There were so many comments and emails that came in form my original post, How much is a yoga class worth to you?, that I wanted to address everything that was raised in a follow-up post.
It’s been fascinating to hear everybody’s point of view, and hear some suggestions about how to handle the payment of classes.
Reading through all of these, it become clear to me where I hadn’t been clear.
First up, these Prana Flow yoga classes are not a ‘donation’ class per se.
I’d been very careful in all our advertising to never refer to the classes as “by donation”. but rather, “students set the cost”. Despite this, most people who responded to the last article referred to the payment as a donation.
Does this matter?
Well, to me, donation implies a gold coin, or putting something toward the cost of a class. It’s not about paying the full cost of a class – and these classes are about exactly that.
Students decide what the class should cost for someone in their financial situation (student, unwaged, working…) So if a waged person decides that a class should cost $5, are they being honest with themselves. i.e. is is truly possible to run yoga classes at a cost of $5 per student?
Second point I’d like to raise is that I wasn’t clear about what I wanted to shift. Most people thought we wanted to work out ways to get people to pay more. However, this is not what we wanted – we wanted to figure out ways in which to make people more mindful of the process, which would have a side effect of creating more flow.
To that end, a lot of the suggestions we had focused on how to get more money, rather than how to give people an experience of mindfulness.
We did have some great suggestions on mindfulness though, included giving new students some introductory information on yoga that included info on what seva is all about. Someone else said the red box was easy to miss on the way out the door, so perhaps providing better signage would help. I liked both of these ideas, and these are things we’re going to do in the New Year.
It’s worth noting that of all the replies I had, only one person reflected that they hadn’t been mindful while paying for class, and this article had opened their eyes.
Thank you for your bravery in bringing up the subject of, ahem, money. (lol)
I agree that many of us have/have had issues/blockages around the flow of abundance including money (Yes myself included).
Thank you for bringing to light that I have been acting unconsciously in regards to the amount of money I drop in the box (yep $5) Now I am not saying this out of guilt, rather I am standing in a place of openness and communication. I see that I have not been giving your classes the energy they deserve and I thank you for bringing this to my attention.
I loved this reply. Why? Because it was honest, the student took responsibility and they understood that I was talking about awareness around abundance.
Many students wrote in to say that they were very grateful for our classes because it meant they could afford to come to yoga, and they’d definitely pay more if they were able to.
This too was lovely to hear, because it means that we’re reaching out to people who perceive they wouldn’t be able to come otherwise. And I say “perceive”, because whenever we truly want something, we have the power to make it happen. No matter what it is. All we need is that burning heart’s desire.
I want to say thank you for the Prana Flow yoga classes, if it wasn’t for your concept of Yoga I wouldn’t of bothered to come to a class, and yoga has made me more relaxed and changed things.
When I was broke and stressed it was your concept that got me to come to class, and now that my debts are clearing I can pay more for class, I pay 5-10 bucks everytime I come, I would never pay less but I would pay more.
It sucks if people are paying less then 5 bucks, because really 5 bucks is crazy cheap anyway.
Yep, $5 is cheap. And many people wrote in saying they pay $5 and that’s all they can afford. But given we’ve been sporadically having averages of less than $5 – like the $2.75 average that inspired the article – where are the people that must have paid less than $5 to create that average?
Because if the students, or unwaged pay $5, and a handful of people are paying $10 and $20… something doesn’t add up on those particular nights. Only one person wrote in who does reflect the less-than-$5 student (at least her friend does). She suggested we look at other ways to fund the class.
I’m ‘unwaged’ and have been paying $10 a class. The girlfriend I brought along recently is also unwaged, she can’t afford that much and gives gold coin. I think she would be happy to pay $5 though.
Or if you want to provide a service to the community, perhaps you could seek funding from council?
However, like I mentioned, it’s not about funding for the class, or the cost for the class.
It’s about our attitudes to money and abundance and value.
Creating classes taught by seva where students set the cost for the class is all about creating mindfulness around money.
It’s taking the teaching of yoga off the mat and asking you to be practicing yoga from the moment you arrive until the moment you leave.
The replies made me realise that I had also been unclear around the difference between value and cost. Most people wrote in to say that regardless of whether they paid $5, $10 or $20 the class had huge value for them.
A yoga class is worth a lot to me. I consider starting yoga is one of my top 3 best decisions of the last 12months.
Value to me is not the same as $ -so I figure whatever I put in the box doesn’t reflect what I gain from the class.
So very true.
I should have been more clear, and talked about, what should a yoga class cost? Rather than, what value does a yoga class have?
‘cos lets face it, yoga rocks and it’s worth in value is huge. But what something costs is generally determined by how many people are contributing towards it, and what is required to deliver it to the consumer.
There is also comparative cost to consider. Many people would put yoga into the same category as the gym, and with their membership base of 1000s, gyms can offer their services for as little as $20/week for unlimited classes. As one student says:
If I were to average out my weekly contributions to your classes I am probably hovering around about the $20 per week mark. Which is only $1 above my weekly gym membership. That in itself makes no sense to me because when I weigh-up what the Prana Flow yoga classes give me – consistently – with what I get out of 2 – 3 visits to the gym a week – there is just no comparison.
I say a word of thanks – almost daily – that I picked up your flyer that day back in late February. I’d be very open to a membership fee – monthly, 3-months, annually etc – perhaps with some discounts on offer to your workshops or additional classes. I’m sure most, if not all, of the other regulars would too.
A few students raised this – the idea of ten-trip concessions or memberships. Part of keeping our costs low is keeping things really simple – having memberships or concessions adds another layer of organisation to the whole process which increases our costs. However, I like the idea of being able to offer regular students discounts to workshops, and that wouldn’t be too hard to work out. So we’ll consider that in the New Year too.
Most concession prices in other studios work out at about $10 – $12 per class, or $25/week (albeit with more classes to choose from). So if you’re one of our regular students, work out for yourself what concession price makes sense to you and then split it over the week.
So where does all of this leave us?
I’m stoked with the level of discussion the article raised. We’ll definitely look at raising awareness around the concept of seva and cost via handing out information to new students and putting signage by our box. Plus I’m going to look at the mind & heart-set of abundance versus the mind & heartset of scarcity in a couple of forthcoming articles.
We live in an inherently abundant world, yet most of our belief systems work on limited resources and scarcity.
Shifting to a life of abundance is not about changing our external circumstances so we have “more”, it’s about shifting our internal experience so we feel how blessed we truly are.
And this starts by first getting clear on what our current attitudes and beliefs are around money.
- Creating Abundance – Video – from Steve Pavlina’s Personal Development Blog
- Selling Salvation: How Much is it Worth? – from Druid Journal
- If Money Was A Person, Who Would Money Be? – from Shift your Spirits. He says that “Lack of money/ lack of abundance in your life has everything to do with your sense of self-worth.”