Events, Workshops and Retreats

 

Events, workshops and retreats

We have talked a bit about this but here’s how you can organize it.


Events

I also do events at my studio; I divide them in three kinds:

 

Celebrations

I just do this for milestones of the studio and here are a few ideas for celebration (not that we need an excuse!)

  1. Anniversaries of opening date
  1. New teachers
  1. Milestones like: 10,000th student, 1,000 yoga passes
  2. Solstice and Equinox celebration
  3. Satsang
  4. Gurupurnima
  5. International Yoga Day
  6. Other worldwide yoga events

 


Free events

As I participate in the community and get to know my students I realized there are a few people out there trying to sell their own products and services: candles, healthy snacks, essential oils, cleaning supplies, yoga clothes and accessories, etc. who would be willing to come and talk to your students about their area of expertise for free in exchange for promoting their products.

This is a nice gesture on your part for the person and for your students and you might learn a thing or two!

 


Fundraisers

Yoga Aid Challenge 2010
Yoga Aid Challenge 2010 at Yoga for Life

Before I opened my own studio I decided to organize an event. For example, there’s a worldwide Yoga Aid Challenge that happened in October every year (not anymore but here’s their Facebook page). One of my teachers was organizing it at her studio and I decided to invite my students to prepare for it, I already had some students since I had been renting a hall for a couple of years, the Yoga Aid Challenge is a fundraiser where the yogis perform 108 sun salutes and raise money for different charities.

This helped me realize that people like to have an objective and they were very motivated to join me, so during the training they were so much more committed!

This brought more people to my own classes.

Events are great ways of getting to know each other and forming a community. I do not charge for them, but my students and I enjoy them a lot.

 


Benefits of having an event:

  1. Your students will be grateful and become loyal to your Home Yoga Studio.
  1. Other people who are not your students might be interested and join as you expose your studio to new and potential students.
  1. Personal connections.
  2. Build trust, you will be perceived as the real-deal, not only you exist but actually throw events!
  3. Your guest presenter will be grateful and will recommend your studio.
  4. You and your students will learn something new and different.
  5. You and your students will get together in a different environment, therefore strengthening your relationship.

 


  1. Steps to organizing your event

    1. Come up with a concept, idea or theme, make sure that it’s in tone with yoga, you are not going to host a paving or plumbing event! The idea or theme might come by somebody offering you something.
    1. Make sure it appeals to your students, or even better to your whole target market to potentially bring new people to your studio.
    1. Create a concise agenda – don’t make your event too long or confusing.
    1. Advertise and promote your event through:
        • Your studio’s website
        • Email
        • Poster outside your studio
        • Poster in community boards
        • Flyers in local shops
    1. Go for it! Organising an event from start to finish will bring you the confidence that you can accomplish anything!
    1. Ask for feedback and post the testimonials on your website, people will get interested if you host it again in the future.

 


Workshops

I offer two simple workshops that last for 8 weeks:

    • Still Mind Meditation Workshop: where I teach people how to establish their own meditation practice.
    • Beginners Yoga Workshop: where I teach people everything from etiquette to the basic poses, breathing and meditation techniques so they can feel comfortable to join any of my other yoga classes.
Workshops at Yoga for Life
Workshops at Yoga for Life

Be creative here, see where your strengths and passionsare and you can run as many workshops as you like throughout the year. In fact, you can just put them out there and if nobody joins, then you don’t teach them. But I believe in them; people are interested in the depth of yoga, which is what makes yoga so special, it’s not just the asana right?

Here are a few good ideas for workshops:

  1. Beginners
  2. Breath
  3. Meditation
  4. Yoga pose by pose, you could focus on a pose per day
  5. Pregnancy yoga (if you do not offer the class)
  6. Restorative yoga
  7. Kids yoga
  8. Mom and daughter (or dad & child)
  9. Partner
  10. Many different yoga styles you don’t usually teach

 


How often they can run for:

  1. Mine are 8-week workshops on a specific day and time, once a week
  2. For Intensive workshops, one day for a few hours (no more than four or it’ll be too much for your students)
  3. For a whole term
  4. First Saturday (or any day) of the month

 


Structure the course:

This will require time, effort and creativity but you only do it once and if the course is successful you can run it many times.

Make sure you:

  1. Establish the final objective of the course, for example, ‘students will be able to establish a meditation practice at home after the course’.
  1. Time it – you don’t want to have to cut it short or be left with a lot of extra time.
  1. Have some handouts or something the students can take home. I actually give them mala beads in my meditation workshop.
  1. Plan and have ready your visual materials, if there’s going to be music, video, a PowerPoint presentation…
  1. Plan activities, so that it’s not only you talking but your students interacting.
  1. Allow for discussion – one of the beauties of yoga is that nothing is completely true or perfect.
  1. Make time for questions.
  1. Ask for feedback, how can this get better? also, ask for written testimonials at the end. Testimonials are crucial for the promotion of yourself, your studio and your workshop.

 


Retreats

Bali Retreat 2016
Yoga for Life Bali Retreat 2016

I organize a retreat once a year in Bali, Indonesia, and basically it’s as easy as organizing your workshops.

I actually structure my days like this:

    • 1 yoga class a day
    • 1 meditation at sunrise
    • 1 yoga class where we only learn and deepen the knowledge of just one yoga pose
    • 1 meditation at sunset where I run my whole ‘learn to meditate’ course.

What you need to consider:

You MUST make sure:

  1. The hotel or venue is accessible and not too expensive to travel to.
  1. The hotel or venue provides everything; you really need to stay away from stressful situations, for example that you’ll need to take care of food, cleaning, etc.
  1. The hotel or venue offers flexibility with payment, so that you can promote the retreat to your students and not pay until you have enough students to at least cover all costs (including yours).
  1. It is peaceful, and has areas where people can be alone for a while.
  1. It offers food alternatives for allergies, vegans, and vegetarians…
  1. It has enough place where you can run your yoga classes and meditations.
  1. Provides as many props and equipment as possible: music, yoga mats, bolsters, cushions, blankets etc… so that you don’t have to carry everything, you can also ask your students to bring some.

 


Launching the retreat

You need to have enough time to set it up in your website and flyers, here’s the information you will need to provide:

Bali Program 2016
Yoga for Life’s Bali retreat program 2016
  1. Accommodation, types and prices
  2. A typical day
  3. What’s included and what they will have to pay before and during the retreat (airfares, ground transportation, extra meals, extra accomodation, etc)
  4. Place
  5. Dates
  6. Price (and what the price includes)
  7. Kids/no kids (or extra companion parties)

Once you are there

  1. Remember you are the teacher, so behave accordingly. You do not want to loose your students admiration and respect.
  1. Be early for everything and ready for your classes and meditations.
  1. Be patient with people that are unhappy or upset, many people are like that and they’re never never content with what is.
  1. Be super prepared, don’t forget the things you need to bring to your trip so that you can deliver what you promised: notes, visuals, handouts, props, music, incense, aromatherapy.
  1. Take photos! So that you can showcase them when you come back.
  2. Have emergency phone numbers handy.
  3. Enjoy it yourself too! It’s pretty much a paid holiday!
  4. Very important – ask for Testimonials.
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