I am really great at staging a photo. I set up that tripod and I will take 10,000 selfies to get just the right shot for my marketing piece or my blog post. But I’m terrible at documenting every day life.
Thanksgiving came and went and just one single, not so great, photo was taken. Because my family wouldn’t give me enough time to stage the photo.
One year ago when I started this blog (Can you believe it’s been a whole year?) I had 5 goals. I managed to get organized and write for elephant journal. While I no longer wish to be featured on the lululemon blog, because let’s face it things are getting controversial over there, it looks like the other 3 goals remain on my list. Only in 2014, I’m responsible for my own raise.
One of them was documenting my life. I have to say that I mostly failed. I took tons of photos, all staged.
I have got to pull myself together. So this holiday season I will shamelessly carry the camera with me and I will take imperfect photos to document perfect moments.
Let’s not pretend that I won’t continue to stage photos though. It’s going to happen and I’m going to have so much fun doing it.
Fa la la, friends. ‘Tis the season and with so many pretty packages, there’s no better time to talk about how yoga teachers package themselves!
For many teachers, workshops and series can make a huge difference in our income. But just as important as the content of your class is how you “advertise.” I use the word advertise loosely in the yoga world. We aren’t talking paid placement in your local newspaper. It’s about the Facebook graphics and website banners. Maybe the occasional flyer, but please conserve and think before you print!
How you visually represent your classes and workshops has the potential to stop people in their mindless Facebook meandering tracks to see what is this beautiful image all about OR they can keep on keeping on and scroll right on by.
I’m pretty sure you know which side of this statement you want to be on.
I’ve seen many Microsoft Word crafted tri-fold brochures with clip art backed with the philosophy that it gets the point across. But the goal isn’t just to get the point across, it’s to get people inspired and excited. It’s the difference between a gift bag and a beautiful wrapped box with candy cane ribbon and a big red bow.
Not a designer? No problem! Here are some instant improvements for your next promotional piece.
(1) Use your smart phone
You can get a beautiful photo from that fancy device. Apps like Instagram, Over and Camera +. Chances are if you don’t own a smart phone yourself, you know someone who does. There are also free or inexpensive programs like Gimp and Microsoft Publisher that you can run on your desktop computer. But be prepared to spend sometime learning to use these programs. It can easily become frustrating if you’re new to design. Breathe!
(3) Set the stage
Whether it’s props, red lipstick and holiday-themed apparel (not that I’m speaking from experience here) or just a strategically chosen backdrop and pose, thinking through what you want your imagery to look like adds a layer of interest to whatever it is that you’re creating.
(3) Keep it simple
Focus on great lighting and wide open space with no messes. Stick to one photo. Only the most talented of designers can make multiple photos work cohesively. Don’t get too wordy— one or two fonts and a simple who, what, where and when.
(4) Phone a friend
Is this all more than you can deal with on your own? Recruit your artsy friends to help you the first few times. Their skills will rub off on you! You can always trade a private yoga class in exchange or treat them to a latte. This is definitely the most frustration-free way of learning for me.
(5) Look for inspiration
Check out magazine advertisements, design blogs and Pinterest boards and study what you are drawn to. Is it the colors? The staging? The fonts? You can take your favorite elements from multiple designs and create a style that is all your own.
Wishing you big love, beautiful designs and a lovely holiday season!
Since I got my new phone, I’ve been posting lots of mini sequencing videos on Instagram. This weekend I went back to the sequencing board for a pose that I am perfectly capable of doing, but I don’t necessarily like. I’m flipping you the bird…of paradise.
The skies were gray on Saturday, so we filmed inside. But I am ready for a sweaty and sandy practice in the near future so stay tuned. Until then….
You just can’t do it alone.
I signed up for this Great Work MBA and, while I have not had the time to watch a single session all the way through, I took this away from it:
If you’re working alone, you’re not doing great work.
At first I was incredibly offended. Here I am busting my butt to produce content and it’s mediocre at best, because I don’t have a team. Fortunately, that line of thought lasted for about 20 seconds. Then I was like ah-ha, I got here by teamwork alone.
The teachers who inspired me to stick with my practice, the owners of studios where I teach or have taught, the seasoned teachers who have shown me nothing but love as I’ve embarked on this career change, my students, my parents, my husband—these are my people and I love them.
The people who you choose to surround yourself with are can be your mentors and your muses or they can be something entirely different and not so inspiring.
Who are you surrounding yourself with?
You’ve graduated from training and you can teach a killer yoga class. So now ask and you shall receive—prime time spots at popular studios with great owners and receptive students.
Oh wait, this was a dream I had at some point.
We are entitled to nothing. Whether you have a 200 HR yoga teacher certification or an MBA, you have to serve your time. The yoga business can leave you disenchanted when you realize that there are studios and gyms that are no different than greedy corporate America. They are looking out for their bottom line and you are left to fend for yourself. Or maybe your experience is more in line with the mom and pop shops that lack organization, strategy and a regularly deposited paycheck.
We put up with poor leadership, greedy companies, stress and a plethora of other unpleasant emotions for the sake of experience with nearly every other career path out there. Sometimes yoga is no different.
