Over the past 20 years, 8 Limbs has received numerous awards and media attention. Here are a few:

AWARDS

  • Heart of Seattle Finalist 2017 by Chinook Book
  • Reader’s Choice Best Yoga Studio 2016 by Seattle Magazine
  • Best Yoga Studio on Capitol Hill 2015 by Yoga Panda and Seattle Yoga News
  • Finalist King County Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year 2014, King County Executive Office
  • Best Yoga Studio in Seattle 2004, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2015 Seattle Weekly Readers:
    • Inclusivity is the driving force behind 8 Limbs, which in its 20 years has grown from a modest Capitol Hill studio to a growing yoga empire that invites neophytes and longtime yogis alike to four different locations. Marrying practical advice with spiritual guidance and a fervent dislike for any kind of dogma, the collection of studios are open enough to be inviting and, once you’re there, to allow you to grow.” – Seattle Weekly Best of Issue, 2015
    • 8 Limbs is where a local yogi can have a meaningful practice without feeling as if they have to join an ashram or be fully outfitted in Lululemon accessories. Teachers make yoga approachable for the novice and plenty challenging for the pretzel-bodied.” – Seattle Weekly Reader’s Choice 2011
  • Best Yoga Workout in Seattle 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2011 Seattle Magazine
  • NW Source’s People’s Pick Favorite 2006 nwsource.com Viewers
  • Best Yoga in Seattle 2005, 2006, and 2007 CitySearch Seattle
  • Best Prenatal Yoga in 2008 Seattle Metropolitan Magazine
  • Best Prenatal and Postnatal Yoga 2009 Seattle Magazine
  • Mayor’s Small Business Award 2008 City of Seattle Office of Economic Development (application story below)
  • ParentMap Golden Teddy Award for Best Mom’s Fitness Program 2011 ParentMap

NATIONAL PRESS

LOCAL PRESS

Listen to Anne Phyfe Palmer talk about prenatal yoga with Megan Sukys on KUOW’s Sound Focus

Seattle Mayor’s Small Business Award Winning Application

Written in 2008 by 8 Limbs Owner and Director, Anne Phyfe Palmer

TELL US YOUR BUSINESS HISTORY.

2014-12-04-12.19.57-224x300

One could trace my business history back to a yoga book my parents gave me when I was about 7, but yoga didn’t really stick at that point! I am a go-getter who learned to deal with my excess physical energy through exercise at a young age. The discovery of aerobics classes provided me with a healthy community to learn from, and I started to teach them at age 16. I knew how to teach without really training, and have always understood what people want to do with their bodies to feel good. Ten years, an English degree, and a few years of working in an office later, I was able to turn that intuitive understanding into a business.

When a friend casually asked what my dream business would be, “Yoga Studio” immediately popped into my head. At that time I was working at Common Ground, a holistic health monthly in Seattle, connecting to this new network, and had finally fallen in love with yoga. It brought together my longtime passions for physical movement, personal growth, and community into one practice.

Within a month of this spontaneous realization, I started to look for commercial rental properties and yoga instructors to assemble a staff. I just KNEW that Seattle would embrace yoga, especially affordable, flowing, movement-oriented yoga with an inclusive attitude and a flexible class schedule. The mission of 8 Limbs was, and still is, to be inclusive of the myriad styles of yoga, acknowledging that there are many types of people, and therefore more than one way to practice yoga. Most yoga available at that time was in one school or with one teacher, and by series. I knew that students would appreciate being able to “join” for a set fee and come to as many classes as they liked, as opposed to being limited to a series that met once a week, or paying $10+ per class.

After months of searching for the right space, I stumbled upon our first location on the second floor of a costume shop on Capitol Hill. This hardwood-floored 1300 square-foot corner space with windows on the entire south and west windows is still a stunning place to do yoga. My advertising plan was to use the Stranger, a neighborhood weekly (similar to The Onion) to target the hip, 20-something crowd on Capitol Hill, and it worked! I received 100 calls before we even opened on October 13, 1996.

