Yoga Studios vs. Yoga Studios.

Via on Sep 9, 2010

A closed fist isn’t open to abundance.

“People with a scarcity mentality tend to see everything in terms of win-lose. There is only so much; and if someone else has it, that means there will be less for me.

The more principle-centered we become, the more we develop an abundance mentality; the more we are genuinely happy for the successes, well-being, achievements, recognition, and good fortune of other people. We believe their success adds to…rather than detracts from…our lives.”
~ Stephen R. Covey

“There is no such thing as a lack of faith. We all have plenty of faith, it’s just that we have faith in the wrong things. We have faith in what can’t be done rather than what can be done. We have faith in lack rather than abundance but there is no lack of faith.

Faith is a law.” ~ Eric Butterworth

One Yogini’s Opinion:

Names have been changed to protect the innocent!

It happened again.

I had one studio gently remind me not to advertise for another studio on their facebook page. I grow weary of this mindset.

So here’s the scenario: I teach at several studios (as many of us do), and sometimes I post reminders about my schedule. Reasonable, right? When I do it in one easy post it looks something like this:

This week Wednesday @studio A 5:30, pm Flow Thursday @studio B 7:oo pm Basics etc.

So when I submit, it posts this comment not just on my wall but on the wall of both mentioned studios. And here is where the hullabaloo begins. Out of the four studios I work for two of them are adamant that I don’t “advertise” for another studio.  This makes this yogini very, very sad.

A story that illustrates my point: several months ago this perception of lack came to attention due to the facebook posting issue. Owner of Studio A and I have a discussion on why I don’t “understand” her deleting my schedule post that inadvertently advertised for another studio (in another part of town). Her reasoning? Once upon a time she was open to sharing more, but another studio did her wrong. And if others aren’t going to play nice, why should she?

I let it drop, and maybe even might have forgotten, but what happened next has kept eating away at me.

About a week after this conversation, Studio A is holding a workshop that they are anxious to fill. Myself and two other teachers mention the workshop to students at other studios.

Bam the workshop fills, with the last people coming from ‘rival’ studios. Now these students occasionally take drop-in classes at Studio A. So here is a studio “profiting” from advertising in other studios…and the studios they were pulled from suffered no adverse effect. And yet, even faced with this, when I asked if I could let students know about a workshop I was holding at another studio, I was categorically denied. I lose. Students lose—and ultimately I feel the owners lose.

I think we are missing an incredible opportunity, both spiritually and fiscally. Am I off base? I feel as if we are operating from a point of view of lack and duality that is antithetical to walking our yoga talk!

If you truly believe that we are all one, if you truly believe in the infinite abundance of the universe if you are open to possibilities and if your goal is first to help people then I believe that the money will follow, for all.

Here is my vision: we pool our collective resources so we can reach more people, spread the word faster and easier, and with less burden. Let’s say I’m doing a workshop at Studio A…if I could “advertise” at all my affiliate studios, I could offer discounts for any member of any of the studios, perhaps garner interest to hold that workshop at another studio at another time, maybe students start cross attending the studios (they already do…you can capitalize on that) I see nothing but win win win. coordinate a little with each other? 2 of these studios are so far away from each other it is silly to see them as competition, the only thing that they could be is availability for cross pollination if say a student worked near one and lived near another. For the two that are closer together maybe you offer your basic and intermediate and/or restorative at alternating times so students have options and both places draw the maximum student base for that class.

When I was a student I had cards for three different studios in Denver. I had a monthly membership to one, and punch cards for two others. I am certain more people would do that if there were incentives: Member at Studio A? Get 10 percent off punch cards at Studio B.

I firmly believe that as yogis we have a duty to see beyond competition to enlighten business and see the abundant possibilities for all, we are the harbingers of a new way to see and to act and if we continue to operate within the limits of an old paradigm what are we really doing? If we shift our focus to ensuring that people get to yoga, get as much as possible I am sure the prosperity will follow. (PS I also see banding together as a way for small independant studios to say open and prosperous without giving into buyouts and merging, keeping the market open to differences)

Your studio can’t serve every last yogi in the area we need multiple studios. Share and we can all win. Keep your fist closed tightly and nothing can flow.

Help me understand? I really want to hear your opinions on this?

