The September intensive I was scheduled to to teach has been canceled due to lack of enrollment. Pooh. This will provide me with more time to sleep, but damn, I was looking forward to teaching. But then again, another morning intensive is scheduled for October, so I may soon have another opportunity, if people SIGN UP. In the meantime, I’ll be helping out with more studio publicity and general sprucing up of things, so hopefully we’ll see a better turnout in the future.
But all this gets me thinking. Blabbing follows. . .
It’s kinda hard to get new students at a studio these days. Although there seems to be more general interest in yoga, there are a TON more studios. I’m not necessarily complaining- – I like the increased accessibility of yoga, and a bit of competition challenges studios to provide what students are looking for. But the negative side to capitalistic competition in the yoga world is that the things students are usually looking for, at least many new ones, are not necessarily. . . well, GOOD things. They want a yoga butt, or they want to just space out for an hour and a half, or they want to pick up fit dates, or they want to appear trendy/glamorous/whatever, or they want teachers who will massage their egos, or they want CardioYogaBootyTango with wrist weights, or whatever. So studios get all wrapped up in being trendy, offering singles classes, developing some kind of cutesy gimmick, and otherwise catering to yoga-consumers’ shallow desires instead of offering authentic yoga.
Studios that offer authentic yoga and that really focus on quality teaching just don’t have the gimmicks that draw people in, by their very nature. So most people end up at least starting at studios that offer really watered-down forms of yoga, or programs you could hardly even call yoga at all. And lots of people get stuck there or quit.
Honestly, don’t really know what to make of all this. I mean, is it really so bad if people are practicing TangoBootyYogaMix or Yogalates or whatever-the-hell and thinking they’re doing yoga? I mean really. Does that threaten my practice? (It may threaten my self-image a little, but you know, vairagya and all that.) And if people want their little after-work spa retreat foot-rub thing going on at their yoga studio, shouldn’t they be able to enjoy that?
Perhaps what it comes down to is that the market for yoga is actually just as small as it’s ever been. Most people just want a back rub, some scented candles, a glowing ego, and a hot date. Fine. It would just be nice if there were a clear way to determine where to find quality, authentic yoga instruction. But that’s such a nuanced thing, I’m not sure if it can be clear-cut. Maybe we all just have to wade through the muck and figure it out ourselves.