Imagine our delight when our new neighbor moved in and it was…a yoga studio?! We can’t think of a better fit. Since Gritty Buddha opened for business in November 2016, we have been blessed to have a partner with a likeminded pursuit of happy customers and healthy living. A full complement of yoga and meditation classes and teacher trainings means there is something for everyone looking to put a little (or a lot!) of zen in their lives. Rising Tide Market sat down with Gritty Buddha’s founder and owner, Regina Smith, to find out what makes the new Glen Cove yoga studio tick.

RT: How did you come by your name?
GB: It was a stroke of insight while leading a retreat in Anguilla. Our yoga studio there is a beautiful second floor space overlooking the sand—it looks like it should be a bar in Thailand. And it came to me like a whisper in my ear: Gritty Buddha.

The name is the culmination of the deepest core values I’ve been working on for the last 16 years. Grit is persistence over time and the ability to see through whatever you’re faced with. Buddha is all things equanimous and centered and love. So Gritty Buddha is the perfect balance of grit, perseverence, strength, love and peace.

RT: What is one thing about Gritty Buddha that most people don’t know?
GB: We have two showers! I’ve never been a person that has had the luxury of staying in my sweaty clothes all day. I had work to do. These showers have not been utilized enough and they’re the best showers you’ll ever be under.

The other thing that most people don’t know is that everything we do comes back to having a sense of being okay on the inside. This opens us up to reaching students not by level or experience, but by willingness or openness. I don’t care if you’re 90 or 9, just did a triathlon or just had a knee replacement. You have a home here.

Our teaching team has a crazy level of acceptance of who you are and what you’re working with. We don’t level our classes; just show up at a time slot that fits your life. You’re going to learn something, and you’ll be over your head no matter what. Yoga is 5,000 years old—you’re never going to catch up! We’re always going to feel like we don’t know what we’re doing for a moment.

RT: How has it been to be part of the Glen Cove business community? Have you felt welcomed? 
GB: I was born and raised here and graduated from Glen Cove High School. I left for my first job offer in England less than a year after graduation. I lived throughout Europe and the U.S., working for a company with 120 locations all over the world, and I can tell you this community is really special. To come home and make a contribution to this community that raised me to be who I am feels amazing.

What’s special is my dad doing a daily walk through in the studio. No matter who is in the studio he’ll say hello. What’s special is my daughter being in the preschool I went to 30 years ago. Special is that some of the teachers that taught me through middle school and high school and that formed my view of the world and how I express myself are now students, and I get to see them again and maybe teach them something I’ve learned through time and travel. The depth you get from being somewhere and really seeing and loving people—that’s what I feel here in Glen Cove.

RT: What is the latest news from Gritty Buddha? What’s coming around the bend that we can look forward to?
GB: We believe in opening up people’s worldview whether its between heart and head or physically seeing the world. We had three retreats this year: Bali, Tulum and Tuscany. We are going to Anguilla in November and are offering an extended calendar in 2018-19.

We want to build a global community out of our tiny local home. Students from Berlin, Russia, Canada and more show up at our retreats. We also have a whole series of life enrichment education that relates yoga philosophy in real time. I am equal 50-50 leadership and yoga, and I use yoga philosophy as the platform for how to connect and inspire. Learning how to balance on your hands is a party trick and will fade in time. What won’t fade is how you treat yourself and others.

Our one-year anniversary is on Thanksgiving and this may well not be the only Gritty Buddha in the world in the future.

RT: Living the yoga lifestyle means being conscious about what you put in your body. What are you loving to eat right now? What is your top go-to item from Rising Tide Market
GB: Anything chocolate and peanut butter! I also live for kale slaw with a spoonful of guacamole. I’m addicted to corn soup over brown rice with a slice of avocado. That [So Delicious] French Vanilla Coconut Creamer should be outlawed. And carrot cake. My (3 year-old) daughter Aalia came over yesterday and said, “Mommy, ask them if they have the carrot cake.”

RT: So many in our community dream of starting their own local business. What advice do you have for these folks? 
GB: Really see the people in front of you. Look them in the eye and greet them. And you are never off the clock if you believe in something you represent. That’s a heavy responsibility, but it is a no brainer. You live [your business] in every interaction. We’re here to contribute to this community. You can’t just set up shop and put a sign up and expect people to come. You need to draw people in with your enthusiasm and your love, not for what you expect to get from them.