April 14, 2011

Am I doing anything wrong?

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I’m a pretty lucky guy. I’m a yoga teacher with his own yoga studio and it’s the only one in town. Not only that, it’s also got heaps of free parking!

But sometimes I feel like I’m stuck in a yoga no-man’s land.

If I was in America with my little yoga studio (the only one in town), I reckon I’d be fairly well out-the-door with cool yogi peeps with the ubiquitous Lululemon/Manduka gear. But here in Kilcoole, County Wicklow, Ireland…there doesn’t seem to be any craze for yoga.

I’m cheaper than the majority of other studios in other towns…I charge the equivalent of $14 for a drop-in, which may sound expensive, but my nearest rival charges $26 for a drop-in and my teacher charges $28 for a drop-in (that’s 10, 18, and 20 euros respectively)

I’m no marketing genius. I did a business start-up course last year and I’m pretty much walking the walk they taught me. My web designer is an old friend and a decent sort, he pretty much did all the work to get me online for nothing and all my SEO stuff is working well.

The few regular students I have love my classes, they’ve experienced other teachers in the area and prefer my prices nearly as much as they prefer my teaching style. But I still can’t get enough people in the door to pay my rent each month—and I only need eight people a week to pay that!

So what am I doing wrong? Am I in the wrong place? Am I the wrong sex? Am I charging too much? Am I charging too little? Am I ugly and smell like cabbage?

Nearly all of these questions I ask myself every day.

I love yoga. Almost as soon as I started practising, I started to learn to teach. I knew that I could learn more about my practice by learning to teach, but I also wanted more than anything else to share the experience and when I qualified RYT 500 in early 2009, I was excited about getting out there and doing it.

So I’m kinda hurting right now.

I mean, come on, I only need eight regular people a week to pay my Landlord Bobby. Bobby rocks quite literally! He’s taken a hit with the recession and everything. There’s not much construction happening here anymore, so he turned his attention to designing and building drum sets. Burnt custom drums are super quality gear, but sure he’s only starting up and the market is less than slow here, so he knows what I’m going through and he lets me off when I can’t make my rent. What money I do get in, I pay to him and he can put gas in his tank again.

It’s difficult, hard work and emotionally draining (at least it is if I don’t meditate and do some pranayama as well as yogasana everyday). I’ve started working out in the gym everyday, as well as doing my practice, because I’m worried that I’ve got to try harder to be the right image for a yoga teacher.

But what’s really holding me back is my focus. You see I started college back in the autumn studying print journalism. I chose print journalism because I wanted to learn how to write. My dream back then was to be a regular columnist for Elephant and see what happened after that. But print journalism is holding me back and directing my focus elsewhere.

Newspaper sucks! I have absolutely no interest in reading another newspaper so long as I live! Kinda silly really studying print journalism then, right? Well, not altogether, because the journalism bit stays the same. The formulas and news gathering and dissemination and all that jazz is just the same. So I’ve learnt good stuff that’s made me a better writer, so that Waylon doesn’t keep shouting at me all the time! Actually, as Editors go, Waylon and Bob are complete angels and it’s because of that…that I’ve decided to drop out.

I never really thought I’d drop out of anything, especially college. But it doesn’t serve my needs. Nearing the end of school year now, I’m going to have to sign back on the unemployment line and look for work for the four months of summer break and if I’m going to get a job, I might as well hang on to it for as long as I can!

And how can I focus on what I really want to be doing if I’m focusing on something I don’t care about? Lots of people have been trying to talk me out of it, most of them are really only projecting their fears onto me though…. things like; What am I going to do if I don’t do that? or, Don’t I want a diploma?

At the end of the day, if I want to serve as a yoga teacher, I have to focus on that.

And if my aim isn’t true, how can I hit the mark?

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