In a yoga class, students are focusing on breath, alignment, instructions from the teacher and being present. Slipping on a mat or reaching out for a block that isn’t there are just two examples that showcase the importance of proper equipment to a yogi’s practice. It is your job as a studio owner to make sure your students are well-educated on the differences in props used in a yoga studio, along with providing them with exceptional equipment if they don’t have the extra money to purchase things right away.
The most common prop in any practice is the mat. Megan Gray, the owner of Urban Flow Yoga, in Charleston, South Carolina, explained on top of making sure there are enough mats for everyone at their studio, they also like to consider quality. The studio carries Manduka mats of a variety of styles and sizes, as they have found the most success with that brand.
To stay organized with the mats you own, Urban Flow recommends using MINDBODY software. She enters as much information as she can into the software, down to how many mats she has and in what colors.
“The numbers are checked monthly to make sure what we have in our system is correct, and also that what we are selling in our retail section of the same products is the same,” said Gray. “Just keep in mind the data revealed by the software is only as good as the data put into it. Log your inventory accurately and on a consistent basis.”
Maintaining the yoga mats you own can be just as important as purchasing them. With proper maintenance, you can add longevity to the life of each mat. However, props and mats are often forgotten in the cleaning process. To combat this at Hot Yoga Tallahassee, owner Brittani Whittington has made the cleaning process of these items a community effort.
“After every class, we ask students to spray down their mat with our spray bottles that are half water, half OnGuard concentrate,” said Whittington. “We have a great system where everyone helps out. We have ballet barres that we hang the mats on. After class, they spray them down and hang the mat until they dry, because if you rolled them up right away, the gunk would sit in there for a day or two at a time. The next teacher on the next day will come and roll the mats up and store them nicely.”
Whittington also explained their props are kept in open containers, so the air can circulate through them and avoid any odor issues. By following these steps, Whittington explained she doesn’t have to purchase new mats as frequently.
One reason cleaning is so important at a studio is because many yogis walk around the practice space barefoot. Sabrina Remi, the owner of Yoga Tree in Ann Arbor, Michigan, explained they offer yoga socks from Gaiam to their clients free of charge if they prefer to not be barefoot.
“One statement I hear so often is, ‘I don’t like showing my feet,’” said Remi. “There is an element of vulnerability to being barefoot, and many people are skittish about germs while walking around in a public place. But that’s why toeless yoga socks exist. They help highlight the barefoot sensation, but absorb moisture and provide mental comfort. We don’t actively hand them out to each and every student, but they are there for those when they ask.”
For each piece of equipment you make accessible to students in class, you should also be stocking it in your retail store. Once a student sees benefits from using a certain product, they are more inclined to buy it. If it is in your store, they will more than likely purchase it from you.
Gray explained at Urban Flow Yoga they are sure to keep any prop or accessory they recommend in their store to be there for students who are interested.
“We carry the same sizes and styles of Manduka mats we offer our students to rent,” said Gray. “Our staff will sometimes wear Pura Vida bracelets or Yogitoes and we consistently keep those in stock to show our students if they ask about it while we have them on.”
Convenience is key when it comes to students making purchases, so having the same props or accessories you offer them in classes in your retail shop gives them the convenience they need to make the purchase.