1. Media Production for Television
The Client: On Command Video
On Command Video Corporation (OCV), now SONIFI Solutions, provided in-room entertainment technology to the lodging and hospitality industry. Hotel properties included more than 100 of the most prestigious hotel chains and operators in the industry, including Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton, Four Seasons, Starwood, InterContinental, and more.
On Command Video was seeking interactive video programming to address the physical, mental, and emotional challenges of the traveler from the stresses of life on the road. These issues included jet-lag, fatigue, burnout, lack of sleep, mental stress, and the physical aches and pains of travel.
Bija’s team wrote, directed, and produced a series of in-room videos for stress relief, fitness, mental focus, and enhanced sleep. The program was artistically designed with original music and high-end art direction to engage and excite the viewer.
These videos, offered on pay-per-view hotel channels across North America and the Caribbean, were uniquely designed to address the recuperative needs of the traveler.
Four artfully designed in-room videos were available to millions of people for over a ten-year period, in 1.4 million hotel rooms and reaching 28 million travelers every month.
Stress builds up when we expend more energy than we recover. Yoga works fast, especially for travelers on the move – it can restore balance, shift our state of mind and inspire us to feel whole again. It’s a powerful ritual and respite.
— YogaAway founder, Bija Bennett, at the International Spa Association (ISPA) Conference
2. Strategic Wellness Programming for Hospitality Groups
The Client: Hyatt Hotels Corporation
Hyatt Hotels Corporation is an American multinational hospitality company that manages and franchises luxury hotels, resorts, and vacation properties. As of March 25, 2018, Hyatt has 777 properties in 54 countries. Fortune magazine has ranked Hyatt #186 on its list of "America's Best Employers" for 2018.
In 2004, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts was launching its new StayFit@Hyatt™ program, which became one of the first hotel chains to introduce state-of-the-art fitness centers, high quality cardio and strength-training equipment, with a fitness concierge. At the time, yoga was just becoming a major health trend, and Hyatt was looking to incorporate it into its new programming for fitness-conscious business and leisure travelers on-site.
Bija’s international lifestyle company, YogaAway, LLC, was designed for the specific needs of this emerging market — business and leisure travelers and people on the go — providing them with new ways to increase their productivity, improve their health, and maintain their lifestyle, whether at home or on the road. Bija realized this was a natural fit for Hyatt’s needs.
In 2005, YogaAway partnered with Hyatt Hotels & Resorts to create exclusive programming catering to the fitness-conscious business and leisure traveler. Bija and team designed a series of multimedia programs, products, and services for all Hyatt brands, both international and domestic. These programs were designed to create a real value-add for guests who wanted to stay in shape on the road. Bija's team diversified both the offerings and the delivery platforms, addressing the travelers’ specific needs, including fitness, stress reduction, mental clarity, and enhanced sleep programs.
YogaAway produced a series of individual content packages across a variety of platforms, such as 1) scheduled yoga classes, private consultations, and corporate group sessions in Hyatt’s spas with certified YogaAway trained instructors; 2) in-room products including yoga videos, wellness tips, yoga mats, hanging mat bags and totes; 3) ongoing in-room videos for fitness, stress, focus, and sleep; and 4) events and wellness retreats at various Hyatt resorts.
YogaAway™ became a significant part of the Stay-Fit@Hyatt™ program, and became an award-winning series of offerings for international spas and resorts. These programs, products, and services were available in 214 Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, in 44 countries, totalling over 90,000 rooms. In 2005, 143 U.S. properties were added to the portfolio, which continued to grow YogaAway’s reach.
In response to the strong desire among travelers to maintain their workout regimes while traveling, we took the lead on developing a world-class, consistent fitness program with one of the most comprehensive yoga offerings in the industry.
— Gordon Tareta, Global Director of Spas, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts
3. Educational Trainings for Hospitality Groups and Spas
The Clients: Well & Being: Hotel and Wellness Destination Spas; Hyatt Hotels Corporation
Hyatt Hotels Corporation is an American multinational hospitality company that manages and franchises luxury hotels, resorts, and vacation properties. Well & Being is an innovative approach to health and wellness available at luxury resort spas.
To complement their existing spa classes and offerings, both Hyatt and Well & Being were looking for specialized branded yoga programming for fitness-conscious business and leisure travelers on-site. The job was to create a signature menu of programs that were specifically targeted for the recuperative needs of their guests, including stress reduction, mental focus, physical fitness, and sleep enhancement.
