Winter is here, and with it comes a few things. 

First, the cold. Second, weather. And third, often a lack in motivation. So, how do you get your students coming even when it’s chilly and they don’t want to leave their homes? 

Denise Baker, the owner of Grand Rapids Yoga in Grand Rapids, Michigan, dives into what her studio is up to this winter, from getting students in the door to dealing with inclement weather. She answered Mindful Studio’s questions below: 

MS: Do you do any special winter promotions? How do you keep students coming even when it’s chilly and people don’t want to leave their homes?  

DB: We do not currently have any winter promotions, but I find the idea intriguing and we may try to come up with something next winter. The Yoga Studio of Grand Rapids, Michigan, is the oldest studio in west Michigan. It was opened in 1979 by a longtime community member. Many of our students have been coming to our studio for years and our students continue to come to class in the winter, despite the weather. 

MS: What have you learned works best over the years to keep students coming?  

DB: Our studio, along with its Certified Iyengar Yoga Teachers, teaches with clarity and compassion. We keep students safe with props and modifications and which also allow us to take more experienced students deeper into their poses. That is what keeps our students coming back. 

MS: What about snow? How do you communicate with students about poor weather conditions?  

DB: Our studio is located in a neighborhood of Grand Rapids where most of our students are local. We rarely cancel classes. If a teacher decides to cancel a class, communication is made via Facebook and by calling or emailing the regular attendees of the class. 

MS: What should studios think about when it comes to bad weather and keeping students safe?  

DB: Studios should consider their student base and how far their students travel to attend class. Our studio, in particular, is fortunate to have most of its students coming from a small radius. Studios also should consider whether they have the ability to successfully notify students of a cancellation. I would not want to traverse through the snow to get to class only to find it cancelled. 

MS: Any other advice when it comes to winter and yoga?  

DB: Shoulder openers, chest openers and backbends! We Michiganders are known to hunch our shoulders forward when we are trying to keep warm. In particular, I teach a lot of Paschima Namaskarasana, Gomukasana and Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana — on a chair — during the winter months.