This month we caught up with Jamie Glassman, studio owner of The Good Rooms in Muswell Hill. Previously a comedy writer, producer and performer, in 2019 Jamie decided to follow his passion and open a Hot Yoga Studio, one year later and the pandemic hit. He talks about how the business was affected and how he had to pivot to keep the studio going.
Tell us a bit about you and your background
Before opening a hot yoga and Pilates studio I worked for years in the comedy industry – writing, producing and performing – to various degrees of success. My most successful gig was writing and creating the characters Ali G, Borat and Bruno. My least successful gig was, well there are far too many of those to mention, which explains why I’m not in the comedy industry anymore.
How and when did you first discover yoga
Around 20 years ago I started going to Bikram classes and was quickly hooked. I was doing everything wrong – trying too hard, holding my breath, bringing all of my frustrations with me onto the mat – but for some reason I stuck with it and I dread to think what I’d be like if I didn’t find yoga. Insufferable. Or even more insufferable, as my wife would probably say.
When did you open the studio / tell us about it
We opened the studio originally in early 2019 as a franchisee of a bigger brand. We had the most wonderful, busy, glorious first year but then Covid hit 12 months after opening and we had to pivot to survive. We became an independent studio in the Summer of 2021 as we came out of the pandemic and The Good Rooms was born. We’ve been so lucky to have had an incredibly supportive community here in Muswell Hill who rallied round, some wonderful people even keeping their memberships going while the studio was closed and just the most brilliant studio manager, teachers and team who got us through.
What’s your favourite part of being a studio owner
I love how people walk into The Good Rooms happy to be here and invariably walk out even happier. It’s a genuine thrill to see people getting stronger, fitter, calmer and happier. There’s a special buzz when you see people come to the studio suffering with particular physical or mental ailments slowly getting better in front of your eyes. Yoga really does work, you know.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Like so many businesses and so many people, dealing with the pandemic and everything it brought with it, has been enormously challenging. Changes in rules and regulations, keeping people safe and keeping people feeling safe, we all had to become experts on ventilation and virology and so many other things, all at the same time.
It’s heart-breaking to know that so many studios haven’t survived. I know how much work and love go into businesses like these so I can only imagine how tough it must have been for those studio owners to close their doors.
What is your most memorable yoga moment?
Oh, there are so many to choose from but I did meet my wife at a yoga class so I guess I have to say that one.
Who / what inspires you on a daily basis and do you have a mantra or quote you live by
My kids inspire me every day to live life with joy and lightness. Okay, not every day, but most days. I love the George Bernard Shaw line, “we don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”
What advice would you give to someone starting out on their yoga / wellbeing journey
Oh gosh – Do it all, try it all, have an open mind, take your time, have fun, remember to breathe, enjoy. As Samuel Beckett said, “try again, fail again, fail better”.