Sometimes you’ve just got to stretch—your mind, your body, and your possibilities. While the idea of opening a business during the pandemic might have put a cold stop to most people’s plans, Lindsey Breitwieser put both feet energetically forward and opened HMF Yoga Studio (Hustle, Muscle, Flex) last November, with limited capacity, of course. HMF is not a typical yoga studio. There’s no sitar music and incense wafting through in hopes of clearing your chakras. Nothing close: it’s a hip-hop yoga studio, with a “No One Does It Like You” mural and a high-intensity playlist to match the high-intensity movement inside. Breitwieser knows it might not be for everyone, but that’s okay because this Long Island native also knows there’s more than one way of doing things.

When did you move down here? We moved here in 2015. It’s so funny when I’m talking to people I still say, ‘I just moved here’ . . . five years ago (laughs). I’m from New York, born and bred, and my background is in advertising, and I happened to be working at an agency that had the same holding company as Erwin Penland does down here, and we made the leap. We just thought, ‘Let’s try something new.’ So we came down sight unseen and have been loving it ever since. Now we have two kids, ages four and just about two.

How did you have the chance to open a yoga studio? I have to say, I approach a lot of things this way—even talking to you about moving down [to South Carolina]—let’s just try it. The worst that happens is that we go back to how it was before. What do I stand to gain by not trying or pushing? So that’s sort of how I approached this studio, too. I was like, it’s a pandemic, probably not the best time—I’m just going to go for it!

How have you navigated opening a business—especially this kind of business—with the challenges of the times? For the past three years, prior to this pandemic, I was a CycleStar at CycleBar Greenville. I taught at other studios—I’m actually trained in sculpt [yoga] through Soul [Yoga]. When this pandemic hit in March, I was still with Cyclebar. I knew the general feelings of the community that was going to CycleBar—how they were pivoting, how they were adjusting, and all of the rules that you really had to follow to be in line with all of the guidelines. So, I was very much in that world in terms of watching people make the transition, and then I full-heartedly believed in March that come September we’re going to be good. 

A lot of us were thinking that. I feel very lucky in that HMF knows no different. A lot of studios that were open prior had to implement new processes from the way they were doing it before, so for us, I felt very confident. I specifically designed the studio to be able to work in this way.

That’s perfect. What is your class limit? Right now our mats are limited to 14. When the studio is at full capacity, it will be able to hold about 20 students. To make sure 14 was the right number, I took a tape measure and we measured six feet from this person’s face to this person’s face, and marked out on the floor where the mats would go.

What has been your yogic journey? I’m sculpt-certified, not 200-hour certified. I do not consider myself a yogi. And that is truly the point of HMF. I was a collegiate athlete, and I always worked out in a high-intensity way. I knew the benefits of yoga. I had tried Bikram, I had tried Yin . . . I was like, ‘I should love this.’ But it wasn’t until I found sculpt and ultimately Core Power that I was introduced to a high-intensity, athletic version and interpretation of yoga. 

And how is HMF structured? I fine-tuned our class format and developed three class formats and just sort of developed this attitude. . . . This is for people who have been sold this polished, meditative, vegan version of yoga when really this is yoga too. We don’t have to do it just one way. These postures to breath with a high-intensity playlist—it’s still a version of yoga. 

What do you say to people who think this isn’t yoga with a capital Y? Personally, I thought through that when I was making the studio—there are going to be people that will look at this and just go, ‘no.’ There are definitely going to be purists no matter what, and this isn’t for them. But what I’ve really tried to grasp onto is that HMF believes there’s not just one way to do something. We are a little bit rebellious, and we’re going to buck tradition, and we’re going to break down that barrier.

Portrait by Will Crooks. For more on HMF Yoga Studio, visit hmfyogastudio.com.