9 Ways To Build Your Yoga Community
You sweat together, cry together, and support each other physically
during asana practice, but do you and your yoga classmates support each other outside
the studio? If your yoga home is a safe space for growth with friends who
inspire you, count yourself lucky. If you’re longing to create a yoga family,
here are nine simple ideas for starters. Though most are geared toward teachers
or studios, students can pitch in to launch ideas and build momentum.
1) Introduce a new teacher, attract new students, and
generate good will by adding a low-cost or donation-based
community class to the schedule. A loyal crowd of locals and university
students pack the $5 YogaHour
classes at Yoga Oasis, creating an exciting, positive vibe.
2) Play together with a recurring event that has the flavor
of celebration or reward, perhaps a Thank-God-It’s-Friday restorative practice.
West Asheville Yoga hosts a Winter
Solstice celebration and a monthly kirtan among other community events.
3) Share a cup of herbal tea after class to encourage
lingering and conversation. Many yoga studios offer this as a transition time
before students dash back out into the world, but it’s also a good way to get
to know each other outside of class.
4) Invite feedback and participation during the post-class
tea, or add a bulletin board, allowing students to promote services and events
of their own. Even easier, keep a suggestion box at the reception desk. When
you implement their suggestions, students become co-creators.
5) Reach out
to underserved populations in your community with bilingual yoga classes,
therapeutic yoga, or teen yoga. In Ana
Hansen’s Mom and Baby class and family classes, parents can bring their
children. Asheville Yoga Center recently hosted an addiction recovery class.
Studios offering childcare or work-trade opportunities
help make attending classes regularly more affordable.
6) Give back to the greater community with fundraising
events to benefit
local nonprofits like the food bank. Be there for other communities in
need, offering assistance or sanctuary, as Yoga Space of
Connecticut did after the shootings at Sandy Hook elementary school.
7) Celebrate special dates (Diwali, Earth Day, your studio’s
anniversary, etc.) with a potluck dinner, kirtan, seed exchange, or an open
house with free classes, like 7
Centers Yoga Arts’ annual New Year’s Day gala.
8) Unite around a common goal on an annual karma yoga day, when students
pitch in to tidy the studio or grounds (or better yet, clean up a local park or
9) Show you care about students’ wellbeing by rounding out
asana classes with holistic teachings that reinforce a yogic lifestyle, such as
Ayurvedic cooking classes, neti pot lessons, japa mala, Sanskrit classes, or sutra
study. At Tucson Yoga, Frank Jude Boccio hosts Cinema Nirvana,
when yogis and Buddhists gather to watch a (sometimes unlikely) film, eat popcorn,
and join in a dharma talk.
Keep a watchful eye out for the flip side to a yoga family.
A bonded group of students and teachers can appear cliquish and unwelcoming to
outsiders. Remember to reach out, and always return to the yamas and
niyamas: Be kind and truthful. Share
your gifts. Cultivate contentment and equanimity. Be inspired by others.
Remember your higher self. If you’re a studio owner, it’s not only good
business to be accessible and inclusive, it’s also a form of seva (selfless service), which some
gurus consider the highest sadhana (practice) of all.
What are some things your yoga home does to create a sense