The word’s roots are found in the Sanskrit word “Yuj.”
To yoke. To connect.
I teach Hatha yoga in the gorgeous city of Huntsville, Alabama. My teaching journey started in 2009 with private sessions from my home. I added a venue and a class, then another, then another. My website matured. My student base grew. My location map spread. After a mere 2.5 years, my yoga mat now rolls out at 9 different locations. I teach 13-15 classes each week. At least 125 yoga mats roll out next to mine each week.
On the yoga mat, my work is to help people connect with THEMSELVES. Off the mat, I connect with myself, my child, 2 cats, 1 dog, my ever-present pile of laundry and dishes, dust bunnies and, as of today’s count, more than 7000 social media connections.
It’s no joke…I know how to yoke.
While my car is heavily packed with yoga blankets, straps, candles, incense, eye pillows, aromatherapy and other yoga goodies, my yoga “briefcase” is even more full…yet it’s light as a feather.
Open the latch and you’ll find Twitter, Facebook, Meetup.com, LinkedIn, YouTube, Gmail, RSS, Seesmic, and WordPress. Continue sifting and you’ll uncover Google maps and yoga/health/fitness sites like iHeartMyYogi. Dig deeper and you’ll see lovely testimonials from my students on sites like Thumbtack. In another section you’ll find Android apps, Firefox, Eventbrite, Mad Mimi, Bit.ly, Shareaholic, Followup.com, Greasemonkey and Ping.fm.
I’m often asked HOW I do it.
Building a yoga practice that works for you takes time and offers integration with Self. Building a social media plan that works for your business takes time and offers integration, making your marketing efforts streamlined, simplified, and above all, EFFECTIVE.
Creating profiles on many different social media sites will leave you exhausted and confused if you don’t first learn a) if each will connect easily with another and b) if they can make your life easier. Yoga creates ease in the body & mind. Social media creates ease in your marketing efforts.
- My Facebook fan page and LinkedIn profile cross-post to Twitter. (If I choose, my tweets also post to Facebook)
- From Ping.fm, I post across multiple sites in 1 click.
- My Google calendar of classes is embedded into my website. I can update my calendar from my phone.
- My students promote my classes each time they check into my Foursquare locations.
- BizeeBee keeps my attendance records, and they offer the ability to merge with Mad Mimi for email campaigns.
- I embed photo albums into my website from my Google Picasa account.
- My Gmail signature is courtesy of WiseStamp, enabling me to make each email a mini, dynamic promotion for my social media connections.
- My meetup group, The Yoga Co-Op has a packed calendar of yoga events in North Alabama. From the corporate level, Meetup.com works tirelessly to cross-promote their groups.
- I collect quotes in my Goodreads account and use their quote widget on my website.
- My website sports a shopping cart hosted by Wazala, offering my students the ability to purchase with ease and confidence from the comfort of their jammies…while it offers me the ease to post my products & services directly to Twitter and Facebook (also from the comfort of my jammies.)
I’m often asked WHEN I do it.
If someone had told me 4 years ago that today I’d intimately know about hashtags, @mentions, gravatars, favicons, FBML, tweets, and Google Analytics, I would have told them their 3rd eye needed Visine. Back then, I was a long-time veteran in the world of corporate recruiting. I had a simple LinkedIn account that helped me dig up candidates. I knew enough about HTML to jazz up my job board postings.
Fast forward to the present day and my daily business mantra goes something like this:
Update. Post. Comment. Share. Link.
Tweet. Re-tweet. Follow. Direct message.
Rate. Review. Read. Respond. Follow-up.
Quote. Write. Design. Create. Embed.
Copy. Paste. Up
My mornings are spent with hot coffee and my aforementioned mantra. Then I’m out the door and on the mat for the rest of the day and evening. In between yoga sessions, I often practice parts of my mantra via my phone and a soy latté.
Do I have an assistant? No. I do every bit of this myself. Would I like one? You bet. When I’ve built enough capital to spend it on a virtual assistant, I’ll be calling Susan Poirier of Ace Concierge, LLC. Why?
- Because oh-so-many years ago, she was one of my very first connections on Twitter.
- We’ve remained connected ever since.
- She’s a like-minded entrepreneur
- She’s as committed to social media as I am.
“Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it’s off to tweet I go…”
I’m often asked WHY I do it.
My answer to this question is both external and internal.
Externally, my social media efforts have brought kindred souls from across the globe into my life and into my business. I have had the pleasure of teaching yogis visiting Huntsville from Ireland, Argentina, Scotland, Belarus, Japan, and Australia – all because of my presence on the web. My custom made zafus (meditation cushions) have traveled to Israel, Germany, Canada, and across the United States. In just 2.5 years, my business has grown from nothing to having a list of students and business owners waiting to bring yoga into their lives and their employees.
Many years ago, I was gifted with a beautiful print from Sami Sunchild called “Right Work – Dare to Dream.” It’s always hung in the career sector of my home (yes, I’m a feng shui’ing yogi) and each time I read it, it strikes a chord deep within me – especially this line:
“Dream of a you who dares to pay any price,
learn any lesson, surmount any difficulty,
study at any school, work at any needed task
in order to be effective in this world…”
Find Sami Sunchild’s artwork here:
I dared to dream. I’ve created daily work I love so much I can’t believe it also earns me a living. I am committed to teaching yoga. I’m committed to helping others connect with themselves. This is “right work” for me.
I’m also committed to having a consistently professional, reachable, understandable, and approachable presence on the web. Social media is a living, breathing, vital part of this commitment. It helps to “yoke” me with students and with the community.
Internally, I have now become the “me” that dares to pay the price, learn the lessons, surmount the difficulties, and work at the tasks in order to be effective both on and off the yoga mat.