The jury’s still out on whether yoga has been around for millennia or centuries. Regardless of where you stand, there’s one thing beyond debate: in the life cycle of North American yoga studios, a decade is a long time. It’s a major accomplishment to keep an independent studio (or any small business) afloat for 10 years in an increasingly crowded market and tough economy.
So it’s impressive and exciting that Centre Luna Yoga in Montreal is celebrating their 10th anniversary this week. The festivities include a week-long open house from July 8 – 14, with free classes, live music and other surprises.
Jennifer Maagendans, who co-owns and manages Luna with her husband, Jason Kent, answered a few questions about the celebration and the victories/challenges of running a successful yoga studio.
Why has Centre Luna Yoga decided to celebrate your anniversary with a week of free classes?
It’s a chance for us to give back to the community, and open our doors to people who have maybe thought about coming to the studio, but haven’t made it there yet.
Ten years is a long time to keep an independent yoga studio running – what does it take for a studio to not only survive but thrive?
It takes a lot of effort, determination, and continuous growth for a studio to thrive. I’ve learnt that we always need to keep coming up with new ideas while still maintaining the consistency of the Luna experience. First we just had classes, then we started adding workshops & retreats, we filmed our own DVDs and added a teacher training program. We encountered challenges along the way (teachers showing up late, guest teachers getting stuck at the border, power failures, leaks and language police!). There’s no “How to Run a Yoga Studio” handbook, so it’s all a huge learning experience. We’re still learning 10 years in.
How has the Montreal yoga community changed or evolved in the past 10 years?
It’s grown a lot and become a lot more popular. There are now more studios, styles and festivals in Montreal. We used to be far behind Vancouver and Toronto, but now we have a diverse and thriving yoga community.
What are the biggest challenges and joys of sustaining a yoga studio?
One of the biggest challenges for me has been learning how to run the business as a “business woman.” When I opened the studio I was a yoga teacher with no business experience. I quickly learnt you can’t just be a yoga teacher running a studio, you need to be a web master, accountant, manager, janitor and receptionist. I then figured out you can’t do it all yourself. Delegating tasks and managing was challenging at first, but a huge relief as well.
Having a baby really made me step back and forced me to let go of some control. I handed the studio over to my husband Jason and manager Bram, and took a year off. It was amazing! It was so good for me to let the guys take control, and to see that the studio was okay without me. I think it’s important to take a step back sometimes, and to make space for other aspects of your life. It’s important not to let your business consume your life. I feel like we’ve got a great balance now, but as always we’re still learning and growing.