Novo Yoga began in 2004, and Paola Borgonovo has been cultivating the studio’s vision ever since.
Mindful Studio: How did your yoga studio come about?
Paola Borgonovo: Our studio turned 16 on May 17, 2019. It has been quite an evolution from Bikram yoga in 2004 with one hot room and one practice to two rooms — one heated and one non-heated room — at 13 different practices, 16 years later as Novo Yoga. The yoga journey started in San Francisco in 1987 after moving from Italy with my brother and partner. We started with Iyengar and Ashtanga, and later in 1998 discovered hot yoga. Upon taking Bikram yoga teacher training in 2000, I knew I wanted to have a yoga studio.
After searching for a good spot in San Francisco and not finding the right spot, we decided to move to Los Angeles and found our great location here in Redondo and opened our doors on May 17, 2004.
What was your vision?
PB: Our vision was to teach yoga in its most traditional form, which included dedication and commitment. Our vision was also to open a studio that felt like home — a friendly place where every teacher knows your name and helps you as a student to grow in your practice, and is also compassionate and cares beyond the mat. And we did it. There is a lot of dedication, caring and compassion at Novo Yoga. All the teachers love what they do. There is nothing corporate about Novo Yoga.
What is an interesting feature about the studio’s design?
PB: The studio is designed in a simple but efficient way. The yoga rooms are all to the right, and the changing rooms and bathroom are all to the left. Even though it is 3,000 square feet, it’s easy to navigate. The aesthetics are very pleasing and very cozy. A lot of reclaimed wood gives a sense of cozy, warmth and home, but it has a touch of Italian sophistication at the same time. Why not? We are Italian.
Room Two has a beautiful OM painted on gold/copper by one of our teachers, who is really artistic.
The changing rooms’ counters, sinks and faucets are very cool. Our Room One and Two floorings are excellent because they are especially made for hot yoga. Zebra Yoga Floors also withstand humidity and heat much better, and they don’t get slippery like hardwood. It is comfortable, non-slippery and it doesn’t smell.
What is one key to your yoga studio’s success?
PB: The key to our studio’s success is we care about our students individually and you can feel the vibes as you enter the studio. Another key to success is the variety of classes we offer and the many classes we offer throughout the day. Another cool thing is we offer two kids’ yoga classes — Sundays at 11 a.m. and Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. — at the same time as adults, so while parents practice in Room One, kids practice in Room Two. Pretty convenient for parents.
What advice could you give to other studio operators?
PB: A simple piece of advice: Be real, be honest, be true and be compassionate toward students — we call them students and not clients — because they feel you. Stay true to yoga and its roots, even though yoga is changing.