Niche Case Study: In Search of ‘Moon Mammas’

Years ago, when I did my first workshops in Winnipeg, I met Beth Martens (who I featured in the March 2011 blog post on Yoga for Caregivers).

She was a yoga teacher and single mom who was so committed to getting out of the struggle of ‘making it’ as a yoga teacher. And such a lovely person. When she found out I was doing my six week, virtual Niching for Hippies program she offered to share her story in case it might inspire others in their journey around finding their niche.

This guest post by Beth is also a great example of the power of having a unique point of view on the journey your clients are undertaking. And a powerful example of how our deepest wounds can often be the doorway to our truest niche.

Give it a read and share your thoughts below. Beth would love to hear your reflections.

 

In Search of ‘Moon Mammas’

Niche Marketing Musings by Beth Martens

As a musician and yoga teacher who combine yoga instruction with live music experiences, my yoga audience has become increasingly more mainstream.  You can’t spit without hitting a yoga centre (and I hope you don’t!). It is increasingly more difficult to message and market what I do now that “modern” yoga is becoming just another form of popular exercise.  

Thankfully, it’s made me really think about the people I want to work with and how I can identify what comes naturally to me as a niche.  All I knew about that to start, was that it had to be meaningful, have deep roots and be able to engage me at the love-level in the context of healthy community. Tall order!

So I sat down one-on-one with Tad Hargrave, Marketing for Hippies guru-dude, a few years back when he presented his first Winnipeg workshop to the local holistic crowd.  

In the session, I concluded, based on my own journey of travelling to India eight times, surviving a life-threatening cancer, and being a mom of a young son and facing many major life challenges earlier in life, that I wanted to work with caregivers.

I also knew that due to the unruly nature of live-in-person events, I wanted to teach workshops, create teleseminars and videos, as well as produce and publish recordings of my music for the growing digital market.

Every person who is faced with having to niche market will experience some form of anxiety.  Part of the risk of “narrowing down,” is eliminating and possibly alienating potential students and clients.

Caregivers seemed to fit my personal mission and be a minimal risk, because at least 1 in 3 people will become a caregiver at some time in their life. Caregivers may include – professionals, parents, family or friends looking after sick loved ones and those in general who take it upon themselves to be responsible for someone else’s well being.  So I left the net big and wide, not wanting to lose my already captive appreciators in the process.

In that first year of focusing more on caregivers, I created a series called Yoga Cream Pie. It  combined everything I do into one health-packed, self-spa day that was a haven for caregivers. They were able to relax and get cushy with some restorative yoga and massage. The day included live music and a chance to connect with other caregivers.  The community seemed to take notice and soon I was doing yoga for all kinds of professional caregiver events as well.  

Last summer we offered up a caregivers’ urban retreat and niched it “For Those Who Want to Get Away and Can’t,” recognizing that this group has a limited ability to carve time for self-care and personal development, and we made our sold-out event really easy to access.  

While on paper my large, broad-span niche worked well, I noticed nothing but frustration would arise in regards to how to communicate about my services – in fact, I couldn’t come up with a clear message because I was trying to talk to so many different kinds of caregivers!

At that time I was inspired to divert away from mass messaging and create several personal yoga coaching programs instead.  Recognizing that people have specific healing and therefore yoga needs when it comes to recovering from their caregiving ordeals. It wasn’t long before I had a steady stream of clients that could take what I have to offer and get deep, lasting results in their lives.  This allowed me to choose the people that I wanted to work with individually, who were actually ready and able to work with me. I no longer had the feeling that I  was just putting in time for work – I was REALLY helping them and vicariously everyone with whom they connected.

As a niche exercise, coaching was amazing at helping me define who I actually wanted to work with in a really specific way. I came to entertain the idea that if I’m going to spend such a large portion of my life devoted to work I feel passionate and utterly compelled to do, then I wanted it to be with caregivers that are specifically on a cosmic path of the soul – a term that I now use ‘moon mamma’ to describe.  Once I came to this realization the inspiration for Moon Yoga was born.

Moon Yoga is for people who are mothering, both in the literal and in the Divine, archetypal sense.  Mothering, in the classical definition, is very demanding, most times beyond the boundaries of what we feel we are capable. We persist because it does seem rather important to grow humans.  But Moon Yoga goes beyond the literal meaning of ‘mom’ into the archetypal Divine Feminine. A style of mothering that applies to raising children as much as it does to ushering into being an infinite variety of creations.

This motivated me to leave behind teaching the garden-variety yoga classes that are so readily available these days, and create Moon Yoga with its own theme song and logos. I am again personally inspired knowing that if I am extremely skillful in doing that which the moon cycles naturally favour then I won’t waste my time. I will be confident in knowing and getting the right things done at the right time. I will meet my goals, despite being bogged down on the physical plane as a mother.  

Every person on earth (the opposit of a niche!) can benefit from using yoga to get in sync with the natural flow of universal cycles. But herein lays what distinguishes you if you are in fact a ‘moon mamma’ like I am.  In addition to my son, I have “mothered” several creations into the world. Including the introduction of a rebel-devotional music movement called kirtan in my hometown complete with recorded CD’s and an E- book for “People Who Can’t Sleep” along with live workshops.

Now I am serious about doing my part in bringing the Feminine Divine Mother archetype out from the underworld where she can shine in all her glory.

