April 24, 2019

“It’s Not Wrong to Charge for Teacher Training, but…” A yoga studio owner’s perspective on the CorePower Yoga lawsuit.


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Relephant: The CorePower Lawsuit: Why Everyone Needs to Realize it’s just Business.


The New York Times published an article on April 6 about CorePower Yoga, their training program, and some (many) of the students affected by their methods for getting more people to pay for yoga teacher trainings.

In light of this controversy (and lawsuit) regarding the uptick in yoga teacher trainings and the recruitment of participants, it’s important to look at this from another perspective.

The call to teach is personal for every individual. The majority of teachers (yoga, exercise, or fitness) do not make enough to earn a living and usually do it as a part-time gig, largely because of their passion for teaching and helping others.

Owning and operating a small business comes with high overhead (brick and mortar rent, payroll, insurance, retail, training, and utilities). It requires finesse to create an environment in which the teachers feel supported and the clients feel seen, heard, valued, and appreciated.

Though offering training at a cost can help to raise a company’s bottom line, decisions need to be made on the why for teacher training—money or fostering qualified, passionate leaders to create higher standards of service.

A studio should have quality, trained teachers.

As an owner, my teachers are my biggest asset, and unfortunately underpaid for what they bring to my studio. Building relationships with teachers and students alike takes time, patience, and practice (just like a person’s own personal practice).

As a small business owner, I work to create symmetry between the 30,000 foot business viewpoint and the on-the-ground community experience I wish to create. All angles are considered and weighed before making a decision—this includes teacher training.

There needs to be a balance between studio sustainability and transparency in tactics and objectives.

I believe that if a company (or person) is approaching people during an individual’s “practice,” they are violating the sanctity of a safe place—a place where people go to explore their own “stuff” and are raw (obviously, this can be a calculated attempt at getting sales). If you are approached to enroll in some sort of teacher training program, ask questions and evaluate if your inner ego is being fed by an offer given to you during a vulnerable time.

In today’s fitness marketplace, “harder,” “better,” “fitter,” and “bigger” are emphasized so much that the focus has shifted from teaching as being a people-to-people offering, to becoming a machine that churns out teachers and students in an assembly line of motion.

Look around and find a small, local studio whose emphasis is on the offering and connection of people to a practice. The best teachers are always also students, learning from everyone and everything.

It’s not wrong to charge for teacher training, but it’s important to know what we’re getting into.

Really, it all comes down to what feels “right” for each of us, and that answer is personal and individual. No one has the same feelings as another person and we each have our own unique agendas.

Our responsibility is to analyze where we are, what we want, and how we can grow.

We are each on our own path—may they be infused with the true connection of spirit and appreciation for self and community.

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