The Process And Updates From Casa Om’s Founder

Karma is a hell of a drug.

Seven years ago, I worked on the first Sat Nam Fest in the mountains in West Virginia. It was scary in all the new business kind of ways. We were trying to break even. I desperately wanted everyone to like it.

Just before the first lunch, the owner of the property came to me with no remorse. The way he must have done it all his life. He said, pay $3000 more or I wont feed your group as agreed. It was extortion. I felt I had no choice. I post dated a check against an account with no money in it.

The event went great mostly because everyone came to make it great. It was overall such a positive experience it would change me forever. I decided to fill the account and clear the check. The crook had won but despite the pressure I felt I had agreed.

It left me bitter though. To this day I am jaded by it.

So karma….

I don’t know if I hadn’t felt so wronged, would I want to do it so right. For 7 years I have thought, I would do this better.

So we go back to West Virginia. This afternoon we closed on 63 acres along the Potomac, about 60 miles from DC with this beautiful structure on it. It will become a hot yoga retreat center. We will build it out similar to Casa Ominitially and then build onto it from there. We will open summer of 2018 after we renovate.

We will open with accommodations for 20, on site chef, hot yoga room, access to the river, spa treatments, and a pool.

After that what do you think the priorities should be?

Options

1) Organic farm for the kitchen

2) Hot Tub

3) Gym & personal training

4) Basketball court

5) Horses

6) Music venue

7) Outdoor yoga space

8) Cabins

9) meditation gardens

10) What else would be cool for a retreat spot ?

Much love y’all.

Hargobind Khalsa & Siri Om Kaur Khalsa

The trip to India

FEAR

#Mexico: “The cartel will kidnap you. It’s dangerous. Don’t wear jewelry and if you get kidnapped tell them you are a Jew.”

#India: “You will get violently ill. It’s not what you remember and traveling with 25 foreigners will be disastrous. Its so polluted and everyone is in it for themselves”

#WestVirginia: “The hicks and fanatical christians will never accept you. They don’t like people that look like you in those parts“

These are some of the things people have said to me recently.

I am not saying these aren’t true or they aren’t going to happen. Maybe they will. In fact I appreciate people looking after me.

But what I fully reject is this notion that we are not major participants in creating our existence. Furthermore, if we all flee from that which we are afraid, what kind of people are we? Especially when we are running to a place that may be no safer.

Finally are we all going to stay in our bubbles and hope to make any difference in the world? How will we possibly acquire the skills needed if we just travel in the same comfort zone all the time.

The greatest moments of our lives are when we face adversity, struggle and overcome.

The only thing that has been better to me than Mexico is India and perhaps the only thing better than India will be West Virginia. For now though I am loving India and loving this group.

Furniture shopping in India

siriom4doorcamel

Doors, panels, lights, #arches, fountains and marble today. We stopped at the #maharajas old fort in jodhpur. Siana was so good that I took her for a camel ride. Have to say the whole thing was pretty special. I wonder if anyone has travelled to #rajasthan to build a property in west virginia. If nothing else it feels like what ever path we are on, it is going to be unique and special. Will you come visit?

Taking a poll….If we were to get one of these for the new yoga property, which one? Saraswati or Shiva with Parvati and Ganesh? They are in the raw and will look even better finished 😉

Goodbye India but not Farewell

hargobind-soleThese feet got sole.

Time to say good bye to #jodhpur. It’s like a life time has passed in 3 weeks. We moved all our stuff to West Virginia, sold our condo, started renovations in wva, went to India, visited the golden temple, Taj Mahal, the Beatles ashram, the Mehrangarh fort, the Dalia lama temple, Ramanas garden and Miri Piri academy. We white water rafted on the Ganges and took classica indian vocal classes. We meditated with monks in the foothills of Himalayas. We learned from a tabla master. I rode horses and camels and saw monkeys and elephants. We led a group of 27 people through 5 north Indian cities. We did it with a 4 year old and my mother in law ( who is awesome).

We bought a shipping containers worth of antique doors, beds, fountains, statues, and artwork. I found structural damage in the new property back home. Our pump busted at Casa om and 3 groups came and went. I wired money for construction to the wrong person and lost 3 bags in travel. My yoga got better! I did the best handstand scorpion of my life with @wearejared We celebrated Siana and @siriomyoga birthdays. I laughed, I cried, I hated it, I loved it, I was scared, but most of all we just went for it.

