Rachel Braafhart barely had any sleep the night before she introduced the Newton community to its first yoga class at the newly opened Re-Wire Yoga Studio.
Although she had been tracking comments on the studio’s Facebook page and knew she would have a few students show up to the July 30 opening, the owner and lead yoga instructor was nervous to jumpstart her first flow — a 5:30 a.m. class, no less. Sure enough, her worries were put at ease when she was greeted by her first influx of yoga-curious guests 20 minutes before class started.
“We had 10 people show up,” Braafhart said. “That was a huge relief. I was a little bit nervous, a little on edge, not really knowing how people are going to respond to this space. I wanted people to appreciate the amount of work that’s been put into it by me and by family and friends, and to really feel that we had created a space for them.”
Located in a suite inside an old storage space in Maytag Building 2 along West Fourth Street North, the yoga studio has ample room for courses led by Braafhart and yoga instructor Savannah Wood. By the end of the first Monday morning flow, Braafhart felt much more relaxed and began to settle into her new space comfortably.
"I started realizing this is my studio. This is where I am teaching classes and offering this service to people," she said.
When all four Monday classes concluded, Braafhart was wiped, but she was also very pleased that 60 people showed up to Re-Wire Yoga Studio, more than she had anticipated. Wood also taught full classes during her shift at the Newton studio. Guests, Braafhart said, were supportive of the new business and enjoyed the space, many of whom promised to bring their friends for future courses.
That is exactly what Braafhart is hoping for. In addition to introducing Newton residents to a full-fledged yoga studio, she wants a holistic wellness community to sprout and thrive. However, Braafhart admits she was a little skeptical of the idea at first.
“You never know with rural areas,” she said. “I would say in the last couple years there’s been a really big shift in Newton. We’re seeing new businesses coming in and people wanting things to come into town and wanting to not have to travel and go out of town to reach other places.”
Braafhart knew a small audience might be attracted to a local yoga studio, noting that area gyms occasionally offered yoga or yoga-Pilates classes. Braafhart asked herself: Is Newton too rural or too small for a yoga studio?
With those uncertainties in mind, finally making the decision to open Re-Wire Yoga Studio felt like a leap of faith for Braafhart. After her Thursday morning class, she said a total of 160 people had attended some kind of course at the Maytag Building 2 space.
Re-Wire Yoga Studio’s schedule, Braafhart said, will change from month to month. To better introduce Newton to the yoga studio, August classes are all beginner friendly.
Eventually, courses will become more advanced. Braafhart will also hold breath and balance workshops and specialty yoga classes to offer some variety. Since Re-Wire is still early in its creation, Braafhart said times are flexible and susceptible to change to better fit a Newton audience’s schedule.
Dream come true
Owning a small business has been a dream of Braafhart’s for a long time, although she never expected that business to be a yoga studio. Prior to opening Re-Wire, her expertise was mainly in food service. After earning a certification in culinary nutrition, she thought her first business venture would have been a small coffee shop or a food truck.
“This was kind of a little bit of a surprise for me,” she said. “I’m looking forward to seeing it play out because it is a dream come true opening a small business. Even if, for some reason, we had to close our doors tomorrow it would still be worth it to me because we got this far. At least I know I can come that far and open a business.”
Mainly using social media pages like Facebook and Instagram to promote the studio and its offerings, Braafhart said she’s seen a fair bit of growth since Re-Wire opened. From what she’s heard from her students, the word is getting out.
After finishing her training in early May, Braafhart originally wanted to instruct yoga classes around town, rent a room and feature a handful of classes as a side job.
“I started looking for spaces and all of them were falling through or no one would get back to me. Nothing was working out,” Braafhart said. “I came and toured through this building ... and I thought this could be a really beautiful room. I realized if I was going to go through all of the work of transforming a space that I just needed to be opening a studio. I can’t just feature a few classes every now and then.”
Braafhart realized how much she had grown to love teaching. Now that she had the space, the resources, the training and the gumption to follow through with her plan, all she needed was a name to set the tone of her business. Searching for a deeper meaning, Braafhart eventually settled on Re-Wire.
“Re-Wire defines what yoga stood for more. Yoga was a really holistic approach to wellness that I needed at a time where I was having a lot of health complications. So it helped me to re-wire my physical holding patterns, creating a gentler approach to physical exercise and physical wellness,” Braafhart said. “It helped me re-wire spiritual patterns and emotional patterns.”
The name also fits in perfectly with the industrial backdrop of Maytag Building 2 in which Re-Wire currently resides. That, too, was intentional.
“I wanted it to fit the space. I wanted people to walk in and go, ‘Oh, this name makes sense,’” Braafhart said. “It also represents a little of what’s happening with these buildings. New life being brought in. Re-wiring of new electrical current, new things coming in and revitalizing something that used to be.”
Moving forward, Braafhart is excited to meet and interact with new people and to watch them implement learned yoga practices off the mat.
“That’s the ultimate goal,” she said. “If you’re coming in and your practice only stays here, then I haven’t done my job. We want you to be able to improve your body in a way that it’s functional yoga.”
Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or firstname.lastname@example.org