01: The Yax Origin Story – Yoga Entrepreneur Secrets Podcast

yax yoga concepts


What Is This Episode About…

In this episode, we are going to dive into our back story, the life experiences that made us who we are today, how we got into the yoga business, how we’ve progressed in our entrepreneurial journey over time, and how passionate we are about helping yoga business owners become successful. 

Some people think that we are just natural-born entrepreneurs and that our background set us up for success. The truth is, neither of these is correct. Through sharing our journey, including the ups and downs, we will show you what it takes to grow a profitable yoga studio, no matter your skills or background.

Key Points Discussed:

  • Growing up in the Yax household (01:17)
  • Learning how to work with money (03:27)
  • Helping people shift their sense of self and be more confident (05:06)
  • The lifesaving nature of yoga (06:42)
  • Growing a new yoga studio to seven-figure revenues (10:20)
  • Cultivating their business culture and the consistency to stay true (14:25)
  • Success leaves a trail: Learning from the best (17:02)
  • Understanding the frameworks that cause success (19:33)


Learn More About The Content Discussed…

Join The Facebook Group –> http://bit.ly/yogaentrepreneur

When Was It Released…

This episode was released July 24, 2019

Episode Transcript…

Disclaimer: The Transcript Is Auto-Generated And May Contain Spelling And Grammar Errors

00:00 Hey, so we are a forgetful species and oftentimes you end up in a place and you’re like, how did I get here? Well today we’re going to tell you how we got here.

00:09 What’s up everyone, you are listening to Yoga Entrepreneur Secrets. I am Chris Yax and I’m John Yax we are part of a small group of yoga entrepreneurs who are committed to making a living, doing what we love, without feeling guilty about making money or ashamed of being successful because we know the real value of yoga and how the world needs it. Now more than that, this podcast is here to teach the strategies and tactics so we can thrive financially as yoga entrepreneurs. We are the Yax brothers and welcome to Yoga Entrepreneurs Secrets. So thanks so much for joining us today.

00:48 Today’s exciting because it’s really our first official episode of Yoga Entrepreneur Secrets. And so we’re super excited to be here and to be talking to you.

00:58 And today we’re going to dive into our story. So our story starts way, way, way back when. Oh, I guess our parents got together. Do you want to go that far back John? No, I don’t. That’s a too long story. We’re going to be here for five hours. Lost all of our viewership. Let’s fast forward. Okay. So we grew up

01:18 in a very small houses, 1300 square foot house. There’s six of us. Chris and I are two of six brother and sisters. Our Dad was an artist, which meant he was he was starving and which meant we were starving. So we grew up in, so he was an artist and in order to make ends meet our  you know, back in the day we had a year round garden and our, you know, so we were, oh, my dad always was working in the garden. My mom made her own Granola and Food and Yogurt,

01:50 yogurt way, way, way before. It was cool way before it was cool. You know, we’d get, so we’d go to the school with our homemade bread and our homemade peanut butter and big slices of Brown man, the thickest license ever. And we would be, you know, we’d eat our food, our lunch inside of the bag so that no one could see exactly what it was that we were eating. Cause we didn’t have Wonderbread you know, that awesome bread that stuck to the top of your mouth that we know now is horrible for you. But you, we didn’t have Twinkies like we could, we like we had carrots and an apple. Like I can’t, I can’t trade carrots for twinkie. There’s no sharing. So that was hard. And what ended up happening

02:28 was our parents separated. That was an intense experience because all of my brothers and sisters decided to stay with my mom, which meant my mom was taking care of six of us and my dad was off doing his thing with his new wife and new family. And

02:46 just for perspective at the time I was two and there are 11 years between the youngest, which is me, Chris and the oldest. And so if you put that in perspective, my mom had to take care of a 2 year old and an 13 year old. Right? And so man talk about a Herculean effort and she is just a rock star. So what the, we say all that because it’s important to kind of frame like how we got here. If you look back at our circumstances of growing up and all that stuff, like there should be no reason that we’re doing what we’re doing right now. And to have what we’ve built is, is, it’s funny because I could say we did it in spite of, but that’s actually not true. You know, are the issues we had with money growing up.

03:27 Part of it is like stump, like we’ve had to learn how to work with money to see it as like just a medium of exchange and an energetic exchange but what it’s also done is it’s, you know, it’s been a function of our success in what we’ve been able to, to build in our lives because it gave us this, this desire to like take matters into our own hands. To like the entrepreneurial spirit was lit by the money issues. And when my dad left and he wasn’t involved in the picture, like he was there a little bit here and there, but I mean he missed every single birthday. A couple of weeks later he’d always like call and I’d be like, damn man, you forgot. And I just like, he was absent in my life and like the resentment I held towards him for years and years that I had to learn how to forgive and let go of that and like actually have a deep relationship that is like a function of who I am today.

