Where’s the Diversity by Brette Popper

The other day as I paged through the newest Yoga Journal I noted that about 95% of the photographic images were of thin white women between 25 and 45. It’s true that a recent Yoga Journal study suggested that a majority of practitioners are women (82.2%) and most (62.8%) are 18-44. The practice of “Yoga in America” has been on a positive trajectory…increasing 29% in the past 4 years.
But there is so much more opportunity for growth.
Given that our last Presidential election was clearly won on the power of minority support and changing overall demographic patterns, I am stupified as to why New York studios don’t try harder to reflect a wider range of people practicing?
In order to find more students we need to provide opportunities for a broader definition of yoga student.
We have to broaden our base of support.
• Offer a minority scholarship program for Teacher Trainings.
• Photograph a wide range of color, body type and age in promotional material. Create a video class in Spanish.
• On your blogs and newsletters, write about practitioners of color or interview men with tough flexibility issues or showcase a teacher who can’t easily put their leg behind their ear.
• Treat someone different than you to class.
Recently several studios in town have asked me how they can find more students. My suggestion: take a tip from Obama’s win, find the future face of America and your business will grow as a result of your efforts.

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One comment

  1. Thanks for that article, Brette. Great points. I think yoga studios should become the future community centers, focusing on service to all, looking for ways to introduce yoga to the underprivileged through community classes, trauma-sensitive yoga classes and workshops. From my experience with prison work, I’m finding so many yoga teachers looking for opportunities to serve. This paradigm shift, from business to service, should start in the studios.

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