~

Asana (yoga pose) of the Week:

Tolasana - (Scale Pose): strengthens arms, hands, wrists and the core…and it’s all about balance :)

Wellness Tip of the Week:

Spiritual Tithing. Sometime we have to make room to receive. When we hold on tightly and hoarde it is actually more difficult to create a flow of abundance. Besides giving back a little helps you feel warm and fuzzy :) (www.stbaldricks.org/participants/happyshaveday)

Mantra for the week:

Inhale: abundance exhale: for all

About Aminda R. Courtwright

Aminda is a wellness facilitator and founder of ARCreated Wellness, LLC. A yoga teacher, transpersonal hypnotherapist, and Reiki Master, she shares her own healing journey with others in hopes of inspiring and uplifting those she meets. Her yoga classes are gentle and workshop style to invoke a real sense of learning and designed to be truly accessible for all levels. Her biggest hope is to help others take their yoga practice off the mat and into everyday life where it is truly meant to be experienced. (and can be most useful) Refusing to settle into the middle path just yet she prefers to dally on both edges and can be seen swinging right and leaning left. A devoted animal lover and activist and a humanist she is prone to rants and believes strongly that life is to be savored and that “we are all in this together, shouldn’t we enjoy it that way? “ When she isn’t teaching yoga, hypnotizing people, adoring her husband or doting on her grandson she is out riding her motorcycle—promoting the image that yogis are rebels and are a force to be reckoned with! You can also find her on Facebook. To join her for free classes online follow her here.

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46 Responses to “Yoga Studios vs. Yoga Studios.”

  1. Peter Van Haren says:

    A rising tide floats all boats…

  2. Yogini3 says:

    If you really want to attract students, raise prices a tiny bit higher and make unlimited expiration dates on all class packs. Life is too short to be haggling with studios where the style does not exactly fit for all times and all needs. Never mind cooperating with schedules.

    • ARCreated says:

      It's not about attract students though…it's about being cooperative and spreading yoga love and creating a different kind of marketplace… Does that make sense?

  3. As a teacher at multiple studios, I WHOLEHEARTEDLY agree with Aminda. :) If we could release ourselves from the fear of not having "enough" (money) and share (students), I honestly believe everyone would benefit; student, teacher, and studio. Students will find classes and teachers that are an appropriate fit, and studios will have happy, returning students. As we trust in the ABUNDANCE of the Universe, the Universe continues to provide. And because it only seems fitting to mention Aparigraha (non-hoarding or non-possesiveness), from the Yoga Sutras… Freeing ourselves from the need to acquire power, glory, and worldly objects can only lead to stillness. Let's practice what we preach.

  4. Diane Marie says:

    It just proves that all that B.S. about bliss, and yoga freaks Namaste-ing all over the place is not a sign of enlightenment. Has nothing to DO with it. Just because you can put your foot behind your head doesn't make you a peaceful loving, sharing soul. Remind the boneheads who are trying to c*ckblock your efforts to advertise your classes of that. If they don't get it, suggest that they pay you what you would require and provide you with space to do ALL of your classes in THEIR studio, and let them duke it out over you!

    • ARCreated says:

      but I am a blissed out namasteing all over the place yoga freak :) I'm not "enlightened" but I am working to make things at least a little better. Just because some people aren't walking the talk doesn't make yoga BS :) I agree that bendability doesn't make you a better person…my reminder is that as yogis we can still be human and when ego gets in our way we need to remind ourselves that we must practice what we preach and if we did a little more namasteing and a little less fearful needing we would be better off :)
      I think yoga studio owners and teachers can be spiritual and sharing and also turn a profit, I just think some may need a little help believing that it is possible to share and gain at the same time. :) I just want to teach and have lots of people come to my classes — because I adore teaching! (and I would like to make money so I can keep doing it)

  5. Leah says:

    What great timing! I am a studio owner in the Kansas City area (www.zenzoneyoga.com) and we are having our 5th area owners meeting this Friday. We have about 7-9 studios that are willing to meet, share ideas and support each other. This is our vision too and it is working! Not every studio wants to participate, and we are fine with that. To each their own! It has been great to discuss ideas for retail, web sites, dealing with studio-specific problems, etc. Each person brings ideas to the table so none of us have to reinvent the wheel! Our next move is to start a web site and co-op advertise to direct people to our participating studios. The only thing that keeps studios from working together is simple: ego. Thanks for a REALLY great article!

