Posted by: Yoga in Borve | July 11, 2017

Midsummer Review

There are some changes afoot to this website as well as my classes/policies. I hope you’ll read the whole of this post, but if not, here’s the minimum ‘need-to-know’:

  1. read the new ‘Booking‘ page, which contains the revised booking and cancellation policy
  2. see the old ‘Weekly classes‘ page for info on classes from 17 July until 11th August (this page will be deleted in August)
  3. see the new ‘Timetable‘ page for info on classes from 14th August until 12th September.

Thank you! And please do read on…

Although weekly general classes haven’t been on in June and early July, and I’ve been here, there and everywhere, I’ve also spent a lot of time working at home. I’ve been mulling over the last year, reviewing finances, completing tax returns, dealing with enquiries, and planning future yoga and pilates teaching.

Since last summer, I’ve finished my prenatal yoga qualification and added pregnancy yoga courses to my timetable. I learned so much of value from Judy Cameron’s ‘Yoga for Pregnancy’ training module; and the groups of local pregnant ladies I’ve taught during and since the module have been great fun. And of course, it’s a special moment when I get to meet or see a photo of one of the ‘yoga babies’ once they’ve made their way into the world!

Willie, at 8 weeks – one of our first Skye & Lochalsh ‘yoga babies’. He’s now more than 6 months old and doing great 🙂

In the last year, I’ve also done a lot of varied and interesting private tuition: all ages from about 7 to 70; from one-to-ones up to large groups; from those new to yoga/pilates to those with lots of experience; and a very wide spectrum of fitness levels and health conditions. I increased the number and variety of weekend workshops I do, using these as a way to focus in on particular aspects or styles of yoga. The weekend workshops have also been a good way for those who don’t wish or aren’t able to come to a regular weekday class to do some yoga with others occasionally. Pilates teacher Hazel Robertson and myself ran two very popular ‘pilates/yoga/chocolate’ afternoons earlier in the year. Putting on an afternoon, day or weekend event with other teachers is definitely something I’d like to do more of in the future. Hazel and I also worked together on a handout of modifications and alternatives for those attending our pilates classes, with the blessing of their physiotherapists but with spinal conditions (e.g. osteopenia) which mean not all exercises are appropriate for them. Local physiotherapists who also themselves have yoga/pilates experience provided helpful advice and feedback for this project. I enjoy working with other professionals and increasing my knowledge of specific conditions such as osteporosis – one of the things I love about what I do is there is always scope to learn more!

Financially, the good news is after two years making a loss, then a third year in which I was into teensy-weensy profit, in my fourth financial year of self-employment, I made a slightly more respectable profit. Not enough to reach the threshold where I’d have to pay tax. And not nearly enough to qualify as a living wage, let alone a ‘professional salary’ for the average weekly working hours I’ve put in. But I find it heartening, anyway!

Heartening, but not sustainable in the longer term, so I’ve been using some of my free hours when I’d normally be teaching this month to work out how, after the summer, I can keep offering the same amount of classes in a more viable way. Because I really do love teaching you all.

I attend pilates and yoga classes everywhere I go in Scotland, so I’m aware my class rates are quite a bargain, particularly for the small class sizes I teach and the level of experience/training I have. Nevertheless, I am going to stick with my 2015 prices as far as possible. So, if you advance book two or more classes (which is what most of you do), the rate will continue to be £7.50 per 90 minute class. The cost of a one-off class payment and/or ‘pay on the day’ is rising to £8.50. Private tuition will continue to be a total fee of £30/hr for 1 or 2 people. The total hourly rate for private tuition groups of 3-6 people is increasing to £33/hr.

Rather than hiking prices higher, my plan is to make ‘Yoga in Borve’ viable by working more efficiently. In a nutshell this means me spending less time on the computer. At the moment, I spend well over ten hours a week dealing with emails, and this can certainly be reduced.

