How one recent Ohio State graduate is keeping her favorite yoga studio alive.
You never know where life is going to take you after graduation. If you are an engineer, you might be hoping to land a job with a big time construction company, or perhaps you are looking to design the next space car for Tesla. If you are in the medical field, you might be sending in applications to one of the many hospitals within Columbus.
But for Alice Gantman, a 2018 nutrition science graduate of Ohio State, sometimes the first big job finds you.
Gantman had been practicing yoga for about five years when she came to Ohio State in 2013. That’s what led her to Thank Studio which quickly became her favorite place to do yoga.
Soon after, Gantman became a regular at Thank Studio. She practiced there for five years, worked her way towards becoming a certified instructor, and just generally fell in love with the space she was frequenting. It was when she found out in May that her favorite studio would be closing that her life would change. Instead of letting it fall to the wayside, Gantman took a leap of faith and offered to buy the space. Her reasoning? It just felt right.
“It was a huge transition in my life,” she explained. “Finally graduating, you know, getting a new business, a new job entirely, moving to a new place. So it was just a huge season of change and it was really exciting. There were so many moving parts in a lot of different areas, but it was definitely worth it.”
And thus, Heartfelt Yoga Studio was born.
“When I think of the clients I want to serve, I just want them to be good humans. People that are nice and want to be there and practice yoga.” — Alice Gantman, owner of Heartfelt Yoga Studio
Although she had no prior experience, Gantman always knew she one day wanted to own a business and had already began preparing. But there’s only so much you can plan for, and now she’s on her own, figuring it out as she goes.
“My parents have definitely been a huge help, [the previous owner] was a huge help, but most of it was kind of on my own,” Gantman said. “I love to read and since I knew I wanted to own my own business eventually I had already started learning things on my own and doing research on my own.”
The first month of running her very own yoga studio was less focused on new techniques to teach classes with and more on the back-end of things. Well, that and making sure that whatever she is doing at her business is legal.
But she never expected to be in this position so soon.
“It was something I thought I’d do after grad school or a few years after that. This just kind of sped it up a bit.”
She began recruiting ambassadors from Ohio State to incorporate the student voice into her studio. Having just graduated, she said she wanted to provide student deals, such as the $55 a month for unlimited classes package, because she knew how hard students work and wanted to give them their own space to relax for a low cost.
Gantman keeps her normal prices low as well, such as the $5 drop-in classes, so people from any background or socioeconomic status can have a place to practice. She also started implementing what she calls “community foundations,” a monthly donation-based day of yoga meant to break down financial barriers.
“To me it doesn’t matter if you show up in a Mercedes or walk to class with a $5 yoga mat from Goodwill. That’s not important to me,” Gantman said. “When I think of the clients I want to serve, I just want them to be good humans. People that are nice and want to be there and practice yoga.”
Now in her fourth month of ownership, Gantman said she has been gradually incor-porating her vision for the studio.
“I tried to move kind of slowly and start to slowly incorporate more of where I want the studio to go so people didn’t really feel overwhelmed or don’t feel like they’re just like losing the space.”
She said she wanted to keep the “skeleton” of Thank Studio, such as the vinyasa flow, the creative sequencing, and the amazing instructors, but wanted to take the studio in the direction of “community, authenticity
Those three words are the channels she wants to rebrand move her studio through.
Gantman said someone once called the studio “magic” in an online review, something she wholeheartedly agreed with. The studio’s mantra then became, “come experience the magic.”
“The community is great with the instructors there and also those who attend. With authenticity, it’s a space that allows you to be yourself and have your own practice that is supportive to you,” Gantman said. “And originality, seeing the unique version of who you are.”
Heartfelt Yoga Studio is located on 29 E. Fifth Ave. and yoga sessions start as early as 5:45 a.m. and as late as 8 p.m.