This week is the anniversary of my sixth year as a studio owner. I have spent the last two weeks contemplating my choices in an ever expanding market which I am forever trying to create my niche. These past few weeks have been particularly interesting as we have offered large group discounts through marketing media outlets like Groupon and Kijiji and it has been great for filling classes in a way that I couldn’t do with any other promotion!
Having said that, these specials have created a culture that yoga should be cheap or free. I think that this under values what we as yoga teachers do. It reduces the profession of Yoga Teacher to that of working in the fast food industry. I take the service of teaching yoga seriously. I took a webinar of yoga teacher training last month with a fantastic yoga teacher named Amy Ippoliti . It was called 90 Minutes to Change the World. It forever changed how I teach my classes and how I see the practice and even the business of yoga.
A wise man once said to me to you want to be a Yoga Teacher or do you want to be a Studio Owner because you can not do both successfully. I balked and said I can do both…well not so much. It is a constant struggle between running and business and sharing the teachings and finding harmony in both.
Everyone loves a deal and I am no exception. People are constantly trying to massage and take advantage of the local business owner by trying to get the better deal. The issue is not if they can afford it or not, but it is how cheap can I get it. The race to the bottom hurts everyone. You can’t complain about unemployment or the economy if you don’t support the local business owner.
In the city of Windsor I think we have de-valued yoga somewhat by making it too inexpensive and then in some people’s eyes not an investment in themselves and changing their lives. I am forever trying to get people to commit to having yoga in their lives because I see the benefits of a stronger mind and a healthier body. In my attempts to do this I have to struggle with people constantly trying to get more from me for less.
I put my heart and soul in to what I do. I train constantly and I try to be inspiring and I take my profession very seriously and I know most of my colleagues do to as well. I am learning that not everyone values what you do. I would love to give Yoga away for free. I have a business to run. We have teachers to pay, landlords who want their rent, utility companies that expected to be paid for using there services. I would to love to give away deeply discounted yoga but my family needs to eat and I have to put a roof over their heads and my brilliant boys are off to Yale in 10-12 years. I am entitled to make a living right?
If you want to a place to practice and you like your studio- you have to support your studio. Buy a membership, bring your friends, come to workshops and support our local teachers. Know that special deals are for new students. It helps bring awareness to new students and create more yoga opportunities. Support your local yoga studio because if you don’t the studios will close and you will have no place to practice. Yoga in Windsor is very INEXPENSIVE. Yoga in Windsor is undervalued. If you don’t believe me do some research about what yoga costs in other cities.
A yoga membership is a very small price to pay for transformation, self awareness and self love..not to mention an awesome ass. You can do yoga everyday for less then it costs to buy a Starbucks or trip to Tim Hortons….of course the choice is yours…I know I choose enlightenment.