Letter from founders.

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You always come first.


To our SOMA family,


Our training space at SOMA is our home and sanctuary. There is no greater pleasure than sharing this and training with you every day at SOMA. While we know the virus is of concern, we thought you might be interested to know the procedures that we’ve always carried out at SOMA and additional actions that objectively help us all keep practising in the healthy and clean environment we have come to know as SOMA.


Our priorities these days are the same as always:

     1.  put training in the centre of our lives for a healthy mind and strong body, therefore optimising our immune system

     2. sustain and keep improving our operation towards the benefit of our members


We are obsessively and unconditionally dedicated to guard these two priorities. We wanted to address the virus matter fully, objectively and scientifically. Any partial or inaccurate analysis leads to uncertainty which is the main cause of fear. There are plenty of things we cannot control which becomes the subject of being emotionally controlled by the media. Our goal is to empower you to take control of the things you can control and primarily to create a positive state of mind and body so you can handle anything thrown your way. 



MEMBERS FIRST. Our entire focus on you.

Our story is simple. We’ve built this place out of necessity because we couldn’t find anywhere else to train that was serious, yet down to earth and cared about integrated training rather than merely class-based workouts. Today, we take it a step further to dedicate our space fully to you as current circumstances require us to put good health at the centre of our lives more than ever before. The motivation is to be meaningfully inclusive to as many people as we can best serve.


Therefore, as of today:

     > SOMA will focus all our work to existing members (monthly and annual).

     > No class packs / individual credits will be available (drop-in’s, 10-packs, or 25-packs). Previously purchased credits will of course be honoured.

     >   Memberships are capped at current level; we will consider new applicants as and when slots may be released from existing members while we keep optimising total membership numbers for your best experience. Clients who currently have active drop-in’s have priority over a courtesy window of two weeks from the date of this letter.



WHY MEMBERS ONLY? Beyond casual.

SOMA is where our team, coaches and family members live the biggest part of our lives and share the privilege of your time and training alongside you. Entering SOMA makes you part of this circle and makes us responsible for you. 


A members-only club means that today we serve no more than 400 people who train more often and more effectively, seeing true progress. London fitness clubs average more than 5,000 casual users monthly and this was the case for SOMA before we decided to leave ClassPass three years ago. Our goal was to prioritise more serious training, true community and practical interaction among teachers and students maximising the ratio of teachers to students as with elite schools. We won’t overbook classes and always provide a comfortable training space; i.e. maximise distance between mats, optimise spaces between TRX straps, etc.


The majority of our members train only at SOMA, with three main benefits: 

     1. repetitive training patterns with our curated methods optimise results
     2. integrated methods mean training has a common core (vs training in unfocused ways)
     3. true community where coaches, staff and students know and talk to each other

Simply put, we want to maximise the time we spend with you. The more time you give us, the more we can understand what you need, embrace your challenges and leverage your aspirations. Teachers from different disciplines come together constantly to discuss progress of individual students so we can continuously make the right recommendations for you. We may occasionally encourage you to do more of your least favourite disciplines – e.g. to balance your flexibility and strength. What drives our team is your progress and hearing the truth is what you can always expect from us. Your results are our ultimate reward.


CLEANLINESS. Extreme attention to detail.

Dr. Theo has spent a vast majority of his career working in the world’s best scientific laboratories and hospitals so understands the best protocols for hygiene. From cancer research hospitals to biotech labs, he has experience setting up strict hygiene protocols in maximising safety. 


What we’ve always done:

     > We will never ask you to clean your own equipment, which may be ineffective, incomplete or spread germs. We have the staff, equipment, protocols and experience to do it properly for you. We disinfect all equipment after use and fresh equipment given for following classes.

     > We have built our own in-house laundry facility, so we don’t wash towels with those of other clubs and hotels across London.

     > Mats are washed in laundries (all mats replaced with brand new mats last month). Wiping mats alone cannot remove and only spreads particles to a more moist environment for germs to happily reproduce. Mats need to be washed with the right detergent temperature, shaking pattern cycles and quadruply rinsed in each cycle.

     > Exclusive cleaners employed directly and exclusively for SOMA as of the last 3 years. Typically for fitness clubs, housekeepers are contracted by specialist companies who manage and position cleaners at different companies throughout each week/day. Our housekeeping staff work only with our company, which they treat as their own home. You now know why we’ve always called Luz “the boss” as she’s playing potentially the single most important role at SOMA. 


New procedures:

     > We are receiving additional laundry machines this week with specialised, high-temperature, deep cleaning and steaming cycles.

     > We are employing in-house steam cleaners and high-pressure jet washers in deep cleaning shower facilities multiple times every day.