As interest in yoga grew, so did the number of yoga studios in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. My response to this was to open another location to put my eggs in more than one basket. I was living in Ravenna at the time and I opened the second 8 Limbs in nearby Wedgwood in 1999. The studio was immediately successful. This allowed me to hire one of my most responsible and trusted yoga teachers, Melina Meza, as a part-time manager. With her extensive retail experience she encouraged me to expand to an office and retail space next to the original studio on Capitol Hill in November of 2000. For many years, the 8 Limbs Yoga Boutique was the only place to find a great selection of yogawear and props in Seattle. We remodeled and moved the offices and retail down the hall to their current location in 2003. This allowed us a second yoga studio, massage rental room, and three offices for our general manager, graphic designer, and Boutique buyer. The current 8 Limbs Capitol Hill studio totals about 3500 square feet.

Lastly, in 2005, the third 8 Limbs Yoga Center opened in the West Seattle Junction. It originally had two spacious studios with bamboo floors, 14-foot ceilings, and a smaller version of our Yoga Boutique. We have since scaled back to one studio and the Boutique and have created a neighborhood hub for West Seattle yoga fans. Each studio has its own feel, but what ties them together is the vision of inclusivity and the strong community that has built amongst the teachers, students, and staff. (Note: this was written before the opening of 8 Limbs Phinney Ridge!)

WHAT MAKES YOU MOST PROUD OF YOUR BUSINESS?

Over the last 12 years, 8 Limbs has become more than a business and a yoga school. It is an urban community for people looking for connection in our busy city. The yoga studio has come to replace the traditional gathering places of church and community center for a whole generation of spiritual or body/mind health seekers. 8 Limbs is a sanctuary that has helped many people through the transitions of life. They may have first taken yoga for physical fitness, but for many it has evolved into a support system during a time of grief, a lifelong learning path, or a resource to get them through pregnancy and parenthood. I started the business, but the people who come here perpetuate the community.

On the business end, this community includes the teachers and staff who make their living doing what they love. I am proud that our business has evolved to the place where we help support many of our teachers to teach yoga full time. Our work culture is very relaxed, but has evolved with our growth to also be very organized, consistent, and well-managed. It has gone from an intuitive, shoot-from-the-hip business to a mature one with set policies, managers to enforce them, and a concrete business plan. By growing, the business model has also had to grow in order to run smoothly and continue to provide a steady source of income for its employees and independent contractors.

WHAT MAKES YOUR BUSINESS SPECIAL?

I have heard countless times by students that they just felt comfortable the moment they entered our doors. This is because our teachers and our staff embody the culture of inclusiveness. You feel it as soon as you arrive. Rather than being held together by dogma or one style of teaching yoga, our studios have a personality. This personality is down-to-earth, accepting, inclusive, non-competitive, and curious. The students that are attracted to 8 Limbs are drawn to this personality and the teachers we handpick. There are “popular” teachers but there is no cult of personality. This helps students to feel at ease.

WHAT ARE YOUR BUSINESS’ PRINCIPLES AND VALUES?

The business is founded on the core values of inclusiveness, personal growth, wellness, sustainability, and the belief that of these values contribute to a stronger community. These values form the foundation of our mission: to create a supportive and non-competitive atmosphere in which yoga practitioners can learn and grow with knowledgeable, creative, and friendly teachers. Together our values and mission inspire our guiding principles. Our guiding principles are to provide diverse and affordable learning opportunities for students, teachers, and staff, create an environment for collaboration, use design (in marketing and facilities) that is welcoming and inspiring, maintain an eco-friendly retail component that offers resources to further one’s yoga study, and regularly connect with the broader community through outreach and support.

WHAT MAKES YOUR APPROACH TO CUSTOMER SERVICE UNIQUE?