Believe

Believe

harg-peacockI was looking at the yoga room today in West Virginia. It had these nice arches and floors. It had a massage room and a mechanical room. It had this beautiful view of the river. It had high ceilings and antique doors. It was super well insulated so it was hot. The position of the mirrors caught reflections of the river. I wondered about tribes of the past who must have lived here. Perched high above the water, it must have been appealing to be both safe and convenient. The exterior of the yoga room looks like a temple. A deck overlooks the river with high posts for hammocks. I thought maybe today I should start booking it.

The problem is, none of it exists yet. Should I just believe its all going to work out or just wait a little while longer to start selling it?

 

 

Hold the pose until it’s done

vanity1vanity2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first retreat I ever worked on, I really wanted to cancel. This story came came up with a client yesterday and it is worth sharing. The long and the short of it was that we had too many teachers and not enough students. We the organizers were not exactly getting along either. I called my friend @mirabaiceiba and asked Markus for advice. He said basically, you never cancel. Once you start you never stop. Even if you lose money or your scared or whatever there is no early exit. Once you start you never stop. Because once you start moving in a direction, it leads to more good things. If you turn around half way in, then you’ve really lost. So that retreat planted the seed. That event eventually led to building @casaom and those skills acquired led to being ready for this next project. Have a look at some of the vanities we are putting. Which ones do you like?

Birthday

deckI turned 35 yesterday. My daughter asked which my little pony I wanted for my birthday. (rainbow dash duh) It was definitely the most fun birthday week ever. There is a great horseback riding tour about 20 minutes from @casaom that I got to do. The crew made me a real nice birthday dinner with a pinata and all. Meanwhile the deck is getting rebuilt back on the new project and we finished the first bathroom. So all things moving ahead and all good from #casaom and #casaomdos

 

 

 

 

 

“Man wasnt made to sit in the office. He was made to hunt and eat deer meat.”

sinkbuilder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Man wasnt made to sit in the office. He was made to hunt and eat deer meat.”

That was my favourite line from the week. I am a lifelong vegetarian but I relate to the sentiment. It was going to cost a bunch of money to dig this busted pipe out with an excavator. It had twisted metal posing a risk at the entrance. Bill and I dug it out and then our gracious neighbour took pity on the city boys by pulling it out with the tractor. Everyday is a new project out here.

We have 1 bath totally ready 2 baths 80% ready and 3 more about 50% done. Roof started today. The new deck materials arrive at the end of the week. I think we have our team in place so its just about rolling in the groove. August 1st I think we should be ready but lets see.

View from the yoga room

yoga-roomThis picture is the view for the yoga room. We have a few more steps to take before we can pour the footers and start building. We have the team now though so we are close….

Its the first time building a yoga room from scratch. If you could build one from scratch how would you build it? What kinds of lights, ceiling, mirrors, fixtures, heat, statues and entry way would you include? Got any advice for me?

 

 

 

 

Close

constructionSomeone asked how close I am to being done. I think I am 60% of the way. I would say half of anything is just getting the right people. Then you can jam. I think we are there. And it is a huge affirmation to me of the fact that there are good people everywhere. It is the second time I have wandered to a new town knowing no one but the real estate agents in a new culture with a mission to build a hotel and fairly quickly I find myself around smart, good people that also want what I want: To enjoy the work, and do a great job. At some point I had a shift in my thinking that we cant really change things but we can always make things a little better. And thats why I like renovations. You just make things better everyday.

I found this property on Zillow. I had never been to martinsburg. I proposed to @siriomyoga in Berklee springs but that was the only time I had really spent here. I followed all the bodies of water leading out of Washington Dc. I wanted something within 2 hours to the city, on the water, with land and a building we could work with. I looked at 400 properties online and only visited 2. So here we are….

 

“Before enlightenment, chop wood carry water after enlightenment, chop wood carry water”. ~~~ someone wise.

bathtubFelt so good yesterday to dig a trench, cut the grass and wash the truck.

