Building a Rural Studio

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Read Annie Carpenter's response:

Dear Marilyn,

Congratulations on your new yoga center. I have spoken to several studio owners in different locations for ideas about growing in a rural setting. The big message is creating community: connecting with your students and others and educating them about the benefits and joys of yoga practice. Debra Murphy of Shanti Yoga in McCall, Idaho, likes to give free community classes and bring yoga to the local hospital, schools, and seasonal events.

Think about how you got started in yoga. For most of us, a trusted friend dragged us in for our first class, and we got hooked. For your students who already love yoga and are committed, offer "bring a friend for free" coupons. And whether we like it or not, we are all motivated by money. If you can get your students to sign up for 10 classes in a 3- or 4-month period, or a weekly class for 8 weeks, they probably will show up rather than lose their investment.

Remind your students what Patanjali tells us in Sutra I.14: Practice must be earnest, steady, and take place over time. Heartfelt enthusiasm is not enough; Patanjali is indeed teaching us about commitment and patience. Whether we are learning a new pose, growing our teaching practice, or creating a studio, the work (and the lesson) is the same: Keep showing up with love and patience.

Good luck!