We bring our yoga to our customer service. We believe in fair policies that are aligned with the philosophy of yoga, well-conveyed, and adhered to. The boundaries that are important to uphold in the teaching environment serve us in the administrative side of our business. Our philosophy regarding sales focuses on using well-trained staff who know our programs and our students to connect students to what’s right for them, be it a discounted student membership or a PVC-free yoga mat.

HOW DOES YOUR BUSINESS SERVE YOUR COMMUNITY?

Just three months after opening, I began to teach free yoga classes to a youth group called The Service Board, founded by Thomas Goldstein. Since then, our teachers have taught hundreds of free yoga classes, such Yoga for HIV and Yoga for Cancer. In 1997 we started to hold benefit yoga classes, where the fees collected go to a chosen non-profit or cause. This summer we will hold two “Karma Yoga in the Park” classes at Cal Anderson, with proceeds going to two local non-profits. Every Thanksgiving proceeds from the three morning classes at our studios go to non-profits chosen by the volunteer instructors. We offer a workstudy option for those who aren’t able to pay for yoga. They can offer their time in exchange for a yoga membership, whether it’s signing in a class, cleaning yoga mats, or changing light bulbs. 8 Limbs has donated hundreds of class passes to non-profits and schools for fundraising purposes.

HOW DOES YOUR COMMUNITY SUPPORT YOUR BUSINESS?

As I said earlier, I started the business, but the people who come here perpetuate the community. This community supports us in many ways. They attend the regular classes, support the new offerings our teachers bring forth, and spread the word about 8 Limbs. This support allows us to continue to create and grow as teachers and as a business. If our business is a growing organism, the communities that we serve are the heart. They guide and support us through their choices, their feedback, and their passion.

DO YOU USE SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS PRACTICES AND/OR WHAT DOES YOUR BUSINESS DO TO SUPPORT THE ENVIRONMENT?

Our staff and clients are incredibly environmentally conscious and have kept our business green from the start. When 8 Limbs opened in 1996 I ordered a bike rack from the city to encourage bike transportation and printed bus route information on our brochures. In 2004 our retail buyer became passionate about sustainable clothing manufacturing and together we committed to turning our Yoga Boutique 50% sustainable/organic by our 10-year anniversary in October 2006. We succeeded, and are now 70% sustainable in both clothing and yoga props. The Puget Sound Business Journal noted this success in a September 17, 2007 profile. In 2007 we stopped selling disposable water bottles and asked clients to bring their own containers to use our water fountains, which were first delivery of jugs but are now in-house filtering systems. When our last studio props wore out, we invested in green materials and donated the used props to local schools. We use eco-friendly cleaners and light bulbs. The 25 windows at our original location were replaced with double-paned energy-efficient windows last year. Most recently, we stopped offering paper bags for Boutique purchases and printed our logo on canvas bags. Patrons who spend more than $100 get a free bag, others can purchase them at cost. We are always looking for more ways to reduce our impact on and off the yoga mat.

PLEASE TELL US ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE THE JUDGES TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS.

I feel very lucky to be able to run 8 Limbs while being very present as a parent to my two daughters, ages 2 and 7. I am able to do my work with a flexible schedule, allowing plenty of mom time and time to be a part of my community, which includes many friends and fellow parents whom I have met in the last 12 years of 8 Limbs. Supporting other parents and parent-to-be is very important to me. My Prenatal & Postnatal Yoga Classes and Yoga Teacher Training are an extension of this passion. We were recently honored with Best Prenatal Yoga by Seattle Metropolitan Magazine, adding another to our many “Best Yoga” awards from local publications.

One of the reasons that I can run a successful business as an involved parent of two young ones is the collaborative nature of the business. I get to work with and serve many talented people. Together we shape this business and give ourselves opportunities for growth, both personal and financial. We are able to contribute to the quality of life in this city by helping ourselves and others feel better and become more focused and healthy. I look forward to many more years of being involved in this community and in this business.