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The Studio Space:
A column by, for, and about Kripalu Affiliate Studio (KAS) owners

Spring 2005

by our teachers


In this column, we highlight two KAS owners, Jacci Reynolds and Sheila deMagalhaes.

Spotlight on Crofton Yoga ?for Every Body, established 2004
Owner: Jacci Reynolds
Location: Crofton, Maryland
Web site: www.croftonyoga.com
Number of Teachers: 9
Number and types of classes: 30 per week. Our emphasis is on providing classes for every body. We offer prenatal yoga and birth preparation classes, "Baby and me" and parent-child, kids' yoga, hatha yoga for adults at various levels, hot vigorous yoga, and Pilates.

What are your biggest challenges and rewards as a studio owner?
I opened the studio so I could be a part-time stay-at-home mom; opportunity presented itself and my vision of creating a Kripalu-style yoga studio that offered babysitting on-site was born. I now have a wonderful space that supports not only all types of bodies but also all types of families. Our work exchange program helps with the staffing of our babysitting services. My greatest reward is being able to take my son to work knowing I have created a safe and fun place for him and other people's children. My biggest challenge is keeping up with the ever-growing day-to-day tasks of running the studio—marketing, bookkeeping, database management, Web site upkeep, teaching.

What classes, workshops, and/or therapies are popular at your studio right now?
Most of our students are still new to yoga; our Level 1 classes are the most popular. We also offer a popular parent-child class for 2-5 year olds and their parents and "Date Night" yoga class for couples one Saturday a month. After class, participants are invited to have dinner together at a local restaurant. My goal is to create a community within a community.

What tip, information, or approach can you share from your experience that may be helpful to fellow studio owners?
Know your market. As our area is very family-oriented, I've created a space that caters to families. Even the layout of our studio is family-friendly, with cubbies for gear, a tea area, sofas, and chairs. Also, find a space that is visible from a main road. Most of our students first came in because they saw our big "Yoga" sign from the road. Word of mouth is our other best recruiter. Since I opened the studio a year ago, three other yoga studios have opened nearby and the feeling of competition can be daunting, but I believe there are enough students to go around.

Why did you decide to affiliate with Kripalu? What benefits has affiliation offered?
Becoming a Kripalu Yoga teacher has changed my life and continues to do so. One of the missions in my business plan is to help bring Kripalu to more people. Becoming a Kripalu affiliate has given me resources, contacts, and ultimately friends I can rely on when I have a question or need support. I'd like to host a Kripalu Yoga Teacher Training at the studio in 2006, and to offer workshops to yoga teachers to enhance their training, and I hope to acquire a second studio space in the near future so I can offer a wider variety of classes and continue to promote Kripalu and Kripalu Yoga.

Spotlight on Heartsong Yoga Center, established 1993
Owner: Sheila W. deMagalhaes
Location: East Longmeadow, Massachusetts
Web site: www.heartsongyoga.com
Number of teachers: 11 plus 4 on-call subs
Number and types of classes: 16 Kripalu-style, 6 Astanga, and 2 Anusara classes per week, also courses in pre-natal yoga, yoga for beginners, yoga for golfers, and meditation

What are your biggest challenges and rewards as a studio owner?
I adore the community of yoga teachers and students who have become a part of my life. I also love teaching yoga outside the studio—for churches, schools, or other organizations—giving people their first taste of yoga and demystifying the practice. Because Kripalu Yoga is so much about the heart, acceptance, and compassion, it can be offered to any group, with the physical practice modified to meet the needs of each population. I teach for free at the local high school once a week, and my greatest smiles inside and out come when the teenagers call me the "yoga lady," respectfully enjoy their practice, and then go to sleep in savasana!

One of the biggest challenges for me these days is technology—maintaining our database, updating the Web site, managing the e-mail list, sending out e-newsletters, etc. Marketing is a challenge as well. It's important for me to let folks know that Heartsong Yoga is dedicated to yoga and meditation, and that our teachers are certified, experienced, and passionate about yoga.

What classes, workshops and/or therapies are popular at your studio right now?

Yoga Nidra is really hot these days at Heartsong. One of our teachers, Lynne Greene, studied with Tarika Diana Damelio at Kripalu last year and brought Yoga Nidra back to our community. So far we have hosted three sold-out evening workshops.

What tip, information, or approach can you share from your experience that may be helpful to fellow studio owners?
We offer a free class several times a year, which is publicized in the local papers, and we host special classes during the holiday season, with non-perishable food donations taken in lieu of a fee; this year we brought in over 400 pounds of food between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. We give away classes to every organization that calls for donations and I say yes to everyone who asks for a presentation. Our e-mail list is a great tool. We also run contests and drawings for classes and memberships. We're close enough to Kripalu Center to organize regular group visits and to take advantage of the generous discounts offered to KAS members for weekend workshops.

Why did you decide to affiliate with Kripalu? What benefits has affiliation offered?
Kripalu is my home base, where I go for inspiration, training, and respite. The e-mail connections with other studio owners are invaluable. I used to feel no one understood the challenges I faced, and now I have support from so many voices who recognize the work that teachers and studio owners are doing in the world to broaden awareness of Kripalu Yoga. I'm excited about offering Kripalu programs at Heartsong, and I look forward to meeting the other studio owners at the KYTA Conference. [Pre-conference intensives for KAS owners and for those interested in opening a studio are scheduled in October before the KYTA Conference. Watch for your brochure.]

Another blessing to me has been to see my students and loved ones become Kripalu Yoga teachers—including my husband, mother, and sister! My greatest gift comes every Thursday evening when my 16-year-old son comes to the studio with his buddies to take my class, while my mom is coming out of my husband's class, and my 14-year-old daughter is at the desk checking in students! My vision as this work evolves is that Heartsong will continue to provide my family and our community a peaceful place in a sometimes chaotic world.

Complete list of articles by this author:

Stories of transformation

The Studio Space: A column by, for and about Kripalu-affiliated studio (KAS) owners

The Studio Space:
A column by, for, and about Kripalu Affiliate Studio (KAS) owners


The Studio Space: Kripalu Affiliated Studio owners share their keys to success

Hot off the Mat: KYTA members share their stories

Heard at KYTA Conference 2006

Onto the Mat and Into the World: Yoga for Positive Change

Onto the Mat and Into the World: Yoga for Positive Change

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