     > Adding a range of 10+ disinfectants that are effective and fully biodegradable for separate operations in which concierge, coaches and housekeeping teams are receiving continuous training to follow throughout the day. Some of these are sourced via clinical supplies of medical grade and others are mixed via reagents sourced by scientific laboratories (not available over the counter) to which Dr. Theo has access to and all of which adhere to strict standards including BS EN 1276 and EN 13697.

     > Dr. Theo created our own specialised hand sanitiser available at reception via an automatic (hands-free) dispenser. This includes the required 70% alcohol to kill the virus as well as vitamin E, aloe vera, jasmine, moisturising cream and essential oils to keep the skin from over drying. This is because many hand sanitisers do not meet the required 70% alcohol to work against the virus and any hand sanitisers we tried are not moisturising adequately.

     > We are following closely the guidance of Public Heath England, our government and the World Health Organisation to provide advice to our workplace on preventative measures, including recent briefings on personal hygiene and travel advice.

     > We are increasing housekeeping hours and cleaning floors/surfaces with higher concentrations of disinfectants – you might smell detergents a bit more these days.



Environmental:

    > Increasing air flow in all rooms to 250% of required standard of air changes per hour (ACPH) per cubic foot in the fitness industry. This may lead to slightly lower temperatures in hot yoga which we are also boosting with additional heating to counter that effect.

     > Increasing air filtration through a new, state of the art heat-exchange unit, which absorbs thermal energy to recycle it back to the room and gets rid of used air to replace it with fresh oxygen levels mixed with the recycled heat.

     > Our hot room has no carpet as typical in hot yoga studios which can trap germs. Our floors are effectively mopped multiple times a day.

     > We are fortunate not to be a basement club. We have intentionally built our house above ground level at a location that enjoys natural light in every one of our three studios which contributes both to natural, cleaner, sanitised environment as well as more positive psychological outcomes.



LOGISTICS. Fine-tuned for unparalleled experience.

You focus on your training, let us take care of the rest:

     > We are capping class capacities to smaller numbers for Yoga, Pilates, Strength, Ballet/Barre to less than half of regular full capacity. As such, please be sure to pre-book your favourites.

     > We have less equipment than gyms which makes it easier to offer sanitised kit for each person’s own use. Members are not moving from one machine to the next. You use your own equipment the whole time.

     > Leave any equipment you use by door (please don’t return to storage place from where you picked up equipment) for our team to disinfect or wash in laundries immediately: e.g. pilates rings, blocks, straps, therabands.



NEW HOUSE RULES. Love your space & each other.

We’ve done our bit, here’s what we ask from you:

     > Members (same as our staff and coaches) will need to wait 14 days before entering our space after traveling anywhere outside the UK or if you have been in contact with anyone suspected of having the virus. 

     > If you feel unwell you have a great responsibility towards everyone here to inform us right away.

     > Keep washing your hands – enough said!

     > Given the smaller, capped format of classes if they are consistently overbooked, we request that you please book in advance only the classes that you can definitely attend as you may be depriving another member from taking it if you don’t show up. The minimum 12-hour cancellation window remains as before and while we have been hesitant to enforce the £10 fee for no-shows (while this has always been in your standard T&C’s as most clubs), we may need to now consider it to ensure equal opportunity in serving all members fairly.

     > Turn off your phone when you arrive at the reception before entering the space. While we might not enforce this strictly, do it for you and see how it makes you feel; the rest of the world can wait until you complete your practice. And we will all be thankful to you.



REALITY CHECK. Create your future.

If you feel you are reading the same news over and over from the same sources, we recommend reading blogs like this from two Harvard Medical School doctors, Dr. Peter Diamandis and Dr. Paul Sax:

“The goal of this blog is to give you a thoughtful alternative to fear… to contextualize what you are hearing… this blog covers two key takeaways:
   (1) The hard numbers to help you decide
   (2) The realities of Coronavirus”

Theo met Peter while studying at Singularity University at NASA Ames in Silicon Valley. You can also check out another one of his books, Abundance, which is an antidote to today’s pessimism through exhaustive research and collaborations with top scientists and innovators to explore how four emerging forces indicate a future that is better than you think. Peter gathered 80+ scientific charts to prove how the world may actually be getting better – check out these charts yourself.


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FINAL THOUGHTS…

This is the time to become more active than ever in taking care of ourselves relying on balanced decision-making. Direct your constructive energy and aim at contributing to positive projects benefiting others first. Eat well, sleep well, think well, train consistently and let us know if there is anything else we can do for you. You know where to find us, we are here every day alongside our team training with you.

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