When I was 13 I had 4 teeth knocked out riding on top of a bus in India. Later on I had to go without 3 front teeth for about 4 months. It would kill me to smile. You dont realize how important smiling is to your well being until you lose that ability. Once I got fake teeth put in I enjoyed smiling so much and I have never forgetton it can all go quick. Its all #perspective

#casaompotomac

 

 

 

Scenes from Life

handstandScenes from the life. New things I did yesterday: bought a trailer, ran the jack hammer, chose pool tile. We went with the darkest one to contrast the deck. Good choice right?

For the last forty years, my father has woken each day 2 and a half hours before sunrise to meditate and practice yoga and participate in Gurdwara. Watching him over time, I would think at first he did Sadhana and then at some point the Sadhana did him.

Recently he said to me, “after all this work work I have done, I realized I should have learned to stand on my head instead. I could have been really famous.” He is also a pretty funny guy. Something about having that type of figure in your life puts everything into perspective. Like first of all, ok you did it. But could you do it at 4 am for 3 hours a day for 40 years.

The other day I was complaining how long this project is taking and have been reflecting on that story. Mostly the part about how I too would rather be standing on my head.

 

More dollars

windowssiana

I found out yesterday from the health department that I need an additional 1000 gallon grease trap added to the new septic, with separate plumbing lines coming from the kitchen. I also need a commercial grade fire suppressant hood for the kitchen stove with exhaust channels. Yea the only thing I knew too when I heard that was it was going to be $$$

The crew was asking why I am not more stressed and its not because I am made of cash. In fact I don’t have it. The thought that has been on my mind is my daughter doesn’t really care. She doesnt care how many hours we work. She doesn’t care whether it works or doesn’t. She just pretty much wants to play and have fun and know if her room is done. And thats really more important.

You have to be a little out of your mind to get into something like this for the simple reason that you cannot know what your getting into. Then you hit it and hit again and again. We had a new roof put on, and it leaked with the first heavy rain. Thats my mantra for these days- hit it and hit again and again and again until its done and make it work.

Meanwhile India furniture is set to arrive July 12 to Norfolk. Thats going to be like yoga retreat center Christmas. #casaompotomac

Septic

septicI love these guys doing the septic. They shared a story from a job they did….

They went to a home where the septic backed up. A man and his wife lived there. They dug out the black water tank found a few surprises.

The man says:

“What are all those balloons in there?”

Septic builder: “uhh sir. Those are not balloons. Those are rubbers.”

The man: “But I dont use rubbers”

Septic builder: “Well sir….. ummm….we just fix the septic”

Each step leads to the next

septic2When I was a boy I wanted to be a trash man. On Wednesdays when they would come I asked my mom to wake me early so I could come wave to the guys. When I was 13 I got a summer job in between time in India as a landscaper and part time as a roofer. I hauled rock and carried shingles up ladders. In India I opened a little store like a little 7-11. One year I think I paid to stay in business. In college I pressure washer and then one day the boss just never called back. I then became a telemarketer. I made 2000 calls to ever hospital in 14 states. I spent months in this job. I got 1 client in Poughkeepsie New York. For a few weeks I worked in a cereal factory sliding bags of granola into boxes. I tried to open a book reselling business but it never went anywhere. After college, I wanted to open a coffee shop but I don’t like coffee. I worked as a barista at Starbucks. A customer asked me at the time what my name meant and I told her “sustainer of the world”. She told me I need to get the hell out of there. When I was 20 I started teaching yoga. I sucked at it. Consistently no one came to my classes. I quit knowing one day I would be back with a vengeance. I went to work for Spirit Voyage.

We did really cool work. I have a producer credit on silent moonlight meditation by Gurunam Singh I started as a telemarketer selling cd’s and book’s. I sold cd’s out the trunk of a car.I sold cd’s in 8 countries. One time I bribed a Paraguayan custom official in the bathroom to let me in country with product. I told him I was a padre with religious material so he gave me a good deal. Later at Spirit Voyage I learned warehousing and book keeping. With a lot of help, I rebuilt the website and tried to become an SEO master. I hired teams in Bangalore and Calcutta for back office support. We opened a warehouse in Mexico City. We threw festivals in Tepoztlan, Joshua tree, Waynesboro PA and Rishikesh India. I didn’t know shit about music. When I was 11 I got suspended from school for misbehaving in music class. The irony. Another record label had the hours 10-6. My first idea was my hours would be 8-8.