What makes you a ‘moon momma’ is that you’re really mothering, you are letting another being or creation depend on you for their daily existence.  How does this make you unique and give you special yoga, lifestyle and spirituality interests?  It means you focus much more easily on other people rather than yourself, you have (or make) no time for yourself, you are feeling the effects of stress in your life and are motivated to be very efficient with your time.

Moon Yoga’s World View in a Nutshell:

I’ve known my whole life that I could get in sync with something more than the outer and often artificially constructed, schedules and demands of the world.  Using the cycles of the moon as the basis for a yoga practice, or for that matter a work and life direction, means you not only know what to do, but when. You can stop wasting your time fighting against nature and its rhythms. I am not explicitly delivering content to all the “moms” out there, but to the cosmic and yogi mothers, as an archetype, who are ushering a new life to earth in infinite ways.

To make this type of yoga available to my ideal client I have contained it as a 12 Week Moon Yoga Online Challenge, delivered via the Internet at bethmartens.com. The course contains 12 yoga/meditation/music videos that are niched for “moon mammas”. From a business perspective, one of the beauties of teaching this yoga class online every week is that it almost instantly becomes a readily available hard-copy, packaged product that is easily repackaged.

I’ve realized through all my life experiences, that to thrive you have to know three things: how to build (grow), how to repair (heal) and how to clear debris.  This is what Moon Yoga teaches – how to recognize and observe lunar energy and apply it to the workings of your own lifestyle, actions and yoga practice. To not just learn to respect the ‘lunar lean’ that is on everything and everyone, but to use it as a launch pad for putting your good stuff into the world.  

My niche group includes women entrepreneurs, mompreneurs, moms, hippies, astrologers, yogis, new agers, new thought-ers, holistic practitioners, caregivers – nearly all the niches to which I can relate.  And here’s where I would love some feedback – is the ‘moon mamma’ niche, like caregivers, too big to communicate to with any clarity?  Or is it, in fact, too narrow?

I am predicting that the key to the potential of this niche, may be the sub-niche under “People Who Like to Learn Their Yoga Online”. This is something that I believe is going to explode beyond proportion.  I’m a bit late with generic online yoga courses, but possibly a pioneer of the first online cosmic, archetypal and astro yoga.  

The hope is that narrowing the niche doesn’t divert me away from what I’ve already accomplished.  For example, I discovered how easy it was to slipstream my existing music repertoire into a Moon Yoga Music Video collection that I am in process building. This music “accidentally” fit as the perfect soundtrack to Moon Yoga with ridiculous synchronicity.   

My main form of marketing is using social media and YouTube videos, interspersed with small tastes and samples from my video series, a teleseminar and MP3’s from previous and new recordings from The Yoga Lullabies 2 which is coming out this fall. My next gift-offering is a free 15 minute practice video, The River of Mother Ganga Mantra for Moon Mammas, that includes mantra, kirtan, guided meditation and a yoga practice.  

Since carving out caregivers as a niche market a few years back, refining it down to ‘moon mammas’ as a micro niche within the caregivers, this niche has actually expanded. Is it now so wide it’s almost not a niche anymore.  Let me know what you think.  

Beth Martens is a yoga teacher, personal coach, writer and musician living in the Canadian prairie.  She can be reached at and you can find more information about Moon Yoga at www.bethmartens.com.

 

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Want Help? If you’d like some more direct guidance and hand holding on figuring out your niche then go and check out my Niching for Hippies coaching program http://marketingforhippies.com/niching-for-hippies/

 

abundant yogi – not an oxymoron. an option

Last year at some point, I came across a lady named Kris Ward who runs a business called Abundant Yogi. Maybe I felt an affinity because my own business name is one of apparent contradictions too. “Marketing and hippies?? What?”

I’ve been following her stuff for a bit and thought it might be nice to share it with you all.

So many conscious entrepreneurs really struggle with making their business more than just an expensive hobby for them. Kris was in that place and in this blog interview she shares where she is now and some ideas on how you can turn your expensive hobby into a really wonderful, sustainable business you’re thrilled with. And to do it in a way that also creates a wonderful quality of life.

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What is abundant yogi? What’s the story of how it started?

Abundant Yogi is a reaction to all the “yogier than thou” tendencies I saw in the yoga and holistic wellness community, where teachers and service providers within the industry were afraid to promote themselves and their services for fear of looking greedy, too “corporate-y”, or un-yogi-like. I knew this was going on because I played into it for YEARS before I sat myself down one day for a serious BIG-SELF on little-self INTERVENTION.

I got really honest with myself about the lifestyle I wanted and the dreams I had, and I basically just made the decision that I was going to defy the norm and become an “Abundant Yogi” (a phrase that, up until that point, had pretty much been an oxymoron––at least for me and the other yogis I knew).

This decision was a no-brainer for me. I’d been wired like a true entrepreneur since I was a scrawny little 7th grader selling Blow-Pops and Airheads at school for 50 cents a pop and counting my wad of babysitting money over and over in a very joyful yet OCD fashion. My dad always told me I’d have to marry a rich guy or become a business owner because I had such expensive taste. I actually LOVED participating in the exchange of value.

To deny that I loved the game of business as much as I loved being a yogi and wellness coach just so I could be accepted by my ‘spiritual’ community was a big fat lie and super uncomfortable for me. It wasn’t authentic.

So I stopped pretending, relaxed into my desires, and started trusting them a lot more. I sought out and mentored under some really amazing people––entrepreneurs, leaders and coaches who were running multi-million dollar businesses built on integrity and real value. I began modeling them and learned everything I could from them, applying all the parts that felt right to me.

