeing you soon!

 


May 11, 2020

 

Time is a strange thing, isn’t it? As our situation continues on I have let out a guilty sigh of relief as our community seems to have been spared the worst, at least for now. I feel proud of our local leaders for their decisive action and foresight, and to our community, who for the most part, took those mandates to heart and succeeded in social distancing.

 

I say ‘guilty sigh’ because there are communities all over the world that are not faring as well. As we start to turn our attention towards what would be required of us to ease restrictions and ‘reopen’ local economies, the pressing question that is coming up in all communities is what kind of balance to strike between the value of human life and the value of human livelihood. I’d venture to say that we already made that decision the moment we created the labels ‘essential business’ and ‘essential worker’.

 

Our current situation brings into stark focus yet another way in which the ingrained inequities present in our communities serve those of us for whom it is economically viable to stay at home. Please take a moment to read this New York Times article by Charles M. Blow that reflects on these injustices, impossible to ignore now that business is definitely not happening as usual.

 

If you are successfully (albeit perhaps anxiously) sheltering in, you are actively living a moral paradox.

 

On the one hand, you are doing the right thing by distancing yourself from others. On the other hand, the very nature of your privilege to isolate at home puts others at risk every single time you access an essential product or service. How do we reconcile with this?

 

I do not pretend to know the answer to that question, but I am sharing it with you because as we at Luma work hard to save our center —as we ask for your ongoing support— it is not missed on me that we are not considered essential. We are useful. We help you stay healthy, sane, grounded, connected and more present. We support you in what is probably one of your number one priorities just now: your health. But it’s also probable you could make do without us.

 

With that in mind, I’d like to take this opportunity to turn your attention towards our broader community, including essential workers, and how we can come together to support one another. Here is a short list of some things we can all do while we weather these next few weeks and prepare to gingerly and mindfully start to return to one another as California begins to move through the phases of reopening:

  • Support the Covid Heroes Fund which would provide between $5000 and $25,000 of additional pay through the end of the year on top of their regular pay
  • Reach out to and check in on the essential workers in your family
  • Create or join meal train to relieve essential workers of the need to cook while they homeschool their kids and work long hours to support their families
  • Volunteer.You can safely volunteer. Many nonprofits employ essential workers, and need your help now more than ever
  • Give Blood 
  • Two for One! Support a local retailer by sending a care package to an essential worker, win-win!
  • Send gifts for local coffee, restaurants, or local food stores to employees and staff at local essential businesses
  • Feed an essential worker on the front lines: Donate $12 here
  • Create a sign to thank essential workers. Signs lift all of our spirits
  • Donate PPE to a worker through this matching program
  • Tip! Tip! Tip! And also be polite and kind when you interact with essential workers
  • Tell your local retailers what products you are purchasing on Amazon that you’d rather purchase from them

 

And, as for Luma:

 

We have done an awful lot these last couple of months as a small business in our fight to survive. If you haven’t been on our website recently, take a look. It has completely shifted to represent the virtual Luma we have created since March 16th.

 

Do check out our newest offering: the Essential Workers Toolkit that we launched last week. We are getting a great response. Please, share freely.

 

Tune in regularly to this page where we track our progress, and you can also take a look at our funding ticker. We update it regularly to track our monthly progress towards what we see our business needs in the form of monthly contributions to continue. Thank you for your sustaining memberships, and for those contributions. You are making it happen.

 

Some of you have wondered whether our commitment to keep our classes open to everyone during SIP is a service Luma cannot afford to offer as a financially insecure small business at this time. It is not without great thoughtfulness that we continue to offer it this way.

 

With that in mind, I’d like to share a little bit about our plan with you:

 

Our live stream operates more like a ‘yoga-by-donation’ program. It allows access to those who can’t afford it while also providing an opportunity for those who can support us to do so, both on behalf of themselves and for others. It’s a public service mechanism, probably more appropriate to a non-profit. However, unprecedented times call for creative solutions. I believe this has been a healthy choice for our business up to this point. My hope has been that those of you who have contributed so generously know the value of the impact we have made in our community by serving others. Many of you have shared as much, letting us know that you are sharing classes with family members and friends, and even practicing together from great distances. I believe that our efforts to make that uncomplicated have brought us closer together.

 

Messages such as this aren’t infrequent:

 

“I wanted to reach out to thank you for all that you’re doing to keep the Luma community together at this time…. I’m grateful for the classes you are offering to the public. We will contribute to the longevity of this business soon and are excited to order tea and toys from the online store. We will be there for Luma on the other end of this and look forward to feeding our hungry hearts with community and connection again.”

 

Beautiful, right? This is why we do what we do.

 

As you can also guess, all of us at Luma are preparing to pivot as we look towards what the next few months will mean as SIP restrictions are gradually eased. Luma will once again need to adapt to the new environment that is unfolding by the day in front of us.

 

Perhaps you are familiar with the concept of the hammer and the dance? We are preparing to enter the dance. Though these last months have been hard. This period will be equally tricky. Many small businesses will not survive.

