A fitness pioneer in Orange County, Vanessa Bourne has made a living creating health and fitness brands over the last 15 years. She’s founded a multi-location Lagree studio called Pilates Plus OC as well as her current ventures, Ekam Yoga & Pilates, and Boxhaus, Orange County’s first boutique boxing studio.

We spoke to Vanessa about her background, her businesses, and what brought her to The Colab Space.

Here’s what she told us.

When did you open Boxhaus and what inspired you to do so?

I started box house in 2018. We opened in around February of that year but the concept started in about 2017. It took a minute to put together because it’s a new concept. So

I had already been in the Pilates business prior to opening Boxhaus, and I was looking for another type of modality of fitness that I felt would be a good combination to Pilates—the strengthening and the stretching, lengthening aspects of Pilates. I felt like I needed a little bit more of a cardio burst and something a little more intense that was a little more rigorous.

I was also looking for something that wasn’t really out and available around town as much, and I wanted something that was available to women and would appeal to women. And that’s how the box house concept kind of came to life.

How did Ekam Yoga & Pilates come to be?

Ekam Yoga & Pilates started after I sold my original Pilates studio, Pilates Plus OC.

I had a Legree method studio that we had started back in 2008. We put together three locations in Orange County and I ended up selling those so that we could focus on the Boxhaus concept.

My partner at the time had a yoga studio and suggested that we start a Pilates portion and suggested that we call it Ekam Yoga & Pilates.

So, I had already been working on the Boxhaus concept, already had signed the lease, and was moving forward with that, but this deal was too good to pass up. I loved the idea that it was going to be more of a traditional studio. The yoga aspect of the business really appealed to me because that’s kind of where I started my fitness passion. So, it kind of all came together. It’s amazing. I love all of those modalities. So, it works with my lifestyle too.

How do you make time to maintain your fitness regimen while juggling the responsibilities of being an entrepreneur?

I think a big part of having fitness studios—or being an entrepreneur in general—is that you are always busy, and you never have time for anything. And people I speak to often think I must work out all the time—that I must go to my studios every day.

And although I do go into the studios a lot, it’s not necessarily to work out.

So, unfortunately, I do have to kind of focus and really make an effort to carve in and actually book classes and make sure that I am committed to going.

I actually love taking new people and new friends to classes because I feel like it’s a way to pay it forward and introduce people to something that will hopefully change and enhance their lives. And at the same time, I’ll benefit from it because it forces me to go and introduce them.

So, that’s how I make time to really make an effort to keep consistency in my own regimen with working out because it’s a little hard sometimes.

What are some of the values that Boxhaus and Ekam Yoga & Pilates have that are different than other studios?

Well, with the Boxhaus concept, our slogan is that it’s boxing for everyone.

When you go into a traditional boxing studio, like places that I’ve gone when I was younger, it’s different. You have, you know, blood on the floor, because there are guys in there who are really beating each other up. And then you have these punching bags over there and everything’s kind of wide open and it’s super intimidating.

Boxhaus was created as a way to make everybody feel welcome and safe—especially women. I know a lot of men even feel intimidated going into those traditional types of boxing studios. So, the idea was to really make it feel super welcoming and inviting to everybody—men, women, and a lot of children come and do fun boxing classes with our coaches there. We do kids’ camps there. It really is boxing for everyone.

And then with Ekam Yoga & Pilates, what’s unique is the idea of having both of those modalities as well as the more spiritual aspects of yoga. We do a lot of sound baths. We do a lot of Kirtan, which is chanting. We do breathwork besides and things besides the traditional vinyasa yoga.

I think Western society views yoga as moving poses on a mat. But really, there are a lot of other things that encompass yoga. So, we really try to make sure that we encompass all of those traditional aspects of yoga there.

How did you hear about The Colab Space and how did you end up running your business here?

Since we do have fitness studios, Jade is actually a client of ours at Ekam and also at Boxhaus.

Me and Jade connected one day at the studio, we ended up going out for coffee and, we talked about The Colab Space. I felt like it was something that particularly we need because we never have space in our studio to work.

So, for us, it was really nice to have a place to take my management and my staff and do staff meetings here or off-site management meetings.

First of all, it’s a beautiful space. And we love coming here. It just helps us disconnect from the day-to-day tasks that go on in the studio. We’re able to sit here and focus on some of the important things that we need that we don’t usually get time to do at the studio.

So, we love working at The Colab Space. I brought both of my teams here. We’ve done some training here with our teams and Jade has brought her people over to do some really fun paddleboard yoga classes at Ekam with our some of our yoga teachers there. And we’ll continue to work together—I love it!

As a business owner, how do you stay grounded and balanced?

As a business owner, I do my best to stay balanced, although I think it’s an ebb and flow. You’re never quite balanced. There are times when you kind of get into that balance, and then you’re off and then you’re up. But I think that’s life and as long as you don’t try to restrict yourself from that and just kind of go with the flow, that’s the best way to handle it.

I mean, you always kind of aim for balance, but as long as you’re okay with being out of balance and learning how to do it and then bring yourself back in a calmer way, I think that’s important.

I think a big part of that that comes from breathing for me. And breathwork is kind of a big thing. I focus a lot on breathing when I have anxiousness or I’m upset about something or I need to kind of clear my mind. I think breathing is a big part of my life that helps me personally and business-wise. So, I teach my eight-year-old son how to breathe. We take five deep breaths every morning at 8:30 a.m. when Alexa reminds us.

If you’re looking for a workspace that immerses you in a community of incredible professionals like Vanessa, book a tour of The Colab Space today.