It took a few years but eventually I found my groove and got to the point where I actually felt free from the good opinions of others. At least enough to be myself (potty mouth and all) and “let it all hang out” on my blog and in my videos, courses and newsletters. And once I found that sweet spot, everything just started to flow.

Clients, speaking gigs, money in my bank account, better relationships, more confidence and creativity, the support team I wanted and needed… it all went from being ONE HUGE STRUGGLE (or nonexistent) to being quite fun, exciting, and easily accessible.

And you know how we humans are. The second we have a breakthrough and we discover the “magic formula” to anything, all we want to do is share the good news and bring other people into the same good fortune. So that’s how Abundant Yogi came to be.

I figured surely there were others out there like me (in the yoga community and beyond) who actually LIKED the idea of getting paid to be the real them, truly leaning into their pleasure, passions, and callings, and giving themselves permission to live the lifestyle they choose––for no other reason than that they choose to. That’s what the creative life force within them is called towards. And they choose to answer that calling in an honest way, through doing work that they LOVE that utilizes the best of their unique passions, talents and skills. That, to me, is the essence of lifestyle design.

Who do you work with?

Yoga teachers, Massage Therapists, Coaches, Healers, Wellness Professionals, Artists, Writers…. creative people with a passion to serve and a hankering for the good life.

What are the big three blunders that you see them making in their businesses?

Well they all have to do with Monkey Mind (stinkin’ thinkin’ that keeps them stuck instead of taking crucial action) and we go into ALL of these in my free training videos on the Abundant Yogi PhD site:

1) Thinking they’re not ready yet. They still need more training, more credentials, more experience, more testimonials, more fill-in-the-blank in order to really get started and charge what they’re worth (BS! They’re ready. They just have to own their brilliance, take action, focus on serving others instead of protecting themselves from “too much risk”. They’ve got to take responsibility and start being a PRO.)

a2) Thinking it’s all been said before. They have nothing original to add. How are they ever going to compete with all the others in their field? It’s all so saturated! (More BS! There is no such thing a competition when you’re just trying to be the best YOU you can be.)

3) Thinking that marketing sucks or doesn’t “work” in their field or with their market. Their market is “different”. Marketing “backfires” with yogis / spiritual folk / hippies / health nuts / holistic minded peeps. (Triple BS! Marketing is simply good leadership. It helps people who are looking for what you have to offer to actually FIND you and take full advantage of what you have, so they can get the relief / results they want.)

What’s your understanding of what’s underneath those challenges for you?

Fear. We think we have to wait until it’s gone before we move. Actually we have to act in spite of it.

It’s when we take risks, step outside of our comfort zone, and courageously focus on helping others get their needs met that we actually realize how powerful we are and how much value we have to share.  It’s in seeing ourselves take this action that the confidence comes, the rewards come, and the fear falls away.

What are the three most important marketing tools or tactics that you would give to any practitioner looking to grow their business?

1) Be unabashedly, unreasonably, unapologetically YOU. If you try to be anyone/anything other than the real you (in your marketing, your communications, classes, sessions, services, etc.), you’ll attract people that want more of the fake you. And you’ll always have to do that song and dance in order to keep them happy. That’s no fun at all. They’ll make you miserable and you’ll resent them for it, so everyone will pay for it in the long run.

2) Don’t be afraid to go narrow and strong in your niche. Boil what you do down to a kernel. (Ex: I just helped one of my clients narrow her “What do you do?” speech down to: “I’m a bedroom joyologist. I help women feel sexy and empowered in and out of the bedroom no matter what.” It was more tough than you probably realize for her to whittle it down to that very precise statement because she was afraid of being too narrow or excluding too many people. But you really can’t be too narrow. What is the saying?? “She who chases two rabbits catches none.”

Your market wants to feel like you know them, get them, understand their problems, irrational passions, fears and dreams. How can you speak their unique language and describe every aspect of their experience to them if you try to go too broad and speak to everyone? Zoom in on ONE tiny group and spoil them ROTTEN with super valuable content on a regular basis to create bonding, trust and even a sense of reciprocity. They’ll want to give you more business because you’ve helped them so much!

3) We often hear so much about how we should “show our expertise, but also show our vulnerability”. And this is true. People want to know that you’ve been where they are, you understand what they’re going through. So for sure, don’t be afraid to reveal some of your own struggles. BUT, for heaven’s sake, never reveal them if you’re right in the middle of them!! People have enough problems. They don’t need the weight of having YOURS dumped on them too. Wait until you’ve found resolution before you share your challenges so you can teach from a new place of clarity and even offer some insights as to how to avoid or get out of a similar sticky situation.

If you could sit a practitioner down and say, ‘look, do these three things every week and your business will double in a year’, what would they be?

Each week:

1) Create a valuable piece of content that offers relevant tips, tools and insights that will help your people get results in advance, even before they ever pay you a penny. Include at the end of that piece of content a simple and clear call to action that allows people to get on your mailing list for more helpful goodies.

2) Share each piece of content on your own blog, on other people’s blogs, via social media, etc. Turn a written piece into an audio piece, a video, a little handout, a tweet, a Facebook post, a nugget you can share with your clients/classes/students. Repurpose your content however you can and spread it around generously.

