Business · Yoga

Snark, Pooping Unicorns + Getting Off Your Ass

Recovering Yogi

This morning I read an article on Recovering Yogi , 5 ways to make $#!^loads of money with yoga. If you’re not familiar with RY, it’s a community blog whose mission “is to provide a forum for those who are bored with vacuous yoga culture and trite “spiritual” talk.”. I read RY sporadically, mainly because I have friends that contribute.

Generally speaking theirs is not a mission that resonates with me. Yes, I am sassy. Yes I have a sense of humor. Yes, I am brutally honest. I teach yoga and I’m a Reiki master, but I’m not fluffy or a member of your woowoo crew. (Sure, I may lurk, but that’s merely for perspective).  Yes, I believe in the Law of Attraction.  Yet at the same time, I also believe in getting off your lazy ass. I believe magical Unicorn poop is rainbow sparkly, but it still smells like poop.  Lord knows I have felt disenfranchised and bitter about yoga and the yoga industry. We broke up for a full year.  But right now, we’re in our make up phase, and I am in love again.

If RY were prime time, it would be my Seinfeld. I want to find it simply amusing and nothing else, but meh. nope. It’ always leaves me feeling like a wave just took me down at the beach. Sand anyone?  For those of you that do not know me personally, I am not a Seinfeld fan (the horror!). I know, I know. I have heard it all.  I just don’t jive with that kind of humor. I find their brand of sarcasm to be just too mean. I am very obviously NOT a New Yorker.

I read RY for perspective.  When I read the article today, I went through my standard evolution of emotion. Amused>Sad>Annoyed.  Amused because, well the plausibility of a Tantric Yoga studio as a front for a prostitution ring is laughable.   Sad because of defeatist attitude, which rolled into totally annoyed.  If you’re bored and disgruntled, get off your ass and do something about it.  Don’t just bitch.  Advocacy isn’t a spectator sport. The change you want isn’t inevitable, you have to make it happen. Be a mover + shaker. Set an example. Get off your ass or STFU.

Here’s the deal. Yoga is not what it was in the 1970s, get over it.  Studios are like Starbucks. 15 million Americans practice yoga.  It’s a 27 billion dollar industry and spending on its products has risen 87% over the past 5 years.  EIGHTY-SEVEN FREAKING PERCENT.  People are making money with yoga.  Yes, some are selling out. Yes, some arrogantly believe that 26 postures can be patented. There will be douche bag outliers in every industry.  It doesn’t mean the entire industry, or people making money within the industry are a bunch of douche bags.  You don’t have to be penniless to be authentic.

It’s ok to want to make money as a yoga teacher.  It’s ok for a studio to be profitable and there are ethical ways to do it.  You have to work hard and you need a certain amount of business moxie. The point is, it can be done.  You don’t have to compromise your morals, sell your soul, open a brothel or file a patent.  The yoga game has changed. It’s out there for the masses. It’s no longer a big, fat, juicy secret. It’s Billy Breathless.  Feel the ebb and flow, adapt.  Find the balance between business and passion.  If you can’t or refuse to do these things,  STFU and continue to be bitter (and penniless).

That that’s pretty much how I feel about that.

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7 thoughts on “Snark, Pooping Unicorns + Getting Off Your Ass

  1. I feel the same. The largest pitfall that I run into in my own thinking is that someone else who is successful is either lucky or doing it wrong (or doing something wrong).

    It’s really a form of jealousy. When I started to question that assumption (which is pretty pervasive in the yoga world — because now it’s pointed in my direction!), things really changed. I began to see that businesses could mentor me, without me seeking mentorship from the owner or even association.

    Just by going into a business and observing it as a client, I could see why a place is successful. I would take the things that I saw as creating their success, and see if it would work in my business. 9 times out of 10 it does, and my business is ultimately better for it.

    And yes, business takes moxie and hard work. It also takes observation and contemplation and patience (fortitude in that patience). And it takes really looking at yourself — what you do well, what you don’t do well, and what you are thinking and feeling (Secret style) that might be holding you back.

    For me, the thought that a person had to be lucky or greedy/unethical to succeed was holding me back — because I thought those were the keys to success. Now I know it’s otherwise. Now I know that it’s largely just knowing your values, codifying and implementing them into your business, and then just putting in the hours required to get the work done.

    And surprisingly, my business was sustainable in 6 months; sustaining us 2 years in; and now it’s actually heading into profit such that my tax bill this last month (it’s every two months) just about killed my budget! Yes, this is something to celebrate. LOL It just means we are seeing a higher profit margin.

    And all without luck (well, I’m sure there is some luck) and without being unethical.

  2. You’re absolutely right. After being in and out of 100s of studios over the past 3 years what works and what doesn’t is apparent and on the surface.

    Seriously Jen, you’re my most favorite ever, thank you for taking the time to reply. I respect you so much and it means a lot to me.

    One of these days I need to interview you for this blog. It has been way too long since our last Skype date – sorry things have been wacky with me!

  3. Thanks for writing this Terra – I completely agree! I believe that anybody should be able to make a living doing the thing they love; why should that exclude yoga teachers? Personally, I am mostly bothered by “yoga purists” that will talk your ear off saying how yoga is all about “connecting to your true joyous self” and then in the same breath say mean, nasty things about other teachers. I guess, their true self is not so joyous” after all!

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