As a long time practitioner and teacher of Yoga and Meditation, I've spent the last ten years teaching and directing teacher trainings at half a dozen amazing yoga studios. And I've loved every moment of it. So why did I leave it all behind?
The Yoga Studio Dilemma.
In our country, Yoga is a 10 billion dollar industry and growing. That enormous number conjures the image of Yoga Studios and Teachers being paid handsomely. With very little exception, that notion is wrong. In my experience, the average small town yoga studio is somewhere between squeaking by and making enough profit to buy a few new bolsters. And here in lies the dilemma. Yoga Studios are mostly for profit. This means they have to pay their rent. They have to pay the power bill, the staff, the teachers. When the numbers add up, so do the cost of the classes.
I can't afford a Yoga Studio Membership.
That's right. My husband and I are professional Yoga Teachers, and the financial burden of practicing at a studio is too great for us. The experience of going to a Yoga Studio is wonderful, and for those that can afford an average of $20 a walk in class, or $110 a month in membership fees, it is well worth the expense. But the For-Profit Yoga Studios need to, well, make a profit, means that an enormous number of people cannot have access to the practice of yoga. And, like my husband and I, are also not a part of the community created by the practitioners at a studio.
A Yoga Studio for everyone.
When I gave up my beloved yoga studio classes this past February, I made a promise to myself that I would not return to teaching until I could teach to everyone. We have worked tirelessly at United We Om to turn the yearning of my heart into a reality. And so begins our grand Non-Profit, By-Donation, Pop-Up Yoga Studio experiment! Here's how it works. You are a part of our community, just by walking in the door. Maybe you can donate $10, or maybe the only thing you can offer is your presence and your practice. Everyone belongs. Our Teachers are volunteering their time and energy because they believe that the more people practice Yoga, the better our world will become. And all the profits are used to send Yoga and Meditation Teachers into needy, marginalized and underserved communities. That means that the donation you make is being used to provide practice to even more people that have never had access to it before.
Put your money where your heart is.
If you believe, like I do and like we do at United We Om, that making yoga and meditation accessible to everyone who needs it will change the world we live in for the better, then we have a number for you. $10. If you joined our community for one class a week and donated $10, in three months your contribution will have purchased all the props needed for a restorative yoga class for veterans suffering from PTSD. If you donated the $25 it costs to walk in to a yoga studio each time you came, in three months your contribution will fund an entire 6-week cycle of meditation for children living in a state-run foster care facility. If you came once a week and could offer no money, you would strengthen our community and help us realize our mission. We are all one. We are powerful when we are United.
United We Om's First Non-Profit, By-Donation, Pop-Up Yoga Studio