Yoga is not a commodity, it is a necessity.
Yoga has reached a peak point of industry value: you got your yoga pants, mats, bags, headbands, gloves, socks, towels, sprays, balms, DVD’s, CD’s, music, magazines, books, podcasts…you name it, yoga is everywhere and branded as everything. It has blown up so much and so fast that the consumer doesn’t know that all they need is there body and some comfortable cloths to take a class or do a home practice.
The market has of course shaped it into a multimillion dollar industry. The issue is, finding the right class or options for yourself that: fit your health, your budget and your wellbeing. Nothing is worse than going to a yoga class and leaving more stressed out than when you came. Words of wisdom, don’t give up, try somewhere else or someone else.
My studio is humble. I always wanted it that way. Smaller classes, better instruction, no fitness or pop culture yoga, well-educated teachers and the offering of yoga education. Allowing students to really understand their bodies, their limits, their health and wellness goals, or to just come in and not worry about anything other than relaxation and breath.
I have an up front and honest way of teaching and running my business. My teachers have agreements they sign, no contracts or worse non-competes. They know what my studio’s core values are, what they are responsible for and what I give in exchange, it is all right there.
My classes, I am pretty transparent. I never went for being the type who wanted to be worshiped, that is sort of a trend today for some teachers and studios. I like incorporating humor into my life lessons, since I need to laugh at myself more. The really good teachers, teach from their most honest and truthful places. I connect that way and translate into hopefully something my students need. We all have our own gift of how we approach this practice.
The challenges we face as Western yogi’s is we have all fallen off the boat too. Left our practice, or our teaching careers, only to come back knowing how much we need to keep our lives as yogic as possible.
Living a yogic life can be defined as living as gentle to the earth and others as possible (ahimsa), practicing truthfulness with kindness (satya), acknowledging the abundance we all have, and that we all have what we need (asteya), abstaining from wasting ourselves away energetically to processes that no longer serve us (brahmacharya), and knowing that the journey is to find who we are and understand our own beautiful individuality (aparigraha). This is within the parameters of the yamas or codes of conduct.
Direct truthfulness, is not unkindness. This is huge for me!
This year was a remarkable year for me to understand that bit of myself that I needed to accept. That I am who I am. That other people need to own who they are too, and their own reactions.
It is important the value of our dollar, but in order to stay in business, we cannot give it all away for free. YOGA IS AN INVESTMENT IN YOUR HEALTH, YOUR HEART, AND YOUR LIFE. I know that, that is why i invested in becoming a teacher and taking classes before I was trained.
Yes it is not easy to get told no, even when you agree or disagree, but the truth is, I am running a business, and trying to survive in this already saturated industry, and I need loyalty, devotion and that za za zoo from my staff to keep us afloat. When the time comes, it is not easy for me to have to say it either, I need more from you.
Every studio has a special deal, I know that, and I am not trying to be the cheapest studio on the block, I believe in my studio and what it offers, so I do not fear when people leave, I know they might come back, or the door opens with a new face sooner more than later.
So where does the yoga start and end when you run a yoga business and have to make sure you make a living so you can survive?
Well, number one is self preservation in some ways. I have to realize people have a right to see me how they want to see me. You cannot judge on a first meeting and sometimes even a second, third or 100… People are people and you NEVER KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON IN SOMEONES LIFE.
I stuck my neck out when I went out there on my own to do this for a living, but doing it to earn a living has nothing to do with me making it my living. I try to live as yogic as possible and fail every day at making it a whole day. So I give myself permission to feel how I feel and move on. I am human, and feelings are necessary, but they don’t have to rule who I am. At least I hold myself accountable. I don’t pretend to be perfect, I screw up all the time, I just wish that others would own up to it when they do.
I truly am grateful for my life, for the people, students, teachers I have met on this path. We all are weaving some kind of web for ourselves…but yoga, it is a necessity to our survival now a days. We have so much going on in one day, it is not as simple as waking up and raking the fields anymore which was hard hard work, but a daily necessity. We have choice after choice and option after option on what we can do with our time on this earth.
Yoga gives back to us way more than we give to it at first, how did you feel after that first neck roll and breathe practice? Calmer, more alive? How did you feel the first time you could touch your toes again? Confident, grateful, more connected? Yoga gives us our lives back… how can we say it is a commodity or an additional expense?
If martinis are $8-15 a pop now a days, or a crappy drive through meal the same, or you spend $3 a day on designer coffee, add it up, what is it doing for you? Take that money and make an investment in your health and your life.
Do your research, find a yoga studio who will support you in your life and your healing, and not cater to pop culture, and tight yoga pant caffine sipping teachers, and come to a place that actually gives a damn about you… There are three of them in my area alone, check them out: Awaken Yoga (me!), Branches of Wellness, and Blue Sky. I know that these teachers care about you, and I am fine with letting you know about them, what is all this crap about competition? THERE IS NO COMPETITION IF YOU ARE DOING YOUR BEST! So be kind and gentle, we fail quite frequently to fulfill everyone’s expectations, but each breath is an new opportunity to change and find freedom.
Please if you liked this post, I would love to hear from you your top reasons why you would not give up your yoga practice or why it is so important to you. Let the other readers see how powerful this practice is!