Illustration: The Magazine of Yoga
Yoga and The Business of Real Life
I get a lot of interesting responses to $5 yoga.
Good, bad, and ugly.
BY MAGAZINE COLUMNIST BARBARA DENOWH
Why did I decide on $5?
To be honest, I wanted to create something that would get people in the door.
I don’t have some super fancy studio with a lounge and a boutique and tea after class. It is plain and simple. I need to create a clientele and it was obvious to me that ten people paying $5 was better for business than one person paying $50.
I also wanted something easy
$5 just seemed easy. I have people who pay in change.
It is that easy.
I wanted something that would be worthwhile to my students. I was speaking with a student who is a mother. She was explaining the logistics of getting to yoga class.
Book a babysitter.
Pick the babysitter up.
Get to class.
Pay the babysitter $20.
Take the babysitter home.
That is a lot of hassle to come hang out with me for an hour. So how do I make it worth it to her? Really worth it.
And it isn’t just the mothers that it needs to be simple for.
We know you have many choices when you fly
What about the person who is totally stressed out at their job and obviously could benefit hugely from an hour of yoga but is so overwhelmed with stress and money and family that it is difficult to commit the time and effort? How do I make it worth it to them?
Or, how do I make it worth it to the person who already has a gym membership? Why would that person want to come to my class instead of taking a class at their gym? Or, the high school girls who obviously can benefit so much from yoga. How do I get them in the door?
Our students don’t have this shiny clean slate and wander into a class. They are all mired in the slog of life and there are a million reasons each one of them can come up with to not get to class. Why should I give them one more?
Those are the reasons that I chose $5 yoga.
The responses to $5 yoga fall into three categories
My parents and close friends. They think I am selling myself short. That I am not charging what I am worth. Because to them I am priceless. They are all aware of the time and resources I put into my training and my little studio.
My mom especially says that as women we have a tendency to sell ourselves short. To think our worth is less that it really is.
Other yoga teachers. The only negative response I get to $5 yoga comes from other yoga teachers. It amazes me.
Not all yoga teachers have balked at $5 yoga, but all of the negative comments I’ve gotten about it come from other teachers.
“Well, that is your introductory price. Then you’ll up the price.” Like, “you’ll see. You’ll come around.”
Or they will tell me that I can’t possibly run a business that way.
I’m not sure where the negativity comes from. Teachers most of all know the benefits of yoga and how it can quite literally change lives. So why would they care what I charge? Do they feel guilty because it makes them seem like they are charging too much?
Or do they just know how much time and resources go into it and want me to charge accordingly?
My students. I love my friends and family for their unconditional support of my endeavors. And, I appreciate constructive criticism and support from other teachers. But, quite frankly, the input that matters here comes from my students.
Their verdict on $5 yoga: they LOVE it.
It fits into real life.
Barbara Denowh is a yoga teacher in Helena, Montana. You can find her in cyberspace on Facebook or at her website denowhyoga.com. She also rambles about yoga, teaching, her wonderful husband, and her hound at babsbabble.com
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© 2011, The Magazine of Yoga, LLC.