3) As your list of potential clients/customers/students grows, offer them opportunities to get more of your help/products/services so they can get the results they’re looking for. Create packages and programs that will move them further down the path they want to go. Over time, create an entire curriculum or family of products/services that they can choose from so that they’re always progressing forward and taking the next step into their own growth/freedom/transformation via YOUR offerings.

*BONUS: Take the time to write out testimonials for your satisfied customers and clients. Tell them you’ve taken the liberty of writing one for them and ask them to please edit it so that it feels true and authentic to them. These will provide valuable social proof and peace of mind for those who want what you have, but may be holding back or stuck on the fence because of their own skepticism or limiting beliefs.

Why does it feels so scary and gross for most practitioners when they think about growing their business, getting their name out there etc?

It’s just resistance. It’s our thoughts spinning out. We don’t have to believe them or even pay attention to them.

The more passionate we are about something the more we’ll tend to bump up against resistance, most of which is self-created and self-perpetuated. It’s a defense mechanism that paralyzes us and keeps us from taking too much risk and going for what we really really want.

So why don’t we WANT to go after what we really really want with 100% passion, commitment and gusto? Because what happens when we eff it up? What do we have LEFT when we’ve put everything we’ve got into what is MOST important to us and it just FLOPS?? We have nothing!

This is how Monkey Mind works. It’s at work ’round the clock clinging to approval, control and security. But it’s not even focused on what is REAL. It’s projecting into the future about what may or may not happen. Either way, it’s so scary to even fathom that it would rather choose to play small and just half-ass things instead. “At least if I don’t commit 100%, I won’t have to lose everything. I’ll just lose a little bit.”

But that’s just not living.

I guess that’s okay for some people but I’d rather be a dog and live fat, lazy and happy than do that.

If I’m going to be a human and have a mind, body and spirit like this, I’m going to uncover what’s possible for me because I have to answer that call from within.

For others who want that, bring it. You know where to find us. :)

Can you share three success stories from some of your clients? I’m curious to hear about what it’s like to work with you.

1) Well I already told you about one––my ‘bedroom joyologist’. She coaches women, live and over the phone, on how to feel sexy and confident in and out of the bedroom. She was a former model. When she moved on from that she didn’t know what to do next. For months she just took naps because she was lacking direction. She couldn’t figure out what she wanted to be when she grew up. So we did some work on lifestyle design to get her honest with herself again on what really made her tick. Today, just a few months later, she’s rocking and rolling with her own personal brand, getting testimonials left and right, spicing up many a sex lives and giving women all over the US and Canada the tools they need to feel sexy and confident in their own skin. That’s priceless. And my client is happier than ever.

2) Then I have another client who is the mama of two darling twin babies. Like me, she works with yogis who need serious help in the business and marketing arena. When she came to me she was stuck. She didn’t know how to be a mom AND make any money in business. It was pretty much one or the other. Once again, in just a few short months, she’s up and running, doing big launches, enrolling new clients every week, attracting sometimes 80+ new leads/potential clients to her website per day… and all of this without giving up any mommy time. She put herself and her own lifestyle needs first, then we redesigned her business to SUPPORT and uphold that lifestyle––not take away from it. All of my courses teach this to some degree.

We just upgraded her systems and tweaked her pricing, packages, coaching methods and schedule so it would be possible to juggle being a mom of twin babies AND a rockin’ business coach for yoga teachers.

3) Third, I’ll tell you about my client in Alaska who trains and certifies yoga teachers and also uses yoga as a healing platform for women who have suffered through sexual abuse and other trauma. She’s a character! She’s always been quite the taskmaster so getting things done wasn’t a problem. However getting them done with joy and ease, while attracting ONLY those clients who she adored working with, rather than clients who drained her energy, THAT didn’t come so easily. After working with me privately as well as going through my virtual programs, she’s a completely different woman. I see her in action now and she’s just graceful. There’s no more forcing, only allowing. She trusts herself so much more and she’s more in her feminine. She gives herself what she needs, without guilt or drama and get’s twice as much done with less stress. But above all that, the biggest change I’ve seen in her so far, is going from operating in what I’d call a FOG (albeit a very optimistic one), to operating from a place of extreme clarity of desire, grounded in who she is and what she’s here to do, and moving into momentum now with very clear priorities and intentions. Again, I think that’s priceless.

What would you say is the core focus of your work?

The focus isn’t so much on giving these women NEW businesses.

We just needed to tweak their businesses so that their preferred LIFESTYLE came first, and so that the clients they worked with and the work they do could be an absolute JOY, not a drag. We had them STOP doing what wasn’t fun and profitable, and start charging more for the work that they DID love doing; coaching, teaching, etc. And we repackaged their programs and upgraded their offers to make them irresistible to their ideal clients. My Alaska client is still a yoga teacher trainer and a yoga therapist for survivors of sexual abuse, but now she’s doing national launches instead of just working within the teeniny close-knit community where she lives.

I’m so proud of all of these women. Each of them is doing the work that they needed to do to finally get out of their own way and start living life by design.

Thanks, Tad, for the opportunity to share. I appreciate you spreading the word and sharing the Monkey Mind Makeover and Lifestyle Design Plan with everyone here. This is seriously transformational material and it’s my intention for many people’s lives and businesses to be upgraded and liberated as a result finding it.

XO

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If you want to learn more about what

Kris is up to and to see if it’s a fit just

CLICK HERE

for some free videos.

