Right now we are at a collective precipice of change whether or not we are aware of it, and whether or not we are ready for it. There are many systems that are breaking down and many truths that are being revealed about political wrong-doings, racism, sexual abuse, and the climate crisis to name a few. Numerous industries are trying to avoid collapse, scrambling to find ways to respond to the challenges and changes COVID-19 has presented… and yoga studios are no different.
Like many businesses, yoga studios and teachers are struggling to survive and trying to learn how to navigate the changing tides of being self-employed during a pandemic. Most teachers have responded with virtual classes, livestreams, and on demand content. Others have created outdoor venues or taught yoga classes in their backyards. While some have had to make the very difficult decision to permanently close their doors or quit teaching all together.
As studios reopen they are seeing a reduction in patrons, which is also a reduction in an already low profit margin. State restrictions on class sizes and traveling as well as personal hesitation about returning to in-studio classes may be responsible. Many owners I know and consult with have expressed an interest in restructuring the yoga studio business model making it more viable, sustainable and resilient.
Yet through all the challenges and downsizing, there seems to be a sense of hope woven throughout the greater yoga community. COVID-19 has given us a silent invitation to pause, to rethink our lives, and inquire how to best serve ourselves, our businesses, and our local communities during these unprecedented times.
We are also seeing a change in the reason people are continuing their practice, on and off the mat. Yoga practitioners are more curious than ever about lifestyle tips that will teach them how to reduce stress, build resiliency, and remain peaceful. Many hearts have been rekindled in the importance of community, in-person connection, and mindful movement-based wellness practices.
So how do we keep our yoga studio doors and yogi hearts open during so much upheaval and uncertainty? Through applying the most basic principles of yoga; that of oneness, hope, and heart-centered focus. When we direct our awareness to our sacred heart space, we are able to break beyond the confines of classic business models and find creative solutions to the new problems that exist today.
As yoga stewards and practitioners we have a duty to be a conscious global citizen to help navigate the changes needed to rebuild the broken systems in an innovative way that serves the whole. When we join our hearts, hands, and minds in a collective effort to uplift the broken and outdated systems, we can have a larger impact on the whole. Since after all, yoga sees all of life as a sacred gift and there has never been a more perfect time to live as the change we wish to see in the world.