In Pittsburgh, we have many options for taking yoga classes with beautiful places to practice, great teachers and dedicated studio owners that work really hard (emphasis on REALLY) to provide our communities with high quality practice opportunities. In addition, we have some specialized independent studios and teachers who offer more therapeutic and individualized instruction in their home studios, living rooms and at a variety of locations around the city. Basically, we’ve got options!
Five years ago, I added Yoga Matrika to the list of options and have tried a number of different methods for managing the schedule, instructors, payments and the studio in general. For those of you who have been with me for this entire wild ride, you’ve experienced it all—–from index cards in a little box to an online web-based service to sign-in notebooks and sheets and…..well, you get the idea.
Almost one year ago, my family’s dear Josephine was born through us and her presence in our lives influenced me and my entire family to make some changes. In the process of considering how to keep the studio alive while also honoring the required changes to my lifestyle and ability to be present for the studio, I took some time to really think about what I loved about Yoga Matrika and what I didn’t like about Yoga Matrika. Once I got the list of what I loved, I started to think of ways to emphasize the love and diminish the non-loveable aspects.
What do I LOVE? I love teaching. I love spending time in this warm and friendly space with people that I admire and care about. I love practicing yoga, studying and learning through my interactions and experiences with students, other teachers and everyone who offers teachings in our space. I love the wonderful and talented teachers that find their way to Yoga Matrika and share everything they know and love about yoga, healing and meditation with me and with the entire community.
What am I not in love with? I am not in love with arguing about class card expiration dates with students, doing data entry and wrestling with the consumer culture that has developed around yoga. I am frustrated by teachers who send me e-mails three-hours before their class is supposed to start telling me that they can’t make it to teach—and I am not in-love with having to beg for forgiveness from students who are left out in the cold (sometimes quite literally) when this happens.
So, after much consideration, I have decided, with the support of my team, to stop offering drop-in classes starting in the fall. Instead, we will offer classes in a series for a semester that require pre-registration. Prenatal yoga and yoga for moms and babies and children together will be offered as six-week series. Meditation and yoga classes for adults will be offered in twelve-week series. Instructors are making a commitment to their series and we are leaving a minimum of 1-week at the end of each series for instructors to offer a make-up class if, during the series, the instructor needs to cancel at any time. We will have a maximum of 8-students in each series (some instructors have smaller maximums). If you miss a class in your series, you will be able to purchase a make-up class for the difference between your tuition and the full price of a class and then you can sign-up, as space is available, to take any other class on the schedule to make up for it. If you do not choose to take this option, then missed classes are just “lost.”
What you lose in “freedom” that you may feel with a drop-in class package, you will gain in quality and consistency of experience. You will no longer have to worry if your package is going to expire or remembering to sign-in for class online or if you are getting the best deal or not. Yoga Matrika will no longer participate in GROUPON or LIVING SOCIAL voucher deals and there will never be a special deal, coupon code or any other offers made. You can feel confident when you enroll in a series that:
1-You are making an investment in your practice that reflects the true costs of your experience (instructor, environment, equipment, etc.). You love your teacher! It will make you feel warm and fuzzy inside knowing that they are getting compensated for their time, knowlege and expertise. Good karma all around!
2-You get a small-group class where you can have your unique needs met and the instructor can provide individualized attention to you. This makes practice safer.
3-You will have a consistent student-group and be able to build a sense of community and a deep relationship with your teacher. The student-teacher relationship is very powerful and potentially therapeutic when nourished in this way.
4-You will never be squished, crowded or lacking in the tools and equipment you need for a comfortable and safe practice.
5-You are making a commitment and that commitment will be met by your instructor who will be there each and every week in that series. No more worries about cancelled classes, substitute teachers…..for at least the length of your series, you are guaranteed the class you signed up for with the teacher you signed up for it with.
How much is a series:
12-Weeks $160 ($13 per class)
6-Weeks $75 ($12.50 per class)
Drop-In $20 (drop-in will be permitted as space permits)
Make-Up Class $7
Yes, you can take less expensive yoga classes elsewhere. What I would like you to consider is that the cheapest yoga class isn’t necessarily the best value. When you decide how much you have to invest in your yoga practice, please consider all the benefits that you receive from yoga and the value of the experience you have at Yoga Matrika specifically. Absolutely no student will be turned away due to an inability to pay full tuition. If you are not able to pay the full tuition, Sharon is truly delighted to make alternative payment arrangements with you. Please do not be shy! Send an e-mail to: email@example.com and we’ll work something out—sliding scale, payment plan, student rate, work-study/exchange—-there are lots of options.
Offering inexpensive packages, deals and tuition that is lower than our actual cost of doing business hurts everyone and it is not in line with the principle of “Satya” (truth) and puts students in a situation in which they are literally stealing from their teachers without even realizing it. It is my most sincere desire that offering small-group classes by registration will help us all stay in love!