It Started with a Blog: Laura McCorry

Flashback from founders Amy and Michael Caldwell Assistant Office Manager Laura McCorry on how she joined Yoga One to nurture a family-owned business and a thriving yoga community.

You probably don’t know me. I practiced with Yoga One last week, but the last time I set foot in the studio was in 2014, at the old Downtown location. I have never been to Mission Hills, yet I see it and think about it, literallyevery day.

Let’s rewind.

In 2010, I moved to San Diego with my spouse. Ready for a change of career and a fresh start, I enrolled in a yoga teacher training program. Yoga had always been there for me – through the tumultuous final years of high school, to the liberation of college life, and the isolation of being a young military spouse.

I finished my 200 hour training in 2011 and threw myself into the San Diego yoga market. If there was a renowned teacher, I would go to their class. I worked out trade agreements with three different studios in exchange for classes and exposure, hoping one of them would hire me to teach.

Then a friend told me about Yoga One. She said it was a great studio, highly respected, and that the owners were the real deal.

On their website at the time, after all the teacher bios, there was a line – “do you want to see yourself here? We’re always looking for authentic and experienced instructors.”

I had been practicing yoga for seven years, in four different states with countless teachers. But I had only been teaching for six months and I wasn’t getting the experience I needed to truly grow as a teacher. Imposter syndrome reared its discouraging head.

A few weeks later, I got a round robin interview with Amy Caldwell. I was elated when I got their email response – “we think your teaching style and Yoga One are a good match.”

I started subbing for Yoga One. I proposed a trade in exchange for classes, but instead of front desk work or cleaning, I wanted something more in line with my skill set. I offered to write a blog for Yoga One and Michael enthusiastically endorsed the project. Eventually, I got a regular class on the schedule, then I started teaching corporate classes for Yoga One.

For years, Amy and Michael had run a tight ship, keeping expenses low while trying to reach as many people as possible. It wasn’t just a business, they truly wanted to see more people thrive through the practice of yoga, just like they had.

But the time had come for the business to grow. By August of 2012, our smart, savvy, uber-friendly office manager Missy had more work than she could handle alone. I joined the tiny staff of Yoga One as assistant office manager, working in the retrofitted dumbwaiter shaft turned office, affectionately called the Nook.

It was everything I had ever wanted. I was doing meaningful, paid work, and with people that I truly admired.

Then in the spring of 2014, I moved away from San Diego. I lost my classes, my students, my administrative position, and worst of all, I lost working alongside my friends. It was the closest thing to a career I had ever experienced, and it was all gone.

All except the blog. Yoga One Blog became my thread of connection to the vibrant community Amy, Michael, and Missy were building. I checked in with Michael once a month or so, mostly over email. It was a shadow of what I once had, but it was real. And it lasted.

Fast forward to January, 2020. Michael called and asked if I’d like to return to the Yoga One staff, working remotely to facilitate opening the Mission Hills location. I had barely begun when March 2020 upended the whole world with the spread of Covid-19. Already familiar with the Zoom platform, I suggested Yoga One use their video chat to broadcast yoga classes to students at home. We transitioned the entire schedule to virtual classes in just two days.

These days, my role at Yoga One is mostly behind the scenes. I manage the blog, our social media schedule, and the On-Demand video library. Like a sous-chef, I do a lot of prepping to lighten the load for Amy, Michael, and Missy. Not only do I enjoy my work, I love working alongside these amazing humans I’ve been blessed to call friends for over a decade.

Posted in Yoga Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Finding Our OM: Welcome Missy

Flashback from founders Amy and Michael Caldwell Office Manager Missy DiDonato on how she joined Yoga One to nurture a family-owned business and a thriving yoga community.

Yoga found me in Kentucky, of all places. It was 1997 and I was going through the trials and tribulations of being a young teen. I needed a way to channel the pain and angst I felt, so I tried many of the worst avenues – drugs, self-harm, etc.

Nobody could tell me what to do. Yet somehow I knew that the more harmful choices wouldn’t give me what I needed long term.

My mom had a yoga VHS tape. One day, I popped it in. I practiced on the carpet of our living room. I loved stretching and moving my body according to the rhythm of my breath.

We moved back to California two years later. I practiced yoga through high school and into college. Yoga offered me more than temporary relief. 

I started to think yoga might play a bigger role in my life. I began a two-year yoga certification through UCSD in San Diego and became an official yoga teacher in 2010.

