There’s an article doing the rounds on social media at the moment, and it’s something all yoga teachers and practitioners should read.
The piece was penned by Michelle Marchildon, for her blog Yoga Muse, and it’s titled Why Yoga is a Broke-A** Business.
In her opening sentence, the Denver-based teacher laments the (by all accounts shocking) news that Virayoga – owned by Elena Brower – recently closed its doors for good. When one of the yoga world’s superstars can’t even keep her studio flourishing it’s a sure-fire sign that the industry is in trouble.
Just to talk about yoga as ‘an industry’ doesn’t sit comfortably with some people, but an industry it has become, especially in the West. Recent estimates place the number of practitioners across the US at over 20 million, and yoga is a notable fixture on lists of the fastest growing and most profitable industries.
The sad thing is, that money is going to the multi-national apparel and equipment companies rather the neighborhood studio owners. And it certainly isn’t going into the pockets of the teachers themselves. Marchildon holds Groupon and other daily-deal sites partially responsible for setting the financial bar so low, (as little as $2.98 per session in some cases) as well as free promotional classes and ubiquitous weekend festivals. Thanks to these, many practitioners have been conditioned to see yoga as something low-cost or complimentary. Meanwhile, their yoga teachers struggle to make ends meet – helping people maintain their health while they, conversely, can’t even afford health insurance.
Yoga 216 is maverick in a way. From conception it was designed to be place that changed the yoga studio experience:
- Much smaller classes with six people per class, not per row
- Highly trained, well compensated, united teachers
- A calmer, cleaner space, cared for with love
- A friendlier, non-intimidating, clique-free environment
Yes, our prices are higher than average, but our yogis understand the value of what we do. We have a small roster of teachers who have made their home here, and have formed real relationships with our students (we like to think of ourselves as the Cheers of yoga studios; Here, everybody knows your name).
That being said, we feel passionately that everybody should have access to great yoga, which is why we also offer WIN-WIN classes, Mondays and Fridays at 2:16pm, where people pay what they can.
Yoga is ultimately an investment in wellbeing that’s incomparable to other forms of exercise. Aerobics it isn’t. Many yogis notice a spirit shift after a while. Sometimes it’s immediate and intense, sometimes so subtle as to be virtually imperceptible, but inevitably it happens. Yoga allows us to continue through life a little lighter in body, mind and soul.
Now, isn’t that worth as much as a couple of cocktails?
Read the full post, Why Yoga is a Broke-A** Business, at Yoga Muse.