 

So, what’s next?

  • As many of you know, we’ve officially opened curbside pick-up for our retail boutique. Our online marketplace is open for purchases, and we can now serve you in person following social distancing guidelines. If there is something you’ve known and loved in our boutique, yet don’t see it available online, don’t hesitate to let Sasha know!
  • We will soon be able to invite our teachers into Luma to stream their classes and record on-demand content for you. This will enable us to provide a more consistent and higher quality virtual offering.

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As always, we are working to provide:

  • Ongoing value through our virtual classes & workshops, online purchasing, and virtual private sessions
  • Increased value through enhanced self-care packages that we are building now to provide more focused attention on your health & well-being
  • A user-friendly on-demand class library with well-catalogued and regularly refreshed content for you to enjoy when it works best in your schedule
  • Thoughtful offerings and a well-prepared business plan so we can continue to ride the shifting tides of the various phases of the dance together

 

As we enter this new phase we are excited and optimistic!

 

We made it this far, and we’re ready to go the distance. You can help us by continuing to support your local small businesses, sharing and commenting on our social media posts, contributing to our streaming efforts, and sending us your well wishes, comments, and suggestions to keep our spirits up and keep us informed as to how we can better serve.

 

If you have a moment, please fill out this short survey so that we can better poise ourselves to address your very real needs as we put together and implement our plans for the future.

 

All love and joy to you and yours!

 


April 20, 2020

 

It has been a couple of weeks since I sent out a thorough update, and I’d like to take this first opportunity to say to you, even though you already know this, you are not alone! None of us are. We are all in this together, now more than ever as time sheltering in continues on.

 

Paradoxically, perhaps you are noticing from your place of isolation how clearly interconnected we all are. We are completely reliant on one another for food, services, the buildings in which we live, and especially now our health.

 

Yoga philosophy invites us to comprehend the interconnected nature of all things. Modern psychology shares similar views about the human psyche. We exist only in relationship to one another. Without a reflection back from another, we would have no sense of self. There is a beauty in this teaching. It has something to do with love. Glimpses of the ways in which we are connected to all beings usually come with good feelings. We are less alone. We are a part of some cosmic order integral to the universe around us.

 

For economists there is no question. Energy moves in the form of goods, services, resources and the demand for them, based on the nature of our interconnectedness.  The economy is not generally where I would turn to explore things philosophical. But why not? Nowadays, when I open a jar of pickles I am acutely aware that someone brought it to me. Many ‘someones’ actually. My dependency on, and connection to, those individuals is as clear as day.  And also clear is the fact that many of them are vulnerable, and have been for some time, even before COVID-19.

 

Long ago, for whatever reason (except in our most thoughtful moments) we were able/encouraged/allowed to let go of the knowledge of where goods and services really come from. Many of us do our best to shop and eat responsibly. But do we really understand the nature of our interdependence enough to make choices that are in alignment with our values? And if the machinery that we’re engaged with is so large that we can’t even comprehend the complexity of the relationships from which it is made, then how can we ever know which choices to make?

 

As we wake up collectively (and there is an opportunity here to wake up) I am hopeful we emerge from this economic ‘nap’ refreshed and better poised to see the forgotten nuances in our relationships to one another. Commerce and capitalism are constructs. They are constructs of certain kinds of relationships. And though we know capitalism is rife with inequities that we all would prefer weren’t there, it’s the paradigm we’ve been born into.

 

What if we could come up with something better?

 

What kind of human awakening would be required of us to reimagine the machinery of the collective organism that we have built? If our isolation from one another, and the shift in our work and buying habits, has offered us anything, perhaps it’s the opportunity to daydream about other ways of being. And, we must start by asking the question(s): What do we really want? What is most important?

 

This is bringing me to reflect on Luma and its role as an albeit small player in our local economy, and of miniscule concern in the national economy.

 

Why are we fighting for our center? What does it mean? What does it represent? How does it serve?

 

I am not sure if Luma, or a place like Luma, will be a part of the new paradigm on the other side of COVID-19. For now though, we are marching on, day by day. Like you, in our uncertainty, we continue to preserve and protect the essence of what was of value to us before.

 

If you are reading this, it is because Luma is one of your places. It belongs to you, and to all of us. Is it worth protecting and preserving? I don’t know the answer to that question; but my staff and I are busy reimagining our center nonetheless.  We are envisioning our collective future, and reinventing ourselves. Our collective eye is turning now towards what you (all of us, really) will be needing on the other side.

