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Building Community by Valerie Moselle

Dear Luma Community,

 

One year ago I wrote a letter to you, our Luma community of practitioners, clients, and students to give you a little background into some changes we made to our business in order to foster sustainability and better support our Mission:

 

To provide people of all ages and abilities opportunities to access to tools that enable them the ability to enjoy the experience of being fully alive.  Not perfect, but physically embodied, emotionally intact, intelligently engaged, energetically vibrant, and awake to community and nature.

 

At the time it felt important to share our decision-making process with you, and explain some of the changes we made to our business model.  I would now like to thank you for your support and patience during our transition last year, update you as to our progress, and welcome you into 2019 with Luma!

 

I am happy to share that exactly one year later (and I’m hesitant to say this out loud lest we jinx it!) we can see that our efforts seem to be working.  The membership model we implemented seems to be providing our center the stability we were seeking. This has given us the leeway to improve some of our services, maintain our space, and retain and grow our faculty of incredible teachers and practitioners.  In addition to that, our reporting shows us that you are practicing more consistently.  Our mutual community is more committed to ongoing self-care, and less transitory than it was one year ago.  That is exactly what we were going for. From my perspective, half-way through our 7th year of business, Luma finally feels as though it’s earned its home in our community.  We are now a little seasoned, and like all of us…only getting better with age!

 

Of course, I hope you have chosen us because we offer an exceptional service that is both affordable and supportive of your goals for yourself and your family.  On the surface we think you come to Luma for better health and an opportunity to access something soul-nourishing, be it in a class, through bodywork, or by way of the other services we offer.  But I know that what’s actually happening is more synergistic.

 

According to experts, community ties, as measured by the number of in-person interactions we have with other people in any given day, have a direct impact on our sense belonging, and directly contribute to our happiness.  When you bring your kindness and goodwill into the walls of our little building, it bounces around in there…touching us and the others that happen to be there when you are. We share in your smiles, laughter, casual exchanges, and occasional tears.  In the moments you are with us you let us into your day; and in the little bit of time you spend with us, some magic happens.

 

You may not know this, but this aspect of our business is nourishing to all of us who work there.  It’s value goes well beyond the more transactional nature of our service-to-client relationship. Our staff regularly talks about how they love working at Luma because of the community!  Not only do those of us who support Luma’s functioning on any given day feel it, but your presence nourishes our other clients as well.  The children at Luma can feel it. You are our community, and literally, our joy.

 

So, thank you for weathering our clumsy start-up hiccups, our transitions, and mistakes.  Thank you for weathering the construction (ours and others). Thank you for being patient with the times we’re away when we need to take time off.   Thank you for being forgiving of the street noise that travels in from outside, and our noise that travels in from the other rooms. Thank you for your patience with the schedule changes, and changes to our business model as we try to find our way.  We know we are far from perfect, and that all of these inconveniences impact you.

 

Our original desire with Luma was to create a place where new families and people with children could come for support with their personal health and wellbeing.  In the past years I have come to see that what we really wanted was a Community Center. Whereas traditionally yoga was practiced in isolation, and many of us inherit the notion that self-care is either sacrilegious, against our work ethic, or both, Luma exists as a place where self-care can happen in the presence of others, including our children, partners, and parents.  Here we provide a space for people of all ages and in all phases of life  —where strangers have the potential to become casual acquaintances, and casual acquaintances have the potential to become friends.   

 

Anyone in business will tell you it is a challenge to serve a broad base…it means we are not capitalizing on our ‘niche’.  I acknowledge Luma is only occasionally succeeding in getting our services to people in need in our broader community; and there are big problems regarding access and privilege in the yoga-self-help-wellness world that we all need to address.  But with your help we have succeeded in growing a solid community, and a diverse community space. Both seem to matter to all of us.

 

There is more work to do in 2019.  My goals for Luma this year are to continue to cultivate stability while we allow some of the seeds we have planted to germinate.  As we slide into Spring we are working hard to improve our offerings for you:

 

  • We are poised to continue a strong line-up of exceptional workshops meant to address the diverse needs of our clients around a variety of topics, such as Yoga & Movement, Birth & Baby, Kids Workshops, Parenting Workshops, and Special Events.  
  • We have recently expanded our Wellness offerings to include regular Acupuncture Clinics, Lymphatic Drainage Massage, and CBD supplements and treatments,
  • Behind the scenes we are currently redeveloping our Teacher Trainings and Practice Enrichment Programs.  

 

As a gift to our broader community we operate as a Certified Green Business and are committed to continuing to provide:

 

  • Monthly Unlimited passes to over 50 non-profit organizations seeking funding through community auctions and events
  • Donated classes to schools and non-profit organizations providing services to underserved populations in our county
  • Donated yoga mats to organizations such as The Bay School in SC for individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities
  • Regular benefit classes to collect proceeds for State and National charities such as for the Northern California Fire Relief Fund and the tragic Tallahassee shooting in Florida.
  • FREE weekly Postnatal Support Groups for new Mothers
  • FREE weekly Yoga & Mindfulness for Cancer classes co-sponsored by PAMF
  • Discounts to employees of over 10 Community Partners (businesses we partner with that serve downtown, including Employees of the City and County of Santa Cruz) so those of us that work downtown can opt in to Luma classes and services.
  • Discounted memberships to members of our Community who would otherwise be unable to access our services due to financial concerns

 

Modern life is tricky, and seems to move so fast.  Each of us is in a state of adaptation, never quite knowing whether we are ‘doing it right’.  No matter what we are trying to manifest, professionally, personally, or within our relationships, it seems many of us feel we ‘should’ be doing more, and that we ‘should’ be doing better.  As we all negotiate this wonderful and weird thing we call life, my ongoing hope is that Luma can be a part of what helps you to feel grounded, centered, and more able to access your inner resources.  My sincere hope is that Luma will serve as a ‘home-away-from-home’ for you, and as one of the places where you access the nourishment of community, so that you can emerge from our doors refreshed and ready to continue on with the good work you do in the world.  

 

I think I can speak for all of us at Luma in saying:  We are so happy to launch 2019 with you, and hope we continue to have the opportunity to serve.  

 

In Peace,

 

Valerie