The Studio Space:
Featuring Jane Montgomery of Peace Blossoms Yoga in Bath, Ohio.
Jane, you use a rose as a logo on your Web site (www.peaceblossomsyoga.com) and marketing materials. Tell us what the rose means to you.
My whole concept of the studio has evolved around the image of the unfolding rose. My mission statement is all about the unfolding person, finding your true center, being able to unfold on this path of love. It's the metaphor that I'm really captured by. The studio and my teaching are all about using the tools of yoga to let people cultivate and nourish themselves, to create a safe and very fertile environment for that self-discovery process that Kripalu yoga is all about.
When did you first encounter Kripalu yoga?
My first experience with a Kripalu yoga class was on a ski trip in the Colorado Rockies, and I knew right away that teaching and practicing this profound experience was my true calling. It pulled together all the elements I love. I'm basically a teacher at heartI've taught in public and private schools, to children and adultsand I have a love of dance and movement. So I came to Kripalu and started pursuing yoga as my passion. I earned my KYTT certification in 1998 and started teaching during the training! After five years of teaching yoga everywhere, I was desperate to find a place to support all the ideas and unfolding I wanted to do. I opened the Peace Blossoms Yoga studio in 2003, and I employ three other teachers. I like to keep classes small, between five and 10 students, and we offer about 15 classes each week. Since then, I've earned my 500-hour professional certification and trained as a Kripalu mentor and certified Chakra yoga teacher. More recently, I've been studying and introducing chanting and mantra as tools of spirituality and self-expression.
My approach is to create a very welcoming environment, to be very supportive of everyone who comes in, no matter what stage they're at. I've developed a beginners' program as a way for new students to start to connect to themselves in a nonthreatening, accepting situation. It's a six-week series that's sequentially designed, with objectives and goals, and I've created a guide for the other instructors who teach it so it has a consistent feeling and tone. I teach a pregnancy yoga class, a monthly restorative yoga class on Sunday mornings, and bimonthly meditation classes in addition to yoga. Our Yoga Basics and Intermediate Practice classes are designed to further develop the yoga fundamentals, following our three-part methodology, and they're often planned around specific themes over a twelve-week series. I also offer a gentle yoga class for those with physical limitations, or anyone who just needs a softer touch.
My motivation right now is to create a peaceful space for inviting community, a feeling of connection among my students. I've set up a tea corner in the vestibule outside the yoga room, where students can sit together, relax, sip tea, and enjoy our lending library.
What is the biggest challenge for you as a studio owner?
Marketing is probably the biggest challenge, becoming known. There's always something you know you should be doing, but you have to prioritize. I choose not to focus on the idea that I'm competing. It's about what I can offer and meeting the needs of students looking for something other than physical fitness. I always ask people what they're looking for; we have a questionnaire for students that helps me get a sense of that. I also go out into the community. I've gone to health fairs at a local hospital, to businesses, to mothers' groups. I've offered a yoga presentation for third-graders and an after-school stress-relief yoga class for teachers. My flyers for our children's and teen yoga and pregnancy yoga classes list the benefits of yoga for these groups. Another effective tool is our once-a-month free yoga classes, which allow people to come in and see what we're all about in a very nonthreatening way. My Web site is one of my most powerful marketing tools, and I spent a lot of time designing the color and layout so you get a feeling of the studio before you even step in the door.
Even with all this, attendance at classes really fluctuates. I'm still growing. You just have to breathe through the challenge and find ways to create stability within all the flux, and remember to unfold in the beauty of unity that exists! That's yoga, that's the rose, and that's my path. I'm just sharing it with others and hoping to create more love in the world. It's so amazing to see people blossoming.
For an application and information on the benefits of becoming a Kripalu-affiliated studio, visit www.kyta.org.