So – I’d like you to think of your mat place in class in the same way as you would a ticket for a cinema or train seat – you book it by paying for it, and if you can’t come to it, you can choose to send someone instead of you, or leave it empty. I will no longer be organising substitutes/refunds for people – but I am still happy for you to organise someone else to take your place in any class you’ve booked but can no longer come to. Just let me know if you’ve arranged this. Also, from now on places are only booked once the money is actually in my hands or in my bank account. I am sorry to have to get stricter about this; but it’s because I’m increasingly experiencing time-consuming situations in which someone tells me they’ve booked by transferring money online, yet the money doesn’t appear in my account, and I’m left for several days not knowing whether they’ve changed their mind, forgotten, not actually sent the money yet but are intending to, or have sent the money but something has gone wrong – and I have to keep checking my account then try to chase it up tactfully.

Please read the new Booking tab on my website for the full information on these changes.

I will also be changing the way I deal with emails by setting aside a maximum of two hours a day – one in the morning and one in the evening – to respond to them. Essential enquiries (such as, ‘is there a space in tomorrow’s class and if so can I pay for it now?’) should still receive a response within 24hrs. Emails which ask for information which is easily available on the website (such as ‘how much does a class cost now?’ or ‘what time is the Thursday class?’), or has already been received via email by the enquirer (such as ‘which classes did I book in for this month?’) will be given lower priority.

I know my regulars are a lovely bunch of people, and of course it’s in your interests too if I’m able to continue offering classes at these prices on 5 or 6 days of the week, so I thought I’d let you know some things you can do to make my current level of yoga & pilates teaching and pricing more viable. Lots of you do some or all of these things already, and I really appreciate that. Others amongst you will just not have realised quite how much time overall I spend on these things, and now that you know, you might be able to make a few wee changes to help reduce my hours in front of the screen.

Please:

  1. At the time you book classes, keep your own written record of what you’ve paid for (whether that’s keeping the booking email somewhere you can find it, using a diary or calendar, etc.)
  2. When you need some information about classes, booking, etc., check the website first to see if the info you need is there
  3. Ask yourself: ‘Might Catherine already have emailed me the information I’m wanting?’ If so, please search your own email folders for it before emailing me
  4. Learn how to search your emails properly if you don’t know how to at the moment. For example, in Hotmail/Outlook (the systems I use), even if you’ve deleted an email from me, you could retrieve it by going to your deleted folder and typing ‘yoga catherine’ into the ‘Search mail and people’ box, and it will bring up all the emails containing those terms. When folk email me saying they’ve ‘lost’ an email from me, I often have to run this type of search for them on my folders
  5. If you’re wanting recommendations for yoga resources, practices or products, in the first instance look at my website and the Yoga in Borve facebook page – I regularly share others’ articles, yoga teaching film clips, etc., which I think are good. There are also reviews of books and yoga mats on my website, as well as posts with advice and links about practising yoga at home.
  6. If you’re wanting free professional advice, ask me before or after your class – I’m always around for 5 or 10 minutes either side of the class time. Or, if you happen to see me in a cafe or at a social event – I’m always happy to chat about yoga & pilates!
  7. If you need more than ten minutes of my time to advise you on your yoga practice (and please bear in mind it always takes me far longer than ten minutes to read and respond to an email asking for advice about particular health issues, yoga poses, resources, etc.), you can book a private tuition appointment with me. Most people book an hour and find it goes quickly, but you could also book a half hour slot, if an hour seems too long or too expensive. Booking a private session means not only will I have done research into the best poses/resources for the issues you’ve raised, but you will also get the benefit of doing the suggested poses/breathing exercises under individual guidance.

Those of you who have made it this far through the post – thank you for the time you’ve taken to read this – I really appreciate it!

If you have any requests or suggestions – things you’d like to see included in classes? workshops or events for the autumn and winter? improvements I could make in communicating with those who already come to classes, or encouraging those who are tempted but haven’t quite got round to trying yoga or pilates yet? – please do let me know; your input is always valued.

Looking forward to doing yoga and pilates with you soon,

Best wishes, Catherine

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