- Written by Mike Martin
A global road trip
COLUMBIA, Mo 6/2/15 (Beat Byte) -- People love top ten lists, and if I made a list of the top ten most upbeat people in Columbia, Yoga Sol founder Polly Sweitzer would undoubtedly be on it.
It's good news that she has sold her well-known yoga studio to a trio of equally upbeat folks: Susan Nagel, Allen Cass, and yoga instructor Liz Klug.
“My family and I are embarking on a 2-year journey around the world," Sweitzer explained. "I’m so happy that Susan, Allen and Liz have decided to acquire the company, maintain the Yoga Sol programs and grow Columbia’s yoga community."
Husband Steve -- who co-founded Columbia-based creative and advertising agency Woodruff-Sweitzer -- seventh-grade daughter Sadie, and Polly start their journey -- a longtime dream they've called a "semi-retirement" -- this summer in South America. Europe is next on the itinerary.
In true yogi fashion, they're leaving the material world mostly behind, selling furniture and other worldly possessions that won't be much use on a global road trip. They plan a return to the rat race -- in some form or another -- once their daughter starts high school.
Sweitzer is one of a handful of Columbia business people who put yoga on the local entrepreneurship map. An early adopter of the city's adaptive reuse wave -- Yoga Sol is located in a John Ott-repurposed building on St. James Street -- she helped introduce terms like "Vinyasa Flow" and "Iyengar Yoga" into CoMo's daily health and fitness lexicon.
A move by state government to force Sweitzer to pay taxes on yoga instructors who work as independent contractors at Yoga Sol propelled her into the ranks of small business heroes last year. After appealing the move, Sweitzer won a decision from the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission.
It was a small victory in the scheme of things that illustrated a big problem almost every small business person has experienced in one form or another: the government's near-constant harassment of productive citizens for more and more "revenue". Too many people just pay up and shut up; Sweitzer fought back and won.
Yoga Sol's new owners include two yoga practitioners who've made their marks in other professions. Cass is a Columbia-based anesthesiologist and Nagel a Mizzou endocrinology professor who studies the effects of industrial toxins on human health.
Klug is an expert instructor who has been teaching yoga for 13 years.
The trio plans new classes, mindfulness meditation, and yoga education workshops. "We are excited to continue the legacy that Polly Sweitzer built and honor her in the process," Nagel said.