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When Thieves Come Knocking

Don't let the fear of theft squelch your studio's sense of community. Adopt a commonsense approach to protect your students and send thieves packing.

By Melissa Garvey

Practice Forgiveness

Despite your best efforts to protect your students and your studio, there will be times when you can't control the occurrence of theft. But it doesn't have to be the end of the world—or the end of your business. If it happens to you, approach it with yogic awareness, learn from the challenge, and strive to have compassion.

"Instructors are telling me that students are really rallying together to support the teachers, each other, and the studio," Geiger says.

Weeks says theft also presents an opportunity to practice forgiveness. "Work on forgiveness towards yourself for getting angry and towards the thieves," she says. "Just breathe and forgive."

Tips for Theft Prevention

Protect your students and reduce your chances of becoming a victim of theft with the following commonsense tips:

  • Avoid distractions. One tactic yoga studio thieves use is distracting studio workers with bold questions. "Turn suspects away politely by responding to difficult questions," Geiger suggests, "for example, by saying, 'No, we don't let the public use our restrooms.'"
  • Escort new customers. "You can't be discriminatory and deny random people access to your studio," warns Lt. Miller. "However, it is very reasonable for an employee to escort someone who wants to look around and is not a client."
  • Consider interventions. Choose what works best for your budget and your community. Consider installing electronic locks that allow instructors to lock the studio door from inside the classroom or purchase security cameras as a deterrent.
  • Don't accuse. Physical confrontation is never worth the risk, says Lt. Miller. If you suspect a thief or feel threatened by someone, call the police immediately.
  • Meditate on trust. "Don't immediately go into fear response when you consider what could happen," says Weeks. Trust your ability to stay in the present and to respond with grace to difficult situations.
Melissa Garvey is a freelance writer based in Washington, D.C. You can read more of her thoughts on yoga and daily life at YogaPulse.

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