HAMPTON — The recent partnership of teacher and former student is bringing the beach’s first yoga studio out of the pandemic stronger than ever, and re-branded from Retreat 339 Yoga to Hampton Beach Yoga and Mindfulness.
“I knew her; I taught her; I trusted her,” said Rianna Cordes of her new partner Susan Bezreh. “The partnership naturally fell into place.”
In 2015, Cordes, who works full-time at a bank, opened her yoga studio on the first floor of the 339 Ocean Boulevard condominium building, appropriate to its previous name. During the summers, when Bezreh and her husband left their Wilmington, Massachusetts home for their vacation condo at the same address, she took classes with Cordes, enjoying the experience and Cordes enormously.
But as her yoga business grew in popularity, Cordes faced a turning point. A new mother of a baby girl in April 2020, and still holding down a 40-hour-a-week job at the bank, she felt she’d taken her business as far as she could.
“I knew I needed help to bring it to its full potential,” Cordes said.
Enter Bezreh, who worked in sales for a financial institution, and took the opportunity during the pandemic to get certified as a yoga instructor. Bezreh was ready for a new adventure.
“I always had a passion for yoga,” Bezreh said. “I love this new chapter of my life.”
This January, Cordes and Bezreh became co-owners, partnering in the business and renaming it Hampton Beach Yoga and Mindfulness to signify the launch. Since then, the two said, it’s been amazingly fulfilling.
“My business wasn’t failing before; it just needed a lot more attention than I could give it,” Cordes said. “I knew when Susan came she could provide it.
To Cordes’ solid yoga and people skills, Bezreh brought expertise as a marketing dynamo. Creating advertising materials, she literally knocked on the doors of every business in Hampton Beach. She asked permission to put up the studio’s signs in windows and tent cards with sign-up coupons on restaurant tables, networking and making valuable connections.
“We had a great response,” Bezreh said. “Hampton is a very supportive town.”
The co-owners sought ways to increase their opportunities to reach people by building partnerships with other businesses and organizations, like the Ashworth by the Sea Hotel, Hampton Beach Village District, the Chamber of Commerce, and more. So far, Cordes said, they’ve done well with their collaborations.
Yoga at the Ashworth by the Sea and on the beach
The duo now offer their skills as yoga instructors at the deck at Ashworth by the Sea, overlooking the beach. Ashworth guests get a discount, but non-guests can also sign up for the experience of outdoor yoga with a lovely vista.
They also offer a cost-free opportunity for yoga enthusiasts or novices to start their days at 7 a.m. by stretching on the sand with Beach Yoga by the Half Shell, at Hampton Beach. Offered Tuesdays and Thursdays from mid-June to September 1 to those who pre-register, the program is underwritten by the Hampton Beach Village District, the women said, which contracts with them to offer visitors a new reason to visit.
“I love the whole vibe,” Bezreh said. “Doing yoga on the beach is amazing.”
The company also decided to invest in the Hampton Beach community themselves. They became one of the sponsors of the Village District’s Master Sand Sculpting Classic this year, they said, and they’ll be participating in September when the Hampton Chamber hosts its annual Seafood Festival.
And for yoga lovers who like a challenge and aren’t afraid of the water, there’s the partnership they developed with Rye company SUP YO Adventures, for stand-up paddleboard yoga.
“SUP YO instructors actually teach the stand-up paddleboard classes,” Bezreh said. “People can register at our website.”
They also offer private yoga opportunities for parties or personal lessons, and of course, there’s still yoga classes at 339 Ocean Boulevard.
For more information on Hampton Beach Yoga and Mindfulness, visit hamptonbeachyoga.com. You can also contact them at [email protected] or call the studio at (603) 601-2762.