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yoga for caregivers

Last fall, I did my first ever workshop in Winnipeg, Manitoba. You can read about it here: day one, day two, day three.

And I sort of fell in love with the town – particularly the hippie neighbourhood of Wolsley.

One of the people who made my visit possible at all was a wonderful woman, mother and yoga teacher named Beth Martens (pictured right). As we got to know each other and discuss this whole idea of niching for her business a niche came up for her that felt so true: caregivers.

What you’re about to read is a gorgeous example of the power of empathy and becoming a hub.

So recently we had a little chat about how that was going for her.

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How long have you been teaching yoga now and what got you started with it?

My yoga practice is going on 20 years, beginning in Mysore, India when I took my first of eight trips there to study yoga, meditation and kirtan.  I’ve been teaching yoga and leading kirtan full time since 2003, upon recovering from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

I began with this practice because of a life-long attraction to practical spirituality.  I was totally disillusioned with religion and social control, but discovered quickly that the spiritual arts can be very personal and guided by a system at the same time.

I ended up in India almost by default, choosing a last half credit to graduate my undergrad degree in anthropology, taking a one-time-ever course in meditation for credit, and then feeling attracted to leave the academic behind and get my own feet in the ocean of life.

When I discovered that yoga is even bigger, more all-encompassing than anthropology, I traded “up” for the direct experience of all the stuff I’d read and heard described.  I wanted to see for myself what the science experiment in consciousness itself could hold for me.

You’ve recently been exploring focusing on the niche of ‘caregivers’. Can you tell us what prompted that – what was the need you saw in your community that gave you this idea – and how does that connect to your own life?

Carving out a niche was on your advice, and I really and finally got the point, that trying to be everyone’s singing yoga teacher was costing me too much energy, scattering my limited marketing efforts and making me feel overwhelmed enough to not promote at all.  Choosing a niche that genuinely matters to me makes me feel alive and energized in the communication and though still overwhelming, I don’t get stuck with that daunting, “where do I begin?”

You’ve also been a good model for supporting and uplifting one another in our small earth and consciousness-friendly projects, and seeing how high we can fly when forces are combined, competition removed from the foreground, and co-operation fully engaged.  It’s way more fun and has the fantastic side effect of making me feel connected with my community.

I also feel it was career transforming to hear you speak to the need for marketing plans to reflect community needs, to actually bring people together and to treat that growth like the real measure of wealth.  I was tripping on and off that idea vicariously, where now it’s an integral part of the game plan as well as  instructions to students. Thanks Tad!!

As I mentioned I had a three year struggle with my health, cancer of the lymph, that caused me to ask life’s big questions, and forced me to come up with answers, as my life was at stake.  In those years I was in need of and very close with several caregivers, and saw first hand what they were going through in efforts to help me save my own skin, not a little thing.

After recovering I also walked with several family members through their own scary illnesses, and now am the single mom of a young son.  When creating this niche I didn’t even see myself in the role of caregiver, but started getting lucid as I was reading and writing about the symptoms that this group share, no matter how they came to the role.

And they do indeed share stuff, mainly including a sense of energy depletion, reduced immunity and social isolation.  Caregiver is a role many will default into suddenly, rather than choose, so that creates a whole level of crisis-style lifestyle management that can go on at that crisis pace for years.

As our health care system becomes more and more weighed down demographically, as our society becomes less and less adept at caring for ourselves and each other, caregivers are left to pick up the pieces, survive on behalf of their loved ones and carry extraordinary and heroic-level burdens.

The deeper I looked into caregivers’ mostly silent journey, and realizing they have very little support systemically, the more I began to emotionally engage.  I recently, for example, re-friended someone I hadn’t heard from for 15 years because her husband had a severe stroke and I was ill at the time.  She is lucky enough that a decade of care to him has resulted in some recovery and she is regaining some lifestyle freedom, but for ten years, her personal life did not exist.

It makes these people desperate for some sense of connection with others that get what they are going through, and hungry for chances to take care of themselves for a change.  I find caregivers’ stories riveting and almost unbelievable testimonies to the enormous power of the human spirit.  And that makes me want to be of service to this group.

What is it that you’re offering these caregivers?

In the short term I’ve created workshops called Yoga Cream Pie as an answer to what ails caregivers, both physically, spiritually and socially.  This currently three-hour workshop is a refuge for caregivers, where they will get a chance to enjoy a yoga practice that is not only good for them, but feels amazing and makes up for the inevitable pleasure deficits that follow being isolated, literally stranded on the desert island of their obligations.

The session includes supported and restorative yoga, as well as massage while they are in these already delish poses, with the live music called kirtan, India’s ecstatic chant tradition.  I also give them some time at the end to meet at least one person in the group with whom they can identify, share something about themselves and realize that they are in fact, not alone in their caregiving experiences.

 

People come to these sessions looking haggard, drawn, depleted.  They likely rushed there, begged and borrowed to get the time and have a huge hope that they are not wasting their precious time off.

After the session, which always seems so short, participants leave refreshed, with more energy than when they arrived, they have got their bodies gently opened, lovingly worked-upon with healing hands of an RMT and filled with the magic mantras that are the food for my own healing journey.  Their faces are the most telling of the benefit, looking younger, more relaxed and so much happier.

And this is just the beginning of what I have envisioned.

What’s the response been?

