June 23, 2015

Yoga & Business: Understanding our Intentions.

courage heart yoga

It was Saturday morning. I woke up early so I could sit outside on the balcony, with a creamy coconut coffee, and journal in the summer breeze before jumping into the new day’s events.

This was a particularly busy day for me—the kind when my passion for yoga crosses a line and starts to feel like work. As much as I was looking forward to what I had to do, I woke up that morning with some nagging thoughts on my mind.

The increase in yoga’s popularity has provided us with no shortage of wonderful teachers, classes, workshops, social events and stylish apparel. I often find myself feeling the push to participate.

As with any career path where you are surrounded by beautiful, intelligent beings—creating and manifesting their ideas—it is normal to wonder: Should I be doing that too?

On a morning like this, I seek clarity by asking myself, “What is my intention with yoga? Are my intentions in the right place?”

The tasks of making flyers, announcing events, downloading music and creating a playlist—it all feels extra and never quite natural for me.

I was taught yoga in a way that demonstrated that yoga is more than just postures and exercise. We stripped away everything extraneous through mindfulness and were left with contentment.

It starts by becoming grounded in the body and creating an intimate relationship with the breath.

With consistency in practice, we create a stillness of the mind that allows for space to appreciate life in its simplest form—singing, smiling, being mindful while sweeping the floor or washing the dishes, choosing foods that promote well-being, cultivating compassion and unconditional love.

The lessons learned on the mat become the foundation of daily life.

I’ve experimented with creating a business page and extravagant flyers, but ultimately felt disconnected. The more I tried marketing and selling, the more I felt I was competing for the attention of students and losing the sense of contentment that I had developed.

I teach because I want to create calm in a stressed out world, rather than contributing to the confusion. I teach as a way to support others on their journey inward, so they can discover what it is they truly want, need and crave.

For me, finding the balance between yoga, and the “business of yoga,” means simplifying.

The time I spent on creating advertisements, I now use to meditate daily. The time I spent asking my husband to photograph me in handstands is now spent sipping an afternoon tea together.

To me, a successful business is not having packed classes or being up on the latest trends—it is about reaching out to the students who have an intention that is aligned with my own.

There are benefits to all the aspects of yoga—the music, the fun, the quiet, the stillness, the challenges, the relaxation, the heat (or no heat)—whatever it may be.

What matters is developing an understanding of our personal intention with the practice of yoga, while leaving plenty of space for others to create their own intention—even if it looks different than our own.

There is room for it all.


Relephant Reads:


The Yoga Industry is not Yoga.

Are We Yoga Students or Customers? How the Yoga Business Compromises Yoga Principles.

Author: Ashley Colloton Loescher

Editor: Yoli Ramazzina

Photo: Flickr/distelfliege



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Ashley Colloton Loescher