Welcome to Yoga Musings
With all the focus and energy that goes to the necessity of posting to social media, we sometimes forget about the use of email marketing. When looking at the costs of acquisition when promoting your yoga studio, email marketing is a fantastic strategy. Email is not only personal, but it can also be strategically scheduled, and is inexpensive. Social media is unpredictable due to changing algorithms, and requires your customers to look at their feeds at the right time. Only 30% of what you post gets shown on others’ feeds. Less than 10% of what you post is actually seen on others’ feeds. (For some social media ideas, check out our Instagram Strategies for Small Businesses series: part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4.)
Using email marketing allows you to create high quality content to showcase your yoga studio. You can share your expertise with your community, becoming an authority in their yogic journeys. You can engage your customers through this form of direct communication. Customers at a studio can be transient. You need to continually win over your customer base every day. How can you do that? By showing them your value every day. When you show customers your value, they become fans of your studio.
Who do I send emails to?
The beauty of email marketing is that you tailor the emails based on who you are targeting. So, different email campaigns will suit the newcomer, or the customer who hasn’t been in for a year. There are four primary categories of people within your list of customers: (1) new customers, (2) opt-ins off of your website, (3) existing customers, and (4) customers who haven’t been in for quite some time. Each of these groups will require a slightly different approach. If you group everyone together and create one campaign for all, your efforts will be ineffective. The great thing about email marketing is that it caters to your audience.
- New customers: introduce them to the studio, make them aware of all that you have to offer, find ways for them to spread the word.
- Opt-ins: they have not stepped through your door yet. Find a way to entice them to come to the studio.
- Existing customers: every day, they have a choice to come to you or go somewhere else. Use the emails to show that you are valuable to their lives.
- Lost customers: they have been through your doors and know where you are—they may have just gotten off track. Use email marketing to encourage them to find their way back to you.
(For a more extensive explanation on building an email list for your yoga business, we like Shannon Crow’s insights in this video).
Experiment with brainstorming 4 campaign messages for each of the customer categories…what feels important for you to say in each circumstance? Stay tuned, as next week we will cover different types of email campaigns, and delve further into messaging.
I have been a yoga teacher for 25 years and have had many runs at a regular daily yoga and meditation practice.
When I first started teaching in the mid-90s, I felt I was a bit of a fraud because I didn’t practice every day, really preferred a class to my own scripted home practice, and was an off-and-on meditator.
And I will admit, this still holds true. But does that make me less of a yogi?
As a sole small business owner, wife, and mother, finding regular time to practice and meditate can be challenging. My students have often asked me if I practice every day.
They envision me getting up at 4:30 a.m. to meditate and do yoga, eating a perfectly clean diet, and never yelling at my children.
“No, I absolutely do not get up at 4:30 a.m., maybe by 7:30 a.m., and a regular practice; this Vata has a really hard time with routine. Eating…I do the best I can but love vanilla birthday cake. The yelling at my children…don’t we all have bad hair days?”
At that point, I get a relieved look from my students when they realize I am totally human, and that is why we call it a practice—we try a little every day.
What I suggest to yoga practitioners is to find a way to make yoga a part of their everyday life.
As my husband always says, this is a marathon, not a sprint. Your practice will ebb and flow—times of regular practice, times of no practice. Times you are inspired, and times you are bored with your practice.
I always come back to the mat. I do not judge if it has been a day, a month, or six since my last practice. If you view the mat or meditation cushion as a welcoming space, it doesn’t judge your absence—you shouldn’t either.
Also, give yourself credit for the various acts of yogi kindness you do throughout your day. Those count as a yogic practice.
Yogic practice is an attitude, the way to see and act in your life. Living in truth, non-harming, non-stealing, generosity, and connection is living your yoga. Continuing to grow, seek clarity, contentment, and serve others are acts of Real Yoga.
One of the biggest ah-ha moments for me was realizing “doing yoga” or having a strict meditation practice did not make me more yogic or a great yoga teacher.
Finding compassion and kindness for myself, and giving myself permission to ebb and flow in my yoga and meditation practice, would allow me to take this yogic lifestyle 25 years—and 25 or 35 more to come.
Finding a way to make this just a part of what you do, like getting exercise and cooking healthy food, makes this Real Yoga. It is just part of our day, our life.
Six steps to finding your yogi essence:
1. Do you enjoy your yoga practice, or is it another thing on your to-do list?
2. Do you have a special place for your yoga and/or meditation practice?
3. If your meditation practice is elusive, notice the points in your day you do mini-meditations such as bringing awareness to your breath, listening to your steps while you walk, allowing your mind to be still when in your yoga practice.