 

In addition to streaming classes, here is what we’re up to:

  • Loans: This week we received news that some of the coveted PPP federal aid is reserved for us pending Santa Cruz County Bank’s approval of our application. If we’re lucky we’ll receive relief in the next 10 days. The loan is considered a ‘pass through’. It provides 8 weeks of payroll for our employees. This is important to me. It assures our 5 remaining employees paychecks for the next 2 months, and will allow Luma to sock some money away in payroll savings that we desperately need in order to re-open our doors when we are allowed. We are now making plans for what a reopening would look like. Get ready. It will have to be different than it was before.
  • Grants: We have applied for 5 grants to-date. It turns out that one of our new teachers has a background in researching and writing grants. She has generously volunteered to help us with this process. We have not been awarded any grant funding so far, but are still awaiting to hear back from many of them.
  • Community Support: Your support in the form of active memberships, contributions for our online content, gift card purchases, and retail purchases from our online store have made it possible to keep our management staff and to continue bringing you virtual classes. Many of you have been taking advantage of this service. We know it’s not the same, but we have maintained an online class schedule of over 40 weekly classes. Why so many? Because we serve 3 major populations: adults, children ages 3-17 years, as well as pre/postnatal parents. We are committed to keeping this schedule open to all. Please continue to share widely and contribute what you can. We have created an entire webpage where we define our mission, and lay out what we need from our community in both financial and other ways.
  • Wellness: This past week we launched our virtual wellness program. You can now get support in the form of 30 or 60-minute sessions towards your goals for your ongoing physical and emotional health. This is a way to provide you with more personalized resources and accountability. It’s ok to get some help with this. Do it now. You are not alone.
  • Support for Essential Workers: We are gathering a free collection of short tutorial videos, donated virtual wellness appointments, access to local resources, and relevant blogs and other support materials tailored to essential workers. Stay tuned for when you can share this toolkit with essential workers you know and love.
  • Luma Anew: It is going to be different for all yoga and wellness centers for the foreseeable future. As for Luma, last week we started building out our plan for reopening. This will likely happen in stages, with the highest regard for safety for our staff, our teachers and practitioners, and of course for you, our dear clients. Likewise, all of us will have to be nimble, and ready to shift on a moment’s notice.

 

Truly, we can’t wait to see you! We are thinking ahead to what you’ll need and want, and how to continue to serve your post-sheltering needs.

 

One thing I do know is that your health is going to stay your number one priority for a while, as it should. If/when we gingerly start to venture into the world, knowing that an increased risk of infection is a reality until a reliable drug or vaccine reaches us, our health and wellbeing will continue to be a primary concern. This is what Luma was founded on. And we remain committed to being here for you in whatever form we need to be.

 

If you believe in us and wish to support us in our ongoing efforts, please make a contribution. If viewing on a computer (vs. mobile device), you can also take a peek at the ticker that shows what we need each month to keep going, as well as how much we’ve received in community contributions so far.

 

In the absence of more robust federal support, we will need you to help us reach our goal each month, and for as long as it takes. I will be working to bring more revenue streams and services online, so we have to lean on you less, and I will be updating the goal amount regularly based on our current financial picture.

 

We will continue to share our victories, and also our concerns.

 

If you have any questions about our finances, or how we’re choosing to position ourselves to make it through this crucial time, let me know. I’d be happy to share our plan with you. I welcome any feedback, expertise, and advice, or interest in investing in Luma’s future.

 


March 31, 2020

 

In these difficult times, little moments of collective celebration feel all the more meaningful. I am pleased to announce that Luma was voted Best Yoga Studio of Santa Cruz in the 2020 Good Times survey. For this honor, we owe you a BIG THANK YOU. Thank you for your continued belief in, and support of, our studio. We are who we are because of you.

 

As you know, Luma prepared early for the changes and setbacks that a rapidly spreading virus would mean for our community. However, no amount of preparedness is enough to handle the magnitude of this pandemic.

 

For the time being, Luma is no longer a yoga studio. Luma is a virtual yoga and wellness platform. Though our means of reaching you has shifted, the root of our mission has not: to create and sustain a place of wellness and reprieve. 

 

It has been challenging and frustrating to try to recreate, in the virtual sphere, the community and sense of place that Luma represents in real life. On the last day our studio doors were open, a devoted member shared: 

 

“I will continue to practice with my teachers from Luma virtually. I will keep my membership and gladly support you all. But it’s not the same. I won’t get the smell of the studio, the experience of the concrete walls and barn doors, nor your smiling face when I come in for class. I’ll be there online, but it’s not the same.” 

 

Indeed it’s not the same. It simply can’t be. And though we are hosting a recurring community forum on Sundays at 4pm (please join me for a check-in and community dialogue), I suspect you are all spending too much time in webinars and zoom meetings, and one more with me is maybe not what you need just now. For those who do need it, we will continue to offer that opportunity to gather. I hope to see you. 

 

For the time being, we are committed to the following:

 

  • To continue offering open access online classes and support
  • To pay (at reduced rates) our teachers and staff
  • To keep our small business going through this unprecedented time so that doors can once again open for you

 

Ultimately, Luma is a social enterprise — a community offering. Investors won’t save our studio in financially uneasy times, but by banding together, we can save it. Although this won’t cover all of our expenses, we have applied for the Federal Paycheck Protection Program as part of the recently passed CARES Act. As we move forward, we will be keeping you informed as to our financial picture.

 

We all know that in times of difficulty, honesty is crucial. As we work hard to keep classes and offerings available to you, we also vow to be honest about what is difficult for us, a small community business.