At the time, I was working at Pier One. I had great colleagues and I loved that it helped put me through college and allowed me to rent in San Diego. But after six years, I was ready to step back from the retail world. I took a huge pay cut and stepped down from store manager to assistant manager so I could focus on teaching yoga. 

My first group yoga class was at the PAC in La Mesa. It was a medical marijuana distributary focused on wellness. When you’re just starting out, you have to say yes to every opportunity, so I did. 

Students came to yoga looking to relieve their pain and feel more comfortable in their bodies. Many of them had chronic issues or physical limitations and I learned so much from teaching and caring for them. The only thing I couldn’t figure out was why they often had a three second delayed response to my cues. Eventually I realized they were stoned! It’s hilarious looking back on it now, but then I wasn’t prepared.

I started to find work as a yoga teacher at a Buddhist retail store and through UCSD Recreation at Rimac. I was feeling more confident and saw that I could make teaching my career, if I found a place that would support my growth and aligned with my long-term goals. 

Then I went to Yoga One. I knew they had been in the yoga business since 2002 and that Amy and Michael were well-respected, but I worried they might be “too cool for school.” 

It was nothing like that! The studio was warm and inviting and the people were even better. I met Michael and yoga teacher Hillary first, falling in love with their friendliness, positive attitudes, and humor. Then I met Amy and yoga teacher Laura and loved their dedication and expertise in yoga. 

It felt like home. I signed up for classes right away. 

I decided to take Yoga One’s Teacher Training to solidify my teaching skills and began a work-trade agreement for part of the tuition. I worked in the Yoga One office, called the Nook (shout out to anyone who remembers why!). 

When my trade hours were finished, we all still wanted to work together. Amy and Michael asked if I would be interested in the position of Office Manager, or OM for short. That was 10 years ago this May. 

I can’t imagine my life without Yoga One. Amy and Michael have been there for me through some pivotal life moments, through the loss of my step-mom and my dog, and the birth of my daughter. As a team, we’ve weathered a pandemic and the opening of a beautiful new studio. 

Yoga helped me find my calling for helping people. Yoga One supported me as I grew into a confident and capable teacher and healer. I can’t wait for our next chapter. 

Posted in Yoga Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Beyond Van Gogh Yoga One Experience

Flashbacks from Yoga One founders Amy and Michael Caldwell on how they nurtured a family-owned business and a thriving yoga community.

Yoga focuses your attention and heightens sensation. 

Those two qualities are why yoga has been paired with so many different activities – from aerial yoga and paddleboard yoga to doga and yoga with goats. 

So imagine our excitement when we were invited by Kelly Carlson of @mountainhomeyoga to participate in the Beyond Van Gogh exhibition held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds!

Beyond Van Gogh is an immersive art exhibit that has traveled across the country. It utilizes cutting-edge projection technology to liberate Van Gogh’s masterpieces from their traditional picture frames. 

Visitors walk upon and are literally surrounded by large-scale projections of the Starry Night and the Wheatfield with Crows, among other iconic Van Gogh paintings.

Add a symphonic score and a yoga class to the proceedings and the viewer literally becomes one with the artwork. 

Van Gogh’s flowers, landscapes, and portraits wash over and around the yoga practitioners. Art and individual join in a symbiotic swirl, breathing and flowing together.

This was such a stimulating and special event! We’re grateful to all of the organizers and participants who made it possible. 

Posted in Yoga Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yoga One Teachers: Cole Citret

Cole teaches a 30 Minute Core Challenge class, Mondays at 4:45pm and Thursdays at 8:15am. Join us in person at our Mission Hills studio or online via Zoom. Visit www.yogaonesandiego.com to register or for more information.

Photo by: Peyton Hamby Photography

1. What’s your approach to life and movement?

My approach to life and movement is simple: I believe in strengthening the body and mind to work as a unit. You must have a strong foundation in order to be graceful and efficient in both your thoughts and actions.

2. Where are you experiencing growth in your life?

I am currently experiencing growth in my business as I moved to San Diego only 8 months ago. I had a professional hiatus and an opportunity to relocate because of covid and the need for knee surgery. I am now recovered and I’m ready to build my clientele base here in San Diego!

3. What’s your favorite kind of burrito and why?

My favorite burrito is an al pastor super burrito from La Taqueria in San Francisco. I haven’t found a super burrito here in SD yet. If anyone has any recommendations I would appreciate it.

Posted in Instructor Spotlight | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Celebrate Good Times

Flashback to Yoga One’s 15th Anniversary

One of the special characteristics of Yoga One is that we’ve never been wholly confined within the walls of the main studio. 

