By Kathryn Boland
Have you decided that you would like to begin organizing a Yoga workshop or special event? Are you not quite sure how to do this smoothly? Let’s consider some reasons for doing so – a fair amount of revenue, building your instructor brand and expertise, truly fulfilling experiences and connections with your students, and more. Additionally, a workshop is a wonderful bonding experience for all, regardless of it being an in-person or online training format.
Admittedly, organizing a Yoga workshop can be a lot of work for not a whole lot of payoff (such as if few students show up). And things can go wrong. Unexpected obstacles can emerge. Let’s say that, all of that considered – the likely positive and the risky – you’re very interested in holding workshops. Maybe you have before, but found the process more cumbersome and time-consuming than ended up being worth it.
Where and when is best to start organizing a Yoga workshop? Regarding the latter, a particularly busy or emotionally taxing time of life – the holidays, the marriage of a loved one, a teenaged child going off to college – is probably not the time. Try to find a season wherein you have the time and mental space to consider organizing a Yoga workshop and have your creativity flourish.
A good sort of pre-first step is, especially if you haven’t done so before, to take a workshop, or two or a few. Go to a yoga special event or two. It will help give you a clearer sense of the structure, focus, and miscellaneous logistical matters involved with these offerings. If you see advertisements for workshops, scan them over to get ideas for ways to build them – those that are eye-catching, visually attractive, and succinct yet informative.
Next, do a bit of self-reflection – are there aspects of yoga practice that particularly interest you? Do you find yourself often cueing students on a particular element of practice, more than you do others? It helps to be knowledgeable in such an area, but it shouldn’t be a barrier if you’re not at this time. You can always do extra research. It just might take a bit more time, energy, and mental space.
If you have that to offer, have at it! In fact, you could commit to a workshop theme because you want to learn more about it. In the tiniest way, that’s selfish – but not really, because you’ll be sharing the fruits of your knowledge with your students. Next, let this all incubate for a few weeks or so. It might help to journal about it – to organize your thoughts, as well as to keep track of new discoveries and creative aspects as they arise. When you have a reasonably clear idea about what it is that you want to offer, pitch it to a studio manager/owner.
If where you teach hasn’t considered organizing a Yoga workshop, don’t let that stop you. Help them to understand how it benefits the studio – write an email with a professional yet friendly and approachable tone explaining your basic idea, and that workshops help build community, draw in more clientele, and boost public opinion of the business. Offer to hold a call to further talk out ideas, as well as set a date and discuss aspects such as rate and promotion.
Regarding the former, $35-$75 is standard for most workshops. That’s reasonable if you consider that drop-in class rates for most studios are $16-$24 nowadays, and workshops are normally around twice the length of standard drop-in class. Regarding the latter, think both “old” and “new” advertising outlets. Create printed flyers to hang around the location of the workshop/event and other local locations that allow public postings (such as some grocery stores, cafes, and other businesses).
When organizing a Yoga workshop, don’t forget good old word-of-mouth – announce your special offering after your classes, and tell friends and acquaintances whom you see. Doing the same for fellow teachers, when they’ll be doing special offerings, is good karma. Then work through the digital – create a Facebook event to post on your professional page and in specific wellness-focused groups, as well as “inviting” friends through a function on Facebook event pages. Ask a manager, or whomever puts together mass emails (often through systems such as MailChimp and Constant Contact), to include a blurb about your event. It’s often best for you to provide that.
If you will be organizing a Yoga workshop or special event in a non-studio location, there may be permitting and other legal aspects to handle. Go to your town hall, and ask a thorough set of questions. If you feel a bit over your head with all the forms, regulations, deadlines, etc, then reach out to your social network to see if anyone is knowledgeable in these matters, and if they are willing and able to help. You could offer them private sessions, or other such yoga gifts, as bartering. Try your best to dot your i’s and cross your t’s; you may not see an issue a town employee may see, and by the time you have a chance to re-submit, it may be too late.
Assuming organizing a Yoga workshop has gone smoothly, on the day of the event, relax and trust that all will go smoothly. Perhaps do something else rejuvenating until the time of the event (and traveling to it), so that you come in relaxed and in your best state. Then jump right in and do your best. Offer what you have to offer. Then, all accomplished, do a bit of reflection. Maybe even write out what you see as having worked and not worked as well.
All in all, that done, allow yourself to enjoy the experience you had. Then let ideas for your next workshop/event emerge as they will. Perhaps you have another location where you’d like to hold the same, or similar, workshop. Through the process, you’ve followed a method of putting it all together, yet one fueled by natural intuition. The result is personal growth, and through that helping others to grow while gaining the experience of organizing a Yoga workshop. Sounds a bit like yoga, right? There is always something to learn and we adapt to each situation.
© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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You and Your Yoga Mat – And What You See
By Michelle Cross
So when you go to a yoga class or do some self practice, the yoga you practice is all about you. After all it is just you, your yoga mat and what you do. You may like to think of your yoga mat as your magic carpet that takes you to new places within your body and mind…the journey of yoga! How wonderful!
It is a nice idea to contain your space to your yoga mat, apart from enjoying the energy of a class, the other people in it and the teacher, it is your time to practice, become aware, open and learn. So there is no point looking at the person next to you. If you are doing self practice this is a lot easier of course, you do not have another person next to you, you do however need the commitment to observe yourself.
So let us look at the beginning of a class or you self practice – a simple step to help you explore your yoga is when you close your eyes. This helps you to bring your awareness inwards so you can start to focus on yourself and let go of distractions. When you close your eyes, your ears and other senses become more receptive. You are more receptive to what the teacher is guiding you to do. By closing your eyes the intention is to allow you to observe your self – your mind (is it thinking of lots of thoughts of the day), how your body feels lying in Savasana or sitting crossed legged (is it tired or open to what you are about to do, how does it feel as you lie down on your mat). You are also more aware of your breath (is it shallow, short, deep, subtle?). All of these are key to start your yoga practice so you know how you feel initially and what is going on within your body and mind.
Then of course after these quiet moments of preparation when you open your eyes the journey of yoga develops as you explore further your body and mind and breath on your magic carpet…
Of course you still observe and be aware of your Self as you practice, keeping a mindful eye this time on how your body, mind and breath are in the postures. When you are holding postures, you close your eyes again and take yourself inwards and observe the changes as you have been practicing or how you feel in that moment in the posture. Is your body opening, your “heart” expanding, your mind becoming quieter and your breath synchronising with your postures? Your practice will develop and evolve.
Towards the end of your journey on your magic carpet, you close your eyes again to do final relaxation at the end of the class. This is the time to observe the difference within and without from when you started the practice to how it is coming to an end. How is your energy, your thoughts and have you let go? Has the union of body and mind and breath bought you to a place of peace and harmony…? I hope so!
And as you open your eyes at the end of your practice, really open your eyes to how marvellous you, yoga and your yoga mat are!
Michelle Cross teaches Hatha Yoga and is passionate about assisting people to find their own Yoga within, leading to health, wellness and abundant happiness.