I’m a little slow in the start up of this project, but the response has been awesome with the hubs that I’ve contacted, related to caregivers.  I’ve received nothing but good feedback from the multitude of organizations that come into vicarious contact with caregivers, because there on the front line, they know that the caregivers need to be not just recognized, but supported. And they have nothing or little to offer, being almost entirely client and patient focused.  A focus on caregivers hopefully will reveal that care is a community responsibility, and that caregiver shouldn’t mean one individual, but rather a whole team of help and love.”

 

The participants who have tried Yoga Cream Pie all reflect my own personal experience of finding this restorative yoga therapeutic montage to be a very efficient way to spend time, a self-spa that also includes a sense of being personally entertained, with genuine care for the soul built right into the mix.

Here’s some feedback I got at the YCP we ran on the weekend:

Subject: That was great
I feel nourished and restored and relaxed. That was a wonderful session and you have a lovely voice…thank you for a very enriching time! And the massage was a lovely, added bonus!  Thank you.

What kind of marketing has worked best so far?

I was lucky enough to get some help with a little publicity, and therefore my credibility.  Here’s a sample from the Winnipeg Free Press who published this article in their Prime Times tabloid.

I also did an interview on CKUW campus radio, a small listening audience, but which provided a great opportunity to tell the story behind YCP in length.

 

 

I also did several internet-based, Blog Talk, radio interviews that have the same magic effect of being able to distribute a feature far and wide to interested peeps.

 

 

In addition I built four brand new websites, so that Caregivers’ Refuge could have its very own URL and presence, another reflecting my ‘straight’ yoga classes and workshops, one for the live and recorded kirtan music I do as well as my own name-domain that serves as central hub for all the stuff I do.

 

That way when people arrive at my site, there is no confusion for them as to what they will discover there.

I rely heavily on social media and the tendency to SHARE, which has helped me connect with this rather large group, but who have often not identified themselves as a caregiver.  Being able to share a caregivers’ experience in sound bite, digestible bits, has helped a lot as an education forum as well as advertising.

And then from there, Yoga Cream Pie has been growing been word-of-mouth, through the building of relationships and trust with caregivers that are in my community.  Interestingly, anyone who offers me help these days with my work and caregivers mission, are themselves a caregiver, someone who can relate to what I’m doing and to the potential that it holds. Just today, I signed on with one of the internet deal offer website companies, WagJag, to make a special offer on the Yoga Cream Pie.  I recently had a big success with a not-niche, mainstream yoga offer on Groupon and sold 180 yoga packages in two days, notwithstanding the very deep discount.  I am super curious to see if the caregivers are going to respond to an offer custom made for them.

One thing about caregivers, because of their isolation, is that they are internet busy and savvy.

What are the top three lessons you’ve learned along the way?

Top three lessons:

  1. Building community is more important than earning a living.  Go slow and don’t stress unless it’s really worth it, i.e., in line with your life’s purpose and getting people together around it.
  2. It’s all small steps and not to be overwhelmed by a large vision, or think that any step is too small to matter.
  3. Pioneering requires time and supreme patience.  Build around something that genuinely makes you feel well, more energized and more generous of spirit.

Anything else?

Not a lesson so much as a discovery: Caregivers make amazing friends.

*

If you feel like you’re a caregiver and could use some support – Beth wrote an ebook on the Seven Secrets of Avoiding Caregivers’ Burnout,  it is available for free download when you sign up for the Caregivers’ Refuge newsletter at www.caregiversrefuge.ca.

 

If you’d like get cool posts like this in your inbox every few days CLICK HERE to subscribe to my blog and you’ll also get a free copy of my fancy new ebook “Marketing for Hippies” when it’s done.

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Want Help? If you’d like some more direct guidance and hand holding on figuring out your niche then go and check out my Niching for Hippies coaching program http://marketingforhippies.com/niching-for-hippies/

 

 

 
 
 

 

yogi beans teaching yoga to kids

I’m sitting here in the Minneapolis Airport on my way to New York tonite.

And I get an email from my new friend and colleague Joe Noonan. He’s cc’d his friend Lauren to introduce us. He says,

I don’t know if Tad is coming to NYC to give a talk or workshop, but if he is, I encourage you to go and make a connection. The distinction between strategies of the old and new economies will inspire you.

Hilarious. I love it when this happens.

And Lauren’s business is a great example of a yoga business focusing on a niche marketing in action. If you live in Los Angeles or New York and know of some parents who’d like to see their kids get into this kind of positive and fun environment, I’d go check out their website now – http://www.yogibeans.com

Their website says . . .

Yogi Beans is a yoga-for-kids’ experience designed to help children develop better body awareness, coordination, flexibility and enhance self-confidence. Yoga is a wonderful way to introduce a physical activity that is both noncompetitive and nonjudgmental.

Through the physical movements, children are introduced to yoga’s true meaning: union, expression and honor for oneself.  In addition to the physical poses, we explore the spirit of yoga where the significance of positive thinking and the maintenance of a healthy positive self-image are emphasized.  Sprinkled with music, picture books and other age-appropriate props, children are introduced to the world of yoga and inspired to awaken their inner yogi and yogini!

I think my favourite bit was their point of view on the core elements of this work. If I had kids I would want all four of these things for my kids . . .

The Elements of Yogi Beans

  • Non-competitive physical exercise
  • Focus and concentration
  • Stillness and relaxation
  • Fun and playful class spirit!

 

If you’d like get cool posts like this in your inbox every few days CLICK HERE to subscribe to my blog and you’ll also get a free copy of my fancy new ebook “Marketing for Hippies” when it’s done.