    • ARCreated says:

      THANK YOU!!!!! I am most excited about the idea of shared advertisement. and just the idea of working together…I am so very grateful to hear that this is happening in the community!

    • Rebecca says:

      Love that plan from the heartland! Now I want my mom to come to your chairyoga class on Tuesday am… sweet!

  6. lindsayyoga says:

    I love this post. I believe businesses can be successful without knocking each other down. No one has to fail in order for you to succeed in life, right? There is absolutely plenty to go around and I would love to see more yoga studios model this.

  7. Yogini# says:

    All I am interested in is unlimited expiration dates on class passes. I am a low-value customer by definition. I could get pissed off at your studio if you treat me badly and bash your brand on the Internet if I'd felt like it. If I, too, had the money to go to more than one studio at a time as a general rule, I would be a higher-value customer, almost by definition. Then, the studio would not feel competitive because business would be coming from high-value customers across the board and there would be more than enough to go around. If a studio could figure out how to attract and retain low-value customers (who are primarily home practitioners, or primarily not-so-interested practitioners), then they could, just like your favorite corner coffee shop, thrive in a competitive market and a competitive model.

    • ARCreated says:

      but that's just the thing IF you had unlimited exp. or at least more time then buying multiple punch cards to multiple studios would be possible. Or got a discount if you were a student of mulitple studios that could help you and the aformentioned studios. for me there is no such thing as a "low value customer", only opportunities to help students. but I have been accused of being an idealist. In my estimation IF, as yoga studios our primary objective is YOGA and we make it valuable, accessible, and high quality then the "money" will follow. To that end there are only peopel wishing to practice no matter their monetary "value"… I believe that yoga has the opportunity to change the landscape of business.

  8. Katie Bauer says:

    Aminda, you rock!!! Thanks for writing this article. You are so right. I co-own a wellness center, Nourished Health Wellness in Denver and we offer yoga classes. You are right on. The competition between yoga studios is silly and destructive to the healthy mindsets we are trying to support. The great thing about having many different yoga studios is that they are all different and they all have their value and are beneficial in different ways. Our movement therapy studio is small and can only accomodate 10 students, so we can't do drop-in classes. The benefit is that those students get more interaction with the class leader and our classes are a specific duration of time (e.g. 5 weeks), so the students get to create community with each other. The downside is that we can't offer drop-in classes, so students have to commit ahead of time to a specific class series and they will lose out (in money and experience if they have to miss a class in that series). So, we would love to collaborate with a drop-in studio so that we can give our students the opportunity to have that flexibility. Please contact me if you would like to collaborate. katie (at) nhwcenter (dot) org

  9. Yogini# says:

    Of course, the "Boot Camp" yoga studio near me made my vigorous home practice possible, in the first place. I "outgrew" them .. got a little tired of watching all the pincha mayurasana going on near the wall 5 or 10 minutes before the start of class …

  10. Linda-Sama says:

    only one more reason why I no longer teach at yoga studios…..

  11. yogavegan says:

    I agree completely. As a teacher who holds classes at anywhere from 4-8 locations per week, I think that studios are really missing the yoga here… if yoga is union, then why have so many studios built up walls around their kingdoms? it is not ok to think of yoga clients as possessions… i encourage all who practice with me to attend classes at other studios, with other teachers. abundance….

  12. McKenna Rowe says:

    Great post! I agree that there is a need for yoga that many studios can cooperatively satisfy! I wish I could say other yoga studio owners have been willing to share or brainstorm, but they have been more on the suspicious/competitive side. I’m opening a studio soon and hope to work with other local studios to have a wellness fair or other kinds of cross-promotional opportunities.

  13. SevaSouleYoga says:

    I am saddened by Aminda's experience. I can't imagine how not supporting our fellow yogis does any good for any person or community. Clearly "Studio A" has some issues they need to let go of. Keep up the great work, keep sharing, and get as many people to the mat as you can! xoxoR

    • ARCreated says:

      Thank you…you know what makes it hardest of all? Studio A is the studio that is doing the best financially, enrollment etc and I wonder if having has made her fearful of losing…?

