There BE seventeen (17) ways we GIVE BACK at YM

🙂 read on for how to attain a FREE praxis …
We have an increase in the number of people presenting in reception believing their first class at YM is free ‘taster session’ or texting to book requesting we confirm their first class will be free and then not coming because it is not free; this has never been a model we used at YM. Think about it. One would not ask a restaurateur for a free sample/taster meal to see ‘if one likes it’? One would not ask one’s lawyer for a free conveyance just to see if they can do what they say they do? and One does not ask a hairdresser for their first haircut free? so why is it ok to ask the Yoga instructor … {see also blog: we print money!}

In the particular method we propagate our overheads are massive BUT WE DO WANT TO GIVE BACK to THE STUDENTS WE ARE SO GRATEFUL TO for helping us keep our doors open {and we have always done since we opened our doors in 2011} but we really want to make sure we are giving rewards fairly when we give them.

Recently I read on an intl Yoga studio forum of which I am member someone bemoaning the fact that they are ‘up against’ so many offering free yoga, this being a disservice to the profession, being forced to compete had turned what they do into a survival game and that they had to go inward daily to remind themselves why they teach whilst admitting giving first class free offerings (This made me laugh. BE the change you want to see in the world folks!). Someone responded that if something is free then you should note that ‘you’ in fact are the product! they used online’s ‘Yoga with Adriene’ and her constantly circulating free content as an example; apparently she is making 2.5m dollars and $7k a day from the big following she has created online. That’s a wow from me! AND ALSO a couldn’t care less!; we gave up ‘bemoaning’ our challenges to just us ‘scraping through’ ages ago. Yes every couple of years something new challenges us making our livelihood but we have a good track record now of ‘overcoming’; in fact we have become dab hand at adapting ourselves mentally to how we can still scrape through, build relationships,  serve our practitioners and facilitate their practice. It often involves us accepting that we will take in less money BUT if we can cover our overheads we are always happy.  We have never felt the need to change our model.

Generally we take the view that those looking for free Yoga are not interested in the community we are trying to create at YM.  WE HAVE CREATED A MODEL that is effectively: the more Yoga you practice with us the more opportunity you will notice to attain a free practice. Of course we do hope that the ‘one~off class practitioner’ feels they got their ‘drop~in fee’s worth’ in the couple of hours spent with us; we do try our best to ensure they had the best ‘first time Bikram experience’ even if it is their last 🙂 .  We are always in hope that they will come again.  IF they do come again and keep it up, in due time a ‘new’ regular will feel they got an opportunity to get a bit more back after they had to pay for their first class.

WE OPENED 2011 with a price that was accessible to all and since then believe we have managed to keep our price well down {despite rising costs for running/living} for a 90 minute class where many will charge same price and often more for a 45 or 60 minute session unheated; this is a fact.  We have also steered well clear of the, often confusing, ‘package’ model favoured by big city studios/franchises where they ‘lock you in for period’ on what appears to be favourable terms (economies of scale (all the Yoga you want in a month!!)), but we feel they are not really favourable when the reality is, like the gym model that locks you in, many won’t attend to get the value for their money.

WE DON’T like taking money for nothing although we have been advised over the years by many in and outside our sphere that our approach will not make the ‘business’ sustainable and if you look closely at our books you will see ours is really not a ‘viable business’; it is run literally and figuratively speaking on sweat, worry, belt tightening and an absolute PASSION for and LOVE of what we practice {one should NEVER underestimate passion for ones vocation 🙂 } IT IS A GREAT PRIVILEGE TO BE ENABLED TO DO WHAT WE DO.  If we are forced to change our way of doing things at some point then I guess we may BECAUSE WE ARE DETERMINED to be here in the longer term BUT in the meantime we continue to resist the change; one might say we have yet to ‘cure’ 😉 ourselves of a bit of cognitive dissonance (a conflict between our personal ethics and what it takes to stay in business in this day and age). YOU won’t know but WE know just how strong our cognitions are on this front because believe us folks they have been truly tested in ways you wouldn’t believe and we haven’t waivered… Others may think we are stupid because of this; that operating in this way requires too much sacrifice… perhaps we are the last bastion of our way of doing things…

OUR BLOCK OF 10 DISCOUNTED CREDITS have a long validity for the discount attained with basic terms attached.  Effectively for a Bikram Yoga lover following the terms you pay only for what you use.  Our drop in fee and one package is fair and very reasonably priced in the scheme of things (if you shop around you will see this);  We have spent tens of thousands of pounds on and devoted much time in our lives on our education as Yoga instructors as we continue to develop our understanding of what we do so that our students can benefit from us improving our teaching/expanding our knowledge.  This is my full time profession and we give our ‘all’ to our students in every single class (because every single class IS a unique event) and before one asks for that ‘freebie’ if you research us you will see that we do give back to our students in a ‘financial’ manner too:

HERE ARE SEVENTEEN (17) WAYS WE DO GIVE BACK; Keep an eye out ‘cos some of them are coming up soon!!

