~ YOGA and the MATTER of TERMS ~

This is a TRICKY post to write because we know that the idea of ‘TERMS’ attaching to a Yoga practice for some appear to conflict with a fantasy of what a Yoga studio is (Yoga being a spiritual based practice). It is a NECESSARY post to write because the issues highlighted are completely avoidable but can be extremely unpleasant to work through when the terms appear not to have been read (even though a hard copy is handed to everybody at the end of their first class at YM). Aside from its obvious purpose 🙂 please also consider that a Yoga studio is a BUSINESS and there are terms that go along with the services provided. ALL clearly set out on our website. ‘Terms’ ARE a standard for ANY business.

There are occasions where we do wonder if people think because the ‘business is Yoga’ that somehow that makes the ‘TERMS’ magically flexible 🙂 . The spiritual practice of Yoga and the word ‘money’ just don’t seem to go well in the same sentence now do they? Perhaps if we were hobby teachers with another paying job (I was once) we could be more flexible on this front. However, we have set up as a proper business in Jersey and this business and the people behind it pay ALL the ‘DUES’ required in this modern society’s economy.

Seeing to these enables us to provide our services and we endeavour to make our living out of what is left after the bills are paid. We cannot be ‘above’ the materialistic world because we have to ‘be’ in it in order to do what we do. {Sadly, there is no FREE ethereal ‘cloud’ studio space yet that we can all transcend to for class duration :)}. If we closed down because we do not follow the etiquettes of this world then how do we share this amazing practice we love so much that it is our duty to propagate?; so we have to exist in this realm folks. Your money is a form of energy helping us to create a space for us all to work on our higher Selves.

Before entering their first class ‘EVERYBODY’ signs a registration form at reception that says, amongst other things, “I CONFIRM THAT I: • will read the class booking / cancellation procedure and policy which is clearly stated on the website and available in hard copy at the studio

WE ARE SO GRATEFUL that for the vast majority of YM practitioners the terms are no biggy whatsoever because they have read them and manage their bookings so that they don’t feel any penalty. Working with you is a smooth running dream. Thank you!

Each year there is always a very small number who just will not settle down to read these terms because they simply aren’t important to them and therefore they don’t actually know there are terms surrounding their venture into our studio. It is true, we know, that in all likelihood they won’t read this post either, but we live in hope because this very small number can take a lot of prana to deal with. Prana that would be better spent elsewhere.

There are those who will challenge the terms the minute a policy invocation is triggered, even tho they SIGNED an undertaking and that signing constitutes acceptance of our terms. This is tiring and time consuming, we expend a lot of energy at the desk in the studio verbally encouraging people to book ‘on the day’ that way they will know for sure they can make the class (all written in the leaflet).

In a grander studio the instructor wouldn’t even have to deal with the admin side of things, there would be receptionist/admin staff dealing with it. At YM the instructor has multiple roles to play each class. We find being hard nosed about some of this stuff REALLY HARD; we would much rather avoid having to deal with this stuff but they are essential if we are to keep things smooth running. I highlight hereafter a few recurring themes:

~ CREDITS. They come at a discount with a built in bonus facility to be able to book. They do EXPIRE folks! They are valid for ONE YEAR; much longer than most vouchers. Non-transferable and non-refundable after 3 months. Buy them. USE them.

~ CLASS FEES/ BOOKING / CANCELLATION PROCEDURE AND POLICY. This year I have had what felt like a couple of ‘stand offs’ with practitioners within seconds of a class being due to start where I must then enter the studio and be the Yoga instructor after uncomfortably standing my ground about our terms. Those concerned being ‘surprized and shocked’ that I have imposed the late cancellation fee penalty. We sell credits for classes that come at a discount and also enable booking; double bonus there. They come WITH TERMS. THIS IS THE DEAL. Suffice to say WE ARE ENTITLED to set our terms of how we do things like ANY business and they are very clear and non-negotiable. They were set for reasons that could take up a whole other blog.  Individuals frequently cite extenuating circumstances and of course we do make exceptions; but we will not see some circumstances as extenuating when there is a choice that one can book ‘on the day’ rather than the day before or week before.  We frequently refrain to practitioners ‘don’t book so far in advance because you don’t know what might crop up to prevent you late cancelling‘ ‘we don’t WANT to be in the position of invoking the late cancellation policy‘ (it is distasteful to us).  As a result of invoking our policy I have had the threat of ‘never coming again’ and have had someone not come for many months and indeed had another practitioner ‘never come again’ because I invoked the late cancellation policy (after having turned away 3 other practitioners whilst this individual had secured their space and then cancelled too late for anybody else to be admitted). Obviously you may think this seems like poor marketing and that we got hugely penalised there, having appeared to have lost a practitioner.