  14. Ben Ralston Ben_Ralston says:

    Studio vs Studio = fear vs love.
    Aminda, you're living, or at least trying to live, from the paradigm of love… studio owners A and B are stuck in the old paradigm (fear).
    When business meets yoga you'd like to think that love and yoga win, but sometimes, business and fear do.
    What can you do? Be patient, and try to use this as an opportunity to teach them, and in so doing… spread the love a little further.
    I"m sure you'll conquer in the end :)
    Peace, Ben

    • ARCreated says:

      thanks Ben!!! The good news two of the studios involved and a few other teachers that, like me, do workshops and private training and modalities have created a healing community and have started sharing our meetups etc. The responses here inspired me to actually do something rather than just complain and whine about it…hopefully our endeavours will inspire the other studios and in the mean time we are enjoy the new expanded Kula.

  15. Yogini@ says:

    Wow, @Another perspective … "actively refer[ring] students elsewhere if [you] do not serve their needs" … it should go without saying, that that's a minimum PROFESSIONAL obligation of the teachers and their studio … the "Boot Camp" studio, 3nergyrooms (it has a tricky name like that …. Though not its real name, a thinly veiled name–and you know who you are in the NYC area), maybe not for a very long time, if ever …

    Like I said, us low value customers can and do pan your brand over the Internet. Moving right along ….

  16. [...] friends tell me to arrive 30 minutes early, because Vinnie’s 6:00 p.m. class is very popular.  There is one woman in front of me at the check–in area. As soon as her business is finished, I [...]

  17. candicegarrett says:

    amen sister, amen. I'm open to abundance and abundance finds me. When I feel graspy and competitive, that's what I find as well.

  18. many gurus says:

    Thank you for sharing. All of these studios should be so blessed to have such a nice sized sangha. If it takes a village to raise a child then it takes all the places of devoted yogis to fit and fulfill our needs. In my small town and community if we didn't go from place to place we would not see our community members, those in our shangha, often enough. Big backbends and open hearts to everyone would make so much sense. Keep on posting your events!!

  19. Emily says:

    Love the quotes at the beginning, Thanks!
    Having taught for many years (pre-facebook), I can bet that you are not an employee at any yoga studio but a self-employed sub-contractor which means you have the right to promote yourself as a teacher regardless of the studio you teach in. Also in my experience, the teacher is the main draw for a student. Sure location is important but if you are teaching for a Saturday workshop at Studio A there is a strong likelihood that students from other studios will drive 30 minutes to take your workshop. Win Win! You verbalize it beautifully comparing scarcity and abundance but the bottom line is there is competition in every business. Studio A's outlook is short sighted and will probably harm them in the end.

  20. Blake Wilson Blake says:

    Yeah I'm not a huge fan of the yoga business model at all.

  21. Ira says:

    I'm a studio owner in a small town. I don't see other studios as a threat, I see them as variety. We're all different and we can't please everyone. It's not like you can buy the same loaf of bread at 3 different stores. In my town we, the studio owners and yoga instructors work together. One sends a newsletter every week and tells people about workshops and events that take place in ALL the studios. I've recommended a yoga teacher and her class to my customer who was looking for a specific kind of class we weren't offering at the time.

    I've also experienced the negative side of having "competition". Some studio owners try to own the whole yoga industry in their town and will do everything to keep their customers from going anywhere else.

    If you are a good instructor and care about your customers, they will see it and will stay with you. And the ones that don't, they wouldn't have stayed even if there wasn't another studio near by.

    So I guess my point is that it's better to work together and make connections that be rivals. Even for business. Isn't that what yoga means?

  22. AMO says:

    Hmmmm. Interesting. I am into abundance, truly. I believe the students who are supposed to be in my class will find their way somehow and with 99%+ of the American public still not practicing we have LOTS of room for growth. Still, as a business woman would struggle with the idea of a teacher who worked for me, is paid by me to teach in my space, using time and resources I provide to promote ANYTHING, another yoga studio, a grocery store, a clothing store, a political cause, unless I were actively partnered with that organization. I am preparing to build a studio and this is interesting food for thought for me. I will likely walk a line comfortably in between these two positions.

