You probably get similar offerings in your inbox almost everyday from the likes of Groupon, Living Social or any of the plethora of discount networks that exist out there for small businesses. After the initial excitement of these deals wore off something about the sheer abundance of them started to rub me the wrong way and after receiving a small blurb about this in a newsletter from I really started to think more deeply on the issue.
Are these deals hurting the yoga business world and community?
Does this cheapen what we are worth as instructors and get people used to a norm of cheap yoga? Yoga is an art form, a mind-body practice that greatly differs from just another fitness class and should be priced accordingly. The struggle already exists to get yoga recognized in this manner, and I can’t help but think that the proliferation of these deals is in the long run worsening the problem.
Perhaps they are a good way to get people in the door. A fast and effective way to say “Here I am!” but after this initial fanfare does it stick? Do the people keep coming back or do they just move to the next amazing offer? Maybe it would be a good way to offer introductory and limited packages? If someone is already coming to the studio they don’t need two months of classes to find out if they like it and the longer someone is on one of these deals the longer the studio isn’t making any income from them and operating in the negative. Again many yoga centers already struggle to turn a profit! While it would be nice to live in a world where we could offer yoga at no charge for many of us the reality is that it is our livelihood and a business.
I discussed this issue among my yoga kula and one friend offered this very good food for thought:
Like everything I think we need to reflect on what would be good for not only the business but also for the customer/client and the community. If the person buys this “deal” only to find out that” hot” yoga is like exercising in hell – that will turn them off from not only hot yoga but potentially for all yoga – what a loss that would be! I wonder if this would really align with the yamas (ahimsa, satya and aparigraha).
What is your take on this issue? Help, hindrance or something else?