 

In short, as we navigate what it means to survive these next few months, one thing is clear: we will need community support to make that happen.

 

>>> Make a one-time contribution

 

>>> Become a monthly supporter

 

My ask of you is that you continue to take care of yourself, your families, and your health and well-being. I encourage you to connect with your teachers at Luma by either showing up to their live offerings, or streaming their class videos at your convenience. And so we can all stay connected, please share and comment on our social media posts. Luma is fairly active on Facebook and Instagram

 

Thank you for continuing to be a part of Luma and contributing to our uniqueness. We will continue to do our best to provide you with the classes, connection, and care you expect from us so that we live up to the honor of being the best yoga studio in Santa Cruz (albeit in the strangest, most difficult year imaginable).

 

Thank goodness for community in times like these–our very greatest form of wellness and wealth. 

 


March 21, 2020

 

I miss you, and so I feel compelled to continue to share my & Luma’s story to keep you informed as to how our continued offerings are shaping up under this new paradigm.

 

Like most of you, I find myself at home with my family. Though I don’t expect it to stay this way, many aspects of this transition have been oddly comforting. Our house is tidy and organized, our kitchen is fully stocked with food, and it’s nice to spend time together without the distraction of our complicated schedules. Though I remain busy coaxing Luma through its transition, my husband has found time to clear weeds and brambles from a neglected vegetable garden we now intend to revive. Our family is taking walks together (well, not my teen, but the rest of us); and suddenly our lives have become oddly simple. It seems we have stepped off the merry-go-round, and honestly, it feels like a bit of a relief. Our priorities are clear.

 

At the same time, as a small business owner I continued to stretch this week to manage Luma’s complete and total transformation.

 

It was heartbreaking to lay off our Playschool staff; and we have no work-hours for our front desk staff including Shannon, Scott, or Zixuan. Our assistant manager, Nina, drove to LA yesterday to be with her family. The rest of our management team (Amy, Julie, Kaysi, Leanna and myself) remain in contact daily. But we are used to being able to hug and look into each other’s eyes. Gone are the casual meetings by the Luma kitchenette, or in our office across the street. There is still much to do, but also much uncertainty as to whether Luma can sustain us so we are uneasy; and we are all trying to find our bearings in our new environments. One day at a time.

 

I continue to assume that your health, now more than ever, remains a priority. Is it possible we finally have enough time and attention for sleep, well-planned meals, exercise, and activities such as meditation that directly serve our mental health? I wonder, if you are able to care well for yourself and your family now, can you look forward to how important your efforts are to our collective goals as a community to:

  • Minimize the strain on our local health facilities and care providers during the peak of the pandemic—both by delaying exposure to COVID-19, but also by supporting personal immune resilience should we become sick ourselves.
  • Be as prepared as possible to come to the service of those who will be adversely affected, not only by illness, but by the economic and social ramifications that will strain many members of our communities. Those of us who can remain healthy and economically able are going to need to be of service to those who cannot. We need to be thinking ahead about how we are going to care for one another.

 

To support you in your efforts towards staying well and compiling your inner resources we solidified and launched a more complete set of online offerings which, for the most part, are live streamed from the homes of our teachers. I am proud to say we have succeeded in transitioning 36 of our usually 50+ classes per week into online formats, so that you can continue to move and breathe with us daily. Next week, we will add a few more classes, including the children’s programming you’ve been requesting. Please share our schedule, website, social media posts broadly. We are in support of everyone staying well.

 

Moving forward Luma’s role in our community is starting to become more and more clear to me. And as the days pass I am starting to hone on these goals for us:

  • Support our Staff: We have a good foundation with the streaming classes and I encourage you to leave comments and share feedback as you take classes with us. Our teachers need to hear from you. Even if you can’t stop what you’re doing to practice, log on and listen to your favorite teacher teach their class. It’s encouraging for our teachers to see that people are thinking about them, even if they can’t stop what they are doing to practice just then.

 

  • Stay Connected: Alongside the classes we’ve been offering, I will now be hosting an online community gathering. We have created a Zoom event that will recur on Sundays at 4pm starting THIS SUNDAY. Mark your calendar now! This will give us the chance to interact in ways our streaming videos cannot. The Luma Prenatal community has begun gathering this past week, and now we want to invite all of you to join us! We are not sure how many people Zoom will allow to join on one event. So for now we can offer it first come, first serve. All are welcome, please join me!

 

  • Support Local Businesses: Even though you’re home, you probably need a few things other than food that our local businesses can provide. For example, rather than ordering props for your home practice from Amazon, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to purchase them from Luma? What about your hand lotion? And those essential oil immune kits we were telling you about? We are working on how we can make these types of purchases at Luma possible! Sasha, who has been managing our retail for the last couple of years, is putting together some care packages for you with products from our inventory that are primarily produced by local makers including CopperMoon Apothecary, Sea Salt by Em, Essential Oils by Kaysi, Tiny House Chocolate, URB Apothecary, Sage Spa CBD and more. We are hoping to do curbside pick-up, but are open to your ideas! Penny for your thoughts?

