Story time gather round…Last weekend we attended a workshop hosted by the renowned and always affable Iyengar Yogi, Kofi Busia. A teacher of deep knowledge, Kofi is a man of quotable personality and a seemingly endless cache of metaphorical antidotes. Here’s our loose recollection of his take on “paying” for yoga (Ed. note: we’re not saying he thinks yoga should be cheaper. It’s an observation, especially highlighted in Recession – thanks to colleen for encouraging clarity), “Finances…Young people, meaning people under 60, say they don’t have the money for yoga, or the time. They spend it on what they will call “better things’. When they finally do have the time and/or money [retired at 60] their body is already in terminal decline.”
All right, not his usual jovial self, but Mr. Busia makes an excellent point not to be dismissed, especially when now there’s an even better excuse to not practice – it’s too freakin’ expensive! Really, by the time you finish shelling out for one of those status symbol $100 yoga mats and high-end butt hugging lucifer pants you’ve pretty much blown your whole load. Who has enough left over for classes? Oh we kid, everybody knows you don’t need expensive mats and all that “lifting and separating” to practice yoga right? right? Le sigh. Anyways, d-to-the-uh duh, Recession is tough! No matter what age, times is tight people, but there are some yoga-neers working hard on the sidelines to bring yoga to everyone, no matter how tight your budget, or buns.
In our latest installment of Recession Yoga comes great news from the Pay by Donation dept. It thrills us to hear about Chicago based Yogaview, a studio experimenting with a growing business model – straight up pay-what-you-wish yoga. They already have a traditional studio, but the new outpost, with its grand opening last week, is based on suggested donation – $10-20 – but hey they’ll take anything. All the cash goes in a closed wooden box, no questions asked.
A novel, optimistic idea: “We’re trying to present it as an alternative business model,” said Yogaview co-founder Quinn Kearney. “Those who can pay more help support those who can’t pay as much.”
Great! But is it sustainable? Is it worth it? Is it enough to cover overhead expenses, necessities like rent, teacher pay, toilet paper? That remains to be seen, but others seem to be making it OK…so far (see chart below).
Remember Yoga By Donation, the New Hampshire studio we mentioned back in January? Here’s their stats chart for this year so far since they opened — borrowed from their website where it’s posted for all to see, and learn from we assume.
- Attendees is the total number of students in regularly-scheduled classes during the month. If one student goes to 12 classes in the month, that counts as 12 attendees.
- Classes is the number of regularly-scheduled classes in which a teacher showed up.
- Attendees/Class is the average number of students in a class using the above data.
- $ Donations is the total dollars of donations collected in the month and usually deposited as well.
- $/Attendee is the total dollars collected divided by the number of attendees in that month.
- $/Class is the total dollars divided by the number of classes.
Their total expenses per month = $6,000, and if they surpass that, THEN the teachers get paid. Everyone knows this going in. As you can see, they’ve not quite met their mark. However, it’s not to say they won’t going forward.
Another donation example? Yoga to the People seems to be chugging along. (they also run teacher training for $2400 a pop which surely subsidizes less than generous donations)
For some budget yogis, the familiar ‘free community class’ once a week or day isn’t enough – it’s most frequently at lunch hour or some other inopportune time when, in ideal situations, you would likely have a job and are working at it. Pay by Donation Yoga is just what we need…but we have to DONATE for it to work! Before we’re all in terminal decline, eh?
Yogaview Donation studio
1745 W. Division St.
Chicago, IL 60622
by the way, the image above is courtesy of Fairgrove Family Resource Center in Thomasville, NC, who we came across completely randomly, but who could also use a donation.
More: Recession Yoga