Woohoo yogis, we made it to DAY THREE of the Business of Yoga Conference!
The first workshop of the day I attended was a bright and early session about multi-tasking (everyone’s favorite topic, yes?) Focus and Flow: Attention Management from Nathanael Chawkin of Stagen Leadership. Think you’re being productive when you’re doing 10 million things at once? I thought I was… but then Nathanael’s session proved to me that even the most productive people struggle with information overload and the ever-increasing demands on their time, and we can get stressed and burnt out with so many things going on with our businesses.Thankfully, he provided practical tips and techniques we can use to significantly enhance our focus and our effectiveness as successful yogipreneurs.
Key Takeaway: ”You can achieve a state of samadhi (contentment) with your eyes closed in meditation in your favorite Lululemon pants on your favorite yoga retreat…that’s nice, but what about when the attack (i.e. stressful situation) happens? Through a daily meditation, you are spiritually integrating your consciousness into the body. That’s the work, you are recalibrating your mindfulness. You are changing the way you react to situations. You are creating an optimal state of mind, restful alertness. Action plan: 1) Stop what you are doing, 2) Clear your head by taking a deep breath, 3) Scan the body for tension. 4) Focus on your breathing. This is how to shift our inner state so we can facilitate this shift in others. If we cannot center ourself, we cannot center someone else.
Ever wondered how to make a living doing what you love? Well, thankfully the hard part is already over, friends. If you know you want o be a yoga teacher, studio owner or wellness professional, you’ve already identified your authentic purpose to heal others. Thriving as a Full-Time Yoga Teacher: A Panel Discussion, moderated by Julia Kadarusman, event planner of Wanderlust Festival answered all of our questions on how to make our career into a sustainable pursuit, both energetically and financially.
Guy Gabriel - Set yourself a baseline for your minimum income/clients per week. Identify market gaps and seek non-traditional venues. As long as you have the right intention in place, to serve others, opportunities will find you.
Mimi Rieger, of Mimi Rieger Yoga - Set yourself up to success while working two jobs by entrepreneurial thinking. You need to be thoughtful and professional on how to sustain. You have to be AMAZING as a yoga teacher. Mediocre is not enough.
Dawn Curtis of East Meets West Yoga Center - You need to create the root (first chakra) and watch it grow. Success isn’t the quality of classes, it is the quality of your teaching, what you are really giving your students AND what you are giving yourself. If your personal practice goes away, you need to carve out time to come to your mat. You are not the teacher you want to be if you are not having a regular yoga practice for yourself.
Julia Kadarusman of Wanderlust Festival - You all have a dharma. Realize “I have a gift for the world and I am going to serve it.
For all us yogis looking to put some flavor in our blog posts and articles, Felica Tomsako of Bliss Network had some awesome tips. In Telling the World Who You Are: Effective Writing for Yoga Teachers, Felicia Tomasko of Bliss Network told us that the purpose of our writing needs to convey our authenticity.
Key Takeaway: Before you write, roll around with your dogs. Get on your yoga mat. Whatever it is that helps to dive into that practice. When you write, don’t think too much. Thinking is the antagonist of good writing. Find silence, and just write. Send the inner critic out to play. Give the inner critic a Starbucks gift card and show them to the door. CLARITY is STRENGTH. It’s much more challenging to write short than it is long. EVERY word matters, every word must be strong. Mark Twain famously said, “I apologize for writing you a long letter. I didn’t have time to write you a short one.” What makes succinct writing clear and strong? Strong language.
Up next - Meet Takeyah Young. Financial GPS: Saving and Investing for Your Future as an Independent Yogi provided practical advice for people looking to succeed as a professional yogi. Takeyah is sharp, savvy, and knowledgeable, and if you missed her workshop, you HAVE to head over to Core Connection.
When Takeyah mentioned she is a biomedical engineer by education (just like me!) and a yogi and entrepreneur at heart (again, speaking to my soul, girl!) I naturally was pulled in when she offered her REAL, RAW advice on how to invest for my future as a financially independent yogi.
Key Takeaway: It’s not what you earn, it’s what you keep. COMMIT to invest 10-20% of your earnings, CONSISTENTLY. Also, gradually build 3 emergency accounts: 1. Emergency fund (~3 months income); 2. Short-term savings; 3. Long-term savings/investments
Perhaps the highlight of my conference experience was the Yoga Hike I embarked on with Danielle Reyes of Yoga Hikes DC and a group of energetic, nature-loving yogis - including Pam Nixon of Teachasana and Laurel Hodory of Living Yoga with Laurel.
Hello yogis, Happy Friday! It’s been an exciting day here in the nation’s capitol, as I’ve been sitting with the experts who have shared their tips on how to organize a successful event (Wanderlust-scale!), how to be a highly sought-after private yoga instructor, and how to create compelling video content. To top off the already fantastic day, I just returned from a dynamic, refreshing Jivamukti vinyasa flow and kirtan. Totally feeling connected with this amazing community of yogis here in DC for the Business of Yoga Conference.