 

  • Share Our Story: I’ve always been forthright in my communication with you. Such as when we transitioned to a membership model a few years back, which was painful for many of our clients, and also our staff. Over these last weeks several of you have shared how meaningful it has been to receive these updates. I’d plan to continue communicating to you, and intend to be transparent in our triumphs, and also our challenges. I want to keep you apprised as to how we’re doing, and share stories from our staff and clients as we move through this together.

 

Ours is and has always been a community center disguised as a yoga and wellness center. And we intend to keep it that way!

 

I have always described the Luma lounge, the place where we gather before and after class, as the heart of our business. It is there that we shared the stories of our lives with each other, from the mundane and seemingly insignificant, to the events that move us to tears. If we can’t meet together accidentally and casually in the lounge as we always have, perhaps we can continue to meet here, through these online communications, forums, comment fields and chats.

 

Stay with us.

 

Finally, if you’d like to contribute to our efforts. Either in addition to your membership, or in lieu of becoming a member, please visit our website and choose to make a one-time or recurring contribution to help sustain us through this time.

 


March 17, 2020

Boy, is everything changing fast. I feel like I have been making decisions and then implementing a plan, only to have the whole landscape change midstream. My ability to remain flexible (no pun intended) is being challenged. As must be yours.

 

I have toggled between disbelief, denial, and acceptance, and at the same time I have embraced a willingness to take on the challenge. I have also been overcome with waves of sadness, and am bracing for what may come. At times I find myself chuckling with friends and colleagues at the absurdity of it all, only to later be deep in conversation about the morality of white privilege, human behavior, and circumstance.

 

There is no doubt. We are being challenged and have some tough choices to make. Do we take care of our own at all costs? Do we take advantage of the situation financially if the opportunity arises? Or do we take this opportunity to rise to the occasion with clarity and grace. Do you have it in you to override your fear (or apathy, or denial, or cynicism) and think clearly about what is essential in this moment for the benefit of all of us? Do you have enough toilet paper? So many questions.

 

As you may have discovered Luma was closed today to all brick and mortar, in-person business. And, like many of my downtown business owners, I and my team are in crisis management mode. Everything is changing, and we don’t know for how long. Yesterday and today I had to lay off our hourly employees. We are supporting them with the best resources we can find right now, but the information is changing every day and there is much uncertainty. Our management team is hard at work on a plethora of unfamiliar and new duties. We are all tackling new challenges, each seems as urgent as the next.

 

During all of this we are finding ourselves emotionally sustained and encouraged by YOU! We have received some exceptional support!

 

  • Someone donated an anonymous membership —1 year paid in full— to another client who will be affected adversely by the shutdown.
  • A remote client signed up for a membership they will never be able to use from afar, just to support our online streaming efforts.
  • Many, many of you have written to say you are allowing your memberships to continue in support of seeing Luma through the crisis.

 

You are sending the sweetest messages, and we are teary with real tears of joy. Thank you for the feedback and appreciation about our attempts at online content. We are hearing you. We are grateful. And THANK YOU. This means so much to us and to our community!

 

We now have a (mostly) complete virtual online schedule, and just today our teachers abandoned all ideas of streaming from our makeshift  ‘studio’ at Luma and braved the challenges of streaming directly from their homes. They have been nimble with the technology, and willing to continue to offer their time and expertise to you, using their own equipment, all while overcoming those weird feelings that come from getting in front of a camera. I cannot thank them enough. They are warriors. If you get a chance, send them your love and appreciation.

 

Today we streamed four classes from Vimeo, and hosted one interactive prenatal support check-in on Zoom. We added this additional platform this week, so that we can have more cross-communication with you during the classes that lend themselves to that…including kids’ programming. Stay tuned!

 

Even if you’ve already been to our schedule page, check it out again. Our full schedule, which will expand next week to include even more offerings, is best accessed on our website. Make this your first stop when finding classes so that you can see our offerings on both platforms.

 

Finally, we have received many requests for a way to contribute to the online content, both from non-members who frequent our center and want to practice from home, and also from people who are far away. We created two options for you. You can now provide Luma a one-time contribution, or become a sustaining member. Again.THANK YOU. We wish to offer these online classes widely and for free during the coronavirus crisis. Everyone should have access. Your contribution will not only help us to sustain these offerings, but it will help us sustain Luma until we can open our doors again.

 

Feeling the love, and sending it right back to you!

 


March 15, 2020

 

I created this video message to go along with the email below. Thank you members for all the ways you are showing support. Let’s keep doing that and more! Take care, be well.

 

Watch video >>>

 


March 14, 2020

 

It is with great sadness and much deliberation that I reach out to you tonight to announce that we will be closing our doors to in-person classes and services at Luma.

 

As you know, up until now, we have been modifying our protocols as we receive updated information about the risk of illness in our community. And I have had conversations with many of you in person about our intention to stay open, even at limited capacity, until it becomes clear that we shouldn’t.

