Your honesty keeps us going. And if it weren’t for all of you we wouldn’t be where we are today. To open a studio based upon an honesty system is pretty scary from a business point of view. There are huge risks associated with any business model,Read More
I won’t lie. There’s a reason why I haven’t blogged in such a long time. One which I’m not sure too many people/public figures would be so honest about, making it all the more important to share. In short, it’s because I was starting to lose myself in the inauthentic ways businesses market themselves to grab audiences. The half naked instagram pics, the paid Facebook ads which strategically target people who’ve never come across you before. Whilst I know marketing is super important, it’s the HOW it’s done which is crucial. Trying to be someone I’m not, or mimic people who’ve made it big by wearing skimpy outfits is just not me.
Recognising this, and understanding this is not who I am, the message i want to convey or the path I want to follow, I was not prepared to blog about the same crap other people share in an attempt to get superficial followers. I was not prepared to compromised by brand, Naked Yoga. for this. Truth be told. I needed to make sure I was completely centred and back on track before speaking with you all.
Since beginning this journey as a teacher, I’ve done nothing but read, ask questions, train, read some more to become the best possible teacher I can be. Of course there is also the business side of things, where I need to learn how to make a living as a teacher. Coming from a six figure income to that of a new yoga teacher is certainly not easy. With the added challenge of soley managing a property portfolio, I really do have my work cut out for me. But with all the risks analysed, I knew the only option for me was to risk it all and follow my heart. Sounds a little cliche. I know. But it’s the truth and I’ll never look back. I’ve had some amazing wins and also alot of let downs - people promising and not delivering, money being spent in the wrong areas, hopeful opportunities turning into disasters. Business is certainly not easy - but for me, it’s the only way to live the life I desire and to share what I’m passionate about.
What I wanted to share with you all today are the struggles and challenges this journey has presented so far. Whilst the story sounds idyllic - corporate woman quits her soul destroying career to become a barefoot yogi - I can assure it’s not all glamorous. In short, starting a business is bloody hard work. One of the primary challenges with yoga is it’s now a flooded market where every studio in the west (so it seems) is offering teacher training. This means there are new teachers emerging after as-short-a-time as one weekend of study. Scary right!
Why do studios do this? Well, again, it’s a flooded market and this is their way of trying to make ends meet to cover the expenses of rent, teacher's, equipment etc. The problem, however, which seems to be constantly overlooked, is the quality of teachers are declining through inadequate training opportunities being made available in exchange for a quick buck. These studios are also training people who become their competition down the street! It’s a vicious circle that has become so obvious to me since becoming a teacher, but for whatever reason, it studios continue to work in this way. Blind eyes are being turned everywhere.
My biggest disappointment has been the complete disregard for our students. Whilst I feel it is my responsibility to be the best teacher I can be, with a commitment to returning to India at least yearly to continue my studies with Guruji, these quick courses (led by teachers who too have completed quick courses) are resulting in sub par training being delivered to the unknowing practitioner in the west. Don’t get me wrong, this is not to say all teachers are like this. Absolutely not. There are some phenomenal teachers out there, it’s just that they are becoming very few and far between. I too know I have a long way to go with my training - a LONG WAY - but I’m committed to that path and every struggle I shall face as I go along because it is my students who I have the responsibly to, and I hold this very sacred.
So with all of that said, what I’m now up against are well established businesses with their dedicated followers and very limited resources. I’m at a stage in my business where I cannot and will not compromise on quality, and that goes from the type of Christmas cards I send to clients, to the design of my dream studio. Although this significantly limits what i can do, build, share with clients, it means I need to somehow start getting savvy about raising capital to create the high end, highest quality yoga studio in Melbourne. This is my goal. I then intend to expand within Victoria, other states and then internationally. Naked Yoga was not an accidental business concept. The tag line, Pure Practice, speaks of everything I’m about; that Naked Yoga is about. It speaks of the commitment to the ancient practice without the need for mincing it together with modern western exercise classes, such as pilates. It speaks of practitioners learning how to be vulnerable through their practice, to listen deeply and intently to their bodies so as to better understand the self. It highlights the rawness of what is being experienced. For what I’ve come to realise through many years of practice, is that it is only through having the space, commitment and support to practice traditional yoga, without westernised distractions, that the best results are achieved. Mentally, physically and spiritually. It is here that people will see the most fundamental transformations in their lives. I know this because I’ve been there. The challenge for me now is to spread this message. To help people to understand that this is what Naked Yoga is all about. How to do this as an entrepreneur with no startup capital? To be honest, I don’t know. But slowly I’m getting out there. I just trust and have faith that the word will spread, and soon the dream studio will be ready and more and more people will be able to experience Naked Yoga.
Whilst driving through the outer suburbs of Melbourne the other day, I couldn’t shake this feeling of being disconnected with the world. This is an odd feeling for me as I’ve come from a place of feeling completely connected with all my surrounds, including the people, animals, plants.. But now there is a feeling as though I’m on a different planet to everyone else. Why is this? I say I noticed this feeling the other day but it’s something which has been popping up on and off since coming home. What is it about the western world which creates this sense of disconnectedness? A sense of being somewhat abandoned and left to your own devices. And why is this feeling not so present in places like India?
During that particular drive it occurred to me how westerners have completely segregated themselves from one another. We all have maximum security housing - there’s no getting in that building with ending up in a blue and white striped vehicle! We all drive around in our own little safety bubbles called cars - hidden away from the outside. God help us if we need to have the window down for a little while as the air con has stopped working!! With no sound evidence to back me up here (I’m aware), only pure observation, I feel these are contributing factors to why westerners are not only disconnected with the world, but also with themselves (not all of course).
In India - everything is vulnerable. People travel via scooter or rickshaws (mostly). At the stop lights people are practically rubbing shoulders with one another. Market stalls surround the streets and are bustling with people. People are constantly talking to other people. There is no deliberate attempts to shut out the world, to shut out the noise. Don’t get me wrong, I’m well aware of the class system in India, but talking from an outsiders perspective of how India appears to function compared with places like Australia or Europe - that exposure, the vulnerability of people, somehow leaves you with a feeling of connectedness - to self and to the world.
Here in Melbourne, I’m actively working to maintain that feeling. To be vulnerable with others and share a smile whenever I cross the path of another. This is how I can continue to feel somewhat connected here which I believe is so important for personal happiness and fulfillment in life. We are all part of something bigger, so let’s not forget that.