We’ve always hosted off-site classes (in board rooms, gyms, restaurants, hotels, you name it) and we love the unique relationships we get to build in those spaces.

We had been providing weekly rooftop and poolside yoga classes at the @hotelsolamar for some time when, in the summer of 2017, they graciously agreed to share their space with us for our 15th Anniversary party.

It was a wonderful, sunny, San Diego day. Amy led a thoughtful and relaxing flow class. Zaria Salkind accompanied class with soulful songs and a sweet, soaring voice.

A human tower was constructed to host Yoga One’s resident student performer Alissa Montalvo skyward as she held aloft the celebratory 15 year anniversary balloons. Hotel Solamar offered a full brunch with drink specials, including frosé (frozen rosé), margaritas and mimosas. 

Once again, Julie Moore, our first-ever yoga student was on hand (with her son Paulo and daughter Isabel). Teachers that had been with us since the early days and new staff alike were embraced. Stories and smiles were shared, hugs and laughs relished. Good times were had. 

It’s not surprising (but still wonderful) that often the best days are when you simply take time to enjoy life with loved ones and celebrate being part of community. 😍

Posted in Around the Studio, Yoga Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Decade of Yoga One

Flashbacks from Yoga One founders Amy and Michael Caldwell on how they nurtured a family-owned business and a thriving yoga community.

“Approximately 20% of new businesses fail during the first two years of being open, 45% during the first five years, and 65% during the first ten years.” – data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, shared on Investopedia 

Needless to say, in 2012, we enjoyed a collective and long exhale while celebrating Yoga One’s 10th anniversary. 

We knew there would be more hard work ahead. We knew nobody would be handing out laurels upon which we could rest  (though we did enjoy a lovely savasana.) 

More than any other emotion, we were grateful.

Amy and I were grateful that our labor of love had, for a decade, sustained both our immediate family and our extended family (the community).

We were grateful to be supported by so many caring and genuine individuals. The struggle and effort of running a business has been worthwhile, in no small part, because of the wonderful people we’ve met and have come to know over the years.

Our 10 Year festivities were held on the rooftop of the Porto Vista Hotel, where we had been providing regular rooftop classes. The multi-talented Jennifer Tipton led a strong and well-sequenced flow yoga class. As an added bonus, our massage therapists  Jacintha Roemer and Amber Largent offered complimentary chair massages. 

While reveling in and enjoying each other’s company, we took the opportunity to highlight particular individuals, including the amazing Julie Moore (a.k.a. Student #1). Julie was our very first Yoga One student – she attended Amy’s initial classes in Balboa Park, even before our downtown studio was an idea and before we had thought of the name.

We also passed out dedication and consistency awards to the Summer Yoga Challenge participants (those students who took the most classes in a given period of time).

Michael made a speech and we passed out prizes. We took selfies and staged photos with silly accessories. We leafed through an anniversary scrapbook assembled by Missy. Students left kind messages on a guest board. 

Food and drink were served. Merry-making ensured. 

Thank you to the Yoga One Family for enhancing our lives, we love, appreciate and are grateful for you!!

Posted in Around the Studio, Yoga Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yoga One Classes Aboard the Historic USS Midway

Flashbacks from Yoga One founders Amy and Michael Caldwell on how they nurtured a family-owned business and a thriving yoga community.

Amy Caldwell teaching aboard the USS Midway

It was a classic instance of being in the right place, at the right time. 

May, 2014. The terrific Terri Hobbs, representing Yoga One, meets representatives from the Downtown San Diego Partnership and a wonderful relationship is forged.

Over the past 7 years, Yoga One has offered a weekly, complimentary class to the Downtown San Diego community. Classes are held in a variety of outdoor locations. During most of the pandemic, we continued to offer class live online.

It is a pleasure to provide these services to so many residents of Downtown and beyond!

One of the most unique yoga events to arise out of our collaboration was teaching aboard the historic USS Midway. Yoga One was honored to lead the first-ever yoga class aboard ship and 4 subsequent annual classes. 

aboard the USS Midway with a view of San Diego harbor

EXT: San Diego Harbor  – DAY: June 12th, 2014

A bird’s eye view pans across the enormous aircraft carrier, decommissioned and now serving as a nautical museum. 

Planes and helicopters cover the deck. To the west, scenic San Diego harbor glistens like so many scattered jewels. To the east, skyscrapers stand and salute.

Like an army of ants, yoga students by the hundreds file up the ship’s stairs.

