So there I was, at Swami Govindanda’s talk. I’d travelled some 10 hours round trip to be there and I wasn’t disappointed. Swami Ji, as he’s affectionately known, was great. Compassionate, warm, engaging, clear, illuminating. What a treat!
Yet I was one of only a handful of people who’d turned out on that frosty cold Queenstown night to hear Swami Ji talk, despite the fact that Queenstowners only had to drive ten minutes to be there.
And that got me thinking – it’s one thing to offer to host a visiting yoga teacher. It’s quite another to know how to organise and promote the event. After all, yoga teacher’s aren’t event organisers. It takes energy, commitment, work and know-how to put the leg work and hustling in that’s required to get a good audience along to any event.
But the rewards are so worth it, and with each successful event any yoga teacher hosts, the next one gets easier and easier to promote.
Networks build up, word of mouth spreads, connections are made, a community is created, you build reputation and credibility. Soon, you just have to mention you’re bringing so & so to town… and you’re guaranteed a full house.
So here are a few tips to help you run a successful yoga event.
1. Booking the teacher – are you committed?
This is the number one consideration before you say yes to that visiting yoga teacher. Are you passionate and committed to whatever it is that they are offering? Can you sell it because you believe in it? Nothing is more convincing than someone who really believes in the event. If you wouldn’t travel across town to go to this teacher, why are you offering to host them?
It takes energy and time to host an event, so also have a think about what you’re going to get out of it because it does matter. Are you getting a cut of takings? If not, why not and are you truly comfortable with that? Is there a way you can make the event worth it for you? It doesn’t have to be cash, but there has to be a return of some type because otherwise why are you bothering?
2. Timing and location – does it clash and is it suitable?
Don’t schedule a thing until you’ve checked in with the local yoga community to make sure your workshop doesn’t clash with another one. Remember we’re all working cooperatively here, so we need to talk to each other. There’s only so many eager event attendees, so much workshop time and so many workshop dollars to go around. Let’s make it work for all of us. I’d hate to see someone scheduling Shiva Rea and Ana Forrest for the same month, let alone the same weekend.
Also, check in with the calendar of local events. Is there something else big that the local community is already committed to? An international rugby fixture? A city festival? An election?
Think carefully about the time of day that would best suit the event, and remember this can change with the seasons—7:30 pm is late on a winter’s night but can be perfect on a summer’s evening. Sometimes during the day works great, depending on who your audience is.
Think too about where to put this event. How many people do you expect? How many people would you like? What facilities are required? What location would improve the event, or bring in a ready-made audience? Don’t automatically think that your usual yoga class haunt is the right place. Maybe there’s not enough parking, or it’s too far to drive at night, or the heating is all wrong.
Consider using a search tool like YogaTrail to help you find that perfect location. Using YogaTrail’s Host Finder you can search for event and retreat venues across the globe, based on your required budget, location, dates and amenities.
3. Visualising the event – what are you trying to create?
So you’ve got a teacher, a time and a location. Pricing has likely been decided between you and the teacher. You’re all go. But wait. Now’s the time to sit down and do a little meditation.
Get calm, and clear, and grounded. Ask yourself, what would my best case scenario look like for this event? Be specific in your details. See the event happening in your mind’s eye – how many people are there? What’s the atmosphere like? What do people say to each other after the event? What does success look like and feel like for you?
Nothing turbo charges an event more than getting really clear about what you’re trying to create. It also helps if you know why you’re trying to create it. Why do you want your event to be successful? Me, I get a thrill from people coming together to share a common experience than inspires them to see beyond the normal day-to-day existence. When I host workshops, I get a thrill from seeing people open up to deeper aspects of yoga and themselves.
Once you’re clear, and you can see what it is you’re trying to create, you will effortless know what you need to do to bring this vision to manifestation. Because it does take action. You will need to do the things I talk about in Part 2 of this article – but you may not have to do all of those things. If a successful event is twenty people at a one-day workshop, you may get enough bookings from a single email to your own yoga students – so no point in printing posters, going to the media, or talking to anyone else.
But if your successful event means 200 people packed into a town hall to hear an international speaker, more hustle may be required.
Don’t ever underestimate this part of the process. It’s about mindfulness, about being fully present and engaged in everything that you do. Complete engagement will unlock the energy and pathway you require to create your dream. It will also show you any blocks or fears that you may need to work through or release in order to achieve this dream. But that’s another article. For now, let’s just stick to successful event organisation!
In Part 2 of this article, find out how to get the media on your side, how to create promotional material that really sells and the importance of finding other passionate people to work with you.