This is the story… of a girl named Lucky. Wait, no, sorry, that was Britney Spears. This is the story of how two best friends started a business to change other peoples’ lives for the better and unknowingly did the same for themselves.
It was 2016 and we were on opposite ends of the spectrum. Bridget got engaged on New Years Eve and by March, Justine had broken up with her long term boyfriend. Our good friend, Kevin Corey (a very well respected yoga teacher, if you don’t know him) was starting his first 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training (YTT). Bridget knew she was immediately on board, but Justine needed some coaxing. After a few weeks of undeniable signs, Justine decided this was an amazing opportunity she couldn’t let pass by and committed.
We went into YTT looking for spiritual growth, to advance our practice, and to learn more about what exactly yoga is. What we came out with was WAY more than we could have ever expected. We were transformed from stressed out, insecure, unfulfilled, ignorant, lazy humans into well, okay we still experience all of these things from time to time, but we learned how to better cope with them.
We learned how to observe our feelings without giving them control. We learned to see things from different perspectives. We learned how to breathe, or rather, how to control our breathing. We learned we have all the tools within us to calm ourselves, to motivate ourselves, to fulfill ourselves. We learned to trust the path, to trust the universe, and to trust where we always are on this life journey.
When we started YTT, we went in wanting to learn a lot, but never wanted to teach. Just because it’s called “Yoga Teacher Training” doesn’t mean that everyone goes in wanting to teach yoga. At the beginning, either of us wanted anything to do with teaching a class. ABSOLUTELY NOT. We didn’t think we would ever have the knowledge or experience to be able to teach yoga. And let me tell you… the nerves you feel before teaching your first yoga class makes you want to vomit. And that’s not something you get excited to experience again.
There wasn’t an instant “I have to teach yoga!” moment for us, per se. It happened gradually. It happened when we started noticing positive changes in ourselves from what we were learning in training. And we knew we had to tell everyone about it. We had to share this “secret of yoga” with everyone. Yet, explaining yoga and its benefits to people is like describing a childhood memory. So we knew we’d have to teach and let people learn for themselves.
Through the 6 months of training, we learned what styles of teaching we were good at, the importance of the perfectly curated playlist, and that we were some really unconventional teachers. Through our service projects, we learned what kind of teaching environment we really thrived in – probably because we already felt comfortable there.
We both worked at a brewery (as well as our other full time jobs) while in training. The brewery had plenty of open space, so that’s where Justine held and taught her first public yoga class. After that, we switched off weeks teaching there then serving our students beer and chatting. This was when it sunk in that we loved the community and connection everyone was getting after class. That’s where the ball started rolling for Bendy Jane Yoga.
We started as Yoga by Bridget & Justine and it wasn’t an initial hit. We had events that we poured our time, energy and money into and no one would show up. We worked with venues that did us absolutely no favors beyond giving us space – and in one instance, not even that. But that’s a story for another time.
Despite our rough start, we pressed on. We found more venues. We tried out all forms of marketing, even down to making flyers and posting them up all around LBI and Philly. We eventually created our name, Bendy Jane Yoga, to share our mission of proving yoga is for everyone. We rebranded on January 1, 2018. And somewhere along the way, we got this amazing community surrounding us with support and love from all angles.
We started as an idea in a kitchen in Manahawkin. And now we host events from Wildwood to Asbury Park to Princeton to Philly and all in between. AND we opened our first brick and mortor on March 1, 2019! If this is where we are after 1 full year as Bendy Jane, we can only imagine to possibilities of the future! We can’t wait to share the rest of our journey with you.