Lake Tahoe Yoga began as an idea. For years I would joke about various locations being "a great place for a studio." I never thought I would actually become a studio owner. It wasn't until I was approached by some locals who were curious about my skills beyond counseling that I considered starting my own business. I began with just a few classes, some private sessions, and free classes. Once I began actively teaching, I realized how much I had to learn about business, people and community.
Giving too Much Away
I am enthusiastic about instructing, guiding, and helping others to discover their paths. The teacher in me is always proud to see my students demonstrate their understanding, develop new skills and grow as individuals. While instructing others, I am always learning. It wasn't until it was too late that I realized the very people that I had been supporting, guiding, and instructing were planning on attempting to become my competition. Upon leaving Lake Tahoe Yoga Studio they took more than the knowledge I had shared; they took practitioners, ideas and more.
It is incredible to look back to 2008 and review how rapidly technology, advertising, marketing and business has changed. During this time there have been positive and negative shifts in every field. I have had to change everything about the way I market my business. What will never change is the roots of Lake Tahoe Yoga.
Many of the studios, gyms, etc. in town may be listed on Mindbody or some other app. They may have pretty photos with people posing on their instagram. Maybe they are offering classes at breweries, art studios, wineries, with goats and cats and dogs. They are viciously competing with one another. Lake Tahoe Yoga continues to remain focused on our roots: the practice, the knowledge and sharing it with others.
Putting our Money where it Matters
Lake Tahoe Yoga wouldn't exist if it wasn't for our community. It was the locals that encouraged me to begin instructing and who continue to support the studio. I didn't practice at any other studio in Tahoe. I didn't train with a studio here. I didn't learn how to run a business by working for another studio. Everything at Lake Tahoe Yoga grew through active learning, community engagement & support, and the dedication I have to the practice, studio, and practitioners.
Our social media photos are of Tahoe and people just like you and me doing their best to access more than a pose. They are trying to access Yoga. They are living in this world, working beside you. They are breathing, moving and observing themselves and the world around them hoping to bring forth positive change.
Every penny spent to advertise Lake Tahoe Yoga is purposeful and focused. From local memberships for TRYP, SLTWHS and Tahoe Chamber to social media the advertising is calculated to be the best way for us to reach the community and to give back.
Supporting Small, Local Yoga Studios & Businesses
Over the past 10 years I have learned much about Tahoe South, business, and people. I have grown as an instructor, business owner and individual. I have deepened my understanding of Yoga and what it means to truly practice. I know I am not perfect. I remind my students that not everyone lives life with an open mind and that most people are in service only to themselves. Taking this lesson to heart, I have chosen not to advertise on the popular apps so that I can donate a portion of Lake Tahoe Yoga's profits to local and international non-profits.
When traveling, I seek out the small, locally owned studios that are not listed on Mindbody and do not have fancy advertisements or websites. I have discovered wonderful studios, new instructors, friendships, connections and more. I have expanded this practice beyond Yoga studios and have begun seeking out small businesses, as well. It has opened many new doors.
Go Small, Support Locals
There is no guarantee that the studio you find listed on Mindbody is the best, nor is there a guarantee that the teacher instructing in the basement of her house is any good. You will never know if you don't try it out. How about giving that new teacher in the basement a try before heading to the studio paying to be noticed? Step into that funky little shop on the corner instead of going to the one with thousands of reviews. Ask a friend for a recommendation, ask a local where they go, step off of the beaten path and try something new. For it is only when we try that we know.
Although most of Sanskrit can seem like tongue twisters and silliness, as you learn what each word means and how it can be used, things become more interesting.
The Importance of Practice
Throughout my practice as a Yogini and then during my Yoga teacher training, my guru would talk about the balance between practice & effort (Abhyasa) and non-attachment and letting go (Vairagya). Being that my primary interest in Yoga was rooted in the physical benefits, I really didn't care if I was "letting go" of anything, I was more interested in that fancy headstand and holding Caturanga.
Be Willing to Let Go
As my practice deepened, and as I began teaching, I started to learn that if I didn't let go, then I got nothing. What I mean to say is, the more I held on to the practice and the more my focus was on having large classes and making lots of money, the fewer students I had and the more frustrated I grew.
When I opened Svadhyaya Yoga Studio, I had so many other things on my plate that all I could do when it came time to teach was allow my passion to flow outward to my students. I would have classes of 0, 1 or maybe 2 students. I got to know them well and their dedication to the practice was a reflection of mine.
Practice to Grow
Now, almost two years down the road, I continue to be driven by the practice and I try my best to let go of the results. It's very difficult, and it's sometimes a challenge to walk the line between what I want and what I need.
Abhyasa and Vairagya are so important because we have to constantly be practicing in order to grow. We have to always be letting go of the old growth so that we can become new. Just as the snake must shed it's skin, so must we be able to let go of the past and move foward.