04:18 And I think one of the most, like the biggest gifts of that experience growing up was the family are the brothers and sisters had to bond together. Like we survived because of the love of our mom, not because of the financial support from our dad because he stuck to his guns. He was an artist, you know, he’d like developed meditation groups and moved to Europe and moved to the west coast. And again, we don’t say any of this as a blame. Like we love him to death and we honor his choices. They’ve, they have helped us become the people who we are. But what it’s done for us is it’s, you know, we looked at it as it shouldn’t have happened. He’s a horrible person. Why the hell did he make the decisions that he did? But when we got clear about like the meaning that we could actually choose to, to feel and to experience, like what happened, we realized that men, it was a gift.

05:06 Yeah. So we  so in our late teens, early twenties, Chris and I got involved in martial arts and we were  we were doing an intense style of martial arts is, um, it’s called g concepts. And this was like street style MMA. And it was Cathartic in that we got to punch and kick things and train hard. But it also allowed us to, to connect with a part of us that  that we had suppressed, that, eh, that anger and the frustration. And it was pressure val for that. So that was, it was powerful. And then with this drive to take our situation to our own hands, it’s entrepreneurial spirit. Uh, we opened up a kind of garage, a MMA studio and started teaching guys and training guys and then saw the Ha, the effect of that. Like how  we could take somebody and train with, train them for a little bit in shift their

05:58 sense of self and get more confidence and more centered and more peace of mind. It was a, it was powerful and we re at that point we realized our calling is to be teachers. That’s what we’re here to do. And uh, and so with, okay, we’re going to go full blast and we’re gonna open up a  another Marshall and we’re going to open up a real martial arts studio in a commercial setting. And I do though, something bigger than what we’re doing in our, in our, out of our garage. But in that process, we also realize that the intensity of the training was beating our bodies up and we were injured all the time. So we sought something that would heal us and we found yoga. Yeah. Yoga was a lifesaver for us. Martial arts helped us out a lot. I definitely believe it was in a part of the path that brought us to yoga undoubtedly.

06:42 And it gave us an outlet of for to release aggression and part of the, the uh, emotional trauma that we experienced growing up. But what Yoga did, what we realized that what martial arts was doing was kind of like a horse and buggy as far as like personal development and taking our lives to the next level and helping other people do the same. And when we found yoga and we started practicing it, we fell in love with, you know, the, the heated style hot yoga. It was like the rocketship, we literally felt like we got into a rocket ship and within a matter of months we were experiencing like moments of presence that at the core of martial arts, what it’s really designed to do, if you take it back far enough, is that it martial arts in its inception was a spiritual practice. And the design is like to forge the body, to cultivate one pointedness and to be able to be present in the midst of an altercation of a fight and not become emotional.

07:40 Right. And so what we’re like, we got like there’s nothing more present than having someone in front of you who is trying to punch you, kick you, take you down and choke you out. And, but obviously that was like crazy intense on the body. But then all of a sudden here we were in yoga and in the matter of a couple practices, we were experiencing this presence, right? This single mindedness, this focus of attention that was like what we were searching for without really knowing it in martial arts. And when we found that we were like, we have arrived. Thank you.

08:13 So we uh, we became like at Chris, we became addicted and we were like, okay, we need to go to training. We need to, when you learn to teach this stuff. Initially it was, we’ll, we’ll, we’ll learn it to be able to add it into our martial arts studio and eventually teach these martial arts guys, these fighters. How to do yoga and how to, how to get still and present. And uh, we went to training and obviously dove deep got into meditation. There was a, there was a teacher, a gym there that uh, got us into, um, Timmy B got us into a meditation through a self realization fellowship and it just took off from there. It was, it was as if we had landed on the path we were supposed be on and

08:56 we came back and started teaching very quickly realized, okay, it’s not a martial art studio that we’re going to open. It is a yoga studio that we’re going to open and a, within two plus years, our first, a yoga studio was born hot house yoga was born in 2005, 2005. And the, the way that came about, it’s going to be a whole another episode, but just to give you like the cliff notes. So when we did the yoga, the backyard martial arts studio, we were doing it out of our house. Well, the house, like you said, it was like super small. Like we were, we would do jumping jacks and most of the guys knuckles were scraping the ceiling and it got to a point when the house became dilapidated. I’m going to go real quick with this one. And so we renovated it and part of the renovation was like let’s make this place bigger so we can actually have a like at home martial arts academy.

