Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Yoga Competition

I'm not sure exactly what's going on in Ottawa, but facebook tells me there's a few more yoga centres opening. That's exaggerating a bit because I did hear about it before the facebook postings, but facebook has become a place where I get a lot of advertising messages now so that's where I see it more.

There are three new ones opening this month that I can think of and I'm sure there will be more happening as people fulfill their dreams of being yoga teachers and opening centres. (And, of course, once people can franchise and duplicate a successful yoga business and repeat it in new markets.)

Personally, I've never had a desire to run a yoga centre, so I stand back and watch and listen to the conversations around space and square footage and all that. Somebody's gotta do it, but it ain't me.

I've seen people say they're working at two places, and I think back to a time when I was asked to sign a contract that said I wouldn't work anywhere else and I didn't go along with it. I wanted to teach where I felt called to teach. But for people running a business, they need their teachers to be loyal and exclusive so they can have something to offer that's special to them. Sometimes that happens and sometimes it doesn't - it all depends on the context.

The teachings of yoga are free, however, the running of a yoga business is not. There will be some competition, vying for the same students in a particular neighbourhood, or type of style like yoga classes done in a hot room, for instance.

It gets competitive naturally. And there's something about yoga being competitive that seems so un-yogic. And at the same time, that's how it is, which is yogic - to look at how things are and allowing them to be that way.

Ottawa has an active yoga market. Yoga has been here longer than it has been in lots of places. And Ottawa will sustain a lot of active yogis who want to practise in group settings because we could all just stay home and practise our postures alone, which is how it's been done for most of history. But we don't, we like to come out and be with other people and learn from new teachers and get tips and tricks on poses and breathing exercises. This means yoga centres will be in business for a long time, which is awesome. And there will be new centres moving in and eventually the market will be saturated and centres will close their doors and students will shuffle around. It's just how it goes. Competition is natural and is a "default setting" and overcoming the urge to compete but rather thrive from within, not from comparing ourselves to what's around us, takes practice and discipline.


Felicity Bell said...

I've recently started teaching yoga after leaving a job in budgeting and financial oversight. Naturally, everyone I know thinks I'm on the clear path to opening a studio, but I just can't see that happening. As you mentioned, competition, administration, marketing, etc. are all part of owning a studio and require lots of TLC from owners and managers. Right now, I'm learning how to navigate the business of teaching yoga, let alone the business of owning a studio. The fewer things that keep me from connecting closely with my students, the better.

I actually started a blog on my experiences learning about the yoga business, which might interest you. I'm hoping other teachers will find it and share their "lessons learned". Feel free to check it out: Also, if you have any insights on the topics discussed, please feel free to comment.

Zhu said...

I started yoga a few months ago and I just love it!

There are a lot of yoga studio in Ottawa and that's great. I guess there is a market for it... gov' work must be stressful! :D

Do you teach at Rama? I think I saw your name somewhere...

Jamine said...

I sure do teach at Rama Lotus. I have been teaching there now for 7 years every Tuesday night, Friday night, and for just a little less time on Sunday morning and Tuesday earlier evening. I'm also one of the teachers in the Teacher Training.