Robert (Bobby) Kittleman currently lives in Orange County, CA with his wonderful wife and two boys. He was born, however, in a small Texas town near SpaceX's new launch site. It was here that he developed a deep love of the Houston Astros Baseball team, which could be described less as an obsession and more as a way of life. After making his way to California many years ago, Bobby discovered the practice of yoga and began taking lessons from Ra Yoga's co-owner Jenny. Eventually the two joined together and brought their own community centered yoga studio to life. Bobby's favorite yoga pose is Camel Pose as it embodies his belief that opening your heart requires a great deal of trust, but is always worth the effort. As a business owner working through a pandemic, he has been recently known to say "if you are going to own a business you are going to have to work A LOT, so make sure to tell lots of jokes along the way."
- Stay Focused On Your Mission
o As a yoga studio owner, this year has thrown out more curveballs and changes than I ever could have expected. Yet, what has helped us to rise above the chaos is to stay as focused as possible. Regardless of COVID, our mission continues to be creating a safe and inclusive community driven space and I try to continually remind both myself and my staff of this truth. It doesn't matter if that space is inside, outside, or online – our core values and intentions remain the same, which helps everything seem a little less overwhelming and easier to accomplish.
- Customers Are The Heart Of Everything
o While much of our communication and interaction used to take place in-person, COVID has taught us to use every method of communication possible to update our customers frequently. Our community has been a huge source of support and they deserve as much transparency as possible, even when that news isn't always happy (like closing indoor operations time and time again). Throughout this difficult time we have formed even deeper bonds of trust with our customers by showing our vulnerability, and maintaining an understanding and heartfelt approach to business.
- Maximize Operational Efficiency
o Limited capacity classes, reduced budget, and decreased staff means that we are ultimately trying to do more with less. To ensure that customers have the safest environment possible, we have overcome this challenge by focusing on being as operationally efficient as possible. We have detailed checklists, ways to track task completion online, extensive cleaning procedures, and temperature checks happening like clockwork. While it took some time to adjust, by clearly outlining our expectations for staff they have no issues getting everything done.
We have continued to grow our business by moving much of our attention toward online platforms including social media, live streaming, emails and newsletters to both maintain customer engagement and expand our existing client base. This flexibility to connect with customers online has allowed us to actually expand to customers who live outside of the area and wouldn't normally be able to participate.
Ra Yoga Studios currently has four open locations in Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Irvine, and Long Beach which are all following stringent COVID safety practices. In addition to our physical locations, our extensive online streaming platform Ra Yoga Live boasts 6 live classes per day, with the past two days of live streams always available to view. Whether it is in-person, or online, we warmly invite you to join our community, and breathe in light.