Monday, May 26, 2014

Where Do Yoga Teachers Go When They're Not Teaching?

Where do yoga teachers go when they're not teaching yoga? It's a real question. I can tell you where I go, but I know there aren't many other yoga teachers there.

In the past, I've been so busy that I was usually running from class to class and in the middle, I'd be at home, taking care of things at home. I only encountered other yoga teachers by appointment.

Lately it's been bugging me though that I don't have access to other yoga teachers or students for that matter, outside of a traditional yoga class and I'd like to see if that could change.

When I was down at Kripalu again recently, I bumped into some of my old yoga people in the halls and in the cafe and had a chance to informally chat. I saw that some of them would use that cafe space as a place to get work done. It seemed like the distractions were not unwelcome and the surroundings were certainly supportive.

On the same trip in April, I revisited a coworking space in New Haven, CT, which has grown for a third time in four years and has a wonderful, creative vibe to it.

Could these things be blended? Could a coworking space for yoga teachers be created? Would anyone use it besides me?

If you're not familiar with the concept of coworking, you can just google it for way more, but in short, it's a space for people who may normally be working out of their homes or coffee shops in the area, but who would like to be with other people, maybe of a similar ilk, to work near and possibly with, if the projects warrant.

It's like an office for the office-less.

I've worked from home for a decade. It's been great. I've accomplished a lot. But I would like to see other people. I would like to make myself available to other yoga teachers and have other creative people around to help me, too.

Ottawa does have a couple of coworking spaces and they're great, but they're not specifically for yoga teachers - there's no space to do yoga R & D. I have felt out of place at the Hub and paying to park and getting on a slow elevator cut down my time there. Plus, as a yoga teacher, getting in and out of a space quickly matters to me as I do have to get to other classes.

It also occurs to me that most of the people who are yoga teachers in the city are women. Of course there are male teachers but the majority of people teaching and practising yoga are women. The spaces I've seen for coworking aren't unwelcome to women, they just seem to be populated with men. I'd like to walk into a place where I'm not unusual, but the targeted clientele.

I'm sort of rambling here, but I'm trying to express a feeling or an idea that's inside of me and I would like to be able to walk into it outside of me.

I've started looking at various spaces, trying to get a sense of how much space I'd need to do this. I've started meeting with people who can help see if there's community funding available (in fact, I'll be at City Hall later this morning). I've spoken to a few yoga teachers to see if this idea would be of interest. I've even checked in with a yoga studio owner to see if she would find this valuable. Everybody has said they like it. Now will they become members and actually support it...?

I love asking myself the question "if money weren't an obstacle, what would you do?" And I would definitely do this project. That being said, there's this money thing that's required to pay landlords, which would be the bulk of the cost. How small a space could I start with? How big would it need to be to be able to accommodate the right blend of spaces inside the space so there could be a focused work area, a space where you can chat, plus a space to practise in?

Which other communities of people would find this attractive? Would artists want to come out of their homes and work around other people? Would massage therapists need a place to land? Again, I'm just asking some questions to see if I'm alone or if there are other people out there...


Laura C. said...

I screwed up my original comment. :) I wanted to say I love this idea and to ask how it's going!

Jamine Ackert said...

Thanks for asking Laura! I've been on tours with a real estate agent and have gotten a bit discouraged. Things are really expensive and I don't have a lot of start-up money to carry it on my own.

There is a possibility of using Kat's space in Old Ottawa South as a trial. I need to see if there would be interest... We would be able to use it for coworking and for holding classes but would need to contribute to the tune of $1200 a month in order to keep the space. Interested? ;)

Laura C. said...

I would be interested, depending on how much the space rental would cost per person. (Depending how many people you could find to pitch in.) I actually looked into doing something similar a few years ago - finding a space and running it as a collective with members being required to pitch in to cover the rent as well as teach classes, etc. Didn't get very far with it, but I'd imagine there would be great potential to reach people who may not attend a regular yoga studio.

I just had a baby, so I'm on maternity leave currently and studying to be a nutritionist, so I'm a bit all over the place, but I would love to be kept in the loop about this if you go forward with it! Funds are extremely limited as I'm also between jobs, but tell me how I can help. I may be able to set aside a few hours a week if you need help researching, getting in touch with others, etc.

Julie Wilcox said...

Thank you very much for putting this content together. It is very helpful and inspiring to see so many people share their experiences and unique perspectives on yoga!

Jamine Ackert said...

Laura, I've stopped my search for the moment. Instead, I'm using the existing system, which for me is The Hub on Bank St. I'm trying to structure my days so I do more of my teaching on the same day so I can have time to spend in my "office" without having to worry about parking and getting in and out quickly to teach. Let me know if you'd like to meet up and see the space!

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