Wednesday, 29 July 2009

The MUKTI lottery needs your help!

Dear Teachers,

As you will have noticed we didn’t hold a Surya Namaskar-athon in Reading this year. We felt with the financial time that we would try something else and what we are doing is holding a Lottery.

First Prize £3,000
Second Prize £300
Third Prize £30

Each ticket will cost £3 and the tickets will come in books of 10. The draw will take place on 16th January 2010. SO A LUCKY JANUARY FOR SOMEONE IN THESE TOUGH TIMES.

FOR THIS TO BE A SUCCESS WE NEED YOU TO SELL THE TICKETS FOR US. Please let me know by return email how many books you would like; remember you have until the end of December to sell the tickets.

This Lottery is our big fund raising event for the children in our 2 orphanages for this year, please help us to make this a success.

(Contact Uddhava for more details)

Don't forget that the Dorset Surya Namaskar-athon is still going ahead and Arjuna is busy organising as we speak so please do come along on SUNDAY NOVEMBER 15 2009!

Monday, 27 July 2009

Trudie Styler

A national journalist and gossip columnist recently singled out MUKTI patron Trudie Styler in The Guardian newspaper.

Trudie Styler

Marina Hyde used her weekly Lost In Showbiz column to lambast Trudie Styler after receiving a press release about her new DVDs.

Marina Hyde

Although you can make up your own mind about the article Marina Hyde didn't give Trudie Styler any right of reply and she definitely didn't take into account the range of charity work that Trudie Styler is involved in, not least the MUKTI project.

You can read the article by clicking HERE and I include it so that that you can add your own comment or write to The Guardian with your own views, should you feel it's appropriate.

Where have my students gone?

TYA teacher Dee has written to The Ashram with a question about class attendence and advertising, two things that must affect us all. If you have any comments or advice for Dee, and the rest of us, email me ( and I'll post the reply on this site. Here's Dee's email...


Could I put my perennial question again...

‘Has anyone else noticed class numbers drop off dramatically in the 2nd half of the summer term? Has anyone decided to stop a class because of poor attendance? What was your analysis of the cause for low numbers (wrong place/time?) And how did you resurrect yourself? Do you have a timetable for advertising, e.g. do you have a permanent ad somewhere, or do you remind yourself to advertise every half term? Is it worth advertising in the summer holidays or do you find it better to advertise only during term-time when people are about? Have you already advertised for next term’s class? Where? Local papers, shop windows, leaflet drops, any other suggestions?

After a flurry of enquiries (2!) from the ad earlier in the year, I have had no more internet enquiries and falling class numbers. Lynnie’s idea of doing a leaflet drop in the target village worked well at first, but I think the village was too small to support my class, as people’s circumstances changed and their attendance dropped off, I ended up teaching 2 people most weeks and making £2 after hall fees, clearly not enough financial gain to keep my interest, though the people who did come were super. So I may have to go more urban!! But a leaflet drop there would be a huge task! So any suggestions?

Kind regards



An answer to Dee's question from Swami Ambikananda:

I don't think there's any one single thing that we can do to keep that summer term going, when people are enjoying some sunshine, but here are some things that have worked for me in the past:

1. Paying for a term at a time. Then people have more of a stake in continuing to attend and you are not left financially drained. This is important : money is an exhange of energy and if you're not getting adequately recompensed for your time, you will lose the energy to keep teaching. So, get the money right.
2. A leaflet drop is such a big job. But what about some good posters in a few shop windows or at the library? And check their condition every now and then - if they get tacky replace them - or just use a new, different picture.
3. This one I have learnt just in the last few years - and it took me by surprise! Start you September term (when psychologically everyone is gung-ho to finally start doing that Yoga class they've been thinking about for years) oversubscribed. I know it means it will be a bit of a tight squeeze at first but not everyone comes to every class and then as the class thins out as soon as the sunshine comes, you're not left empty.
4. And this is the most important : let your students know you want them to spread the word. They value your class and they will understand that you can't keep it going without enough interest, so get them recruiting for you. Maybe even offer them a discount for each person they sign up.
5. The surprise teacher : occasionally invite someone who has a different skill to do a class. Not too often - two or three times a year is enough -acupressure, partner yoga, chanting, whatever. It keeps interest going especially if you talk about a good few weeks beforehand - don't spring it on people - make it something they can look forward to. If you trawl around the TYA teachers you'll find people with oodles of 'specialities'.

Hope this helps - you have so much good stuff to offer.

Peace, Swami Ambikananda


Dee's response:

‘Dear Swamiji

Thank you so much for your kind words of advice. There is certainly something there to act upon! Regards Dee’

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Summer School information

Below is a message from Margaret regarding the summer school:

I perhaps didn’t make it too clear about the teacher on the 19th August. It was going to be Bruce Singleton, but he’s had to cancel because of work commitments and so stand-in teacher for the 19th August is Sylvia Smith.

Again, many thanks.