 

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Want Help? If you’d like some more direct guidance and hand holding on figuring out your niche then go and check out my Niching for Hippies coaching program http://marketingforhippies.com/niching-for-hippies/

The Oversexualization of Yoga

Just read a fascinating article about the ways that sex is used to sell yoga.

It’s becoming more and more common to see photos not unlike the one here in yoga ads or on yoga products. The article is fascinating . . .

The Oversexualization of Yoga

Amy Verner
From Saturday’s Globe and Mail
Published Saturday, Oct. 02, 2010 12:01AM EDT
Last updated Sunday, Oct. 03, 2010 7:00PM EDT

By the standards of women’s fashion magazines, there is nothing particularly racy about Yoga Journal. Stories in the October issue include a step-by-step illustrated guide to achieving poses, versatile yet stylish clothes to wear outside the studio, nourishing beauty rituals and a recipe for dosas.

Toward the back of the magazine, however, there’s a black and white Toesox ad featuring well-known yoga teacher Kathryn Budig in a variation on a handstand. Apart from a pair of the organic-cotton non-slip yoga socks, she’s naked, strategically positioned to reveal no body parts that would be considered scandalous on Sesame Street.

But while the image, shot by respected fitness photographer Jasper Johal, is unquestionably beautiful, not everyone was happy to see the practice of yoga portrayed in a sexy, commercial context.

Judith Hanson Lasater, a leading voice in the yoga world and one of the founding editors of Yoga Journal 35 years ago, wrote a letter to the magazine that ran in its September issue. In it, she expressed her sadness and confusion over the “photos of naked or half-naked women” and how they relate to the practice of yoga. Yoga blogs and message boards jumped on her response, mostly in agreement.

“Hats off to Judith for having the courage to speak out against sexualized yoga advertising!” wrote Montrealer Roseanne Harvey on itsallyogababy.com.

Since yoga first became popularized in North America in the 1960s, its growing mainstream appeal has to some extent overshadowed its meditative origins, placing greater weight on its body-enhancing abilities than on goals of the mind or spirit. This idea of yoga as just another pastime – and its emergence as a significant business opportunity – has created a widening grey area between commercialism, sex and the discipline, fuelling concerns about whether the centuries-old discipline is getting proper respect.

These days, there are books and DVDs promoting yoga as the answer to a better sex life, hybrid classes that emphasize mojo over mantra and myriad studies suggesting yoga can boost sexual performance. The proliferation of flirtier attire, from Lululemon bra tops to Yoga Tart booty shorts, underlines the sexual aspect. In movies and on TV, a yoga class often serves as a pick-up joint.

“Yoga is a sensual, body-based activity and there’s a lot of potential for beautiful bodies and a lot of skin, so it can be exploited by people who want to market it,” says Vancouver teacher Eoin Finn. “When I hear the term ‘sexy yoga,’ I don’t picture spiritually ascending; it might be fun, but there might not be [any] spiritual thrust to it.”

Ruth Ann Dargan, the Oshawa, Ont.-based director of the Yoga Conference and Show, currently under way in Vancouver, agrees that yoga’s spiritual focus can be diminished in a sea of sweaty, provocatively clad hard bodies. “In the yoga class, we would wish to remove [anything] creating an arousal of desire or distraction, thus providing a more fertile environment for awareness and management of physical, mental and emotional sensations.”

Now that yoga has permeated the mainstream and is being adapted in many different ways, it’s easy to see how its original intention could be lost on newcomers. “Everyone thinks they know what yoga is and it’s become just about asana [poses] and body,” says Hanson Lasater, the former Yoga Journal editor. Yoga’s true goal, she says, is self-awareness. “[Nudity] is a natural thing and not a bad thing,” she adds. “I love beauty in all its forms, but is this objectification what we want to combine with yoga?”

Not that practising yoga and enjoying sex are mutually exclusive – it’s all about context. “The idea [behind yoga] is not to remove distraction or desire from our life,” says Dargan, “but to learn to mindfully self-manage and direct them.”

Kaitlin Quistgaard, Yoga Journal’s editor-in-chief, doesn’t think readers are necessarily prudish or unaware of the way advertising works. “It’s that they’re protective of yoga,” she says from Sebastopol, Calif. “They might subscribe to Yoga Journal and also to Vogue … and have different expectations.”

Yoga has become a big business, generating $5.7-billion in U.S. sales in 2008, according to Yoga Journal, and ensuring not everyone making money from it is a disciple.

Garvey Rich, the New York-based founder and creator of both the Yoga Tart clothing line and the Better Sex Through Yoga books and DVDs, is both an entrepreneur and a long-time yogi. And he embraces the sexual crossover. Rich hatched the idea for his DVDs in 2002, when he realized that his experiences in the bedroom were heightened whenever his partner also practised yoga. Yoga Tart, with its belly-baring ballet tops and provocative hot pants, came soon after. “It always amused me how puritanical some of the situations were in yoga studios,” he says. “Some people say the products are so targeted toward sex and, to me, it’s unfortunate that sex has a bad connotation. If you think about all the times that you have sex, those are great times.”

