I have been adapting my yoga empire to meet with the Covid induced climate of change. That’s my fancy way of saying OMG why is my bank balance so poorly.
At the start of lockdown, I organised a ‘global strategic future planning session’ with the team. In essence, I sat at the kitchen table pen and paper in hand, with the dogs and cats and thought ‘Now what?’. After 3 cups of green tea, a packet of cheesy Wotsits, 2 tins of sardines (one for me and 1 for the team) and a pint of gin and tonic, I had a plan.
I started writing weekly newsletters to my small mailing list. The plan was to write things like ‘How to do a forearm balance with a tea cup on your head’ for people interested in capturing the moment for their Instagram feed. Instead the newsletters were more along the lines of ‘Life, huh? Go figure.’ Every now and then I get an email from someone saying I made them cry. This is great because it means someone is actually reading them, but bad because my intention was to be uplifting and funny.
What’s in a name?
I updated my website and have played around with the titles of my online classes. The online classes are a relatively new addition (read The Cheeky Yogi Zooms Online).The once called ‘Beginners & Improvers Yoga’, became ‘Yin & Yang Yoga’, then ‘Vinyasa Flow & Hatha Yoga’ and then ‘Sunshine Yoga’ (I thought it would appeal as the weather was on the turn). I have settled for ‘Tuesday Yoga’, because it’s on a Tuesday and it’s yoga. I’m in a brainstorming session with the team about Thursday’s class name which currently is called ‘Slow Flow on the Go’, more gin and tonic may be needed to make a decision.
Yoga on the Green
Part of my original plan for my yoga emporium was to also offer yoga outdoors on the village green. This central spot is used by everyone, predominately by the local cricket club. Little white plastic flags delineate the sacred cricket pitch area together with ‘keep off the grass’ painted on the grass for the dogs to read as they relieve themselves on the little white plastic flags.
The Queen owns the land, so I composed a request for permission signing off with ‘Your Majesty’s humble and obedient servant’ as per Debretts book of etiquette, but I couldn’t find her email address. After much sleuthing, I found the real humble and obedient servant who looks after the land Tarquin Fauntleroy Esq. He agreed to ‘Yoga on the Green’, but it was subject to the ‘Village Green Commission’s’ permission. But the VGC would need convincing as I may have to allay their fears of potential damage (grass squashing with mats). They only convene every few months.
Talks began in 2016.
In 2017, I was granted access. 1 trial yoga class maximum 10 people by the trees, on the green on June 10th. I advertised ferociously (a poster in Tesco’s and the post office). The day of the class, it poured with rain, breaking the month-long record heatwave. Class cancelled. I wrote to the VGC asking permission for a second date. After 3 months I was granted access. 1 trial yoga class maximum 10 people by the trees, on the green on September 10th. It hailed. Class cancelled.
2018 – I began the process again. Permission granted. 1 trial yoga class maximum 10 people by the trees, on the green on June 12th. A group of 20 travellers set up camp on the green. Class cancelled. They moved on just in time for winter.
2019 Permission granted. That year three trial classes were cancelled due to: high winds, thunderstorms and a killer caterpillar infestation on the trees.
2020 a global pandemic and national lockdown occurred.
Finally on 17th September, after 14 emails, 3 risk assessments and 2 full commission meetings, 1 trial yoga class by the trees, on the village green took place with 2 participants. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. I have expanded my yoga reach by 2. Watch out, 2021!
Rocking Social Media
As part of my new approach to growing my business I have decided to post more regularly on social media. It’s not really my thing, I’ve had to do a little investigation. It seems that all the animal pictures I post with quirky comments aren’t as interesting as a picture of me. So I posted a picture of me with various animals. Me and the dog, me and the cat, me and a random horse. This generated an internet storm of an average of 23 likes, three love hearts and one comment “Awwww”.
But then I learnt that need to post in ‘stories’ where you can edit photos with all sorts of filters. Now there is me and the dog and little stars falling in the background, me and the cat and glitter shooting out of my head and me and the random horse with sea urchins floating in the sky. I feel these might go viral.
Location, Location, Location
Feeling the momentum of taking on the ‘gram, I decided a sped up video of me doing yoga is the way forward.
Instagram is a like one never ending Hello magazine, everything is beautiful and polished.
Being the head of marketing and now somewhat of an expert, I knew the mantra ‘location, location, location’. Not being by crystal blue waters nor having access to swathes of glass windows, I settled for what I would call ‘urban chic’. A graffiti-ed wall with a skip and some bins. It felt it was ‘street’. I began filming myself performing a yoga sequence and the putrid stench from the bins was overwhelming. But a true yogi knows how to turn their senses off and go inwards. Despite the urge to hurl, I carried on until a builder told me to get on my bike in rather more colourful terms. That was fine as I had a little flow in the can.
Reviewing my masterpiece at home, I realised that perhaps I hadn’t been as yogi as I thought. The decidedly green tinge on my face and look of disgust was very palpable. Also the backdrop wasn’t quite as cool as I imagined: the 70’s green toilet sticking out of the skip and the graffiti ‘Bill is a bum face’ together with said portrait of Bill, wasn’t quite cutting it.
But this 30 second clip had taken me 2 days to produce and edit, it only felt right that it was aired. I hashtagged the living daylights out of the post and got a one new follower. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. I have expanded my yoga reach by 1.
There is still a way to go, a Youtube channel, a podcast, Tiktok, an online courses, get a sponsorship deal and of course become an influencer… I am pretty confident this time next year my yoga empire will make my bank balance sing … I just hope I like the tune.