Tag Archives: yoga retreat

where’s the money?

YogaDork blogged that Lulu-NO THICK GIRLS ALLOWED-lemon had their best ever financial quarter. The company “plans to open 30 new showrooms and up to 15 new stores this year” Lulu-NO FAT BOTTOM GIRLS HERE-lemon said that “net revenues for the quarter ended May 2 were $138.3 million…” and “ended the quarter with $173.6 million in cash and cash equivalents compared with $59.3 million at the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2009.”

That’s a lot of clothes. That’s some serious coin.

Yoga Journal has always told us that there are millions of yoga practitioners in the United States spending millions of dollars on yoga paraphernalia, teacher trainings, you name it. Speaking only about teacher trainings, we all know that they can start around $2,000 (that’s an inexpensive one) and go well beyond $10,000. Sarah Powers started the Insight Yoga Institute and while the training sounds absolutely wonderful, it costs approximately $15,000.00 to complete.

Sarah, along with other teachers, also started the philanthropic Metta Journeys which travels to Rwanda and benefits Women for Women International. The Rwanda trip costs $5,745 with a $1,000 donation to Women for Women International. The cost does not include airfare and depending on where you live in the United States it could cost you $2,000 to fly to Africa.

Of course we have all seen the ads in yoga magazines for all types of yoga retreats taught by people you’ve never heard of and you can google “yoga retreats” and find literally hundreds all over the world. My teacher in Chicago is offering a yoga vacation in Italy costing $1,340-$1,880; a 10 day yoga vacation to Peru costing $3,140-$3,950; and his 19th yoga vacation in Mexico for $1,700-$2,800.00. None of his trips include airfare and as far as I know, he has never had to cancel a trip due to a lack of students.

(And yes I know I have just given everyone free advertising; would that I get the same from someone for my yoga endeavors.)

My question is: where’s the money?

In other words, who is going on all these trips to all these places for yoga?

The reason I ask is that I have an opportunity to teach in Bali for 10 days, two classes a day. If only 6 people came I would get my lodging and airfare paid for. If 7+ people came I would get paid a certain amount per person. It’s a legitimate offer from a reputable person and it sounds totally sweet, doesn’t it?

So why am I not foaming at the mouth with delight?

Because the last time I taught overseas not one person from the United States signed up for what I offered.

You may remember my Africa trip, my yin-yang yoga weekend with a seva component:

“The cost of the retreat was $1,108.00 and I was taking $108 from each westerner for the Seva Foundation. It was hoped that the founders of the clinic, Dr. Paul Courtright and Dr. Susan Lewallen, would be able to give us a tour of the facility. I thought it was a win-win situation for everyone involved…yoga + meditation + buddhadharma + seva under the African sky.

But no one signed up.

At least no one from the West. I sent my announcement to over 100 people around the United States, advertised it on Facebook and Twitter, and put an ad in a Chicagoland yoga magazine that has a circulation of over 20,000. The Seva Foundation put an announcement on their website’s home page. But not one person showed any interest in spite of the charitable component of the retreat.”

That’s why I am not jumping for joy at this latest offer for me to teach overseas. My Africa weekend was not that expensive relatively speaking because it included everything: yoga plus lodging and food and I told people where to get discounted flights to Tanzania.

The Bali retreat organizer has a client database of over 1,000 people but I hesitate to spend any money on advertising (i.e., another $500 ad in the local yoga magazine) because frankly, what happened last time (or should I say did not happen) felt like a kick in the teeth (and this is the first time I’m saying it out loud.) I advertised to literally over 20,000 people via print ad, my business newsletter, and of course social networking, but zilch. I can understand no one wanting to fly to Africa. What I don’t get is not one person expressing one iota of interest.

I believe that even in a bad economy there are people with disposable income. They’re spending it on $100 yoga pants. Obviously. Just ask Lulu.

I understand how someone with children can’t take off for 10 days, but I also know people (including teachers) who can’t commit to a weekend of yoga in their own backyard. For the most part, people who do yoga (and this includes teachers) tell me that any type of yoga trip is too expensive for them even in the United States. “It’s the economy,” stupid.

Maybe the lack of response to my thing was because I live in the Midwest, not the trendiest part of the country even if it is Chicago. Maybe it’s because I don’t do the fancy arm balances or kick someone’s yoga butt and that’s what people want. Maybe I really don’t have anything to offer.

So I ask again: where all the yoga peeps with money that I keep hearing about? Who is going on all these retreats?

Someone is because I see photos of lots of smiling faces at Kripalu or Omega or Esalen or Land of the Medicine Buddha or (fill in the blank.) I don’t see a dearth of people here.

Where’s the yoga money?