09:44 And we did it. And after about two years of renovations that, you know, the three brothers uh, did like 90% of the work. We didn’t mess around with like electrical. We didn’t mess around. HPAC we didn’t like all the stuff that actually like would like could kill you. Failed would be very bad. But yeah. So what’s so cool about it is that we built the house, we started training martial arts and then you know, fast forward to us deciding that it’s not martial arts, it’s yoga and we had all this equity in the House that we could borrow against to build the studio, which happened in 2005. Again, that’ll be a bigger conversation. Cause like that’s so good. That story. So good. So we  we’re full blast into our studio 2005. Within a short time we had broken personal records and we hit our seven figure mark.

10:32 And  we started teacher training, opened up another studio and realized very quickly that with all of this growth we needed help. And that was one of the biggest struggles for us is that control issues guys, how many of you have them? Like we bumped on should be raising their hand as we bumped up against our controllers shoes. So, so bad or so good because we realize that we cannot do everything ourselves. Like this is, this is not sustainable. And then what we’ve bumped up against is how do we hire people? How do we bring people in that can work the front desk, that can teach in the same style and with the same  same passion that we have and who, you know, who can manage this place. Like we can manage it. And so that was like one of the biggest struggles in the beginning.

11:21 Yeah. Because I, you know, this is our baby. Like if you’re a yoga studio owner and like you’ve been through this, you know, what like, you know, the feeling of like, man, this literally feels like your child and how could you ever give your child to somebody else to take care of knowing that no one will take care of it the way that you will take care of it. We’ll teach in the spirit that you teach with the heart that you have. And like, and that was literally the biggest, biggest wall that we had to climb over was this like unwillingness to give baby to other people to have like people walk through the door and like be greeted by someone other than us to be able to walk into the room and be taught by someone other than us. And so it was, that was our biggest obstacle to growing. And uh, I mean it’s, it’s crazy to think back on it cause I, like right now have the feelings of fear and anxiety about hiring our first front desk person that I was like, no, no, no, no, no, no. You can’t say that. You have to say it this way. I remember I was the worst micromanager. I was like, no, no, no, use this word, not that word. Say this, not that type. This not that like it was, it was pretty ridiculous. I’m sorry if you’re listening in your, that person sits

12:34 thinking a bad thing because what it also did was made us really hyper focused on what was being taught. The, the yoga that was being taught in the yoga room itself had to be a specific way. And what we realize is that when teachers were going off and, and uh, and taking trainings from other places and then coming back, we had to spend months training them to get them to a place that we deemed acceptable to teach in our studios. And uh, it got to a point where we’re like, okay, this w this is taking too long. This is a, this is so much work on our side. We just need to do our own teacher trainings. And that was, that was the reason we started teachers and we were like, we got to have more help. And we got to do it ourselves because that’s the only way this is this thing is going to work.

13:21 Yeah. And it’s, it’s funny because like at the time when we first started the studio back in 2005 and you, if you were to ask me like where are you going to be in 2019 like right here talking to you about what we’re talking about, I would there no way in a million years would I have ever said, yeah, we’re going to start a podcast talking to and helping other yoga entrepreneurs. Like, like just giving our stories and sharing our, our insights and things that have worked and things that have failed. Like that’s what I’m going to be doing in 2019 no and in fact in 2005 if you said you’re going to do a teacher training, like, no, why would I do that? I’ll work with, we just opened the studio cause we love to teach and we want to help people and like that’s it.

13:57 Once we get it up and running and like we’re like, hopefully we’re successful. Like, okay, but that’s it. That there’s our life. Like I’ll be 90 doing this and it like evolution doesn’t work that way. Right? You have this desire, this feeling of like, Oh man, we’re, we’re doing good now. Like is there another level for us to grow? And our teacher training was that without us really even knowing what John said, like to really highlight like the ability to, for us to bring other teachers on to teach in the spirit. Cause what was happening when he and I were teaching, there was one of the teacher will tell the story about that that later, like we were cultivating the culture, the, the consistency, the what we were offering in the classes that people were resonating with. There was consistency between us because we’re always talking, we’re always coming up with like, oh this worked, this didn’t work when like this sequence is right.

14:46 That sequence not right. Like the people didn’t like, they weren’t ready for that. And we’re in constant communication. So the challenge for us was then bringing other people in to teach so that it could free us up, have our time devoted to other things so that we could help grow and work on the business and not be stuck working in the business. But we needed the consistency to stay true. And that was the hardest thing about bringing other people in who were like teaching and being trained in other like even if it was the same style, it just like we were evolving this experience of what we knew for our community is what we wanted to offer and that like the ability to have someone like not come in and us have to retrain them, but for us to train them and like be born into the world of like of our studio of what we’re looking for and what we know and like it’s, we’re not saying it’s the right thing, it’s the best thing.

