We did our best. We spoke seamlessly for an hour. We shared our seven steps to creating and nurturing a strong yoga community. 1. Something about yogurt. Linda Howard always said, “ I teach people who don’t know the difference between yogurt and yoga.” I love how this casts a wide net for gathering beginners to join our community. 2. Excite them about the practice. No matter how many new students you invite, unless you can inspire them and provide an exceptional experience, they will never come back. 3. Cultivate a membership culture. You already belong, now join has been our tag line. We want to provide special incentives for students to become members! We know that regular attendance at the studio is the best way to craft a successful and sustained yoga practice. 4. Thrive with teacher trainings. Teacher training creates such community. Can’t you just feel it at the studio? 33 happy students elevating their learning, talking about things other than fitness in relation to the practice? These teacher trainers keep the excitement about the practice alive as they deepen their understanding of yoga, living the experience of yoga as a path to enlightenment. 5.Let the schedule change. “Kim I am going back to school, I need to drop my class. Kim, I am moving to California I need to drop my class, Kim, I am just too busy, I need to drop my class.” I hear about these life changes all the time. I am so happy that we have built a culture and community that allows Chris and I to say, “Congratulations on your new job, your new baby, your new life.” We want our students and teachers to live their dream; we are not worried about the health of our studio or the ability of our community to continue without them. This is the yogic path. 6. Overcome obstacles. In chapter 11 in the Bhagavad-Gita Krishna reveals the entirety of his divinity to Arjun. At first Arjun sees all the beauty of Krishna’s godliness, his white sand beaches, the Santa Monica Pier, the giant Ferris wheel, the blue of the ocean, the white of the gulls, the bright shining sun in the crystal clear sky, but then Arjun broadens his gaze and looks into Krishna’s mouth where he sees a human demolition machine. All of everything is being devoured, decapitated, and crushed. Krishna sees all of the darkness, all of the horror, all of the fear, anxiety and death that life has to offer. When we see the whole we must face the shadow as much as we stand on the light. If you are going to persist in community you will have to walk through the obstacles, you will have to overcome. 7.Open a new location. With 7 babies under our belt, you know we love this idea. We respond to our community’s requests for closer, more convenient locations. We respond to our teacher’s requests for more opportunities. We believe that until everyone is practicing yoga, there is room for growth! Let make it happen.