    There is a perspective that is missed here, and it shows some ego on the part of the subcontractor/teachers who commented in support of the post. When you are in someone's studio, you are a guest, not a star. I have worked in studios which don't allow teachers to tell students when and where they'll be teaching. They believe that students should show up and do their yoga, whatever teacher is there, not follow a teacher from place to place. This limits the student's growth as a yogi to only take classes from their "favorite" teachers. I currently teach in my home, I encourage my students to take classes from others, none of them do. It complicates their lives more than it's worth for them. While you're throwing the E word around, reserve some judgment for yourselves if you think your teaching is so important that students need know where you are teaching. The judgment that you, as a teacher, "have a right" to promote yourself as a teacher, is very ego centered. You don't "have a right" to do anything in my business, in my space, on my dime. Start your own FaceBook page and build a following. If you're offering something people want, they'll come. You're pointing to Indian yoga culture being the place to learn to "open up" and not be fear based. In India yogis practice, study and teach in one studio for a lifetime. While it may not be a fear based thing or a financial issue, the idea of students being polyamorous with regard to studios is not an Indian perspective. No matter what is or isn't allowed in terms of advertising, students are free to do as they like and the information is out there if they want it. These studio owners aren't keeping anything from these students. What they are doing is creating a focused message about what THEY have to offer. A for profit yoga studio is NOT a community service, it's a business with a bottom line that requires tremendous time and attention and focus from the owner to make a go of it.

    Emily stated "the teacher is the main draw for a student". I disagree. I have never chosen a yoga studio because of a teacher, or I generally traveled any distance to a studio for a teacher, and I don't know anyone who has. Perhaps in the minuscule world of actual yogis (0.001% of the general population) this might be true, but in the real world of humans who live and work outside of yoga studios, most people have enough trouble finding 2 hours in their day to take a 90 minute class and have a shower afterward that they don't need to add a 30 minute commute to it. This is good reason NOT to feel fearful of competition, if someone likes you, feels good in your space, gets their needs met in terms of teaching, showers, retail, location, price, etc. they will come back to your studio and buy a monthly membership because it's the best thing for them. There are 5 grocery stores in my neighborhood. There are "good" and "bad" things about all of them. Like most people, I simplified my life by choosing one. I shop there exclusively. In the studios I've taught in most students go to that studio only. Emily said if you talk about your workshop in my studio and students go it's "win win" but there are 4 entities here, the teacher, me the studio owner, the other studio owner and the student. You win, the student wins, the other studio owner wins, but how is it exactly that I win? And I don't mean in a spiritual way.

    Continued below….

  23. AMO says:

    My FB page is something I've worked hard to create/design with a specific message. I don't want it muddied with outside messages. Your assumption that this is about ego is condescending and judgmental. In Diane Marie's remarks above, there is a tone of ugly sarcasm. A childish remnant of ridiculous expectations that yogis are more spiritually advanced than other humans. People go into the healing professions to heal ourselves. We are only humans, who've chosen a path TOWARD eventual enlightenment. We are imperfect beings practicing a nearly perfect art form with imperfect beings under imperfect circumstances in imperfect environments. As a person who has run a successful business in a healing industry this is not unfamiliar ground for me. As the owner of the largest on site corporate massage therapy business in the States (10 years ago) the massage therapists did not know how to run a business, how to attract major clients, balance the budget, create positive cash flow and balance skill, personality, availability and rates concerning therapists (teachers) in order to provide the best service (classes) to make a profit. They complained they weren't being paid enough, their schedules weren't being respected, they were SO important to the clients. Actually, I never lost a client to a therapist who left. My clients were my clients because of the convenience of doing business with, well, a business as opposed to trying to do business with a massage therapist. Often a bit like doing business with a Leprechaun, could be fun, but mostly it's a wild ride. The therapists gave little thought to how hard it was to "manage" them. Managing massage therapists is a bit like herding cats. By their nature they are not the kind of beings who fit themselves well into other people's structures. They are often, similar to some of the teachers here, convinced that the people are interested in them. They rarely understand that most people don't want the BEST therapist, they just want a good therapist who will show up on time, make payment and scheduling simple and keep their equipment clean and safe. Most people don't know enough about yoga to care who you are, they just want to take a reasonably priced yoga class in a clean, close, affordable studio.