 

I now join many of my colleagues, fellow service providers, and entrepreneurs in recognizing that based on what we’ve seen transpire in other communities, it would be irresponsible not to take every precaution to slow the spread of the coronavirus, and that means limiting exposure to one-another. Unfortunately, Luma is built on the concept of nurturing in-person community and connection. So our business model is not one that can continue as it was designed to during this time. Until we have a handle on what the impact of the arrival of the virus will be in our community, I think it’s best we pause our classes and wellness offerings for now.

 

I have decided to cancel all classes and services at our studio for the next two weeks. We will be continually reevaluating the situation and intend to resume as soon as it is prudent to do so.

 

My staff and I are committed to your health and wellness.

 

We are in this industry because we see self-care as tantamount to caring for others, to caring for each other. We want you to be well. And we want our community to be well. Next week, starting Monday, we will be live-streaming a modified class-schedule from Luma. Many of our teachers have agreed to come onsite and teach to you as if you were there, so that you can continue in your self-care, and so that if you are committed to limiting social contact, you can still remain connected to your teacher, to your fellow practitioners, and to us. We hope to become a positive part of your day at home, and to remain an asset to your ongoing health. We also have our on-demand library, to practice anytime at your discretion. 

 

In my nearly 8 years at Luma, and 3 years on the Board of the Downtown Association, I have learned that small businesses can be fragile entities. Many of the businesses that you frequent downtown are truly labors of love. Entrepreneurs offer meals, retail experiences and services from a place of fierce dedication, vision, and lots of hard work. Our desire is to contribute. We care about your experience within the walls of our establishments. And we care about your experience on the streets, and in the other businesses when you walk out of our doors. For the first time in 7.5 years Luma will be empty. Our sidewalk will be quiet. But we will be there.

 

Though we are not holding classes, we hope you will swing by to say hello. Our retail store will be open while classes are streaming, so you can pick up one of Kaysi’s immune kits, a care package for a friend, or mats and props for your home practice (we will be fully stocked by the end of the week). While you’re downtown, frequent as many local businesses as you can. Pick up take-out, purchase gift-cards for future use. If you feel like you’d rather stay away from people come early, at opening-time, or later in the evening.

 

Finally, if you are among the many who will experience financial hardship due to the dramatic effects this will have on our commerce these next weeks, we are completely understanding of your need to suspend or cancel your membership. However, if you do not expect your financial circumstances to change dramatically, we ask that you please allow your membership to remain active. Many of our employees rely on the income they receive from working for Luma. I would prefer to keep them at work, helping us make our little place even better for you when you return. We want to be here for you on the other side of this. If everyone cancels or suspends we’re not sure we will be able to be.

 

In the meantime, we will be publishing our livestream class-schedule, and working on creating group chats, talks, and hangouts to contribute to your need to stay connected to others during this trying time.

 

Please stay tuned so we can remain connected.

 

Thank you, stay well, and see you soon.


March 12, 2020

 

Many of you have shared feedback that these emails have been helpful and you are appreciating our efforts to keep our community together and as safe as possible, as the news of COVID-19 continues to evolve.

 

Like all of you I have been following the development of the virus in ours and in other communities, and am realizing that regardless of how recommendations change in the coming days, our baseline health is going to become, if it’s not already, more and more important to us. 

 

I don’t usually share things that are shared with me online, because I like to vet them carefully, and I’m not always sure of the source of the information. But I found this interview with Michael Osterholm, an internationally recognized expert in infectious disease epidemiology and the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), very informative. His first piece of advice as to how to optimize our own immune health during this time was to take care of ourselves: continue with our exercise routines, eat well and get plenty of sleep.

 

Here is an update as to how Luma is looking towards continuing to support you in self-care.

 

Ongoing Classes + Props

 

For the time being we are going to continue offer classes at Luma. We are paying close attention to what is unfolding in our community, and are following the guidelines that have been recommended by our local and national institutions, and those of the World Health Organization. Though we will do our best to avoid it, do check our app before heading over to class, as we may have more frequent substitute teachers and class cancellations.

 

Also, for the time being, we will no longer offer renal mats and advise against the use of props during class. If you have your own to bring, please do. Two blocks, a blanket and a strap will easily fit into a tote! If you forget, we have props available in our retail store. Remember, please bring your own mat to practice! MELT rollers and balls will still be available for now and will be cleaned after each use. But it may be time to purchase your own set.

 

Live-Streaming Classes

 

Online streaming is ramping up. Starting this week and next we will be offering select classes online, including my own Breath, Form, & Flow class at 9:30am on M/W/F, and Robin Penney’s Level 1/2 Yoga class at 12:30 pm on M/W. I will do my best to feature at least one of each of our Prenatal and Postnatal Yoga classes next week as well. Please stay tuned.

 

As we get our bearings we will be continually adding classes until we have settled on a more permanent and daily live schedule. For now these classes are free to our Luma members, and we encourage you to share them with your loved ones too. We are in full support of you and your families staying well.

