One of the greatest joys of owning a yoga studio is connecting with your community. It is such a gift to create a welcoming environment and see women and men of all ages, abilities and backgrounds come together to share their practice every day. Studio owners should focus on welcoming new clients and making them feel comfortable while growing their existing community and fostering connection.
Studio owners and teachers should always be mindful of students new to the practice. Many trying yoga for the first time are nervous and easily discouraged. A website outlining the specifics of a class and labeling it as appropriate for beginners, intermediate or advanced students is a simple way to provide just a bit more information for them to absorb before class. When greeting a new student, teachers should take a moment to thank them for coming and share a few words of encouragement. The extra attention and acknowledgment can do so much to bolster confidence and ease anxiety.
In addition to class descriptions, yoga studios should provide students with an overview of what to expect before, during and after class. This material can be found on the website, shared as a brochure or sent as an email when someone signs up for their first class. This is particularly important for those who are unfamiliar with hot yoga. There are so many wonderful tips to share — appropriate attire, hydration, no talking in class, no cellphone use — which can only enhance their experience on and off the mat.
Technology allows studios to communicate with students in so many ways, and it is the responsibility of the studio to be accessible, always. As an owner you should pride yourself on being responsive to client emails, phone calls and private messages through social media platforms. There is never an excuse to not take a call or quickly respond to a note from a student. People expect an immediate connection, and an aware owner will make every effort to be available and accommodating.
The conversation doesn’t need to be one-sided. Studios should engage with students regularly to ensure they’re enjoying their practice and to request feedback.
Know Your Neighbors
Yogis by nature are giving and caring. They will come together to raise funds or awareness for worthy causes and are the first to pull together in times of strife. Aim to create partnerships with charitable organizations, and offer discounts for teachers, first responders and military veterans. Whether it’s a practice to celebrate the summer solstice while hosting a by-donation class for the Alzheimer’s Association, a holiday toy drive or gratis classes for veterans to honor their service, there are so many ways to give back. Every studio should have frequent events that go beyond the standard classes on the schedule and are often held outside of the traditional studio space.
As instructors encourage students to modify, sometimes a studio owner needs to do the same. If a particular class is wildly popular and another is underperforming, reevaluating might be warranted. Studios can’t be rigid. Flexibility isn’t just what we hope to achieve with yoga, it’s something we should have more of in our lives.
A community is only as strong as those in it, so studio owners should do everything possible to foster community with members. Spend your time as a studio owner helping new clients feel comfortable, and give existing members a way to advance their practice and their commitment to those around them. This will set you up for long-term success and a powerful community.