My only point with this story is that I think each step is leading to the next.

http://casaom.com/on-the-potomac-wva/

Out of the comfort zone

harg-workIn 2004 I was semi stranded in Delhi. I had volunteered as a relief aid worker after the tsunami hit the Andaman islands and was trying to make my way back to the united states. With time on my hands and nothing to do, I signed up for a conference in Delhi that featured Hillary Clinton, Hamid Karzai and a bunch of Indian celebrities and business leaders. I was most impressed by Lakshmi Mittal the steel tycoon who would later become the richest man in the world. I loved his talk. He spoke of being a real leader in your industry and what that actually means.

I was preoccupied with something else though. I needed to get back to the US before I ran out of money. I really wanted to muster the courage to ask Senator Clinton for a ride back to New York on her plane.

I thought about the pitch. I reasoned myself as to why she would say yes. I thought it through.

And then….

I totally chickened out. My palms got sweaty. The idea was stupid. I wasn’t dressed well. She was swarmed with people and security. I didn’t even get a handshake. I literally said nothing.

Rejected and feeling like a loser, I went and sat next to Mr Mittal. I wouldn’t say we totally hit it off but we had fun. I told him I too wanted to change an industry one day. He asked me which one and wished me all the best. I chatted with his wife about sikhism and India and cross cultural stuff. She was cool. One of the Bajaj heirs, also from a major tycoon family, found it slightly irritating that I took his chair.

The point being I had anchored so far away from my comfort zone, I was ok all of a sudden in something slightly less wild. That put me at ease to approach an equally intimidating person.

I was thinking about this story as I try to get this project done and all the things that could be even harder.

 

The entreprenuer’s faith

harg2For the last four months, I have repeated 3 statements that are built on faith. I call it the entrepreneur’s faith. You could call them lies if they didn’t come true and take them for granted if they did.

These are the founding statements most entrepreneurs tell. Its a fine line to walk. It is one reason I believe in god as a human need.

It is a fine line because if all things come true, all statements are true. If one does not come through, then all statements are false.

Here goes.

First, you you have to tell the bank you have clients. If you don’t they won’t lend to you. Second you tell the clients you have a means to deliver your product. If you don’t they won’t come. Third you tell your workers you have money to pay them to create your product. If you don’t you have no product.

Yesterday was a big day for me. Our loan came through from Sandy Spring giving us the means to finish the project.

We opened registration though last week. Come visit on September 28. We did this because there is only one way out of this and it is to succeed.

We have 7 people signed up for the first weekend so far.

A month ago I started promising workers payments that could only be made if the loan came through. If I didn’t, I would have no product to deliver my clients.

Five months ago when I started working on the loan, I told the bank we would have clients for this with absolute certainty. If I had not, I would not have gotten the loan.

So today we have the loan, the workers and the clients.

That’s the entrepreneur’s faith and I keep believing. I have no choice.

 

Flex your Imagination

imagin-photoOne of my favourite books to understand India’s economy in the 90’s was Gurucharan das’s India Unbound. One of the questions he poses is that perhaps the tech revolution in South India was linked to a number of factors including a long history of spiritual development.

My take away from this theory was that on some level spiritual power is the ability to take things that are not real and make them real.

Going further, the real fortune tellers were the ones who saw what is real most clearly and used that insight to see what came next.

Marketers just call it the trend.

The best compliment I ever I got was someone said after an event I did, “its like we were in harg’s imagination.”

Thats why I don’t mind painting, hauling rock, or cleaning bathrooms. I like every type work if its tied to imagination. I dont see it as anything other than creating something I already see in my imagination. I see the setbacks as chances to flex the imagination muscle. How fit is your imagination?

Labor goes first on any tear out

before-after Many years ago a family went to a monk and asked for a blessing. The monk said “your father dies. You die. Your children die.” Horrified the father asks, “How can you say such horrible things”. The monk says “blessed are those who follow the order of things. Think about it. Would you have it any other way.”

