by guest author Cate Peterson, founder of YogaPass
Sixteen years experience as yoga teacher has taught me that yoga is an amazing tool for humans to become more human, and to move ahead along their chosen path.
As Patthabi Jois famously stated:
Do your practice and all is coming.
Yes …all is coming for us as individuals when we commit to practicing yoga. Beyond the individual benefits, yoga gives us more of ourselves to share around, more health, more energy, more grace, more understanding and it helps us contribute to the common good. Most of us who are yoga teachers know this to be true.
This understanding of the power of yoga for the common good is the mega-strategy behind YogaPass. More people practicing yoga can only mean more mental and physical health for all.
Alex Grant of Find Yoga and I set up the YogaPass and have gently been at it for that period of time, chatting away to yoga studios and introducing the concept of yoga into new spaces. My background in teaching yoga has been in the cement industry, the oil industry and other non-traditional workplaces. It’s shown me that yoga is an incredibly versatile and broad-based discipline. It’s adaptable to addressing whatever limitations we may be experiencing and it gives people a tool for managing their own wellbeing.
YogaPass is about introducing yoga to those that haven’t done yoga to date… those that haven’t yet found their way to the mat. It’s aimed at people who haven’t got around to exploring yoga, because they may not have found a point of access and have been waiting until they come across yoga in an easy palatable way. YogaPass gives them that easily accessible way to connect to yoga.
YogaPass has been operating for over four years in Australia and we now represent 350 yoga studios and teachers across the country. The pass allows people new to yoga to explore different forms of yoga. Bikram Yoga is not Satyananda Yoga and Oki is not Yoga in Daily Life.
While yogic principles underlie what we all teach, the newcomer to yoga practice will experience each of these classes very differently… and they will either love it or loathe it.
How many hundreds of times have you heard:
I’ve tried yoga once but it wasn’t for me.
Perhaps they found it too full on, too difficult physically, too cosmic, too something. YogaPass is about helping people explore the wide variety of yogic paths out there before they commit to the yoga that works for them.
The YogaPass process is this:
People visit YogaPass and purchase YogaPasses, which are emailed directly to them for printing. The email links them to the yoga studio listings on the website, which includes a Google map placement for all the studios we represent. This service is free to yoga studios, and helps more people find their way to the studios involved.
Studios are reimbursed $10 for each YogaPass they accept… so it is not a freeby.
Newcomers to yoga get to try a variety of classes with ease, studios get new people walking through the door paying for yoga. It’s a win-win for everybody involved.
In the past four years, we have distributed over 100,000 individual YogaPasses to the Australian community.
We do this through charitable giveaways, promos for products through pharmacies, Appletiser, Chicks at the Flicks, industrial unions, the travel industry, gift and deal sites …even Optimum cat food! The next one coming up is a giveaway through Nivea.
This marrying of yoga with larger industry and the commercial world may seem mercenary, but the outcome is what we are all after – helping more people find their way to the yoga mat by getting yoga into the public eye.
We trust that once people find their way on to the yoga mat, the rest will take care of itself. It’s over to the yoga studio that YogaPass holders turn up at to introduce them to what yoga is all about.
We get them through the door, you make them want to come back for more.
And now it’s time to introduce YogaPass to New Zealand.
Many of the organisations that we work have been asking us when we’ll be taking what we do across the Tasman. The answer is now.
The YogaPass is a simple and user friendly tool. Each YogaPass someone receives is an invitation to wellbeing and enhances the current ‘movement towards the mat’ in New Zealand.
Once we have 50 yoga studios in New Zealand who want to be a part of YogaPass, we can launch the New Zealand website. This might take a bit of doing, but we’re passionate and excited about bringing YogaPass to New Zealand.
If you want to get your New Zealand studio involved, it is free and super simple, just visit our website here.
We are planning to visit New Zealand in early November to travel around and meet with yoga teachers and studios to answer all the questions you might have about YogaPass.
We’d love to catch up then or beforehand. So please, let us know your thoughts and queries, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One last thing… if anyone has an interest in re-using recycling yoga mats and would like to help us coordinate our fledgling efforts in New Zealand, or has an interest in eco friendly mats please check out our website here.
Cate Peterson is based in Sydney. Over the past 30 years she has integrated her Occupational Therapy training with extensive study in various bodywork modalities – massage, shiatsu, energy work and macrobiotic nutrition; in addition to yoga studies in Oki yoga with Andre Gospardarczyk at the Ryoho Centre, Sydney in 1996-97. She massages and teaches daily. Her passion is for the larger picture – addressing the state of health in Australia and working to bring yoga into the public arena.