Lessons Learned in the Bahamas: Always carry a Machete
Any job can be made easier if you choose the correct tools. On a trip in the Bahamas I decided to collect various coconuts in order to experience the difference between young coconut water and the meat of a mature coconut. I did my research and knew what to look for, then went around the area collecting. When it came time to open the coconuts I discovered that the only tools available to do so were kitchen knives. Oh how a machete would have made a difference! After hours of whacking, smashing, shaving, and cutting, I opened all of the coconuts and was able to enjoy the fruits of my labor. Had I a machete, the work would have taken one quarter the time.
How to Practice Hatha Yoga
Hatha Yoga focuses on the practice of asana, pranayama and kriya. It is the most popular practice in the United States. As a result, there are hundreds of companies selling products to help you improve your practice. Traditionally, there are just 3 tools you need in order to practice Yoga everywhere: your body, your breath and your mind. However, being able to create a space and access poses with ease often requires some assistance. When you don't have your instructor near, a few tools can change everything.
Tahoe Yoga Tools: A Unique Souvenier
Over time we have tested a variety of asana tools. Due to our small retail space, we carry very few. Those that are on our shelves have been tested and proven. These are the tools we use in our studio and the ones we recommend for you to use during your practice. Manduka Mats stay clean, show little wear (over years of use) and are easy to clean. Our foam blocks are lightweight which make them durable and easy to toss to the side, or lift over head. We also get a pretty sweet bulk discount from Yoga Direct. Our Yoga Straps are sold exculsively in the studio. Our director, Jenay, makes them from organic cotton and YKK clips. You won't find these anywhere else. The same goes for our Lavender Eye Sachets. Filled with organic lavender and buckwheat, they are unique to LTY.
Support Your Self, Support Small Business
As you begin to practice Hatha Yoga more seriously, consider the tools with which you approach your practice. Consider the source and the quality. Consider for whom you practice. Join us for a class and gain more than just awareness. Develop the physical skills to access deeper areas of your own body. Lengthen your breath and become aware of your emotions. Learn to listen to the chatter in your mind and quiet the unnecessary thoughts. Do so with the correct tools and you will develop a stronger practice.
1 Manduka eKO Mat
2 Foam Blocks
1 Yoga Strap OR Eye Sachet
Visit Lake Tahoe Yoga to purchase. Orders may be placed online for pick-up at studio.
We all know that the only way to truly prepare for Winter sports is to get out there and do them. Whether you are heading to Heavenly or Kirkwood, Squaw or Sierra at Tahoe, yoga asana and breath work as well as mindful practices can help you to feel strong, safe and aware while out on the snow. Try out these simple practices in order to prepare for this year's season. You won't regret it.
There are many yoga asana (poses) that can help you to strengthen as well as recover from your day out on the slopes. An experienced and knowledgeable instructor will be able to guide you through theses poses and teach you how to use them in a way that helps you prepare for your day out, then release afterward.
Yudrasana (Lunge) - raising and lowering between high and low lunges.
Deviasana (Goddess) - holding, and also shifting your upper body from side-to-side.
Virabhadrasana Dvi (Warrior Two) - holding, as well as rotating.
Parsvottanasana - intense side stretch.
Supta Virasana - reclined hero
Svastikasana - auspicious pose/reclined twist variation
Join any of our practices or book a private session to focus on your specific needs. Ask us to demonstrate and explain the poses above.
Have a practice that you enjoy doing before and/or after your day on the slopes?
Share the postures or practices that you have found make a difference during your Winter days.
Do Not Force. Do Allow.
Kriya Yoga is a practice that incorporates the stretching aspects of Hatha Yoga, the breath and meditation of Raja Yoga and Patanjali's Eight Limbs. Our practice at Svadhyaya Yoga Studio is a Raja-Hatha practice. Each class incorporates breath, movement and self-study. This month, we will be focusing more on allowing the practice to effect us.
Balance Effort & Release
Kriya is one of the most difficult aspects of Yoga because it requires that we release. It is easy to hold on, to control our muscles, our breathing and to be in control of ourselves. More difficult is relaxation; to let go and to allow change to occur.
Back bending is often referred to as Heart Opening in the Yoga world. We tend to find fear, frustration and agitation as we bend in reverse. Our bodies are tight and unwilling to open. We are fearful of what might present itself as we open our hearts. We are so used to hiding, stuffing away and repressing things that are hurtful or cause us sadness that when we are confronted with releasing these things we become tense as we are outside of our comfort zone.
Physically, as we work through the practice of bending and cleansing (Kriya) you may notice that your posture changes, your attitude toward yourself and others may shift and you may find yourself more willing to receive and let go.