Through this project I too have been searching for the order of things on a construction project.

Here is what I have learned.

Labor goes first on any tear out. Then framing happens. Then the plumber runs pipes. Then electrical runs wires. Then goes drywall and paint. Then goes tile. Then the plumber comes back and sets the fixtures. The electrician then sets electrical fixtures. And then you have a house and an order to things.

I can see the end of the tunnel on this project.

Today we painted the pool and we painted this fixture. Halfway through I thought I shouldn’t have done it. What do you think ?

 

Expect the Con

roofingSomewhere on the backstreets of Buenos Aires I made a nice connection with my taxi driver. He told me of his time in the military. He showed me the scar from a bullet on his forehead. We bonded over our mutual distaste of English imperialism. He nearly died in the Falkland wars. He is lucky he got out alive as many of his friends did not.

I should have already been gone from Argentina. Why I was still there is a story for another day.

I was traveling with two heavy bags and my flight wasn’t for another 14 hours. My new friend offered to hang on to my stuff for the day while I took in the cultural sights of the city. He knew I may never be back and Buenos Aires is special. Trust a stranger with all my stuff and then look the fool I thought. The embarrassment of that would sting.

I paused for a minute. I realized I would trade what I had for a good day in Buenos Aires. So I took him up on the offer. I went exploring cafes and the opera house. I went to the zoo and dreamed of what life would be like at the south end of the world.

14 hours passed. He showed up. I took my bags. Hugged my friend and boarded my plane. The con never came. My day was awesome.

I was thinking about this many years later in Mexico City. I boarded a taxi. Once again, I made a friend. We spoke of Casa Del Tono, the great food of Districto Federal and how no one can be trusted. I was rushing to make it on tour with Snatam Kaur. The driver took me to the Paraguay embassy, the Brazilian embassy and then for a quick stop at the juice bar. As I stepped out of the car, he sped away with all of my possessions. It was my last stop.

The con arrived. It took me some time to get over it but I was expecting it. It just came 12 years later.

I got conned the other day on this project and it reminded me of these experiences. I am not even mad about it. It is a line item on the budget. It is a small price to pay for being open to the universe. It was a reminder that I would take a day of freedom in Buenos Aires if I have to drop some baggage in Mexico City.

Pain is the reservoir

bathroomWhen I was 13, I was riding on top of a bus. It was a warm night in Amritsar with a cool breeze. It was awesome right up until it wasn’t.

I got hit by a cable at 30 kilometers an hour or so. It broke the maxilla bone in my face and ripped out my canine and one other tooth. Two other teeth disfigured the top of my mouth and pointed straight forward.

It hurt but what happened later hurt more.

After 7 hours of surgery, a dentist wired my teeth back together in a home made tooth brace restoring some normalcy to my face.

The pain got worse.

A month or so later an older kid beat me up punching me in the face repeatedly. The braces punctured the inside of my lips causing my mouth to fill with blood.

For weeks after, every time I would sip, smile or move my face, the braces would latch to my lips reopening the wound. The gashes created an internal resting place for the metal in my face.

So this week reminded me of that.

I made so many mistakes. Many that were self inflicted just like when I was a kid. Others were just bad luck.

On Tuesday I missed the deadline to submit my architecture plans to the county before the architect went on vacation. On Wednesday the fire marshall said we need to install a sprinkler system.

I then crashed a wheelbarrow on my self cutting both shins.

On Thursday I drove 3 hours to a meeting and missed the meeting. I got lost and ended up outside a massage clinic. I was so pissed, I ducked in because I couldn’t leave with all the traffic any way.

The massage was great until it wasn’t. I turned down the happy ending 10% of the way through. First it was the inner thigh and before you knew he was looking to score. Weird week.

On Thursday we tore off a beautiful deck that we probably didn’t need to. Half the team thought we needed it gone to build the yoga room. I ok’d it but instantly regretted it. Seeing the team work for a day on something that makes it all worse just sucks.

This week made me reflect on how everything that happens gives us the perseverence for the next move.

Casa Om is the house Groupon built

grouponSome people used to say Groupon ruined yoga. I never saw it that way. I saw it as vindication for those of us that grew up in counter culture ashram scene. It was like the weirdos made it. Also I had missed windows of opportunity before but when this wave hit I was ready.

