Today we’d like to introduce you to Elizabeth Scollan.
Hi Elizabeth, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
The idea of Soulage came as my husband and I purchased the Bible House in Mount Vernon to convert to a living space.
This beautiful gothic-style building from the early 1800s was way more space than we needed, but it was an exciting new project to take on and we figured we would find a way for it all to be used (having a restaurant owner as a husband, he is constantly coming up with new concepts; a small wine bar perhaps? We are after all right across from Tio Pepe’s).
We had recently moved back to the city from Annapolis and as a long-time yoga teacher, I was devastated to see how the yoga landscape had changed in my city. In the wake of the pandemic, there was a loss of so many studios that long-time yoga practitioners no longer had a space to be in community with one another.
The city was lacking venues for seasoned teachers to reconnect, in in-person with their students. On our second visit to the building as we were pondering what we might do with the giant first floor, I found myself beginning to imagine a room full of students moving and breathing together in the light streaming from the giant arched windows.
And like a slow dawning, the wheels of a concept began to turn, one that was teacher-centric, so that our work is sustainable and at a living wage and one that allowed each individual who is utilizing the space to have guidelines that made them and their students feel comfortable (class sizes, requirement of vaccination, choice for hands-on assists).
It is my deep hope that Soulage will assuage a need that we have in this beautiful city of Baltimore to have a space to practice, connect and heal together.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Our model is a little different than a traditional yoga studio. The teachers at Soulage rent the space for a nominal fee and their students pay them directly.
I think the biggest challenge we have had is getting students who have been used to a subscription-based model to buy into this way of paying for classes.
Our mission is to allow teachers to run their own businesses and reap the benefits of their efforts with a livable wage. We hope our students will be excited to support their favorite teachers.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Soulage?
For teachers, we are proud to be a teacher-centric model. We provide a space, social media marketing, and a website that highlights all of our teachers (a bio, what and when each teacher is teaching, and a link to pay them).
For movement teachers looking for a home to teach, this model gives you the freedom to choose an available time, teach the way you desire to teach, and build towards an income that makes your work sustainable.
For students, the teachers who have made Soulage their home are truly dedicated to their craft. They have spent years practicing and educating themselves. They come from many backgrounds and so our offerings are diverse.
You can find Vinyasa, Katonah, Restorative, Buti, Somatic, and Yin Yang practices offered here. You can also find workshops and events, like diversity training for yoga teachers or a women’s circle that meets monthly.
Who else deserves credit in your story?
I am eternally grateful to the brave teachers who have taken a risk on themselves and this model to bring Soulage to life.
Sarah Cook, Tami Jacobs, Dee Satterfield, Lainie Smith, Amanda Briody, Kelly Shastany, and Jessica Crowley saw an opportunity to shift the paradigm in the yoga studio world and they have all fully stepped in.
If you haven’t had a chance to practice with these incredible and inspiring people, you are missing out.
- Website: Soulagebaltimore.com
- Instagram: @soulagebaltimore
- Facebook: Soulage Baltimore
Nikki Page and Natalie Jeffrey