We run a pretty incredible operation if you ask me. Sure I might be biased, but when I look at the people who come to our space and the incredible teachers we are fortunate enough to have teaching with us; I know we have something pretty special going on…So what are we missing?
What is it about a donation-based studio that keeps some people from a consistent practice regime? I can’t help but wonder if this type of model actually does the opposite of what I have hoped. My making yoga accessible to everyone, with little to no monetary commitment and no contractual obligations, does it in fact keep people from maintaining a regular practice as it’s “always there when I want it”.
When there is a monetary commitment, we notice a trend with attendance: Students attend more regularly. Why is this?
Is it because they have psychologically committed to their practice through making a financial commitment and so they follow through with the commitment of actually attending classes? Is the incentive to keep coming back to get their ‘moneys worth’? Yet on the flipside if we have the option of only paying a donation when and if we attend a class then it’s easier to just ‘book in’ and not attend. The drive to keep consistent appears to be less.
I’m an Ashtanga practitioner and so my practice demands that I practice daily. To attend my Shala in India, I must also pay a hefty lump sum in cash prior to commencing my month or more of practice. There is strictly no ‘drop-in’ classes. You commit and that is that.
Whilst I’m mindful we don’t live in a society that facilitates this type of practice, I wonder if the act of payment in advance is actually far more powerful than that of leaving the contribution amount up to the individual. As a new business owner, who has never professed to know all the answers, I’m taking time each and every day to assess what is working and what isn’t. What strategies to maintain and which to modify or remove completely. Whilst I have no intention of suddenly transforming our studio into a regular full-fee studio, it certainly does create some food for thought. Would people respect their practice more, or be more motivated, to attend class if they have a set fee to pay in advance? Do we need those sorts of restrictions to minimize the options in a world where too much choice can be overwhelming and even paralyzing?
I would love for any readers and students to comment on this blog post about whether the donation model encourages you to attend class or deters you. Perhaps it something you may not have even thought about? Leave any comments below! :)
Thank you in advance everyone for your support and encouragement. We are all most grateful.