Thinking of introducing Yoga at your spa, retreat or hotel? Ashleigh Sharman discusses how to get started.
Never has yoga been more popular and it could be the perfect addition to your business’s menu of services – building on aspects of wellness, for rejuvenation, head to toe.
“Yoga is great for aiding the body’s natural instinct to restore and regulate itself,” advises Yoga Australia president Claire Nettley. “Each practice, whether it be a posture, breathing practice or even a relaxation has its own physical health benefits, but the main goal of these practices is to still the fluctuations of the mind to ensure that we also lead mentally and emotionally healthy lives.”
So where to begin? Claire says the most important aspect of beginning a yoga practice in your business is hiring a qualified teacher, namely through Yoga Australia’s website where you can search for teachers in your area.
“All of our registered teachers have completed at least 350 hours of teacher training,” she says. “Because each teacher has their own style, we recommend trying out a few different styles of yoga with a few different teachers to see what suits you best.”
“A beginner Hatha yoga class is a good starting point for your guests and, despite traditionally practiced before dawn (a powerful time for spiritual practice), yoga can be practiced at any time of the day.”
Classes can range from 45 minutes to two hours, however Claire recommend at least 75 minutes to give students the opportunity to settle in and feel comfortable.
Other considerations for your yoga offering are equipment (mats, blocks, blankets, bolsters and straps) and rates of pay for teachers, with Yoga Australia recommending a starting fee of $65 per hour. However, much depends on whether you will offer yoga as an included or add-on guest service.
“The hardest thing for us is consistency with guests. We don’t always get the numbers,” says Roxanne Campbell, spa manager at The Escarpment Group properties in NSW’s Blue Mountains – Lilianfels, Echoes, Parklands and Hydro Majestic.
“During the first month we didn’t charge, and there is certainly a market for that. However, we discovered if classes weren’t pre-booked with clients through our reservations team we didn’t get the numbers.”
Roxanne admits there are challenges but benefits to guests are undeniable, helping to foster an environment where clients can relax, where the property can promote wellness, cross-promote with fitness and spa services; and provide the business with an opportunity to connect with the local community in boosting class numbers.
“I see yoga as add-on value for the guest and their wellness journey,” she says. “This is a new demographic for some of us and it is important to create links between your fitness, beauty and meditation enthusiasts, all within the momentum of the wellness movement.”
“Our yoga teacher, Kate Mason, shares this vision and we’re both up to the challenge of making a regular yoga practice work.”