Yoga Schools get the Regulatory Pinch, maybe its time for a better business plan?

A friend sent me this NY Times story about how Yoga Schools that teach students to teach yoga are getting pressured into paying the same fees that Massage and Hairdressing Schools have paid for a while. While I am not a fan of paying taxes and fees for most things but I do think that this is A) inevitable and B) a good thing. Yoga Journal has a post on it as well.

Regarding the inevitability of Yoga Teacher Training Schools paying regulatory fees it actually came as a shock to me that this wasn’t already the case. I was even more shocked to know that a Yoga teacher doesn’t even have to have a license to teach Yoga. This is an industry with 12 to 20 Million practitioners and Billions of dollars in revenue. The government is going to want a piece of that pie, especially in a downturn.

This is good for the consumer/student to know that the school they are practicing at has gone through the registration process and that its a legit operation. Even with this certification there is still no guarantee that the graduate will be able to teach anywhere. It is also uncertain if this qualifies them for financial aid.

Some of the schools in the article point out that the Teacher Training programs are a substantial revenue generator for their business:

Lisa Rapp, who owns My Yoga Spirit in Norfolk, Va., said she was closing her seven-year-old business this summer. “This caused us to shut down the studio altogether,” Ms. Rapp said. “It’s too bad, because this community really needs yoga.” (NY TImes)

At $2000 to $4000 for a 200 hour certification program I will agree but I also think that this highlights a common issue that I have experienced with most Yoga studios: their business model is bad.

Every Yoga studio that I have attended follows the same business model: buy sessions and use them in a few months. Refill and repeat. Some offer unlimited programs that you buy on a 1, 3, 6, or 12 month plan. The problem with this is that you have no contract and therefore no recurring revenue and no ability to create a budget.

I suggest that they adopt the model that Gyms and Martial Arts Studios have: a 12 month, or longer, contract that charges monthly. Sure its not as free and open as a session model but if it allows you to keep the lights on and maybe even grow a little it cannot be seen as a bad thing.

A concern with this model is the overhead created of handling the contracts, payments, and support issues that always come up. The good news is that there are a number of companies that offer a full service solution for this. I work with Member Solutions and am impressed with their focus on service and allowing Studio owners to stay focused on Yoga and getting new students.

What do you think?

Hillary Still Wants Yer Money – ClickZ – News and expert advice for the digital marketer since 1997

Hillary may be on her way out, but she still wants your money. I had to chuckle when a message arrived in my inbox this morning, signed by Hillary Clinton, affirming her plans to “extend my congratulations to Senator Obama and my support for his candidacy” Saturday.

Hillary Still Wants Yer Money – ClickZ – News and expert advice for the digital marketer since 1997

Because he is a foreign policy master…

Looks like Mccain is pretty knowledgable about foreign policy:

Pressed to elaborate, McCain said it was “common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran, that’s well known. And it’s unfortunate.” A few moments later, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, standing just behind McCain, stepped forward and whispered in the presidential candidate’s ear. McCain then said: “I’m sorry, the Iranians are training extremists, not al-Qaeda.”

It is absurd that this man is even a candidate. How do we plan on being successful in a WAR if we dont even know who we are fighting?

A McCain Gaffe in Jordan | The Trail |

Afghanistan – Land of War

I finished reading A Thousand Splendid Suns a few weeks ago and am working on a review for it but it is taking longer than I want. The big thing that it made me realize is that we have completely forgotten about this war. A war in which a close neighbor of mine is on the front lines of putting his life on the line.

In the book Hosseini covers 30 years of Afghan history, though it is a work of fiction he does reference many historical periods and events throughout the story. One thing that is mentioned again and again is that the warring will always come back and as we are seeing now the Taliban has made a huge shift in momentum. Even against the mightly US military:

Nagl listed a catalogue of challenges in Afghanistan, including its harsh climate and terrain, its lack of centralized government in the past 30 years, the destruction of roads and other basic infrastructure, and the state of its army.

“I’ve worked with the Afghan security forces a little bit. I find them to be diligent and dedicated and trainable (but) not particularly well educated … The Iraqi security forces are far more advanced than are the Afghans,” he said.

“The Taliban did extraordinarily harmful things to the intelligentsia of the country. The people you need to run a country no longer exist.”

The last sentence there is the critical component of what we are missing and what we have left out since our intervention in the 80’s with the USSR’s war there. There is a huge vacuum with regards to education in Afghanistan. What is there to replace it is obvious: Radical Fundamentalist Islam.

Mccain’s answer is for more guns, but the need is for more books.

Afghan war trend worse than Iraq: U.S. trainer – Yahoo! News

Where did the $5Mil come from?

Its been an interesting week in politics. Mitt ‘the Quit’ Romney is done and now that fossil Mcain is looking like he will be the GOP nominee. On the other side of things The Dems got a whole lot more interesting as Obama seems to have taken enough of a lead to cause Hillary to dip into her Personal War Chest to the tune of $5Million.

I agree that she should fully disclose where this is coming from:Obama suggests Clinton show tax returns – Yahoo! News

I base this on the recent stories that have come up about her past experiences on Wal Marts Board of Directors. Who is pulling Hillary’s strings?