 

You can find our live streaming class options at vimeo.com/lumayoga. We’ll publish a more permanent schedule as soon as we have one!

Expanded Online Practice Library

 

In addition to live classes, we have been starting to expand our on-demand library. These practices include a variety of breathwork, yoga, and meditation practices, some audio and some video. If you can’t join us for a live class (and it’s so great to know you’re there!), you can access guided practices from your home any time of the day.

 

More classes are added all the time, and even our dear Nadine Lollino, who moved to Taos recently, is planning to add some of her classes to our library. If you know her and miss her, send Nadine a thank you; she would love to hear from you. Currently practices feature myself, Robin Penney, Dawn Hayes and a just-recently-added lovely Yoga Nidra with Zoe Kosovic. Thank you teachers!

Immune-Boost Clinics

 

We have scheduled three Immune-Boost Community Acupuncture Clinics with Anne Chiaramonte, L.Ac (who we were sad to say goodbye to as she moved on to open her independent practice, but  who we are thrilled to welcome back to serve our community) and also with local acupuncturist Andrew Porter, L.Ac., who we are welcoming to Luma as our in-house practitioner for acupuncture and more! Please call us or come in to sign up for a clinic.

 

The clinics will be held March 18th, 23rd and 26th. The clinic time schedule can be found here.

Essential Oils Immune Kits

 

I’m a big proponent of essential oils as medicine. Kaysi Contreras, CEOT-450, and Luma’s Studio Manager, has been keeping our air cleaner (and smelling delightful!) at Luma with our diffusers and Luma’s Signature Immune Blend (her creation). I recently asked her to put together an immune and respiratory support kit for me for my home. She has now gathered a handful of kits, and they are available for sale at Luma. Pick yours up quickly! If we run out, we will be taking orders.

 

You can find out more about how essential oils can support your immune system in Kaysi’s blog post (from 2018). She will be updating shortly, so stay tuned!

 

Finally, I hate to say it, but COVID-19 is here. I think it’s time to take the very best care we can of ourselves and also of one-another. Stress and fear cause us to ‘act-out’. When we are feeling stressed and fearful we are not at our best. No meditation is going to prepare us or protect us. But I would like to  invite you to spend some time every day with the Body Scan and Tension Release Meditation. This is one way to become more self-aware so that we may better respond to what is going on around us. This meditation promotes integration between the various regions of the brain, and between the brain and the body. It is from this place of integration that we become more conscious of what motivates us, and more able to make conscious choices as we interact with our environment and with others.

 


March 7, 2020

 

At the time of this writing, we have heard that Santa Cruz has reported its first case of COVID-19. Luma is planning to continue operations as usual while maintaining the best practices I shared with you in an email last Monday (scroll down to March 2 to read).

 

In addition to the things I outlined previously, I have invited teachers to keep the windows open in class, and the staff to keep the doors open to the center. Fresh air is good if we are going to be sweating and breathing together. Bring layers of clothing this week, so you aren’t chilly.

 

And now I have more to share with you.

 

In light of the recent unfoldings in San Francisco, it is possible that soon we will all be advised to stay home and refrain from gathering, even in small groups as much as possible for the next few weeks. 

 

You can imagine what this will mean for all of us. Many of us will be asked to work from home. Schools may close and our children will be there with us. Some of us may find ourselves caring for or worrying about sick family members and friends. With these changes our anxiety levels will rise; and without people to see and places to go, we may also become bored.

 

Meanwhile, our personal health will be among our top priorities.

 

In response to this possibility Luma is looking ahead towards supporting our community (YOU!) through this eventuality. We want you to be well, and stay well. And we want to stay connected to you. If your ‘first place’ is home, and your ‘second place’ is work, for many of you Luma is your ‘third place’. Luma is the place where you connect with friends and take care of yourself. If you have chosen us as your third place, WE THANK YOU. And we want to do our best to continue to serve you.

 

In an effort to keep your world from getting smaller, and to create pathways that enable us to continue to access one-another in community, we are working on a project that we have been meaning to forward for some time. The COVID-19 outbreak has nudged us into high gear. Here is what we’re up to:

 

Introducing Luma Online

1. Live Streaming Classes

 

Very soon we will begin live-streaming some of our classes. If all goes well between now and then, our first live-streamed class will be Breathe Form & Flow with me Wednesday morning at 9:30 am. The plan is to start with my classes. (Dear students, please be forgiving…we will be the guinea pigs!) As we get the hang of it we hope to add classes daily. For now, all Luma members will have this online offering included in your current membership. 

 

In order to expedite this process we will start simple and grow from there. Will the quality be perfect? Not necessarily. But will you continue to have access to Luma’s exceptional teachers and classes? YES! We already have several teachers on board, and are committed to offering you as many classes as we logistically can on our online platform. We’re working out the kinks now, so stay tuned. Details will follow. 

 

As students and members in our community, I hope you’ll be patient and supportive as we experiment with how to do this with the least disruption for those of you who are present for our initial runs. Don’t worry, you won’t have to be captured in any camera views if you don’t wish to. The hope is that it feels good to everyone to know there are others practicing with you ‘out there’. 