Luv Marg xx.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

TYA Support Group - latest meeting

Below is a roundup of what went on at the recent support group meeting which is open to ALL TYA teachers, whether recently graduated or experienced. It is an excellent event which takes place in a village halfway between Reading and Dorset and is organised by TYA teacher Lynnie:

Hello Everyone,

It was decided at the recent Support Group meeting that it would be a good idea if I were to drop you a few lines just to let you know how the meeting went and what went on, so here goes.

Sunday 5 July was one of those 'sunshine and showers' days so I think we were lucky that although we arrived at Collingbourne Ducis in a downpour, we were able to eat our picnic in lovely sunshine out on the grass at lunch time.

Sadly, not everyone who had said they would be coming actually turned up, so we were a little down on numbers, however those who did come all felt that it was an extremely useful and helpful day.

Special thanks to Sharon who during the session in which we shared our favourite Vinyasa gave us a set of beautiful sequences to take away and try on our unsuspecting classes. Also, thanks to Mary and Ben who shared lovely Nidra with us and again gave us all some much appreciated material to take away with us. Ben was kind enough to send each of us a copy of the beautiful flute music which he used in his Nidra. Thanks Ben!

The period in the programme devoted to sharing ideas on equipment, music, books etc yielded some lovely CDs, books and an extremely interesting support harness for the seated position in meditation. Thanks Sanna! Here is the supply information that people wanted:

Acumag Ltd
106 West St
Kent DA8 1AQ
Tel: 01322 447610

As someone who struggles in maintaining a comfortable position for meditation I found this support harness fabulously helpful. I felt I could have sat blissfully for hours!

During our discussion period Ben raised the subject of charging for yoga classes - in particular whether we all found it better to charge for classes in advance or to allow drop-in payment. He also wanted to discuss what was reasonable to charge for private sessions. The general concensus was that unless numbers are very strong the best policy is to charge a non-refundable fee for a set of classes in advance - the range being between £7.00 per session and £10.00 per session depending on location. For private work the fee charged by most of us was £40.00 for a 90 minute session.

Mary alerted us to the need to be mindful of the requirement for a music licence if using music during a yoga class in a public place, and to be particularly careful about using copied CDs.

Everyone who attended was convinced as to the value of continuing these support meetings, and the decision was taken to try the meeting next year on the first Sunday in October to avoid the pressure on weekends that we all experience in the summer. Don't worry, for those of us who don't have a 2010 diary yet, I will be bursting into print next year.

Many thanks to those who attended, it was so good to see you and to exchange ideas and experiences. Thank you so much for your support (and for your help with the washing up!!)

I do hope you will be able to join us next year!

Fond regards

The Eileen Bray Yoga Summer School - 2009

The summer yoga school in Wokingham is underway and Uddhava is teaching at the event this coming Wednesday, 22nd July. The leaflet with more details of who to contact is below.

The Eileen Bray Yoga Summer School - 2009
Emmbrook Senior School (gym Emmbrook Road, Wokingham, Berks RG41 1JP (on entering the main gate, keep bearing left - parking for the gym is located towards the back left of the school)

These are “drop in” classes so there is no need to book in advance

Wednesday 8:00 pm – 9:30 pm

T u t o r s

08 July Margaret Shepherd
15 July Japke Wanrooij
22 July Uddhava
29 July Lynn Hook
05 August Judith Griffiths
12 August Claire Ruben
19 August Bruce Singleton Sylvia Smith
26 August Margaret Manning

Tutors are fully qualified. Students are advised to inform the teacher if they are new to Yoga, or have any medical conditions that may preclude them from doing certain movements. Please wear loose, comfortable clothing, bring a non-slip mat, block(s), belt, blanket and / or extra sweater for relaxation at the end of the session.

Cost: £6.00 payable at the door
Part of the proceeds to go to:
The British Heart Foundation and Local Charities

For further information, directions, etc please contact:
Margaret on 0777 889 1874 or
(Subject: “Summer School”)

Monday, 20 July 2009 advert performance - June 2009

Latest figures...

JUNE 2009
Number of people who viewed the advert in the local area: 341
Number of people who viewed the advert nationally: 107
Number of people who clicked on the advert to find out more: 50

MAY 2009
Number of people who viewed the advert in the local area: 324
Number of people who viewed the advert nationally: 150
Number of people who clicked on the advert to find out more: 40

Number of people who viewed the advert in the local area: 574
Number of people who viewed the advert nationally: 297
Number of people who clicked on the advert to find out more: 36
Subsequent calls to teachers via the advert:
Diane Hargraves had one phone call.
Alex Carter had two enquiries.
Dee Johnson had two phone calls.

Number of people who viewed the advert in the local area: 875
Number of people who viewed the advert nationally: 421
Number of people who clicked on the advert to find out more: 39

Number of people who viewed the advert in the local area: 344
Number of people who viewed the advert nationally: 239
Number of people who clicked on the advert to find out more: 10