Yoga One class aboard USS Midway

On deck and snuggled between the planes and helicopters, a wide assortment of vendors replete with stocked tables and tents are in place to greet the arriving students.

The sun is shining, the weather is sweet, yogis smile and spread their mats and good vibes across the tarmac.

A news crew captures and relays the inaugural occasion to the greater population. Kris Michell, then President and CEO of the Downtown San Diego Partnership, takes the mic and kicks off the proceedings. Scripps Health is the main sponsor. Dave Kemp of DTO Music provides a soothing ambiance.

Then Yoga One’s own Amy Caldwell steps to the platform with the ship’s command tower rising behind her and an illuminated sign reminding all to: BEWARE OF JET BLAST PROPS AND ROTORS.

Amy is calming, inspiring and poised. Strong, flexible, prepared and awesome, she leads the over 400 individuals in a community re-affirming, one hour flow yoga class.

Amy Caldwell teaching yoga

AMY

Thank you all so much for your positive energy. It is an honor and a pleasure to share this experience with you. Thanks again to all the sponsors and organizers. Namaste.

HAPPY STUDENTS

Namaste, yay! 

Thunderous applause

Camera pans from the many colorful mats and happy people to take in the 360 view, then pulls back up into the sky to reveal a special day in a special city.

Fade to black.

EXIT

class aboard the USS Midway

Over the next four annual classes, attendance continued to swell. The last class hosted over 1,100 yogis! This event was always re-affirming and special. Whether we’re sharing yoga with one person or thousands, we are grateful to be helping people live healthier and happier lives.

Posted in In the Community, Yoga Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Canvas Rebel: Meet Michael Caldwell

This interview originally published on Canvas Rebel

CR: Michael, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today So, naming is such a challenge. How did you come up with the name of your brand?

Michael: Amy and I had just returned to the United States after backpacking abroad for three and half years. She got a job working at a great family-run produce distribution company and I became the account manager for a boutique graphic design studio.

One of the first clients I worked with at the studio was Mitchell Repair Information Company. The company innovated “the automotive industry’s first collision estimating guides to include parts illustrations, prices and part numbers.”

During our staff brainstorming sessions, names were offered and debated. Thinking of premiere cars world-wide, Formula 1 racing seemed to me to be the pinnacle, and so I suggested the name, “Mitchell 1.” It stuck.

Not long after that, Amy was getting ready to open up our yoga studio. Since it worked well for a nationwide company like Mitchell, I suggested “Yoga One.”

Additionally, we had recently gotten married. Instead of wedding rings, we had the “eka” symbol tattooed on our ring fingers, symbolizing “we are one” (see the flower like image growing out of the “Y” in the Yoga One logo). Furthermore, yoga means “to yoke/join” or “union.” One divided by one is one and the practice of yoga helps individuals to become more “one” with themselves and the world.

Plus, we always strive to be the best studio in the world, numero uno, number 1! So the name is also aspirational.

In short, Yoga One came from an automotive manual writing company. (:

photo credit: Peyton Hamby Photography

CR: Can take a moment to introduce Yoga One to our readers?

Michael: Since 2002, Yoga One has been helping people to live healthier and happier lives. We share the joys and benefits of yoga, but what we really provide is a forum to increase self-awareness, skills for individuals to be their best selves, and a positive, open, non-competitive, welcoming, and supportive community. We foster relationships – the individual with self, and with others. We offer a beautiful space for people to set aside their worries, responsibilities and stress so they can return to the world refreshed, stronger, more flexible and with increased mindfulness.

Yoga One is a woman and black owned family business. We treat our staff and students as family. We are fortunate to have been practicing yoga since 1997.

Our vibrant, airy studio with canyon views in Mission Hills is also a community space for workshops, classes, gatherings, events, exhibits, book clubs, acoustic concerts, learning, growing, sharing, laughing, loving and connecting. We look forward to seeing you there!

CR: How about pivoting – can you share the story of a time you’ve had to pivot?

Michael: It was March, 2019. For the previous 18 years we had shared the joys and benefits of yoga with thousands of San Diego residents and visitors via our award-winning Downtown studio on 7th Avenue. For several years, it had also been a dream of ours to open a studio in our neighborhood of Mission Hills. Our children attended the public schools in the area and we wanted to connect with and give back to our community.

With the help of our friends, Johnny and Renee of Wolf in the Woods wine bar, we found the perfect spot to open our second studio, on the beautiful Fort Stockton Drive. We were planning a grand opening celebration for April 1st, 2019. Then Covid-19 hit and San Diego, like so many places, went into lock down.