    In the end, I am going to open a yoga studio because I LOVE yoga. I love doing yoga, I love teaching yoga, I love being around yoga. That said, opening this studio will cost me $50K or more of my personal savings and will require 60 hour work weeks for years to make it successful and create a business that can pay my bills and keep me in organic locally grown vegetables and Lululemon pants for the rest of my life. I won't EVER get rich, and, hopefully, if I work hard, teach good yoga, hire good teachers and provide an environment that students want, I'll make enough to live well. If you want to teach for me, please remember you are not a star, and my studio isn't your personal stage, it isn't, in fact, a stage at all.

    Finally, consider the students. Maybe busy people who've squeezed 90 minutes out of their busy, busy schedules to go to a yoga class don't want to be advertised to on their yoga mats. They may not be interested in your work shop or where else you teach. They just want to practice their yoga and go home. If they wanted to take a work shop, they'd likely research it online when they're at home. I will never allow any announcements to be made to people on their mats that don't have to do with the studio the students are in, therefore ostensibly interested in….

  24. AMO says:

    My FB page is something I've worked hard to create/design with a specific message. I don't want it muddied with outside messages. Your assumption that this is about ego is condescending and judgmental. In Diane Marie's remarks above, there is a tone of ugly sarcasm. A childish remnant of ridiculous expectations that yogis are more spiritually advanced than other humans. People go into the healing professions to heal ourselves. We are only humans, who've chosen a path TOWARD eventual enlightenment. We are imperfect beings practicing a nearly perfect art form with imperfect beings under imperfect circumstances in imperfect environments. As a person who has run a successful business in a healing industry this is not unfamiliar ground for me. As the owner of the largest on site corporate massage therapy business in the States (10 years ago) the massage therapists did not know how to run a business, how to attract major clients, balance the budget, create positive cash flow and balance skill, personality, availability and rates concerning therapists (teachers) in order to provide the best service (classes) to make a profit. They complained they weren't being paid enough, their schedules weren't being respected, they were SO important to the clients. Actually, I never lost a client to a therapist who left. My clients were my clients because of the convenience of doing business with, well, a business as opposed to trying to do business with a massage therapist. Often a bit like doing business with a Leprechaun, could be fun, but mostly it's a wild ride. The therapists gave little thought to how hard it was to "manage" them. Managing massage therapists is a bit like herding cats. By their nature they are not the kind of beings who fit themselves well into other people's structures. They are often, similar to some of the teachers here, convinced that the people are interested in them. They rarely understand that most people don't want the BEST therapist, they just want a good therapist who will show up on time, make payment and scheduling simple and keep their equipment clean and safe. Most people don't know enough about yoga to care who you are, they just want to take a reasonably priced yoga class in a clean, close, affordable studio.

  25. Summer says:

    I absolutely agree with the commenter above. The issue, for me, has nothing to do with a mentality of abundance (or lack). Rather, it has to do with chaos/quality control, especially when it comes to social media. I use my studio's Facebook page to provide content that will educate my students, spark discussions, and build community. Sometimes this includes references to local events at other studios or to specific teachers' contributions, but my intention is NOT furthered by individual teachers posting their own teaching schedules (whether at my studio or elsewhere) or in any way promoting themselves.

    Truthfully, as it is, I get really weary of my Facebook news feed being dominated by daily reminders of yoga teacher's class schedules. When I want to take a yoga class at another studio, I can find the schedule easily enough on the studio's website or by making a phone call. I start to ignore this constant stream of information, and it is for this reason that I have made the conscious choice NOT to use my studio's platform in this way — and it follows that I would not allow my teachers do it either.

    As for "advertising" within the studio, like the poster above, I am not comfortable with teachers using class time to make announcements about things that are not directly relevant to the students' experience in the particular class at hand. My yoga room is meant to be a retreat from all of that — not yet another place where people are being asked to help promote, support, and give energy to other businesses or causes.

    It is hard enough to capture students' attention. For example, we recently announced that we would be open for class on Thanksgiving Day — something directly relevant to our current students — and the information STILL escaped a good percentage of our student body, because they are OVERWHELMED WITH INFORMATION ALREADY. When they come into the yoga studio to practice, they tend to filter out everything extraneous — as we encourage them to do! Why in the world would I further dilute the messages that I actually NEED them to hear by allowing teachers to crowd the airspace with messages about other workshops, other studios, or virtually anything else that doesn't relate to the experience that I am trying to create for the students when they're in my care?

