by Barbora Simek
Yoga studios are attract people from all walks of life, from doctors and layers to artists and community activists and in between. Developing a strong community at your studio can not only make the experience of your clients more rewarding, but can also drastically improve client retention. Here are five simple events you can use to kick start interaction between your students.
1) After Class Chat and Chew
Yoga afterglow always makes for fun conversation. Try to stimulate after class discussion between students and teachers alike.
- Encourage teachers to stay away from the front desk and move into a communal area right after class, this helps bridge the student teacher gap and make asking questions less intimidating for newer students.
- Help stimulate conversation with after-yoga snacks. Whether its a small fruit bowl or some treats, food is always a great way to encourage students to spend a little extra time to connect.
- Take advantage of weekends! Get creative, make a fruit platter, chop a chilled watermellon, put out frozen grapes or make homemade iced tea. Even the most budget friendly and quick treats can go a long way to making your students feel special.
2) Anniversary / After-Challenge Party
Almost every Bikram Yoga studio has an annual or bi-annual challenge or throws anniversary parties. The end of a challenge is a great way to get students to interact and reward them for a job well done. At Bikram Yoga Forest Hill, owner Janice Guertin has perfected the after challenge party. Here are some great ideas you too can incorporate to your next challenge:
- Promote your clients and local businesses with prizes. BYFH promotes community involvement in and out of the studio with a prize draw that features hair and nail salons, restaurants and massage therapists, nutrition consultations as well as clothing, mat and towel give-aways to promote internal retails.
- A draw for a teacher prize, helps to make staff feel special as well.
As an owner, make a speech. Encourage and inspire students by sharing your passion. Point out some individual student achievements from the challenge by pointing them out to the group, this is a great form of positive reinforcement.
Always document the party and make images and media available for students after class, so that students can get excited for the next challenge or studio event, and show off the community you invest your time, money and energy building.
Check out this great video made at the last BYFH 30 Day Challenge Party
3) Special Events
Whether your event is wild and wacky or casual, a creative special event can take studio spirit to a new level.
- We love Bikram Yoga Lower East Side’s wildly successful “Hot-o-ween” Events. Owner Tricia Donegan rewards the best costume with great prizes like yoga wear and memberships.
- Bikram Yoga Darlinghurst runs movie nights on a projector in the studio. Screening documentaries and independent and encouraging people to stay after for discussions helps this studio engage their community outside of the studio and create discourse on alternative ideas.
4) Posture Clinics and Seminars
Help to improve your students understanding of the yoga, inspire people to practice more and grow your yoga community by running posture clinics. Have your most senior staff run a short clinic on a weekend, or invite a senior teacher to teach a seminar. Improving the knowledge of how to do the yoga and why to do the yoga stokes the fire of a strong community.
5) Karma Classes
Running a by donation class allows your studio to give back to the community outside of the studio. Some studios chose to lower their rates for these classes, while others like Bikram Yoga Richmond chose a charity to sponsor each month and donate proceeds to a cause that is announced in their monthly newsletter.
*Karma classes in Toronto happen each week at Bikram Yoga Bloor, Fridays at 8pm min. donation $10