Friday, February 08, 2008

Are You Ready For a Change?

After as much procrastination as one human could muster, I held my first yoga class in my home yoga studio Monday.

Its a small space but its a clear space and its my space. All you parents out there know how hard that can be to come by. BTW, check out the rolling grocery cart that I use to bring my yoga mats to the kids classes I teach at a local school. What a convenient way to tote my mats, blankets and cd player without looking like a circus juggler. I got the idea while spending my week in NYC training.

The days leading up to it had me totally stressed. The nice thing about working at the gym is, if something is not right in the building (ie. too hot or too cold) its their fault, not mine. No such luck when its your own studio. I consoled myself with the thought that this weekly class was a freebie required by my yoga teacher training. It is meant to be part of the learning process and therefore mistakes would probably be part of the package. Besides, how pissed could anyone get when it was free??

All things considered, it went very well. Only 1 out of 5 people showed up which was a bummer but the weather was bad so I can't mind too much. Next weeks turnout should be better. The woman who did come sent me a lovely email afterwards with a subject line that read "yoga class rocks."

There were problems that I need to work on before my next class. The room was too cold, the dogs were barking (why did the UPS man pick that time to deliver?), I forgot to bring my cd player down so there was no music...but none of the problems were earth shattering. I already feel more confident about teaching my next class.

So why am I telling you this? I'm not looking for praise, instead I'm pointing out that if I can do this, you too can start making your dream a reality. When I bounced my idea off another person who attended the yoga training with me, she told me her mom started her yoga studio the same way. She used an empty bedroom in their house and now she rents a fairly large space to accomodate the growth of her business. The lesson here is start small.

Next, you've got to generate interested. When I decided to try teaching before school yoga to kids with special needs at the elementary school level, I offered a four week free trial session. Of the five kids that came to the trial session, four signed up for the follow up class.

Similarly, when I work privately with autistic children, I do a minimum of two free sessions. These free sessions allow me to build rapport with the child/children and to make my mistakes on my dime not my participants'. It gives me a chance to show the benefits of yoga to my potential clients. I've done free sessions with two kids and both have become regulars. I have to make it relevant and useful for my clients.

Finally, I always do my best to be attentive to my students whether adult or child. It sounds goofy but its true. My students (and/or their parents) aren't coming to hear me complain about how tired I am or what ever is going on in my life that's less than smooth flowing. They came for themselves or their kids. It's about them, not me. My role before and after class is often that of listener rather than speaker.

I don't pretend to have all the answers but this is what's been working for me as I slowly grow my yoga business. Its been so fulfilling that I wanted to share in case anyone else out there is on the cusp of career change but still scared into inactivity. You can do whatever you want to, especially if it improves the lives of others.

What are thinking about doing?


Anonymous said...

Congrats on your first class! I am sure it went well--we are always harder on ourselves than we should be. I wish I lived near by so I could be one of your students!


Chile said...

I'm thinking about giving you another award. :)

This time it's the Excellent Blog Award. Details in today's post.

Katie said...

Thanks Courtney, I wish you could too.

Chile, I'm totally flattered!!