Indeed, practising yoga has proven physiological benefits in the bedroom, says the Yoga Show’s Dargan, who has been training teachers for over 15 years. “[It] brings the body back into its natural alignment and strengthens the muscles of the pelvic region,” she says. But as Yoga Journal’s Quistgaard points out, back bends and twists aren’t really conducive to lustful thoughts. “When doing the practice of yoga, it would be pretty hard to be focused on anything [else]. We live in this modern world where people care about their clothes and what they look like when they walk out the door, but that seems to me to be something different than what happens when on the mat. And I would go so far to say that if you are so focused on what you look like and what other people look like, you’re not in your practice.”

Dargan would like to see yoga regulated and licensed in Canada, partly to circumvent some of the confusion about what does and doesn’t qualify as germane to the practice, from props to novelty classes. Quistgaard doesn’t go that far, but does admit the myriad interpretations of yoga don’t make settling the sexual discussion any easier.

“People who devote their whole life to it can’t agree on definition, so of course the general public will be at a loss. That’s what fuels the issue. Is it yogic to have an advertisement that features a naked woman? There’s no counsel of yoga judges to go to.”

What do you think? Where is the line in this? When is sexy fun in marketing? When is it too much with an ancient, spiritual tradition?

 

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Yoga for Round Bodies

Tiina Veer is a client of mine who’s an amazing example of the power of proper niching in action. Instead of trying to make her yoga class appeal to everyone – she chose a very particular niche.

People who don’t look like Barbie Dolls.

There’s a whole community of people with ’round bodies’ who might feel intimidated to go to a typical yoga class. But, with Tiina, they find an incredibly safe and supportive space.

I love this.

Yoga for Round Bodies

CLASSES & RETREATS

These yoga classes and retreats are offered specifically with the round body in mind. In these classes and retreats, not only will you have the opportunity to explore yoga in a way that suits your constitution/anatomy best, you will also be able to practice and explore in a comfortable, non-competitive environment in small groups, in pleasant surroundings. Classes will include restoration (deep relaxation) practices, gentle yoga and mindful movement.

Absolute beginners welcome along with any other “level.” Any size is welcome. This exploration is not about how big or not big, nor how advanced or not advanced, how flexible, nor how strong. Nor is it about weight loss. It is an opportunity to come and begin from where you are, to move your body and quiet your mind in a comfortable, supportive environment.

NO YOGA EXPERIENCE IS NECESSARY, yes really!
And your teacher is round, too!

These offerings are intended for beginners and do not include vigorous practices, however, if you have done yoga, they include a significant amount of restorative practice–of benefit to anyone–and foundational principles that can be applied to any level of practice.  Class size is small enough to accommodate modifications and individual attention.  And because stress is a significant challenge faced by most of us, ample time is given to explore relaxation/restoration practices so you can also learn useful tools to counterpoise everyday stress and its effects.

I did a quick interview with Tiina about this and here’s what she had to say,

What gave you the idea to start this?

“After practicing massage therapy for a number of years, I realized I needed to do something to counterbalance the physical stresses of my work, and thought Yoga would be perfect.  Though I quickly fell in love with yoga, I found myself frustrated and discouraged over and over, as it was difficult to find teachers who were able to work with my very round body.  When I discovered yoga using props, I found some liberation in the practice, but when I found a class called “Full-Bodied Yoga” and tried it, by the third class I found myself saying, “Oh my God, I have to become a yoga teacher so I can teach classes like this.”  That is where the seed was planted, and I’ve manifested a thought into reality.  Feels great!”

How has the response been?

“The response has been incredible.  Even people who aren’t in the “round camp” think it’s a great idea, that it makes so much sense.  And it does.  A lot of round women feel judged, or like the third wheel, in “regular” yoga classes.  It makes sense to create a safe, non-judgmental space for us to practice together, with a teacher who knows how to modify poses to the unique needs of a rounder body.  As women discover these classes, workshops and retreats, I get this comment a lot:  “It’s so great there’s a class JUST FOR ME out there!””

A lot of people would say, ‘by narrowing in your niche so much, you’re limiting who comes! aren’t you afraid of losing clients?’

“Hogwash.  My niche came very naturally to me, but if I had to choose to-niche or not-to-niche, I would definitely niche.  By having a niche, it allows me to utilize and develop my skills, knowledge and expertise in a very focused way.  In the end, it also makes marketing EASIER… the niche guides where I spend my very limited budget of money and time.  E.g., if I’m just promoting a regular yoga class, aside from the usual suspects, like online yoga directories, etc., where would I advertise?  If you’re advertising to EVERYBODY, like in a major city’s newspaper for example, your message is going to be totally watered down, unnoticed.  If I take a targeted message/product/service with to a specific group with a deliverable promise specific to them, it will capture attention because they want what I have to offer them specifically.  It’s impossible to “market to everybody.”  You have to find out who is interested in what you have, or tailor what you have to specific groups.  “Marketing to everyone” is kind of like being Waldo.”

 

If you’d like get cool posts like this in your inbox every few days CLICK HERE to subscribe to my blog and you’ll also get a free copy of my fancy new ebook “Marketing for Hippies” when it’s done.

 

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Want Help? If you’d like some more direct guidance and hand holding on figuring out your niche then go and check out my Niching for Hippies coaching program http://marketingforhippies.com/niching-for-hippies/

 

 

Samarya Center: Unfold

An amazing community centered yoga center in Seattle that decided to buck the system and do it all differently.

 

If you’d like get cool posts like this in your inbox every few days CLICK HERE to subscribe to my blog and you’ll also get a free copy of my fancy new ebook “Marketing for Hippies” when it’s done.