“BYV – the studio & the community – has always embodied a holistic & authentic approach to yoga (and to life). And I’m thrilled to be part of BYV’s newest expression of offering healing, joy, and connection to the larger community”, says Martha Rogers of Full Moon Acupuncture.
Why does Martha feel this way about offering her teachings as part of the new model in 2021? She is not alone! In this article, you will hear of the benefits of our new model in 2021 from a variety of teachers and practitioners.
This year, 2020, has been one of great reckoning for our country. Baltimore Yoga Village (BYV) closed doors to ensure health and safety of our more vulnerable populations and took a hard look at how to move forward equitably. Covid 19 has illustrated how yoga teachers and studios are small businesses unto themselves, both under-resourced and overstretched, often hanging by a thread. Teachers, who largely operate as independent contractors, are not entitled to the security of benefits. They hustle from one institution to the next under a variety of differing contracts and rarely make a living. Small independent studio owners also struggle to keep costs for students low with increasing overheads and liabilities, and survive usually due to a cycle of churning out multiple yoga teacher trainings each year. Many fall into offering a variety of gimmicks just to make the bills. BYV has always avoided the gimmicks and offered only one teacher training a year, but we were always in a tight financial spot as a result. Generally, the only person who gets paid reliably and well in this old studio model is the landlords. Ultimately, this takes a toll, literally on teacher and studio owner wellness. Something had to give; and Covid 19 was the straw that broke the camel’s back for many of us. While some more funded studios across the country are reopening and looking for life to return to a kind of normal, we have proposed a new way, because radical change for teachers has been a longtime coming.
Some changes you will notice:
We understand that daily drop in classes are a matter of convenience for those who travel or have varying work schedules, and we imagine that teachers will compensate for this potential inconvenience with recordings and flexible make up policies. With our new system, you will be able to email your teacher directly. Everyone has more ability to communicate directly and build relationship. However, we hope too that you will take this time to hear from some of your beloved teachers about the merits of this new sessions-based structure in 2021.
BYV has always hoped to fulfill a larger need than what a revolving door drop in class schedule can provide us. We have always hosted teachers with more to offer. Claudia shares, “The potential for us all to really delve into the tradition of Yoga is here in this new business model. I envision this becoming something that is scholarly and real as opposed to a studio that is offering 100’s of flow classes just to keep the doors open”.
Claudia is one of the teachers utilizing BYV’s new platform who’s been an educator for decades. Many have invested in continuous trainings not only in the yoga poses, but furthered their training to enhance their pedagogy and teaching styles. Many teachers have degrees in alternative medicine, psychology, social work, and related fields which add to the quality of what they can provide us. They love creating structures and curriculums that allow students to feel a sense of progression and growth, which utilize their skills and training. Vivian, who is studying to become a priest, following in the footsteps of her father, had a career as a professional dancer before teaching yoga for over twenty years. She explains why she is best suited to teach courses. “ A course (as opposed to drop in class) gives us the opportunity to look forward and back as we note how one class builds on the last, and yields more opportunities to share insights with one another as we journey together. Working this way inspires commitment to ourselves and to one another; commitment that is nourishing because it feeds us in every part of our lives.”’
Most holistic, indigenous, spiritual, mind-body practices are rooted in thousands of years old traditions. They are also living traditions, applied to modern times and places. Many of these teachers seek to honor the roots of the practices and have crafted opportunities to bring forth the kind of wisdom in ways we greatly need today. Claudia adds, “We are all evolving. Yoga is the ancient science of navigating through these times and it needs to be offered without the marketing traps that has turned it into something it is not. My hope is that those who really wish to study and explore will find our site and be thrilled by this!” We imagine courses that will encompass all aspects of holistic health, social justice, history of the practices, and opportunity for beginners as well as experienced practitioners to dive in deeper.
Teachers like Elyse Preston offer courses around finding pleasure and purpose; she explains, “ As a teacher, this model allows me more peace of mind, to be able to focus on marketing and promotion before a series begins and not have to worry about promoting each week to fill my classes.” Planned course curriculums help teachers distinguish their points of difference and prepare students for what to expect. Elyse, runs a community focused business called Let’sBeMore Connected and noted that, “This model also creates the opportunity for deeper learning because we are able to build on concepts from week to week and form closer bonds with one another!”
In short, the overstretched teacher has a chance to take a breather and focus on what they do best, while having the potential to make a better living. In this new model, teachers make 100 percent of the income and are paid directly through the website by you. BYV invoices teachers for a marginal percentage for the upkeep of their landing pages, newsletters, and other marketing efforts and becomes a contractor to the teachers! It puts the ball in the court of teachers to fully run their businesses with autonomy and move out of the murky and unclear space of independent contractors. BYV helps them with the aspect of their business most struggle with the most, marketing, by leveraging our shared visibility online. Vivian puts it quite simply: “Your participation in this model supports your teachers by helping them to have a more predictable and sustainable income.”
In a year in which the inequities of the world have become ever more apparent, we ask for your patience, full support, and participation as we transition to our new site and add courses continuously throughout the year.