What is the Bisca Yoga Club?
The Bisca Yoga Club was founded in May 2012 by Rachel Hanberry, Yoga Siromani E-RYT200 and initially it offered just yoga to it's members. However the Club has seen a steady growth over the years and now includes a timetable of Yoga, Pilates and well-being classes to the community throughout the year. Members can choose from Vinyasa Yoga, traditional Hatha Yoga, pregnancy yoga, post natal yoga, yoga for women, pilates, and Zen-fitness. The Club currently has 4 teachers who provide these services to the community and people visiting the area during the summer months. Morning yoga classes are taken outdoors in the summer, either on the beach or in the surrounding forest offering something a little different and very special to it's members.
A yoga class in the Landes forest
The Bisca Yoga Club team understands the importance of well-being in a person's life, especially in the non-stop world that we live in today, taking care of yourself has become vital. The services provided by the team offer members a chance to take time out, to relax and to be themselves, whether that is via a yoga class, meditation or a zen-fitness hour. For example, here is some information on how a yoga class can benefit and transform your body -
Becoming a member of the Club is easy, you just sign up to a class via the website Bisca Yoga Club . Membership options range from daily passes to annual membership and are included in each subscription. You can create your own account to pay online and reserve your classes.
Who is behind the Bisca Yoga Club?
The Bisca Yoga Club was founded by Rachel Hanberry. She moved to Biscarrosse-Plage from the UK in 2010 after spending a life changing 6 months volunteering and travelling in East Africa. Having experienced this very simple way of life she realised she couldn't continue to work in an office doing a job that she was not passionate about, in her previous life she was a recruitment consultant, working in London. When she arrived in Biscarrosse she quickly realised that the town did not have a dedicated yoga studio or well-being centre so Rachel decided to create something for the local people and tourists to develop her own teaching experience. She completed her yoga teacher training with the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre in Orleans in 2011 and started teaching classes a local guest house, at client's homes and on the beach that summer.
Realising that to teach classes regularly year round she needed a permanent base, she then took the ambitious step and opened the "Belle Vie Yoga" studio which incorporates the Bisca Yoga Club. This was a big step for her because at this point she did not have a regular clientele, most of her clients had been tourists visiting Biscarrosse Plage during the summer. However the risk paid off and the community embraced the Club, with 50% of its current members having joined back in May 2012. Since then the Club has continued to grow with more classes being added to the schedule, the Club currently runs a weekly Pilates class, a Zen-fitness class, a monthly Women's Yoga Workshop along with 5 yoga classes per week, the timetable can be seen here. Rachel has completed further training and is now a Core Strength Vinyasa Teacher, she continues with her own daily practice, she is a passionate yogini who teaches from her heart with love and warmth.
"Yoga helps you to become your best self, why settle for anything less?" Rachel Hanberry
So what's the problem?
The Yoga Club rents a converted shop unit in the heart of the town to provide classes to it's members. This shop unit is not ideal for a number of reasons -
1) The rent is very high. Due to the seasonal nature of the town, commerces can charge a premium to rent their premises. As the Club keeps its membership subscriptions to a minimum, the teachers providing the services tend to suffer, sometimes the Club cannot pay them for their classes and they end up teaching on a voluntary basis.
The current Bisca Yoga Club studio
2) The converted shop is not purpose built, it is very cold in winter with no central heating, and very warm in summer with no possibility of opening the windows. It also faces onto a busy road with a lot of people and cars passing by during the summer. This makes it noisy.
3) The Club membership continues to grow and the number of members have now outgrown the size of the current unit.
Therefore it is unsustainable for the Yoga Club to continue to rent the current premises.
And the solution?
Rachel and her husband James (also a keen yogi) are renovating an old beach house in the town to create a guest house and gite business. Whilst James was knocking down the walls of an old barn in the garden, Rachel realised that this space would be perfect for a yoga studio, the sun was beaming into the corner of the garden and it was very peaceful (when James wasn't hammering down the walls!) So the seed was planted, convincing James was not difficult and the introduction of a yoga studio at the beach house began to take shape. This in turn changed the initial plans of the guest house to be that of a dedicated yoga retreat guest house. With the contract at the shop unit expiring at the end of October 2014, the best solution was for the new yoga guest house to host the Bisca Yoga Club.
The old barn -
Rachel and James have funded the project so far, this has included sourcing planning permission and architect fees, builders costs to lay the foundations for the building, carpentry fees, cost of materials. The carpenter they chose creates everything by hand using a very traditional method of carpentry, and as such the finished result is beautiful.
During the construction -
The Bisca Yoga Club will be able to use this purpose built studio year round, paying a minimum rent to cover costs of heating, electricity and maintenance and benefitting from this beautiful building in tranquil surroundings, offering classes on the terrace in the sunshine or inside with the wood burner providing warmth in the winter, and also hot yoga classes.
Rachel and James are also planning to use their home to host yoga and surf retreats in the summer months, welcoming people from around the world to share in their yogic lifestyle and benefit from a well-being holiday. This will also increase the number of members of the Yoga Club.
And what about future plans?
Future plans for the Club include providing members with -
An online shop where they can buy yoga materials, mats, props, clothing, music
An online yoga studio where members can access classes from anywhere in world
A treatment room offering massage therapy, crystal healing, reiki treatments
Free meditation sessions that can be accessed online or in person at the studio
Weekend workshops to increase yoga knowledge
Vegetarian cookery workshops
Rachel and James also want to contribute to the small communities in Tanzania that they had the privilege to visit back in 2010. They have pledged to donate 5% of the Bisca Yoga Club subscriptions to these communities every year as a heartfelt thanks to the teams there for inspiring them to make a difference in their lives and in other people's lives. You can read more about these wonderful projects here -