Authenticity is Important
The boom of Yoga Asana teachers and locations that offer classes in the nation is incredible. In the Tahoe South area, alone, there are at least eight locations within a 5 mile radius that offer some sort of Yoga Asana class. Awareness and interest in Yoga is at an all time high. There are thousands of places to go to try out and join others to do Asana.
As with anything we have to be careful when choosing a place to begin, continue and deepen our practices of Yoga. Just as Amazon has become the go-to for everything, but not everything is what it claims to be; so can "Yoga Studios" claim one thing, but offer something different. Be careful when choosing the place where you would like to practice.
Like so many good things Yoga Asana classes have become the basis of a business model. A "Yoga Studio" is now also a juice bar, retail shop, classroom and training room. The focus has shifted from practicing Yoga to physical prowess and appearance. Think about the place where you go to practice. What is the first thing you notice?
Now, business is business and we all have to sell something if we are going to survive in this culture and climate. However, the practice of Yoga focuses upon so much more than appearances. A smaller studio is the owner, the teachers they include and their energy. Every penny that is earned goes back into the business to make it survive. Remember, that the money you pay to practice in a small studio goes directly to those who are actively teaching, working and making the business what it is. At those larger, corporate or franchised businesses you never know where your money goes.
Refine Your Vision
Yoga teaches us to see the big picture while focusing upon the smaller pieces that make the whole. We easily become blinded by the big, noisy and most noticeable stuff. The more we practice, the more we refine our vision and see that which is important.
You might find yourself blinded by Yoga Tree, Core Power, Hot Yoga, etc. The franchises are everywhere, they have money to advertise and seem to draw in everyone. Keep practicing Yoga and look for the studios that are offering Yoga rather than just Yoga Asana. See beyond the fancy ads and flashy decor of the franchises. Find a place that teaches more than poses.
More Than Meets the Eye
A smaller, locally, often individually owned and run studio offers so much more than you might initially notice. Typically, the owner is also one of the few teachers offering guided practices. They likely practice on their own, regularly and consistently. They probably have deep beliefs and strong practices. If you spend enough time with them, you are likely to learn far more than you do in the hour long Asana class at that big studio you used to visit.
As a teacher, studio owner and practitioner of Yoga I seek out these studios and teachers. Honestly, when I attend a class that is full of people with a teacher who clearly has pre-planned the class I leave frustrated. I am always hoping the attendance will be low and the teacher will be prepared to share in the practice with us. When this happens I always end up leaving with something I didn't know I needed.
Every Day Is Small Business Day
Instead of thinking about small businesses for just one day: Small Business Saturday. Consider seeking out small businesses and, in particular, small Yoga Studios every time you feel the need to join a class. Try new places, new teachers and explore locations, styles and lineages you might not have previously considered. Arrive early and stay after class. Get to know the teacher. Keep practicing. You might even discover your Self.
Our Small Part
As a solo-preneur and micro-business owner I do everything I can to teach authentically, support the community and create practices that honor those who wish to be guided. If you're ready to begin, wish to continue or want to deepen your practice. Join me. I hope we can travel together on the path toward Yoga.