Running a business in today’s world is highly demanding, along with a separate set of challenges unique to the digital world; running a yoga studio is even more so. Not only does a yoga studio owner have to cover the typical business overhead and to stay competitive, s/he is faced with the fundamental question whether yoga could be packaged as a “product” and whether a yoga studio should be advertised and operated as a fitness center or a spa.
The classical definition of yoga is to yoke, to unite the body and the mind, and the role of yoga teachers is supposed to guide students (not clients) during this journey of self-discovery. However, the modern meaning of yoga has metamorphosed into a regimen of physical fitness, with a twist of mental benefits such as relaxation and serenity. It also appears that the popularity of flow yoga and hot yoga speaks to the already over-worked population. In order to be successful as a business, it seems that a yoga studio today will have to compete in that paradigm of commercialization of yoga. Or, can a yoga business, such as Seattle Iyengar Yoga Studio, distinguish itself from the game of capitalism, as a lotus blossom in the muddy water?
Yes. It can be achieved with a pure “sankalpa,” or intention that is based on the philosophical system of ancient yoga. Unlike most of modern yoga studios, studios that offer Iyengar Yoga classes do not belong to a franchise which is often punctured with a capitalist model of generating profits. Instead, Iyengar Yoga community is grounded in Patanjali’s principle of Eight Limbs (400 C.E) as it is distinguished by its “gold standard” of teaching certification and continuing quality-control on teachers. Our sankalpa is first to educate, to spread the teachings of yoga, of uniting the body with the mind.
In addition, Iyengar Yoga is not a franchise and Iyengar Yoga studios are independently operated by practitioners. We Iyengar Yoga teachers treat students in accordance of a heightened ethical standard. According to the “father” of yoga, Patanjali, the path of Eight Limbs begins with yamas (moral observances) and niyamas (ethical observances) before asanas (yoga postures). This is why Iyengar Yoga teachers are held to the highest standard of certification, including ongoing training requirements and ethical guidelines. Moreover, Iyengar Yoga Certification is more than a registry service. Unlike Yoga Alliance, the Iyengar Yoga National Association of the United States safeguards the quality of Iyengar Yoga teachers by publishing the official certification manual every year. This manual outlines in detail the material regarding poses, teaching and philosophy for teacher-candidates. Therefore, students are not only offered yoga instructions based on a solid knowledge base, but also provided with quality-control services as consumers.
With such sankalpa, Seattle Iyengar Yoga Studio will welcome you during a Grand Opening week (October 13-17) of free yoga classes. Please also join us at a Community Celebration Party on October 19 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm.
See you on the mat!