Why ?

For that, back to India we must go.

When I was 13, my classroom was 6 feet above ground with a nice big window. A 5 foot brick wall lay 100 feet in the distance. It was unfinished for something and probably stayed that way for years. It was always like that back then. My math teacher would stare at the chalk board enamoured by his calculations and skill.

One day during an algebraic soliloquoy I just jumped out the window and ran as fast as I could to the wall. I scaled the brick and never looked back. I spent the day hitchhiking on scooters, eating kulcha and drinking Coca Cola. We called it bunking.

When Groupon hit, I knew it was my time to jump, run and never look back. I was going bunking.

Traditional business states, in an environment of similar offerings the one who drops prices lowest wins until equilibrium establishes. The guy who goes the lowest, the fastest cleans up the most.

But between 13 and 30 I got lost a bit. I forgot deep down I am a

bunker waiting for the time to jump. For those of who have read my other posts, you know I was a telemarketer.

When you call lots of people, you find many who are lonely and need someone to talk to. Facing constant rejection, you get lonely too.

I was a teleradiology telemarketer. I made friends with a few radiologists that wanted me to find them work. I found a few hospitals that needed radiologists. I could have formed a company doing this. I didn’t because I was afraid. I could have been 21 with highly trained doctors working for me. (god help us all right).

I just didn’t go for it. I eventually left the industry somewhat of a failure.

Another opportunity like this wouldn’t present itself for about 9 years. For me the good idea windows have opened every 7-9 years or so. But when they do, you have to jump and run like hell so you can ride motorcycles and eat kulcha. You got to be a bunker.

So back to Groupon. When Groupon hit, I realized this trend was leading to the largest influx of people to yoga in the modern world.

I had only 2 objectives in the yoga studio. Teach as many people yoga as possible and run a good business. If I wanted to ride this train, I was going to jump out the window and run like hell. That meant going lower and better deals than anyone had ever done. It meant bunking.

So thats what we did. Thats where the capital for first Casa Om came from. Thats why I say Casa Om is the house Groupon built.

 

Getting there

white-roomI covered about 180 miles today in the truck. I hit home depot, 2 lowes and the hicksville planing mill. I bought outdoor paint, drywall, posts to build a fence by the river and all types of indoor wood trim. One of the coolest ways to learn an area is through construction.

On another note, I have done 28 lessons in Pimsleur Punjabi courses since I started this project. I am almost exclusively listening to punjabi music or lessons as I drive. I figure that I could dedicate this time to becoming fluent or waste it, so it seemed like a good use. Punjabi speakers do you have podcast recommendations or books on tape that you recommend? I am about to run out of audio lessons as there are only 30.

 

 

Bipolar existence

rainbowI am in a bipolor existence.

3 days a week I am working in a #yoga teacher training at yoga works. 4 days a week I do construction. I spend my time in teacher training making correlations to construction to illustrate my views on yoga practice. I am sure half the students think this is totally silly. I spend my time in construction trying to convince the people I meet to start a yoga practice. I am sure half of them too think I am totally nuts.

This morning I nearly talked my #uber driver into following me into class. His excuse was he didn’t have the right outfit. He promised me he would come “next time”.

Guru Nanak’s first lines of Japji are There is one god, Truth Name. As we dug through these rotten windows in the pictures you see, then to the 2×4’s down to the LVL’s I reflected on these lines. If the wood of this structure is already destroyed lets get to the truth of it as soon as we can. Luckily the rot stopped right at the LVL’s. Another year without replacing the wood and you would see the foundation start to give in. Get the truth, find god.

So thats what I did this week, I dug out the rotten and tried to regenerate rotten bodies with good ones.

Good ideas

harg-siriI think good ideas have 3 ways to work. Chances are I am wrong about 2 of them. India has always been a spiritual place for me. Some part of me comes alive there. I thought it was a good idea to go back. That was one.

India like anywhere, can be a messed up place. I wanted to show people the country that I love through my eyes in a way that would inspire them the way it does for me. I wanted to do a yatra. That was 2.

I have long wanted to visit Jodhpur where the hand carved furniture is truly amazing. This retreat project gave me the chance to do that. I tied that into the march trip as well. That was number 3.