1. February ~ ALTERNATIVE VALENTINES DATE* ~ REGULAR YM ‘couple’ practitioners practice for FREE! ~OR~ are you a regular ‘solo’ practitioner who is part of a couple? YOU bring your partner along on the night and YOU get to practice for FREE, we make them pay (for their class of course!) ~OR~ Couple who are New-to-YM? well then it is simple; Two-For-The-Price-Of-One

2. FebYOUary ~ SINGLES SUNDAY* ~ YM noticed the world loves to celebrate Mothers, Fathers, Valentines (as do we) but it does seem a little unfair that there is no SINGLES DAY. Yoga is about balance and at YM we don’t want to leave single people out in the cold ! So ‘Singles Sunday’ is always Sunday following Valentines ~ if you are a single person you will BE OUR GUEST for FREE

3. March ~ MAMASTE SUNDAY* ~ ALL Yo Mamas, Mammies, Mummies, Maters & Mums will get a FREE PASS added to their account when they practice on Mothering Sunday!

4. MARCH ~ is for WARRIORS** ~ at YM Let Battle Commence!! The Brave Bikram Yoga Warrior {with credits}*** who TURNS UP AT YM the most in March !!!WINS!!! ~ FREE 5 class pass ~

5. June ~ OM PAPA DAY* ~ ALL Yo Papas, Daddies, Paters, Pops & Dads will get a FREE PASS added to their account when they practice on Fathering Sunday!

6. June 21st ~ INTERNATIONAL DAY OF YOGA* ~ Classes FREE FOR ALL ~ what better way to celebrate this auspicious day

7. July ~ YM BIRTHDAY* 19th is the anniversary of us opening our doors YES! WE OPENED HOT YOGA IN THE MIDDLE OF SUMMER 2011! Such faith 🙂 ~ each year we give FIVE FREE DAYS of YOGA to mark the occasion ~ all come to any, all come to all, help us celebrate, have a ball! for FREE

8. October ~ YOGATOBER* ~ our regular practitioners get an opportunity to get a FREE Bikram class by bringing a friend with them who has not been to YM before. You can do this AS OFTEN AS YOU LIKE in October ~ 31 DAYS of opportunity!; how many friends do YOU have that could benefit from this amazing Yoga {whilst helping you be FREE}?

9. BIKRAMMING ~ an ongoing monthly opportunity/competition for all our practitioners out and about in the world to WIN a FREE class (see website/facebook – most ‘likes‘ wins)

10. AD HOC ~ whether it is for right answer to silly/random questions in class 🙂 , answer to Yoga with lyrics provided on FB or just a free class we give when a regular finishes a record of attendance card ~ we find other little ways to dish out FREE classes

11. NUPTIALS ~ if one of our practitioners gets married (woohoo!), well it is obviously a one off SUPER special event, OUR GIFT to them is a FREE praxis!

12. CHALLENGES* ~ Group 7/10 ~ twice-a-year; intensive! more yoga, short period, at a further discount AND with 1-2 FREE CLASSES in their prizes. Private Challenges 30/60 major discounted AND 3-4 FREE CLASSES each amongst their prizes on completion.

13. December ~ ANNUAL FREE FUN LOTTERY ~ all who walk through our doors in December have a chance to be in our draw to WIN ~ FIVE 5 passes with 5 FIVE classes on each = 25 TWENTY-FIVE FREE CLASSES  {one entry per class attended by practitioner’ in December ! more chances! BUT name can only be drawn once} 

THERE IS HARDLY EVER a class where we don’t have at least one person in it practicing for free and ~WE LIKE IT THAT WAY~. We have always done these things but never used to announce them so loudly; but it would seem with the numbers turning up asking for first class free we have to explain ourselves and how/why we ‘do what we do’ a bit more…

  1. WE OFFSET OUR CARBON FOOTPRINT

~ We stopped selling single use plastic ‘water’ supplies; thereby closing of a revenue stream (albeit small) please read our blog on this

~ We gift a small annual donation (relative to our business size; we wish it were more) to local charitable organization ‘Jersey Trees for Life’ for their wonderful work.

