Ashley Ayala, owner of Soul Revolution — a yoga, cycling and fitness studio in Dubuque — cranks up the heat anytime she steps foot in her yoga studio.
She calls herself a “heat junkie” when it comes to her hot yoga practice.
But Ayala wasn’t always this way — coaching people through Warrior 3 poses. She stated out as a swimmer in her early years.
“I was always an athlete growing up,” Ayala said. “Our entire family was really into swimming.”
After she graduated high school, she realized she was always being coached or had a workout set up for her.
“When I went to college, I knew I was going to want to start a regime of my own,” Ayala said. “I started a lot of things but never really stuck with it.”
After trying most of what the University of Iowa had to offer, yoga slowly founds its way in.
“I worked in some of the bars and restaurants down there, and those owners owned a yoga studio called Hot House Yoga,” Ayala said. “They became my second home.”
Like most, she struggled with yoga at the start.
“My first class, I was super lost,” Ayala said. “I had no idea what was going on because I had never done yoga before. It was very very hot.”
But after a few wobbly classes, something clicked.
“I had realized at the end of one of the classes my instructor told me that nothing outside of this room mattered,” she said.
After Ayala left the studio, should couldn’t shake those words, saying, “Holy cow! This is it! This is amazing!”
From that point on, Ayala was “hooked on the heat” and couldn’t stop going back.
“Very shortly after that, I knew I wanted to go through yoga teacher training,” she said. “I wanted to own a yoga studio to help others feel what I felt.”
Ayala opened Soul Revolution in 2018. Before that, she taught locally.
“I did that for a little while, but I always had in my head that I wanted to start my own business,” Ayala said.
It wasn’t until her husband, Ricky, gave her a gentle nudge.
“I was terrified,” Ayala said. “It was such a huge gamble to do this. Without my husband pushing me to take this leap of faith, I wouldn’t have done it.”
He also helped inspire the studio’s name.
“It’s a revolution of yourself and soul in the yoga practice, also the revolution of your petals as you’re cycling,” Ayala said.
Not only does the studio offer yoga, it compliments the practice with cycling as well.
“I found myself being a part of conversations where people would say they wanted to have a cardio component with their yoga practice,” Ayala said.
Pairing the two makes for a full workout, she said, available to customers in one place.
“Having cycling in the studio helped set me apart from other local places as well,” Ayala said. “It really is a party on the bikes.”
That’s not an understatement.
In the cycling studio, there are black lights and loud music for her customers to have a good time, while getting a work out in.
“If you’re not having fun in your exercise routine, it’s going to get boring,” Ayala said.
Within its first year, Soul Revolution has seen growth. It has approximately 14 licensed instructors that teach yoga classes, as well as a strong recurring customer base.
“We started the construction in the summer of 2018, and we opened our doors on Dec. 18,” Ayala said. “We have new people coming in everyday and every week.”
Customers coming in have a variety of yoga and cycling classes they can choose from. Soul Revolution also offers strength classes, cardio and strength classes combines and different styles of yoga.
Many Soul Revolution customers come back after their first class.
“I have been looking for a place I can cycle inside during these cold months when I can’t ride my bike,” said customer Mallory Magee.
She had heard about Soul Revolution from her sister, who also exercises there frequently.
“Once I started, I knew this was exactly what I was looking for in my off season,” she said. “This is perfect for winter cyclers.”
Not only does she take advantage of the indoor cycling, she participates in some yoga classes as well.
“Having cycling and yoga in one setting makes working out not get boring,” she said. “The change of setting makes it enjoyable.”
Soul Revolution also carries Lululemon products, as well as yoga must-haves such as mats and woman’s and men’s yoga wear.
With a full year in business having revolved, Ayala has new ideas planned for her second year.
“Our guiding principles are building community, practicing balance and discovering authenticity,” she said. “These are what’s most important to us from this year and going to the next.”
To schedule a class, download the MindBody app. To learn more and check out events at Soul Revolution, visit its Facebook or Instagram page. You also can visit them at soulrevolutiondbq.com.
Vanessa Coffee is a freelance writer from East Dubuque, Ill., and a student at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.