 

2. Expanded Practice Library

 

In case you haven’t noticed, we have been building an Online Practice Library. We have several videos available featuring myself and Dawn for both yoga and breathwork. We also have two of Max Strom’s Breathe to Heal courses. Our hope is to continue to build this resource as best we can, so that you may access practices at your convenience. If you have tried any out so far, your feedback is greatly appreciated!

 

3. Community Online ‘Meet-Ups’ 

 

We will also be able to continue to offer opportunities to ‘meet-up’ virtually. We want to keep our community offerings, such as the New Mama and Baby Support Circle, even if we can’t physically be together. If things get tough, there will be opportunities to develop virtual communities for talks, and hang-outs. I welcome your ideas.

 

Luma’s motivation is to provide the shelter of sustained community in what could otherwise become an environment of stress, isolation and fear. Perhaps there is a silver lining to all of this. Should we be asked to stay home in order to stay well, we may all find ourselves with more time on our hands coupled with a greater interest in optimizing our personal health. 

 

Perhaps there is an opportunity here for each of us to dive more deeply into our practice, and the physical and psychological benefits it provides us. I believe this is a time where, more than ever, we may find ourselves in a position where we, as a community, can both come together and nurture one-another, while still prioritizing our own health and wellbeing from home. 

 

Things are changing fast. I thank you in advance for your patience as we navigate this new paradigm in the best way we know how.

 


March 2, 2020

As you know, Luma exists to serve you in your ongoing health and wellness.  With this in mind we are following the spread of the emerging respiratory virus COVID-19, or coronavirus, closely. We have always been an organization devoted to acting conscientiously and responsibly. We see ourselves as an essential resource to our clients —a place where people come for services that support individual wellbeing, but also a place where people access support through community and learning.

 

As a Certified Green Business that provides activities for children we have always aspired to provide you with the cleanest, safest, and healthiest environment possible for you, and your loved ones and friends. With that intention, as with seasons past, we are taking this current cold and flu season seriously.

 

Because of this new concern we want to share with you the current CDC recommendations for individuals and businesses that can help slow or stop the spread of respiratory viruses of all kinds, including the coronavirus should it reach our community. Our hope is that all of us can be on the same page and collectively implement best practices. We also wish to share with you some of the regular precautions that you may not be aware we are doing behind the scenes at Luma, and that you can expect will continue to serve you through the coming weeks.

Best Practices for All of Us

  • If you are ill, stay home. This is the #1 most effective way to reduce the spread of illness. Luma supports and encourages all staff to call in sick if they are experiencing symptoms of any kind. We will do our best to find subs for classes or wellness appointments, but please be patient if your class is canceled due to an illness. I suggest downloading Luma’s app so you have easy access to our schedule in case of last minute cancellations. Likewise, if you are feeling under the weather, stay home and rest.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and throw the tissue in the trash. In the absence of a tissue sneeze or cough into your elbow, not into your hands. Luma is fully stocked with tissues.
  • If you have a lingering cough, but know you are over your illness, please let the teacher or provider know. If your child is still clearing mucus from a previous illness, which can last for some time, it can make other parents feel uneasy. Be mindful about spreading not just an illness, but concerns about illnesses that might discourage others from feeling comfortable taking advantage of the services you are eager to return to.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. 20 seconds is about how long it takes you to sing the “Happy Birthday” song. Wash especially before or after eating, going to the bathroom, blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not available, use hand-sanitizer. Luma will be temporarily replacing our natural sanitizers with products that contain at least 60% alcohol content to increase effectiveness.
  • Routinely clean freshly touched surfaces in your home and work environments including keyboards, phones, doorknobs, toys & tools and instruments. Luma staff is wiping surfaces regularly and often with sanitizing cleaners that contain at least 60% alcohol content, including all of the Playschool and lounge toys.

Yoga Mat & Prop Alert! 

  • We at Luma have always encouraged clients to bring their own yoga mats to class for sanitary reasons. Though we do offer mats to rent, sharing mats, even when they are wiped after each use is less than optimal. Luma provides an anti-microbial mat cleaner with witch-hazel and essential oils for wiping your own or our mats after class, but we strongly recommend you bring your own mat to class. Ecologically sustainable mats are available for sale in our retail store.
  • Props add significantly to your practice experience. When practicing yoga, including when using props, avoid touching your face (this includes alternate nostril breathing). It is a good practice to bring a hand-towel to class and use it to cover surfaces where you intend to rest your face, as in prone restorative positions.

Your Mental Health

I am guessing I am not the only one on edge as I watch the developments of the COVID-19 story. New information about the virus and its reach are finding me every day. We all respond to events like this in different ways, ranging from complacency or a casual ‘wait and see’ attitude, to intense fear and anxiety. Regardless, in times like these our yoga and mindfulness training becomes even more relevant to us. We are not in control of the circumstance(s) in which we find ourselves, but we can make choices as to how we will engage.