Owner/Founder of Spark Yoga, Steph Young, Central Coast, CA USA

“This has taught me that every experience, good or bad is an opportunity; To get creative, to better understand your purpose/intentions, to recognize relationships that are important to you, to learn something new. If you focus on the negative of a situation, that’s what you’ll get out of it.”

Steph Young

A ray of pure sunshine, Steph Young was was originally born in Long Beach, CA and raised in Templeton, CA. She currently resides on Central Coast and is the founder of Spark Yoga, a hot yoga studio in San Luis Obispo with an incredibly supportive local community. The studio has been open for over six years now, and is forever evolving.

Steph’s main goal is always to ensure that the studio, staff, and members never lose their sense of wonder and curiosity! “One of the biggest values that my team and community carry is integrity; Of movement, mindset, friendship, and communication.”

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Steph pivoted quickly to begin offering virtual classes so that the community could continue to practice together. She shared that her studio had already been thinking of adding online classes to their roster since it’s located in the college town and is home to thousands of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo students who become attached to this fabulous group of yogis and the beautiful studio — before being forced to relocate following their graduation from the university. 

In addition to offering virtual classes to connect with former full-time members, Spark has been able to use this opportunity to meet new subscribers through its vast network of devoutly advocating yogis. Through these dark times, Steph and Spark Yoga have cultivated a beacon of hope and light for people practicing together across the country — so of course, she plans to continue growing their online presence once the studio reopens for in-person sessions.

Read more about Steph and Spark Yoga’s COVID Chronicle journey, below:

Graceful hearts

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced during quarantine/the COVID crisis?

“The biggest challenge I’ve experienced beyond monetary distress is the distance between my members and staff. Although some of my staff are still able to come into the facility to conduct our live videos, it’s not the intimate connection and energy that was once felt when our studio was open for business.

Navigating through keeping our members engaged while attempting to not feel pressured to do it all has been an interesting rather difficult transition. The most important thing I’ve found is to be as transparent as possible and be available to hold space for anyone who craves a conversation, an update, or virtual class with their favorite instructor.”

Is there anything you feel that this experience has taught you that you’d like to share as inspiration?

“This has taught me that every experience, good or bad is an opportunity; To get creative, to better understand your purpose/intentions, to recognize relationships that are important to you, to learn something new. If you focus on the negative of a situation, that’s what you’ll get out of it.

Once you shift your mindset and recognize the abundance around you it can kickstart so much growth and build relationships. I’m not saying it’s easy or something you can master by any means, but it is such a significant perspective to adopt, especially during crises.” 

Has this experience in any way changed the way that you order your priorities in life?  

“My priorities have remained the same due to my steadfastness in staying true to my values. My family’s and my own mental health is a huge priority for me. The livelihood of my staff and business is something I will forever strive to observe and be mindful of. The quality of classes and production for my members and open communication is also huge for me.”

Courtesy of Spark Yoga

Where are you living right now? Is this where you permanently reside or is it a temporary living situation due to the pandemic? Who have you been quarantining with?

“I am still residing on the central coast where my business is also. I feel extremely fortunate to be able to stay in my hometown and visit my place of business whenever necessary.”

What has your community been doing to fight the rate of transmission? 

“My community has been very compliant to the orders of both our state and local government. We’ve adopted suggestions given by our officials to help slow the spread and be mindful of those around us who are immunocompromised.” 

What has been your general daily routine so far during the pandemic?

“My routine is typically going into the studio to teach or take a live class in the morning. Once finished, I’ll head home and begin uploading the videos (sometimes editing them if necessary) on our on-demand Vimeo platform.

The rest of the day is spent responding to emails, building the schedule for the following week, creating social media content, and drafting email campaigns. There is always plenty to do, even when closed. Some days I feel busier than I was when the studio is open!”

Socially distant virtual class filming sessions, Courtesy of @sparkyogaslo

What have you been doing to keep your spirits up on a day-to-day basis?

“This is a challenging one for me, as sometimes I find it very difficult to maintain a positive headspace. Every day is different, however I find that sunshine, time with my family & staff, and physical activity really boosts my mood and melts away the worry and sadness.”

Has this travel ban/quarantine situation impacted any important plans you had laid out for the near future?

“Unfortunately yes. My husband and I planned a 3 week vacation to Italy in April which didn’t happen. We look forward to going back hopefully next year when things have settled.” 

Follow Spark on Instagram and Facebook to read all about realigning to become your best self, and for the funniest memes about Taco Tuesday. Cover photo courtesy of Spark Yoga and Tayler Enerle Photography.

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Interested in nominating someone with a stellar story for the COVID Chronicles? Submit them, here.

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