Monday, February 25, 2013


change | ch ānj|
the act or instance of making or becoming different.
• the substitution of one thing for another • an alteration or modification• a new or refreshingly different experience 

Last week, I sent out a student survey to collect updated feedback from our student base at Southtown Yoga. When we moved locations, we also shifted many aspects of what our regulars were used to. We added several new teachers, introduced Yogahour® classes and replaced mixed levels classes with expanding. We also changed our pricing structure completely. That much change can be a lot to handle, especially for the 30% of our student base who attend 3-4 classes per week. Any amount of change usually startles most folks at first. Myself included. Personally, I changed my schedule to teach solely yogahour classes to help establish this new style of yoga within our community. I am working closely with Darren Rhodes in regard to yogahour teacher trainings and much more. Its crucial that I have a good handle on not only how to teach yogahour classes effectively, but also that I gain perspective on how our student base responds to this particular style of yoga on many different levels. From my perspective, its an honor that our studio is part of the evolution of this style of yoga. What happens at STY has an effect on the future of yogahour, in a way. Darren has had yogahour at his studio in Tucson for over 5 years now. But for St. Louis, this is a whole new ball game. 

Based on the surveys, 52% of students rated yogahour as their favorite class offered at STY (36% favored expanding, 16% basics). I am incredibly pleased to gain tangible knowledge about our student's preferences. Usually, the feedback I receive as a small business owner happens to come from those complaining, more often than those saying what they really like. This survey gave me a better perspective on the greater community's preferences, rather than the few people who regularly vocalize their opinions. Don't jump ahead, we don't plan to become a solely yogahour studio because of this input.  Its just nice to know that this added option is a crowd pleaser. I feel passionately about yogahour and love attending yogahour classes as much as I do teaching them. That's not to say that is the only way I practice, but it is one of the ways. And, its changed my practice for the better in more ways than one.  But that's another blog post for another day.

In the past year, many changes have taken place in the international yoga community as a whole - at least the part of the community that I was most involved with on a personal level.  Its inevitable that things will always keep changing and growing.  I think most people get that.  However, my personal preferences may or may not align with the changes others make.  Similarly, others' preferences may or may not align with the changes we make at the studio.  That being said, the greater portion of the community LOVES the new studio and all the changes that have come along with that.  While a small portion of students voiced concern about the nature in which we are growing and evolving.  I have to remember that we received a huge amount of praise and support from students old and new. But the comments that stuck in my head are the few who complained or voiced their negative opinions. I truly do value both positive and negative feedback the same. They are both necessary and important.  But why is it that the negative feels more intense, emotionally?! Well, because I care. Thats why. Its like when someone pays me a compliment personally. I usually remember to say thank you and forget about it 5 minutes later. If someone says something critical, its more likely to stick with me for days. My level of confidence in Southtown Yoga, what we are offering and the level of quality at our studio is sky high.  In fact, I feel more confident about the studio as it is today, than ever before.  But I also think, as a business owner, its important to ask for feedback and honestly listen to what people have to say.  There is no one way that will please everyone.  I know that.  But my goal is to continue to offer options that will serve a fairly large number of yogis in St. Louis (both novice and experienced alike).  

One of my passions is the breakthrough that happens within the practice. A deep asana practice physicalizes the teachings of yoga on a relatable level. Its empowering to learn the tools to advance my practice. For quite some time, this aspect of growing and learning something new all the time is what kept me coming to the mat. The feeling after successfully doing a pose on the syllabus poster than I never dreamt possible was invigorating. I definitely can't do every pose, at this point.  But, my desire to do so has shifted away from that. These days, I am more likely to do poses to sustain my practice rather than looking for radical shifts. I can't really pinpoint the exact reason why... but I do know the timing of other personal aspects of my life probably have something to do with that. Either way, I think both aspects are important. I still love the thrill of projecting a pose and figuring out the nuts and bolts of a pose. I just don't do it as often in my own practice as I once did. However, passing on the knowledge of my practice and tid bits I've learned from my teachers along the way is a huge part of why I love to teach. As yogis, I think its extremely important to leverage our lineage as a form of respect for the growth and evolution of yoga as a whole.

With all that being said, I appreciate everyone's patience as we evolve and grow together.  I also appreciate your input, both positive and negative alike.  I will keep my ears, mind and heart open and will work my butt off to maintain the original vision of Southtown Yoga, "To bring yoga to your life."  

Speaking of changes, as a result of input from many of our long-time regulars, Alexis and I are both swapping out one of our current classes to add in an expanding class. We are highly committed to (and rather excited about) challenging the advanced students in our expanding classes and helping you grow your practice. We will be working mostly with peak poses and playing the edge.  Hope you can join the fun!

Schedule Updates (as of March 1):
Expanding with Alexis - Tuesdays, 5:00-6:15 pm 
Expanding with Brigette - Wednesdays, 6:00-7:15 pm

With love,

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