WE GIVE BACK IN OTHER WAYS TOO!

When preparing to open Yoga Matters in 2011 A PERSONAL OBJECTIVE OF OURS WAS TO CREATE AN ENTITY THAT WOULD PARTICIPATE IN COMMUNITY WHERE CHARITABLE PURPOSES ARE CONCERNED.  We are very conscious of our personal social responsibilities and that the essence of Yoga, even when you are running a business, is not all about how much money you can take in and we wanted to ensure we had a healthy mix of teaching for free and for charity as well as being sustainable as a business.  Within a quarter of opening we ran our first charity class.  About a year later we set up ‘YOGA GIVES’ {RBN} as our formal way of committing and announcing our commitment to making sure we continuously ‘give back’ to our practitioners, ‘give back’ to our wider community AND assist those who are assisting groups in society who are more in need where we ourselves are unable to donate our personal time volunteering to that endeavour other than by offering our Yoga services.

  1. ~ Quarterly ~ YOGA GIVES ~ silent charity classes to help mostly ‘local’ small charities ~ see website for more info. In the interests of transparency, anyone wishing to inspect the records for ‘Yoga Gives’ are welcome to do so at any time, we keep them at the studio at all times. Monies are immediately sent to the charity and a receipt is displayed as soon as it received. The ‘Yoga Gives’ Silent classes are very rewarding for all concerned; practitioners can come to class, work hard, feel good and know that their class fee on the evening will be contributed by Darren & Trisha to other organisations and groups dedicated to raising funds for worthy causes.
  2. ~ WE ALSO make ourselves and our classes accessible to those practitioners who may be going through a financially stressful period of time so they don’t do without their much needed/essential Yoga classes.  These circumstances are discussed with those practitioners privately and on individual basis. This is very personal and we usually know the practitioners as existing and committed to Bikram Yoga practitioners (this is an intensely private and confidential matter between us and the practitioners).  We don’t take recommendations from others on this front and we do not offer one off ‘free taster’ sessions.  We VALUE our own years of experience in teaching Yoga and the time and money spent on gaining our qualifications in order that we can work in a ‘helping people’ profession. It is fact that there are still many out there who don’t consider teaching Yoga as ‘real work’ and that they don’t consider that our overheads and ‘dues’ must be priority for us.  We are always ready and willing to challenge such assumptions and the ‘fantasy’ beliefs about what we do. We have been approached many times over the years by different organizations asking us to offer ‘blanket’ free or discounted Yoga classes within their particular sphere of activity or corporation AND IN THIS REGARD WE ARE GLAD THAT WE STEPPED UP FROM THE VERY BEGINNING OF OUR OWN COMMUNITY’S BIRTH (2011) to take control of how WE deliver OUR free services to the community.  We have to earn our living too and the business side needs to remain sustainable as we will not be able to keep our doors open for our very deserving dedicated Yogis if we are not ourselves sensible in our free offerings and so ‘Yoga Gives’ has been a gift in helping us manage our social responsibilities and our contributions to community.
  3. ~ WE ARE VERY HAPPY (our class schedule permitting) to offer our services to teach mass Yoga classes outside of the YM environment where we would turn up and teach groups in order for the charity to raise funds but with us giving our time and instruction for free where the charity/individual would undertake to do all the organizing and primary marketing of such an event.

Om Om Om Love Yoga  Love Free Yoga  Love the Original Hot Yoga

June 17

{nb many of these opportunities suspended for 2019 because of the studio destruction and we spent the year trying to get back on our feet, thank you}

{nb again suspended in the time of covid restrictions; until we are firmly back on our feet and confident we can stay ‘in business’, sorry folks and thank you}

*subject to space availability/ first come first served/ booking recommended/see website booking procedure/ ALL WELCOME Old & New 🙂

** new 2020

*** we can only easily ascertain attendance from our ‘credits held’ records so this is not for ‘drop ins‘ ~ however it is our experience that it is only those practitioners who attend a lot who buy the credits anyway 🙂