The morning kicked off to an early start with a 7am round-table discussion on Taking Your Yoga Outdoors, moderated by Danielle Reyes of Yoga Hikes DC. “I’m amazed at how many people have not gone off the bike path,” Danielle told me, and how this helped her come to the realization, “Wow, there’s a market here!” The yoga studio creates an artificial environment to silence life, but in the outdoors, you are fully present in embracing the noise. “Wow, there is a plane going by and I didn’t even know it,” Danielle gave as an example of a student amazed at how the yoga practice in nature really helps tap into the breath and body. I’m psyched to join a Yoga Hike with her tomorrow night around the Capitol District and have some ideas on how to bring this concept of outdoor yoga to my hometown, so stay tuned, friends.
Key takeaway: Always practice on level ground. Vertigo happens when you’re practicing outside and instead of white walls you see trees and the skyline from upside down. You never know when someone may topple over in a standing forward fold and bust a lip…
Next up,Scott Kleinfeld and Andrew Tanner of Bamboomoves Yoga presented The Yoga Business by Numbers, emphasizing how to target YOUR mission to tap into the market and serve the world. It was evident how passionate Scott and Andrew are for helping yoga professions become successful. If you own a studio or are looking to start a studio, I highly, highly recommend Andrew’s book, "So You Want to Open a Yoga Studio?"
Key takeaway: Business owners in the yoga studio market are suffering. But the yoga market is growing! Start-ups spend more on healthcare than they do on coffee beans.The exciting thing is that you can be innovative, you can really get creative! Fight this good battle of bringing more yoga to more people.
I then had the joy of speaking with Julia Kadarusman, event planner for the amazing Wanderlust music and yoga festival. In Dreaming Your Event Into Being: Tips from Wanderlust, Julia provided practical resources and lessons to apply to organizing any event, whether it’s two miles from home or a world away.
Key takeaway: Partner strategically, expand your reach through alliances. Partner with another teacher, studio, media, the possibilities are endless. We are in a field where we all have the common goal to help and heal people. To reach more people, on a global scale, we need to COLLABORATE!
One of the reasons I decided to sign up to attend this conference was to hearThe Art and Science of Profitable Private Teaching from Francesca Cervero, a magnetic yoga teacher I met a couple of months ago at a Young Female Entrepreneur networking event in New York City. The second you meet this bubbly, bright-eyed yogi, you feel instantly comfortable, happy, and full of light. She is as real as it gets, extremely knowledgeable about yoga and keeps true to her mission of providing quality 1:1 yoga experiences to her clients. It’s no wonder that between her life between NYC and DC, she has a wait-list of clients who want to work with her.
Key takeaway: Create a sacred space. Your energy creates a container. Your warmth, confidence, and ease sets the mood of the session, regardless of whether it is in the student’s home, office, or gym next to his co-worker running next to you on the treadmill trying to tell your student during the session about closing a deal on a trade (true story).
Onwards! So, how do we help our students to understand what they really want to get out of their yoga practice, any why? And how can that help us to create better experiences for our students and grow our business to help create more healing experiences for more people? Thanks to Jacob Griscom and his presentation, How to Use Marketing to Serve Your Customers, I have a few ideas up my sleeve.
Key takeaway: Survey! Survey often! “What do you want more of, what are you sick of and want me to get rid of? What am I doing great? What is the pain in your life? What are you looking to get out of your yoga practice?” Ask anonymous surveys to your students. Then, analyze the results and tailor what you are offering to fit their needs. A-ha moment! Then, you have students that say, “wow, this is exactly what I needed!” If any of my students are reading this - go ahead and let me know what it is that you like, and dislike, be honest. I don’t have an anonymous survey up yet, but you can submit your praise (and honest room for improvement feedback, please do!) via this link.
Kellie Adkins, founder of Wisdom School of Yoga, is a ray of abundant light. She is engaging, energetic, warm, and it is no wonder that she has had tremendous success in creating awesome yoga asana instruction videos and resources for both yoga teachers and students. I was psyched to attend Yoga Videos 101: Grow Your Audience, Grow Your Income, and am now even more psyched to start video documenting asana sequences for my yoga students (and my future yogis across the world!)
Key Takeaway: Before you set up your video camera, you need to know why you are filming, Your big why is the reason why you got into yoga. Kellie’s big why: Empowering people to heal and transform. My big why: Helping YOU to feel happy and alive on and off your yoga mat. What do YOU need to help YOU fall completely in love with your life? What are your biggest challenges, your biggest fears? Turning your world upside down, is that scary? Need help with yoga poses for digestion, immunity, or energy? Tell me, and I’ll tailor yoga asana videos just for you.
