BOZEMAN — Finding freedom in the flow: It's something Bailey Evans said meant so much to her she had to share it with others. Now, this 32-year-old boss babe says she's lucky enough to do it every day as owner of Ekam Yoga on Bozeman's Main Street.
“Teaching is such a gift,” said Bailey. “I am the only person I know that can go to work in a bad mood and leave in a better mood.”
She says a passion for moving her body in spite of what some might see as a setback ultimately lead her to yoga.
“I was interested in fitness from when I was the littlest human.” She said. “Then I had to have a fully fused thoracic spine and I asked my doctor what to do to prepare and he said 'do a lot of yoga’”
Bailey has scoliosis and had to have extensive work.
“I have two thirteen-inch rods on either side, four bars in my spine,” said Bailey. “It made me mentally tougher.”
She says she first found yoga to heal, to relieve physical and tension, and later she says she discovered the mental benefits.
“You know when you're stressed and everything gets loud,” she said gesturing with her arms overhead. “It got quiet. The practice was the only thing that would take me from that loud heightened state into a calmer state.”
She took her first class at age seventeen and taught her first class at age twenty.
She says the next step became obvious.
“When you start to notice the mental aspects click into place and everything changes because of yoga, it felt irresponsible to not share that knowledge,” said Bailey. “So Ekam Yoga had to be opened.”
That was just over four years ago. She opened the studio at age 28.
“The first step was figuring out where to put it and we landed in Bozeman. I got an architect and contractor. I was positive I wanted to be downtown. When I officially found the space on Main Street and we got it we spent twelve months to rip in this place to shreds and renovate it,” she said.
She says turning the dream into a reality was possible because she had a great support system, including sister Sawyer who helps her run the business.
She says that support, along with her studio family made it possible to not only stay alive during the pandemic but to thrive.
“It was instant we have to adapt so let’s adapt,” remembers Bailey. “We got shut down on the 18th and on the 19th at 9 AM we introduced our first live stream video.”
“It kept everyone connected and then we had a Facebook page so everyone kept interacting. It was a gift,” she said.
Now with restrictions lifting, she says there's even more excitement among her students and staff.
“It feels like coming home. It’s awesome. I can't tell you how happy I am when I am behind the front desk and all the students are in there chattering just like they are right now. “It’s just such a good feeling knowing everybody's in that room and everybody is safe and we are all OK.”
When she's not in the studio you'll likely find this fitness enthusiast in the gym or out in the mountains of Montana hiking, running, and spending time with her dogs Scoliosis and Stella.
She says if she has a secret to success, it's following that inner voice within that tells you when something is right, sticking to what feels natural ... to what feels like breathing.
“It’s just the best thing I could do with my time,” said Bailey. “I’m passionate about a lot of things but this is it for me. There was never a second guess. Never an ‘I should do this or I should do that.’ No, I know should be teaching. I’m really serious when I say this is it for me. I can't imagine dedicating my life to anything else.”
What's ahead for the future? Bailey just wrote a manual to train teachers and is focused on teacher training through Ekam. She may also open more studios in the future.
She says yes she knows yoga can be scary, and one of her goals as a studio owner is to make showing up on the mat a comfortable place for everyone.
She went to college in Missoula and holds two degrees, one in psychology and another in communications.
In case you are curious, ‘Ekam’ is the number one in the Sanskrit numerical.