    I absolutely agree that a strong yoga community needs lots of different studios, teachers, and perspectives. I can't serve everyone, and different practices resonate with different people. I embrace that diversity. But MY role in that cornucopia is to do what I do — teach the yoga that speaks to me and communicate the messages that support my teaching — in the best, most clear way that I can. Individual teachers may not have the same interests in consistency and clarity that I, as the studio owner, do, but when they're teaching within my four walls, I ask that they respect those interests.

  26. Charlotte says:

    As always, it seems that this is a complicated issue, and each side of the debate has merit. Thanks for starting the discussion.

    Every few years I bring workshops to town (Donna Farhi, Judith Hanson Lasater). In 2008, after booking both these teachers for 2010, I sent a notice to local studio owners to let them know about the workshops so that we could coordinate our workshops to minimize scheduling conflicts. I suggested that it might be good for us all to keep in communication about the major workshops we schedule. I felt this would be good for the community at large, minimizing the possibility of double-scheduling and therefore, diluting workshop participation. I was amazed that several studio owners were downright hostile to this idea which, to me, seemed quite reasonable—a win-win for teachers, studios and students. One studio owner graciously offered to advertise all major workshops on her website. All the others refused to be a part of any sort of cooperative effort. Because I teach independently and don't stay current with yoga community politics, I was surprised and saddened by this. I understand the need for businesses to maintain a certain integrity, but this incident felt like non-cooperation for its own sake!

  27. yogaaddict says:

    I run from small mindedness in the yoga community. If we cant embrace non competitiveness, how can we expect our students to not compete in their practice with others in the room or with themselves. Its all good. Don't think small, think universal. Lets change the World together, one yogi at a time. The possibilities are limitless. When we embrace this, prosperity with be abundant for all.

  28. Jules says:

    Excellent post…The South Bay Yoga Conference hears you and is delivering abundance to the community.

  29. ARCreated says:

    great the food is at the other place she works…would you find that somewhat unethical? NO not at all…because people can't eat at the same restaurant every time they eat out…variety is the key… I suggest everyone go back and watch Miracle on 34th st….

    NO ONE ENTITY CAN BE ALL THINGS TO ALL PEOPLE…so it stands to reason that we could all share. Not everyone needs the same things so we let them go where it is most suitable there is enough for everyone!!!

    In each of the studios where I work they only have one room…so popular times 5:30pm are full, sometimes turning people away!!!! ???? those students deserve options.

    Additionally I was originally just talking about advertising single one off workshops…that aren't even offered at the other studio…so there is the teacher with fewer students and students who may have benefited from the class don't have the same opportunity…I see no win in that situation and no lose the other way around. It is all fear based.

    And finally I contend that Yoga IS different than a restaurant or a retail store…at least it really ought to be.

  30. ashtangaglo says:

    This is a tough issue. As a studio owner, I totally get Another Perspective's view and don't think it unreasonable or non-yogic to ask instructors to respect certain business policies and practices. I also have taught as a freelance instructor at multiple locations before opening my own space.

    This issue is an ethical one I struggle with almost daily. My business partner and I could not teach every class and frankly, don't want to. We value the diversity of approach and experience that other instructors bring to the practice. We are not in a position (and I doubt that most studios, especially in smaller markets, are) to pay individual teachers enough to retain exclusivity to their services. A substantial portion of our budget is in marketing our space and our schedule. In many ways, a teacher who also actively markets his or her classes is a real asset who only adds to our efforts. I would have no objection to a teacher posting on FB or other social media to promote his or her classes and workshops — it can only benefit all involved.

  31. ashtangaglo says:

    How instructors ethicall self-promote within the studio space really depends on the business model of the studio. Is the instructor paying rental or surrendering a portion of class proceeds to the studio? Or is the teacher an employee who receives pay with no financial investment?

    That studio owners are shunning aparigraha, is a sad misunderstanding. In many cases, the studio owner is making less money than instructors who teach at multiple locations while shouldering a tremendous responsibility for the well being (financially and otherwise) of those who have a stake in the studio as teachers, and practitioners.

    As a studio owner I welcome "cross pollenization" but how to ethically pursue it is tricky. Indeed, we never "own" those who practice with us whether we are studio owners or instructors. The important thing is to get the practice out there, where it can benefit and touch the most lives. That is why I started teaching. Thanks for posting such a timely and thought provoking piece.

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