Bija and team hired and trained instructors and therapists in a specialized methodology designed to deal with particular structural issues, physiological challenges, and the mental/emotional needs of Hyatt’s demographic. Bija designed and implemented customized group and private yoga classes and practices, along with accompanying DVD’s and CD’s. Courses were presented as integral curricula of lifestyle programs, including group fitness and signature yoga classes; sleep enhancement sessions; meditation and wellness programs.
Specialized YogaAway classes were offered 3 to 5 times per day in approximately 125 domestic resort spas. Taught by specially trained yoga instructors, YogaAway classes included regularly scheduled group, special group (corporate), and private yoga sessions for Hyatt guests. A line of retail products associated with YogaAway were offered in all domestic and international properties.
“Hyatt always seeks out leaders in their category when pursuing strategic partnerships that benefit our guests," says Gordon Tareta, Global Director of Spas for Hyatt. "YogaAway [is] an important part of StayFit@Hyatt, which is designed to offer the most competitive fitness offerings in the industry.”
— Gordon Tareta, Global Director of Spas, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts
4. Multimedia Art Installation
The Client: The Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate, Roosevelt University, Chicago
Roosevelt University, a national leader in educating socially conscious citizens, is a private, student-centered university with 6,300 students studying at comprehensive campuses in the Chicago Loop and northwest suburban Schaumburg and online. Since its founding in 2002, the Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate has grown to become one of the largest graduate real estate programs in the country and one of the most diverse.
The Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate is a major component of Roosevelt University’s Business School. Then-president of the university, Charles Middleton, sought a way to contextualize Marshall Bennett’s contribution to the school and to the real estate industry so that students could develop a better understanding of their field.
Bija partnered with noted video artist Lincoln Schatz to create a generative video portrait of her father, Marshall Bennett— at the time, 92 years old — which features extensive footage of Bennett sharing his expertise and discussing his contribution to the creation of the modern industrial park. The portrait is scored with music from cellist Ken Olsen, of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
The piece, titled LIFESCAPE: A Video Portrait of Marshall Bennett, which Bija produced, is now featured at Roosevelt University, the Heller College of Business, as a permanent art installation open to students, faculty and the general public since April 2014.
“Marshall is a true legend in real estate and urban planning and development, not just in Chicago but on an international scale,” says Jon DeVries, founding director, MBIRE. “His ongoing commitment to supporting the Institute and to mentoring students is so greatly appreciated. We are honored to be a beneficiary of his wisdom and generosity and hope this installation will help showcase Marshall and contribute to his legacy.”
5. Wellness Program Development for Medical-Wellness Center
The Client: Maharishi Ayur-Veda Corporation
MAC is a globally-based health and wellness organization running Ayurvedic health centers in the U.S. and Europe. Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldest health systems developed in India, that promotes holistic dietary habits and lifestyles, including yoga and meditation.
MAHC (The Maharishi Ayur-Veda Health Center for Behavioral Medicine and Stress Management) was an award-winning, 5-star health spa located outside of Boston, with extensive treatments designed to help restore overall balance to the body and mind. Missing were branded yoga programs and classes that would rise to the level of the center’s near-hospital status and their existing holistic programming.
The task was to create different offerings for both rejuvenation, and therapeutic healing — designed specifically for patients with challenges ranging from structural issues, MS, cancer, respiratory, digestive, and cardiovascular needs, to anxiety and addiction.
Bija used an evidence-based methodology derived from the yoga therapy and Ayurvedic systems of health. The approach focused on healing principles of adaptation and the application of techniques to help individuals facing health challenges to better manage their conditions. Bija equipped patients and guests with practices, tools, and daily rituals including postures, breathing exercises, relaxation techniques, meditations, gestures, sounds, and lifestyle recommendations.
As a yoga therapist, Bija worked with both medical doctors and Ayurvedic physicians treating thousands of people from top CEOs, to athletes and celebrities, to the chronically ill and physically challenged. She created both group classes and private yoga therapy sessions, offering a full-spectrum of programs for individual needs.
“Bija is an original interpreter of the ancient yoga tradition. While remaining true to the spirit of yoga, she renews the tradition, gives it a fresh interpretation, and makes yoga more practical and suitable for the challenges of our time.”
— Svend Trier, Quantum Seminars, Denmark
Work with Bija to develop customized wellness programming for your business, brand or team.