Why Karma Yoga is Important for Your Studio
Even in the “business” of yoga where studios are trying to compete for students, offering the best introduction deal to pull them in, and great benefits to keep them, there is still room for service, seva, and karma yoga where time and resources are given back to the community that has come together to support them. In fact I would argue that the more successful the studio is, the more time and resources they should dedicate to giving back to the students and the community.
It is all too easy to get wrapped up in the profits, the number of students in each yoga class, and the technology that can best help run your yoga studio - however, the reason many studio owners get into the business in the first place is because they want to share their love of the practice and yoga as a whole, and coming back to that intention frequently is important to keep heart within the business of yoga. This is where the idea of karma yoga and selfless service, or seva, can come into play.
This doesn’t mean that as a studio owner you have to stop seeking the best system to run your studio with, or stop focusing on how you can bring in more new clients, but balancing this mindset with ideas for selfishlessly giving back can help create even more success. One of the easiest ways to give back to the community is to set up “karma yoga” classes once a week or once a month, where the class is offered as a donation base and students are encouraged to donate what they can, knowing that one hundred percent of the proceeds of the class will go to a charity. This charity can be local or remote, and as a studio you can even take a vote between teachers or students which charity is in most need of donations that month or year. As a studio all you have to do is be willing to donate the use of the studio for one hour and have a teacher who is willing to teach for free in order to raise funds for charity. Just having one hour on the schedule each week that is setup to give back can make a big difference in how you feel as a business owner and also how the yoga community feels about the studio as a whole.
Another great way to selflessly give back to the community that helped you reach your current level of profitability is to offer to work with local charities or organizations. Ways to do this include - offering free classes at charity events, giving away free class passes as donations for silent auctions or events, or promoting events for local organizations in the studio. These are all simple ways to do your part in supporting the local community, and using the platform that you’ve created with your successful studio to do some more good.
Some more forms of giving back include setting up a program within the studio so that people who cannot normally afford classes can work in exchange for classes, or offering classes at a discount to certain in need individuals. The work exchange could mean that certain students trade a few hours a month working at the front desk or cleaning the studio so that they can have a membership to the studio, or giving away a certain amount of classes a month to those who cannot normally afford a drop in fee.
All of these suggestions are small ways that as yoga business owners we can selflessly give back to the community and those in need. These little acts of seva help to bring back the focus and intentionality to that of giving and creating more room for heart in a business minded world that can easily forget that we are all connected as one and need each other’s kindness in order to survive and thrive.
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