Our new studio was put on ice and our Downtown location locked up. Within two days of the stay at home mandate, and thanks largely to our amazing team – Missy and Laura, we brought our entire schedule online via zoom. We were able to quickly shift some of our corporate clients online as well. We will be forever grateful to our generous and wonderful students who maintained their memberships and stuck by us throughout such challenging times. In turn, we were able to keep our full staff and maintain their pre-Covid schedules.

Yoga teaches us to be strong, flexible and present. The circumstances surrounding Covid-19 certainly put our practice to the test. We feel so fortunate to have these tools to take care of ourselves mentally and physically. All of us at Yoga One look forward to continuing to offer and grow our services – enriching the well-being of as many people as possible! We now are offering classes in-studio, in Presidio Park, live online and on-demand, with some of our students and companies across the country.

Read the full article here!

Posted in Around the Studio | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Student Spotlight: Heather

We love our community! This week, we’re shining a spotlight on Yoga One student Heather 

Q: Who are you in 10 words or less?

I’m a public interest attorney who loves yoga and hiking.

Q: What’s the biggest benefit of yoga in your life?

The biggest benefit of yoga in my life is that it teaches me balance and focus, both on and off the mat. I’m also very grateful for the sense of community Yoga One fosters.

Q: Do you have a favorite class or style of yoga?

Whatever Yoga One class I’m in at the moment feels like my favorite! I love how fun Missy’s Saturday morning class is – it helps me remember to not take everything too seriously and just enjoy the moment. 

Thank you for sharing Heather and thanks for practicing with us!!

Posted in Student Perspectives | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Growth of Yoga for Hope

Flashbacks from Yoga One founders Amy and Michael Caldwell on how they nurtured a family-owned business and a thriving yoga community.

Some of the dates and details have dimmed, it was likely late 2002 or early 2003, Amy and I were at Twigg’s Coffee shop in University Heights with some fellow yoga teachers and a few representatives from City of Hope.

We were brainstorming ideas for how the yoga community could raise awareness and support for City of Hope’s mission to research and treat cancer.

It was exciting to be a part of something that could facilitate serious health advancement and relief not just locally, but worldwide. We were honored to be included. 

There were a few more meetings and then the City of Hope team went off to figure out their next step.

Amy Caldwell at Petco Park

Towards the end of summer, it was agreed that Yoga One and other studios would host yoga classes and donate the proceeds to the organization. Here is a snippet from our press release: 

“September 12, 2003, Yoga One will be offering an expanded schedule and donating all fees collected that day to the City of Hope, a world-renowned biomedical research and treatment facility dedicated to the prevention, treatment and cure for cancer, HIV/AIDS, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases.

“”In addition to the strength, flexibility, increased concentration, balance and coordination the practice of yoga provides, it is first and foremost a healing activity. Raising awareness and support for the kind of work the City of Hope is doing is a natural step for us. We want to extend the well-being our students receive in class to the community at large,” stated Amy Caldwell, Owner/Director and Head Instructor at Yoga One.”

With the increased popularity of yoga and lots of good work, City of Hope’s yoga collaboration blossomed into Yoga for Hope, a multi-city phenomenon with events held in such locations as Phoenix, Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. 

Amy Caldwell teaching at Yoga for Hope 2014

For the 2014 San Diego iteration, Amy was invited to co-teach over 800 students during the Yoga for Hope class in the outfield of the Padres’ Petco Park. In addition, Yoga One put together a donation team and offered classes with the proceeds supporting City of Hope. That year, the event raised over $80,000 to fund the research and treatment of cancer. 

Yoga One Family at Yoga for Hope

It was heart-warming and hug-inducing to practice yoga in the lush, green outfield with so many fellow yoga lovers. It was especially poignant to have Amy’s mother Sally, a cancer survivor, practicing with the Yoga One group alongside her grandkids, Raya and Myles. Three generations together. 

Michael and Myles Caldwell

Over the years, many wonderful yoga teachers led the Yoga for Hope classes, some who did so in San Diego included: Stacy McCarthy, Michael Fukumura, Claire Petretti Marti, Sean Corne and Dominic Mineo. Thanks to all the teachers, students, and organizers for sharing their time and energy to help others!

Please have yourself and your loved ones regularly checked for cancer. Some cancers can be found early, before they have had a chance to grow and spread.

Posted in In the Community, Yoga Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment