Bigger (& Cheaper) Isn’t Always Better

One of our students came to us the other day and said they were considering going to another yoga studio (outside the Palisades) because they were running a deal that was “too good to pass up.” 

We will be very sad to see this student go if she decides to do so. 

You see, one of the best things about running a small yoga studio is connecting with our local community, getting to know not only the names of our students, but also a little more about them as individuals.  I wonder if the big studio or chain gym currently running a fire sale is going to connect with their students on a deeper level, or view them as numbers (or dollars) in the door.

I get it.  Sometimes you just want to practice yoga anonymously.  Sometimes you want more variety in your “workout.” There’s an energy that comes from being in a crowded room.  However, yoga was originally a one-on-one experience, which virtually guaranteed the asana practice was developed for the student.  The practice of yoga is more of a “work-IN” rather than a “work-out.”

In a smaller “mom and pop” yoga studio, class size is smaller.  There’s more room to practice.  Students can see the teacher.  And the teacher can see ALL of the students.  In a smaller—and often more relaxed—environment, students can ask questions.  Sometimes, if you’re really lucky, you’re the only one who shows up for class and you effectively get a private yoga lesson for a deep discount.

As any beginning yogi knows, large classes can actually be somewhat intimidating:  you’re afraid someone is looking at you and judging you; you hesitate to ask questions; everybody else in the room seems to know each other and are already paired off…the list goes on and on.

In a smaller (dare I say, “boutique”?) yoga studio teachers are able to get to know your practice and make adjustments that can deepen your understanding of yoga.  The studio’s owner(s) and teachers can make class, teacher, or workshop suggestions that will compliment your personality, lifestyle, and other activities.  In a smaller yoga studio, your teacher can see your practice grow.  Each compliment he or she makes about your progress increases your confidence.  In my book, this is a definite advantage over large yoga classes and chain yoga studios.

Another advantage is the opportunity to have your voice heard.  I recently wrote an article about Amanda Michaels-Zech and Laurie Zink Haller rallying their friends and creating a new 6am morning class (T/Th) taught by Dev Rice.  Ask yourself:  would a large chain yoga studio be able to pull this off?  Would they even want to?

Our goal at Goorus is our students’ well being.  Integrity is deeply important to us and we strive to create a safe, high-quality yoga experience.  Our teachers are all top-notch 500-RYT instructors. Our floors are clean and well-kept.  Our props are in excellent condition.  And John and I know nearly every single one of our practitioners by his or her first name.

My husband and I used to practice yoga on our “date night” at this studio in its first iteration.  I’ve met some of my best friends while practicing with Al Tavera in its second iteration.  And I completed my first yoga teacher training here.  John grew up in the Palisades and our son is currently a freshman at Pali High.  When we heard the studio was closing last year, we couldn’t let the dream of a dedicated yoga studio in the Palisades die. 

When we were in the planning phases before opening the doors, we hadn’t anticipated the many wonderful relationships we would have with our members.  When a student needed a ride to the studio because she’d given up her driver’s license, we reached out to our network and they made sure she made it to class. When we learned that two of our students enjoyed hiking, we connected them and they are now regularly hiking together before yoga class.  We have hosted photo shoots, private dance classes and, most recently (and joyfully), a baby shower.

Our little yoga studio provides quality and convenience for our local residents, and is unique to the Palisades for travelers.  Taking into consideration that your time and peace of mind are invaluable, the ability to walk and bike to Goorus make this an attractive option.  Reduce my time in traffic AND decrease air pollution?  Sign me up!  Finally, local businesses such as ours help add flavor to an already distinctive community.

Yoga seems to be happening everywhere, and we know you have lots of choices about where to practice.  John and I thank you for your current, continued, and future loyalty to Goorus.  It is the engine that keeps us going.  This studio and this community are near and dear to my heart.  We hope you will give us a chance to work our way into yours.

Gretchen Lightfoot

A Yoga Alliance RYT-500, Gretchen trained with Carmen Fitzgibbon, Thomas Taubman, and Gigi Snyder of YogaWorks in Los Angeles. Gretchen’s teaching experience includes YogaWorks, Neutrogena, Fancy Feet Dance Studio, the Palisades Library, the Palisades Rec Center, and one-on-one work with a number of private clients throughout LA.

Gretchen’s classes vary in style. Her weekday morning classes run from a balanced, all-level flow to a chilled-out yin practice, to an Iyengar-style wall practice. Sunday morning flow tends to be a little more energetic (expect music). Regardless of the style, Gretchen encourages practitioners to listen to their bodies and modify where needed.