Sunday, 23 May 2010

Profit hungry sports centres

TYA teacher Michelle is experiencing some financial bother with a sports centre. Can anyone give her some good advice?

Michelle said: "I currently teach at a sports centre three nights a week and they have recently put the prices up for students attending classes.

"As I haven't increased my fee for over two years I asked for a rise based on the number of students attending a class. i.e. my normal rate of £25 for up to 7 students and I would charge a new rate of £35 for 8 or more students. I felt this would be fair for them and myself. They have come back and said no which has left me somewhat disappointed.

"I have steadily built up the number of students in all my classes through my own advertising and recommendations and they regularly take £75 per class, giving them £50 profit so I didn't think I was being unreasonable.

"I just wondered if anyone had any suggestions or could give some idea of what other sport centres pay for a Yoga Class?"

To respond to Michelle please add a comment below or email me ( and I will post it up here for all to see.

Responses we have received so far:

Julie Currier said: "I read about Michelle’s comment regarding pay.

"I am paid £35 an hour and thought this is pretty standard, therefore, am surprised to read Michelle is paid less. I do know that no matter if I have 4 or 10 I am still paid the same and I am sure this applies to other Yoga teachers – I may be wrong. The centre is not ‘playing fair’ especially as she has built up the class numbers.

"Getting centres to move on pay may be tricky; if she was to hire a hall would her students go with her? Perhaps she could ask the centre the exact number that she would need to attend before her pay rose. Good luck."

TYA teacher Hermione added: "Maybe our teacher is being a little bit greedy. If she has not put her rate up for two years then to put it up by apparently almost 9% is more than the rate of inflation ,even over 2 years.

"I think she needs to see what percentage the fitness centre has increased their rates by and negotiate to do similar. Perhaps if their's has increased by 8-9% she could negotiate something in between, so that it is a win -win situation for everyone.
"I think she has confused the situation by saying her rate will be £35 if she has 8 students or more. Just stick with whatever formula she originally used to set her price and then add a percentage rate to that.

"Given that inflation has only been about 2% for the past 2 years, I think the most they will accept is something like £28 per hour or at a push £30. Remember they have the clout.

"There are plenty more yoga teachers so decide if you really want to work there and where else you could work and whether it is a matter of principal, money, or service that is the deciding factor. But above all she must feel happy working there. With some tactful negotiation and a bit of give and take I am sure a reasonable solution can be found."

Swami Ambikananda has responded to this question:


I have long been concerned that Yogis and Yoginis, all belonging to different schools and speaking from different areas of understanding, might never come to speak with the one voice needed for collective bargaining.

Yoga is no different from any other skill: we spend many years learning and acquiring our skills, we carry on our learning process even while we are teaching, we bring all of that to the market-place and ignore history.

And history tells us that the market-place will pay us as little as it can get away with!

Wanting a share in the increase of money that is being demanded from students is not greed. Rather it is the realisation that the basic pay on offer is so poor that it would take a much greater percentage increase to make it anything like a decent living wage. And for those of us for whom Yoga is our life, it would be great to actually be able to earn a living from it!

Do not let anyone fool you into believing that bringing love and compassion to work means you should give it for free. We are only better able to spread those wonderful qualities, that we take the time as practising Yogis to build, when we know our work is valued. And the way we measure value in the market-place is through money.

I am always saddened when those of us of an age when we are leaving behind our careers, fail to see the needs of younger members of our profession who need our strong voices to encourage them towards a fair deal! Our support would be the Yoga Way.

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