Think though, we strongly suspect in such a case one was never very fond of us from the outset anyway 🙂 (we get a sense for this and we are not holding out for universal popularity 🙂 ) but we had to let the relationship play out. Being propagators of something that is so life changing and enhancing, obviously it is our duty and absolutely our privilege to ‘spread the word’ and accommodate all who are in need of Yoga practice with an instructor and so we would say sorry to see you go, sorry that you sacrificed your YM experience because you don’t see our predicament or our needs as a business, sorry.  You are very welcome back anytime you wish. If you do not wish, we are good with that too, we will always focus all our energies on those who are in front of us for practice purposes. ALL ARE WELCOME who choose to walk through our doors.

In the unlikely event that those concerned actually read this and recognise themselves in the words we would stress such incidents are very rare and much in the past but having being unpleasant for us this post is not about them, it is written as an effort to avoid such incidents in the future. It has always been our policy (you will see from our blogs) to be open and honest about how our studio runs, the happenings there and who we are. We always try to find what extra Yoga lessons can be drawn from events at the studio and you have been our gurus and we will always look to you for our learning. We thank you all for this privilege and in return we undertake that we will not dress anything up or sweep things under the carpet just because it doesn’t fit in with the Yoga ideal image that many around to world try to portray. Many wouldn’t dream of writing such a controversial post as this :)! About Yoga and …. MONEY!!! We write the Yoga ‘running a Yoga studio’ reality with integrity and then we move on.

Of course such ‘stand offs’ are extremely ‘rare’ and certainly ‘individual’ and we take our lead from what presents in front of us in the moment. Remember folks, ye sign up to these terms, everybody is given a hard copy of this at the end of first class (except that one person who absconded last month before I had a chance to have a post-class chat 🙂 ). Further hard copies are on the reception desk for anyone to take anytime and they are clearly written on the website. We will not bespoke them if someone doesn’t like them or does not read them. THIS IS THE DEAL.

~ MONEY. If you are a regular practitioner and you know you regularly buy ‘bits’ at the studio then please organise yourself and have your money ready to hand to pay in advance. We do not run tabs. That would be a nightmare. We are not sure but we suspect if one went to a gym and did not have money for a drink the gym probably wouldn’t run a tab until the next time one came to gym again.  Individuals do tend to think it is ‘a one off’ ‘doesn’t happen often’ ‘never done it before’; in our experience, if we let it go once, for some it becomes a behaviour of norm. At YM the instructor is on their own doing everything, it really helps us if you can organise yourself to pay for all your necessaries so we don’t have to spend that valuable pre-class time writing ‘post its’ about who owes what; we are not geared up for that.

Effectively when Yogis sign in at their first class they effectively ACCEPTED all these terms amongst the others. Yogis need to take responsibility and do their reading; late cancellation fees are avoidable; read the guidelines for booking. Please make reading them part of your Yoga practice. We also expend A LOT of time/verbal at reception encouraging people to book ‘on the day’ rather than too far in advance, that way they can be sure they can make class (this is also written in the booking procedure/policy). You buy your credits WITH the terms attaching; they go hand in hand; you are responsible to take care of your credits so you get the value out of them. When a student works with the terms it minimises chance of fee penalties and frees the teacher up to actually teach more.

Om Om Om Thank You Very Much For Reading