When I realized I had 3 good reasons I started planning the India trip. We went in March but we started planning last summer. So this part of the adventure was a 1 year commitment to an idea. We got lucky on it because all three worked out.

This 40 foot sea container arrived yesterday. And it feels like this part of the idea is done.

The day called for clear skies but as it arrived a torrential down pour hit. When we did the clearing for the view I was very specific about keeping this one tree because I loved it. Right as the container arrived it got struck by lightning. It was crazy.

Bob Marley

poolScenes from the job.

Saw this Bob Marley quote the other day and could relate to a lot of it.

“I wish we were all hippies and did yoga, lived in cottages, smoked weed, accepted everyone for who they are, and listened to wonderful music. I wish money didn’t make us who we are. I just wish we could redo society.”

Bob Marley

 

 

The rain

hargselfieLast night we worked into the night through the rain to get ready for the framers. I was a guide as the others ran the skid to move 10,000 pounds of lumber. The framers arrived ready to roll this morning with their lumber perfectly lined up. As we reviewed the plans they realized I put the footers in the wrong place. I couldn’t even get the footer team back if I wanted as the entrance is now blocked with 10,000 pounds of lumber. So the framing team went home and I started digging holes.

 

I will make many more mistakes but I doubt ever this this one….

 

 

 

 

Hard to write

entranceThis one was a hard one to write….

Dear Friends,

We are so sad to say that our opening weekend will have to be postponed. We have overcome so many obstacles to make Casa Om Potomac a reality. Still there are a few more that are setting us back.

We hope you can reschedule with us and we will include a bonus Casa Om Hydroflask if you do. Here are the dates you can choose from.

November 2-4

December 7-9

January 25-27

February 14- 16 *Special Valentines Day Weekend* Thursday – Saturday

or one of the numerous weekend events we will do in 2019.

If future dates won’t work for you, then we would gladly provide you with a refund.

Here are some of the highlights of what we have done in case you are interested.

We installed a 1500 gallon grease trap in the middle of limestone rock. It was almost too much for the heavy machinery. We installed the largest septic tank I have ever seen. According to our roofer, we put on the the largest single building roof span in Berkeley county.

We imported a 40 foot shipping container from India filled with the most interesting statues and antiques on the planet. We plowed a fence to bring it down our drive way. The driver of the truck was named Dion from Baltimore. He told me to keep my chakras open and that he meditated every day. He loved the project. I told him Dhyan (pronounced Dion) means meditation in Sankrit. It was cosmic.

To my knowledge no one has tried to mix elements of West Virginia natural beauty with a sacred Indian temple vibe into a yoga retreat center concept.

This will also be the first hot yoga retreat center in America.

We moved 40 dump truck loads of dirt to level the earth for the yoga room. We pulled it from a part of the property where we will later build a pond .The view is going to be epic. The plans went through 5 revisions.

We remodelled 12 bathrooms.

We did a clearing to improve the view of the Potomac river from the house. There was one tree that seemed special to me so we left it. Two weeks ago it got struck by lightning. If it hadn’t been there lightning probably would have hit the house. We survived heaven and moved earth to get this far.

I spend each evening watching the sunset over the river with the blue hue of the Appalachian mountains beyond. Bald Eagles, hawks and numerous other birds fly by. I want to learn them all. I watch beaver swim across the river and deer grazing in the front yard. It’s a different world out here.

What did us in for the delay though was the sprinkler system and that is just going to take more time.

I am reminded daily that the bigger the problem, the better the story. When you come I will have tales to fill a book. I can’t wait for that day and to share it with you.

I am so grateful more than you know that you would have signed up for this opening weekend. When our paths cross, i promise you it will be the best Casa Om experience so far.

But for now, it must wait a little longer.

Much love & blessings,

Hargobind & Siri Om Siri Om Kaur Khalsa

Rooms getting ready!

ready-room

Tag Line

taglineI am trying to come up with a tag line. The only two that come to mind are

Casa Om Potomac

America’s Hot Yoga Retreat Center

or

The peoples retreat center

I kind of like both. I like the America connotation because this space reminds me of what I love about America. Nature. Outdoors. Exploring. Limitless.

