With a vast number of unique yoga classes in the world, deciding which classes to offer at your studio and when, can be a real issue. The scheduling of your programs can make or break your studio, and it is important to remain on the right side of that equation.
Brianne Cook, the front office manager at Flow Yoga, with two locations in Leesburg and Ashburn, Virginia, said using MINDBODY’s software allows them to run a few different analytics to see how their class schedules are working for them, if enough people are showing up and what their peak hours are.
“With MINDBODY we can go back and look at attendance of members,” said Cook. “If we have classes with low attendance, we try not to be super reactionary — we instead try to figure out why. We ask if it is the time, the teacher or the actual style, and figure out what needs to be changed.”
After checking out the numbers in attendance of classes, an important concept to grasp is: Not every student has the same lifestyle. People need yoga to be accessible and convenient to their own schedule. Many members are more willing to go to yoga in a free period of their day, rather than rearrange their schedule to fit yoga in.
Gina Bostic, the manager of The Yoga Studio in Indianapolis, Indiana, said they like to offer classes to benefit schedules of the working class. They keep in mind school schedules, lunch breaks and mornings for those who prefer to get in a class before their day begins.
“We have early morning and late evening classes to accommodate work schedules,” said Bostic. “Then, we have classes timed around school drop-off times for those with children at home. We also offer classes at lunchtime for those that might be able to sneak away on their lunch break.”
Knowing the age range of your clientele is just as important as knowing their occupations. If you have an older population of students, you aren’t going to want to offer quick-moving or high intensity classes all day long. You have to incorporate slow and restorative classes along with them.
Running 15 yoga classes a day, Christine Raffa, the owner of Raffa Yoga in Cranston, Rhode Island, aims to offer yin and yang classes around the same time as one another to support the unique community at their studio.
“We have a unique situation in Rhode Island where the average median age of the person participating at our studio is 44-years-old,” said Raffa. “With the age group being a little older than the national average of those who practice yoga, it was really important to us to not only offer the Vinyasa Power yoga classes, but to also show a softer and subtler side that complements our active relaxation center.”
In the few instances the schedule needs to be moved around, or a class added here or there, it is important to do it in a way that complies with your student base. Cook said for Flow Yoga, changes are executed all at once or not at all.
“[The students] don’t love change, no one does,” said Cook. “If we add a new class or take away a class, if it’s done in small increments it tends to throw them off, versus if we do 10 changes all at once. We typically try to do that twice a year based on our analysis and after we get feedback from student surveys. Even though it is the same amount of changes, it feels like less to people. We try to do a roll out all at once.”
The rush-hour traffic that usually comes to studios after work, around 5 p.m., is inevitable. It will always be a little busier and hectic around that time. Raffa explained at her studio they try to offer classes that are of the same tempo or sound quality at these times, so that a higher-energy class doesn’t disturb a lower-paced one.
“Typically what we try and do is find classes that have some level of synergy, where if the rooms are adjoining, one is not going to overpower the other,” said Raffa. “We aren’t going to put a Hip Hop yoga class next to a Yin-style class on the other side of the wall.”
No matter what you do with your scheduling of classes, you can’t predict exactly how your base students’ schedules will change. However, getting to know your students and their lifestyle is a good first place to start. “Life is moving at such a fast pace these days,” said Raffa. “What we want to do at our studio is really make their experience an adjunct to their everyday lifestyle.”