15:33 We’re just saying it’s right for us. So it was right for the students that we were teaching and teacher training was that if there’s one thing I could say that is like the, the root cause of our, of our success over the years and our ability to grow and to help more people into, to literally like take care of our entire families through this beautiful gift of Yoga and owning yoga studios. It’s the consistency that students were experiencing when they came in and practice, which was a function of being able to do a teacher training and train the teachers in the way, in the spirit of, of the offering that we wanted our students to, to experience.

16:07 So we very shortly  with two studios, teacher trainings going on, we decided we are going to open up another studio. So we opened up another studio a couple hours north of where we are now and that CEO’s successful in rock and roll. And with that and few years later we decided to open up another studio. So we had four studios, teacher trainings. We were going a mile a minute and juggling all of this. And we got to a point where we realized we need to, to shift this. There was some strain with uh, the partnership that we had at the time  with myself and Chris and two other partners and Chris and I and our partners decided, okay, let’s, let’s shift this. We bought out a partner, we ended up splitting up the studios and at that point, Chris and I are like, okay, we need to get hyperfocused on what business coaches, what people that are in, in this industry are doing successfully.

17:02 Because here’s the thing guys, success leaves a trail. If there’s anything you want in your life, anywhere you want to go, anything that you see as a higher expansion of yourself, somebody’s done it. And we don’t have to reinvent how to get there. We just need to study with the person that’s gotten there because success leaves a trail. We just need to follow that trail. So Chris and I decided to study with some of the Ninjas in the world of a business and, and studio ownership. And and it has just transformed how we run business and made a huge difference in revenue. Made a huge difference. But one of the key pieces to this, one of the major pieces that we’ve experienced is the expansion within ourselves. What we realize is we need to expand to another level of leadership within company and within

17:50 with within ourselves and this has been the one of the biggest transformations that we’ve experienced. Yeah, hands down. The best investment you can ever make is the investment in yourself. If you’re playing like for the long game, not like short term wins and like like you can especially like when we started getting in in like learning from people, like a lot of it was focused on like online businesses and you can, you get a lot of people who like haven’t been successful in their own right but are trying to teach how to be successful or like there’s some snake oil salesman and all that stuff. Like you get to weed through the riff Raff. But what’s really important is that we weren’t, like we were finding people who had been in the world of business for a long time and had shown success over the longterm and what we realized, which is really fascinating because it always comes back to yoga for us it’s like, oh these people who are teaching all of these like like amazing strategies and tactics within the business, whether it’s online or offline, like in like brick and mortar studios or like in the online space, what always always comes back to all the good ones.

18:49 We’re always like, you have to develop yourself this like that. What I’m giving you isn’t like this like get rich quick scheme. It is a development of the self understanding information, implementing the information and growing in your own capacity to be a leader, to be a business owner to like, and when you say it’s like, you know, Yoga Entrepreneurs Secrets like to view ourselves in this yoga world as entrepreneurs, as business owners and not just yogis. Right? Because that for us was the biggest hangup is like I just wanted to teach yoga. I just wanted to like help people learn how to meditate and quiet the mind and experience the true self and like I wanted to go with the flow. I didn’t want to like tell people what to do and you want to manage people or lead people or be that be that you know, take that role in my business or in my life.

19:33 I just wanted to wanted to move with the currents of the ocean man. Just go with the flow and like there is a place for that. But what we’re really doing was we were running away from the responsibility that we were being called, like the mantle that we were being called to hold, which is to be a leader, to learn and to develop the self and not just through yoga that like obviously that’s if you’re listening, this is cause that’s what you fell in love with. But to also learn that like you can have like be the best teacher and have the most powerful message. But if no one is there to listen to you, it doesn’t matter. You have to be able to attract the people and speak to the people in the right way. And that’s what marketing is all about. That’s what being a business owner is all about, is understanding the frameworks that caused success, the frameworks that help you speak to the people that you want to help and you know you can serve who actually need you. They need you to be able to get better at that so that they can hear your message and be attracted to your mission and so that you have the opportunity to change their lives. And that’s really what this podcast is all about. Yeah, so I think that’s it for today. So thanks so much for tuning in and don’t miss next episode, next episode where you’re going to talk about one thing.

20:48 So if there was one thing that we could attribute to our success, like the biggest thing, this is what is going to be tune in

20:56 and we’ll see you in the next one. Thanks guys. Peace. Yes, thanks so much for listening to Yoga Entrepreneurs Secrets. Do you have a question that you’d like us to answer raw and uncut on the podcast? If you want your questions answered, all you need to do is head over to Apple Podcast and do three simple things. One, rate and review telling us what you think of the podcast. Two, in that review, ask anything you want related to yoga, and three, if you want to shout out, leave your Instagram handle or name and that’s it. Then listening to hear your question answered, live, raw and uncut.

Join us next time on Yoga Entrepreneur Secrets podcast. Thanks.


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