I like the second one because its a little tighter. One of the things that has always been important to me was to make these luxury experiences accessible to the middle class. I am essentially trying to democratize the retreat experience. I used to read yoga journal when I was a kid and want to go to their conferences but always felt they were so expensive. I am sure people think that about our events but its something that I am always shooting for when I do this stuff.

I like the hot yoga connotation because its niche. I also like the peoples retreat center though because I really want it open to all styles of yoga. We certainly love them all.

They say it won’t work

y-room“Yoga place. It’ll never work. Not here….,” said the delivery man last week.

This question is heavily on my mind. Its been 6 months since I moved into this house. It was the end of winter back then and the power was cut. It was cold. It has gotten warmer since.

So the idea. Maybe it will. Maybe it won’t. Here is why I bet my year on it though.

First, I think the way people want to vacation is different than before. I think 80 %of the population wants to go drink and relax on the beach on vacation. 20% of the population wants to get healthy, learn something new and have a curated experience.

So I think our timing is right in this regard. There are plenty of places catering to the 80% but less to the 20%.

Beauty in nature will never go out of style. As we make less of it, we will need more. I had a client tell me one time, he said Hargobind I love your events but I am old. I only have a certain amount of time left. if you keep renting shitty locations I cant justify coming to your festivals. So this is better than what I have had before.

Finally, the factory destination experience is done. This 20% of the population wants to see a location through someone else’s eyes. They want a ridge with a sunset. They want live music with dinner. They want a boat ride to a bike ride. They want a packed lunch for a meadow picnic. They want to meditate to crystal bowls in an ancient cave. They want an Ayurvedic massage by the river. They want hot yoga while they watch snow land on the river.

So I say to all the delivery men giving advice on yoga. Maybe you’re right but I am betting you’re not.

What do you think…. in 6 months am I rockin’ or as the trucker said “never gonna make it?”

Value Chain Theory

contructHere’s the second of 3 reasons the retreat center will work. Those of you that have been following my other posts know that I like ideas to work in 3 ways. I explained the first reason which was the “20% vacationer”. The second reason is Value Chain.

The retreat concept fills in the value chain for a yoga studio. This space is waaaaay under served.

When we had the Bikram studios this was the value chain.

First class free or thereabout

Drop in $18

workshop $40

Autopay $125 or 30 pack at $360

Annual $1250

Teacher Training $2500

So the value chain ( things of value that you offer that lead to the next thing) looked like this.

Free<$18<$40<$125/$360<$1250<$2500

Notice how huge these jumps are between the annual and trainings and between the monthly and the annual?

Generally the value chain theory says that if you have these gaps and big jumps you are missing out on fulfilling your clients needs in this price point. You are leaving money on the table.

When I realized that both One Fire and Casa Om could be offerings in this space, I was stoked. They were in the value chain of $300-$1800 price point.

Is this too capitalistic of a view point? Sometimes I think so.

So here is another perspective. Are you maximizing your potential as a teacher. Are you helping as many people as you can, as much as you can? The value chain is an excellent way to organize your offerings. It makes you a better healer and teacher. I know the value chain shows you how much money you can make. I also used it in Spirit Voyage. So I have filled out value chains in 2 different businesses. (If you want to hear that value chain story in the music business, comment below). It shows you how much impact you can have.

Here is how.

If you don’t have a service offering that looks like this

Free<$18<$40<$125/$360< $499< $999>$1250 <$1800 <$2500

…..and you’re a yoga teacher.

You aren’t serving the needs of your students as well as you could. If you have part of this value chain then your students are either missing out or going somewhere else for it. Most likely they are missing out. Why not do better?

To be honest, my favorite place on the value chain is the festival/retreat area. I think the depth of connection and quality of teaching can be so much higher when you have people in community for a few days.

So here is my suggestion on a value chain:

Offer something free

Offer your class $18

Sell a book or online classes 9-$100

Do workshops $40

Plan weekend retreats or festivals 299-$999

Do weeklong retreats 999-1999

Lead Teacher Trainings $2500 (but be careful on this)

Do you agree? Is this helpful?

Message me or comment below if you want to rap about how to fill in your value chain

***and don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t***

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