My biggest hope for new, talented teachers is that they never have to experience the inherently un-yogic side of the yoga business. But it’s out there. And because you’re not entitled to walk into the yoga studio of your choice and just start teaching, you might find yourself serving your time in a strangely corporate or hopelessly disorganized yoga business.
Don’t give up right away. Experience is priceless and it’s the only way that you’ll get to where you want to be. Here’s how I’ve worked through some of the disenchantment I’ve experienced thus far.
I had the best weekend ever. I spent 5 hours taking yoga workshops, I spent time with my favorite people in the world and today my abs ache a little. Maybe from the yoga, maybe from the laughter, but either way, I win.
I am ready to get back into my usual weekend ritual of beach yoga and sequencing videos, but it was so nice to be able to take the past two weekends to grow my own practice. I spent this weekend with Karyn Stillwell. This Seattle-based yogini with a decade of experience was one of my teacher’s first teachers.
We worked mindfully on alignment. We went flying upside down and sideways and I left with a full heart and some sore muscles.
My to do list is ever-growing today, but stay tuned this week for some excellent content inspired by this weekend.
Flow Freely Friday will be back soon. But for today, this is what I thought the world needed to hear.
First, thank you from the bottom of my heart for you support of the Mind Your Business podcast. I could not have asked for a better launch and I have a great line up of yogi and yogini interviews for you to look forward to.
This morning I had breakfast with a friend and fellow yoga teacher and we were talking about the plight of the yoga teacher. In order to really unlock our earning potential so that we can earn a reasonable wage, we have to attract a following. If you work at a studio where you are paid per student, it is ultimately your responsibility to get students into your class and create a class that they will love and want to come back to.
If you work at a studio that pays a flat hourly rate, you can either teach 25 classes a week and lead a life where you give everything you’ve got until one day you just can’t give anymore OR you can make your classes and your following valuable enough to where you may be able to negotiate a per students commission.
Regardless of the path you’re on, the goal is the same, more bodies moving with breath during your time slot. It requires marketing. But before you start bombarding people with your message, you’ve got to make sure that you get your act together. I recently wrote about objectivity and the ability to accept feedback, but this goes beyond that.
A company selling soap could get a million people to buy the soap only to find that the soap doesn’t clean anything. Those people won’t re-purchase the soap. But the soap company can simply fix the soap (or not), re-name and re-package it and they are back in business. The consumer may never realize that they are purchasing soap from the very company that once sold them a useless product.
As yoga teachers, we really only get one chance to give a beautiful experience. If you’re fortunate, you may get a handful of chances. But if students aren’t have an elevating experience, they will eventually stop coming back and you can’t just change your name and hope that when they come back they won’t notice it’s still you.
What kind of experience are you cultivating for your students?
Doing your own thing, running your own business, teaching yoga—they are all a labor of love. I write this blog because I love it. Not a single penny has been made and I will keep writing it even if a single penny is never made. Our community of yoga teachers needs more business — more specifically marketing— resources and I want to be a contributor to that cause.
Months ago, I decided I would start a podcast about the business of yoga. I had no equipment and no experience. I did have a vision, a supportive husband and MacKenzie Miller who was the very first interview. It was nearly a month ago that we recorded this interview. I learned to edit audio and my incredibly supportive husband sorted out where and how to host this very first episode.
You can listen to or download the Mind Your Business podcast here. It’s not available on iTunes just yet, but be sure to like the She Oms Facebook page and I will post an update there as soon as it is. If you have an independent podcast listener, you can subscribe to the feed here.
If there is a business savvy yogi or yogini who you would like to hear from, leave a comment below and he or she may just be the next interview on the Mind Your Business podcast.
love & light,
My weekend was a whirlwind of wonderful so much so that not a single photo was taken. Forgive me. I’ll make it up to you. I promise.
Yesterday I spent the afternoon upside down (or at least trying to get there) with Rachel Brathen. (Which is why we don’t have our regularly scheduled yoga video!) Rachel is better known as @yoga_girl, boasting over 400,000 followers on Instagram, she is the epitome of insta-famous. And she is just lovely. She is bringing people to yoga by the masses and while they may come to see her go upside down at first, we all find a reason to stay.
With all of the bad press that socially active yogis are getting, I was so skeptical of this workshop. I know. Not cool at all.
But I promised myself that if I learned one thing, I would consider it a big success. Well, I learned two!
(1) My thumbs are crazy
When I grip the mat with my hands my thumbs do this weird lifting thing. Turns out, we need those thumbs on the ground to stay balanced.
(2) My rib cage and my shoulders are having a battle
I knew that wrists, shoulders, hips and feet have to stack. But I didn’t realize that when I was drawing my ribs in to avoid dipping into my low back, my shoulders were crowing my ears. When I uncrowd my ears, my ribs stick back out. The results of this exercise were inconclusive. Must get stronger.
In other weekend news:
I am into wines that start with s right now. Syrah. Shiraz.
I also love blueberry wine. I didn’t even know it existed until this weekend.
I love this baby more than I ever knew I could love someone else’s child.
My friend, and fellow blogger, Carolina is one of the most interesting people I know. She interviewed me for her Master’s thesis this weekend and she is just too awesome.