Y2 Yoga is a studio known for their sweat dripping challenging flows in Charlotte, North Carolina. The studio culture is shaped by its lighthearted approach that comes straight from owner Tanner Bazemore. While visiting a Manduka Studio in Kingston, TN- I met someone who had never taught yoga and opened a studio after feeling so at home and inspired by the Y2 approach. Read Tanner’s approach to yoga is and how it has shaped his studio below.
What personal philosophy shaped your approach to the Y2 Yoga culture?
Tanner: I have always been extroverted, and a little “out there” compared to the norm. I was the class clown at my high school and later on went to do stand-up comedy before turning to acting. After teaching for a few years, it dawned on me that other people were not comfortable being themselves and would water down, or completely cover up, who they really were in order to fit in or worse; try to satisfy the expectation that the people in their lives had for them and how they should be.
Being irreverent stems from poking a little fun at everyone’s beliefs (in EVERYTHING) so they don’t take themselves so seriously, and they can also find common ground with others who might have different beliefs than them. Yoga brings people of all sorts of people together and a lot of the friends you make in yoga, you may not have ever met if it weren’t for taking classes together. I am the antidote to seriousness in yoga!
Y2’s slogan is “Shut Up and Flow”- how does this phrase guide classes?
Tanner: I had a survey on our website for years that asked one question: “what is the most important trait a teacher must have”. There were 4 choices: the ability to sequence and lead a class, assisting, personality, and experience. The most selected was the ability to sequence and lead a class, followed by assisting, personality, and experience with the least picks. So, that is what I focused on. I didn’t spend any time reading little motivational quotes. Don’t get me wrong, I love a little intention setting for class and love hearing an uplifting quote. I love those teachers that do that in an authentic way; that’s just not me.
I mostly tell my students to shut up, play loud music, and lead them through intuitive and intelligent sequences that make them feel like they are in a dance they can get lost in. What is necessary is that the students get out of their heads, into their bodies, move, and breathe. Just shut up and flow and change will happen!
You’ve broken some unspoken “rules” of yoga in your mission to remain fully authentic- has it been worth it?
Tanner: I replaced positive quotes with jokes, self-deprecating stories about my childhood, and other musings that are completely irrelevant to yoga. I can’t tell you how many negative reviews I have gotten, or my studio has gotten sole because the classes are too packed, too hard, too hot, and too loud. The thing I love to point out when I read reviews that say it’s too packed is that there is a reason it is packed: it’s REALLY GOOD YOGA! I wouldn’t be able to build a giant studio if it wasn’t packed! I don’t candy coat things, talk in a soothing voice, or tell people everything is going to be okay, AND, I also don’t say things that I would never say outside of a yoga studio either. I also don’t offer a lot of advice because frankly, I don’t think I’m very qualified to give any advice.
A core value at Y2 is to be unapologetically true to yourself because at the end of your life, you’re never going to regret being you who really are, however, you may regret not being who you are because you think that made others more comfortable.