The perfect close to the evening was Power of Mantra: A Dynamic Flow Yoga Practice led by Hari-kirtana das, a Jivamukti yogi with a unique teaching style blending playful, light-hearted, and spiritual vibes. His authentic personality shined throughout class, as he made frequent remarks that evoked laughter throughout the room, helping us to remember that yoga isn’t supposed to be super serious! In pigeon pose, “Welcome to all the places the emotional dust bunnies from hell hang out” and on the second side “Welcome to the place where the emotional dust bunnies from hell came over to.” He reminded us to tap in to our Mantra, our breath, because “emotional dust bunnies from hell hate transcendental sound.” My favorite part of the practice was a beautiful Ocean of OM at the beginning of class. Love, love, love all around!
Key takeaway: Bring light and playfulness into your yoga practice! Whether you are a studio owner, a teacher, or a student, SMILE, remember that the point of yoga is to find ease in your body, to fully enjoy the present moment. LET GO. You don’t need to be so serious!
After savasana, I noticed myself feeling exuberant, feeling like I had been transported to a brand new spiritual world. Before turning in for the night, I joined a few other yogis down the street at the Yoga District Tea Lodge for some more kirtan and bonding, more sharing of ideas and business cards, setting the stage for more collaborating so we can heal and serve as yoga visionaries.
So there you have it, friends. Day two from The Business of Yoga Conference, signed sealed and delivered. It’s almost midnight and I need to wake up at the crack of dawn tomorrow for another fun-filled day, so here’s your trusty blogger, signing out for the night. Peace, love, and sweet yogi dreams.
in love and green juice,
ps: Be sure to follow me on twitter @surfyogarunlive where I will be tweeting quotes from the presenters all weekend long.
Have you found your yoga glow? Mosey on over to Yoga with Fern…
So here I am, in the nation’s capitol, surrounded by a warm and welcoming community of yoga teachers, wellness professionals, and studio owners. These are my people - Healers, visionaries, entrepreneurs, looking to bring happiness, health, and empowerment to others!
To start the conference, I unrolled my yoga mat for a gentle Kripalu practice guided by Luann Fulbright, E-RYT 500 and Owner of Dream Yoga Studio & Wellness Center in McLean, VA.
Kripalu Yoga—often called “The Yoga of Life”—can help you land, dissolve the tension of traveling, and get ready to learn and discover your self. So it was only fitting that Luann kicked off the conference with a grounding, anxiety-releasing practice to help us all settle in. She started class getting everyone grooving and feeling the community love with Ingrid Michaelson’s heart-opening lyrics “Everybody everybody wants to love, everybody everybody wants to be loved.” After all, Luann reminded us, “It’s fitting because we are here to make a living of love.” Swami Kripalu was the pilgrim on the path of love, who said “Truly the wise proclaim that love is the only path. We must develop our own inner being to become love.”
Yoga Alliance describes Kripalu’s compassionate practice of self-observation without judgment (“witness consciousness”) as an outlet to bring us fully into the moment with an opening mind and heart. Luann’s sequence was consciously created with deliciously slow movement sequences to bring us present in our bodies, free our hips, back and other places stiff from sitting for awhile. Luann’s digestion vinyasa was my favorite part of the class, helping to relieve all the tightness in my belly from traveling and sitting still. The best part — it is a reclined vinyasa that is completely relaxing and feels AHH-mazing for tight hips and provides a welcome massage to the digestive organs. To all my students, you can look forward to this sequence in our upcoming classes!
Following our yoga practice, Tom Gardner of The Motley Fool and a leading proponent of Conscious Capitalism, presented a keynote discussion, “Conscious Mind, Conscious Business” to help us yoga and wellness entrepreneurs get clear about our mission beyond a profit. ”While making money is essential for the vitality and sustainability of a business, it is not the only or even the most important reason a business exists.” Tom emphasized the important (yet not frequently practiced) concept of always offering a money-back guarantee. A guarantee shows we believe in our business, we are aiming to make our clients & students happy, we fully believe in what we are offering and are dedicated to help them to achieve what they are looking for. After all, we are in the yoga and wellness industry to heal, to help our students discover their body and soul, and to feel completely free and at peace. And the more we actually know about our students, the more love they feel. Everyone wants to love, and to be loved. This notion at the forefront of our mission leads to a healthy, sustainable, resilient business, where the potential to expand our offerings becomes limitless as we grow with our students. You feel me?
Following Tom’s energetic, passionate, and funny (yes, he is quite the character, throwing in some personal anecdotes and real, raw answers to the toughest questions) we enjoyed some delicious vegan appetizers and drinks thanks to Hays Affinity, a Yoga Alliance partner providing liability insurance to RYTs and yoga business owners. I couldn’t get enough of the artichoke hearts topped with ratatouille, and the gazpacho was deeee-lish!
There you have it, yogis! Day one of Yoga Biz signed sealed and delivered to you. Stay tuned for daily recaps each night, and following the conference, I will be publishing a special Top 10 list of the most powerful advice to create a sustainable career as a professional yogi.
Be sure to follow me on twitter @surfyogarunlive where I will be tweeting quotes from the presenters all weekend long.
in love and green juice,
Have you found your yoga glow? Mosey on over to Yoga with Fern…