4. Do you try every day to be a little kinder, gentler, compassionate toward yourself and others?
5. Letting go of the obligation to do your practice, and doing it when it calls to you and nourishes you.
6. Finding joy in the simple things and knowing your yoga mat is always there for when you return.
Realize that Real Yoga is really living through a lens of compassion, kindness, and love.
It is trying every day to be a better version of yourself. Real Yoga is not about whether you have a beautiful physical practice or if you can sit in silent meditation for 30 minutes—Real Yoga is one that makes you happy.
Last but not least in our workshop series, we focus on dharma workshops, and give an example of a meditation workshop. If you missed our previous post on structuring your workshop, check it out here!
Workshops Centered Around Dharma + Example of a Meditation Workshop
In workshops that focus on the teachings, be clear with what you convey. As the dharma presented will likely be a new concept for your students, be clear with your message. What understanding do you want students to have at the end of the workshop? This message should be developed at the beginning 1/3 of the class. For the remaining 2/3 of the class, put the message and understanding to practice. With new learnings—start basic, practice, build on, practice again, build a little bit more on, and then have one final practice.
For example, if you teach a beginning meditation workshop, take time to first discuss the basic principles behind meditation. This can be philosophy from a tradition around the world—Buddhist, Hindu, Catholic rosary—and affirmations. You can discuss the science behind meditation. You can then discuss the specific technique of mindfulness that students will experience.
The least threatening technique can be to lead the group through a guided meditation. Perhaps describe a scene at the beach or students’ favorite location, and have them fully experience being there—tie in all of their senses. You can then have them discuss their experiences and have a question and answer session.
Next, delve further into focused concentrated meditation techniques. This is taking the mindfulness deeper. Conclude by having students share their experiences with one another. The hope is that, afterward, students can apply mindfulness easily on their own.
In this example meditation workshop, 1/3 of the time is dedicated to teaching skills and 2/3 is for experience. This is a little different because it is a new learning process, so you are building on the teaching, followed by practice. Students go through this learning process twice to practice.
As a teacher, know your limitations. Be clear about your intention of the workshop and organize the structure around that intention. All teachers strive to grow and become better, and there is sometimes a tendency to make information in a workshop packed with fantastic depth. Instead, provide morsels of new information with room for students to practice. Keep yourself from sharing everything that you know. If you give students too much information, they will be overwhelmed. Create an environment that allows students to build on their learning. Ideally, students should take away several skills, apply, and practice them to be able to use them on their own!
What dharma feels close to your heart and how might you convey that to students in a workshop? If you are seeking some clarity, we love this blog post from Glo on what dharma is.
On the agenda today: how to structure your workshop and build around your subject matter.
Join us as we dig into the nitty gritty of running a fantastic yoga workshop. If you missed our last post on how to promote your workshop, click here!
Structure of Workshops
As teachers, it’s important for us to convey lessons that help our students in their lives. What we teach also needs to be a tool or skill that we incorporate into our own lives—this makes the teaching authentic.
When you prepare your workshops, consider structure and time frame. People have short attention spans and need breaks. Present new concepts, then give students time for experience and practice. This allows for students to take the skill home and use it on their own.
But what is the most effective way to create an experience that will allow for an independent, usable skill? Our goal is for students to walk away with a learning, and to be able to apply it to the real-world experience.
Aim for one understanding within each workshop. Bring together the teaching—or Dharma—with the physical experience. Make the message clear and repeatable. For example: discuss meditation and its benefits, and how that can impact your life. Then, let the asana practice be a representation of moving through life. Encourage your students to maintain the stillness of meditation within the asana—similar to maintaining stillness in daily life.
For a 3 hour workshop:
- 1/3 is dedicated to the lesson
- 2/3 is dedicated to the practice
The first 1/3 of the workshop should center around the lesson, the Dharma. This is the teaching of yoga or concept that students can apply to their everyday lives. The second 2/3 of the workshop should be devoted to experiential learning. This portion is where teachers can explain how to incorporate the lesson into everyday life through practice. Philosophy in the first 1/3 of the workshop is linked with physical experience in the second 2/3 of the workshop.
1/3 of an asana-centered workshop is the setup—prepare students for what they will experience, and provide a little background and dharma teaching. “We will learn [this] and [this] is why and how it can help you in your life.”
Asana workshops can easily be done in a 2 hour session instead of a 3 hour session, but with the same 1/3 and 2/3 breakdown: discussion leading to the typical asana class, with threaded cueing related to the discussion. Sometimes 2 hour workshops sell even easier and faster than 3 hour workshops, as they are less of a time and financial commitment.
What are your ideas for a workshop centered around asana, and how might you structure it? For some brainstorming help, we love Mark Stephen’s list of workshop topics!
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