Sleeping in Savasana

My yoga journey

Toronto Island SUP Yoga Retreat 

In September I travelled to Toronto to visit a friend from university and I discovered that there was a SUP yoga retreat happening the weekend I was due to arrive. She had to work for part of the time so it fitted perfectly.

I arrived on Toronto Island not really sure where I was going or what I was headed to. It turned out to be a small event with about a dozen of us going plus a Labrador because every retreat requires a dog.
We started by putting our bags into a boat and paddling on a min-tour around the islands to our camp site. It was on a separate island with a bridge to the mainland.

It was super chilled and relaxed and there was a timetable but it wasn’t followed exactly. We went for a sunset paddle and did Paddleboard Yoga. I loved it and found it a super relaxing way of focusing on each move and not comparing yourself to others.

We then came back to a beautiful view across Toronto and a campfire dinner. Sweetcorn cooked on the cob in a fire is super tasty along with stew and salad.

As I’d just flown in that morning by 10pm I was super tired and went to bed. I slept relatively well waking up a couple of times.

The morning had a silent start with coffee and watching the view. We then went out for a morning paddleboard yoga session followed by breakfast. It was good to get on the boards again and be more used to moving on them.

We then had a couple of hours free time before a ukulele lesson which I skipped for a nap. Then me and a couple of others braved the water for a swim. It wasn’t too bad once you’d got used to the water. The sun was warm enough that I dried off relatively quickly once on the shore.

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After lunch we packed up and those of us who had to be back early paddled with our stuff back while the others loaded the boat. It was a lovely chilled start to my holiday and I look forward to heading back to SUP Toronto on my next trip.

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Q3 Aims Update 

A lot has happened in the past three months and I know that I still have a long way to go. Here’s this quarters update following from my end of my end of June one

Do at least one yoga class per week.

 I’m still not on top of this one. I’m working on a way that it fits into my timetable and getting more home practice in but I’m not there yet. 

Look into and book Yang Yoga Teacher Training – probably not starting until 2018 but at least sourcing a course that I want to do.

I’m not sure if this is still right for me. I’m considering more learning and development but I’m not sure if I want to teach dynamic yoga long term.  

Make the studio cost neutral.

It’s now making money with almost a month of extra running costs in the bank. I’m really happy with how it’s going and hope it’ll continue. 

Teach 3 workshops.

I taught my first aromatherapy Yin workshop last month and it went down well. I’m planning another one for December so I’m not going to make 3 this year but I have a plan for more regular ones in 2018. 

Find out cause of Hip pain and path to solve it.

I need to do a full post on updating this but I seem to have found a treatment and supplements that have helped reduce this to manageable levels.  

Already completed. 


Travel to two new cities.

Toronto and Niagara Falls visited already and a trip to Lichtenstein planned for November so that’s a whole new country. 

New kitchen fitted.

Finish my 200 hour Yin Yoga Teacher Training.
New Aims

Blog more constistantly. 

I love being able to come back and read what I wrote a year ago. I’m aiming for one post a week for the rest of the year. It shouldn’t be that hard given that I already have about 6 posts in my head that I just need to write out. 

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Growing Social Media – Social Media Bolster

The final way that I have been working on growing my social media has been being part of a Social Media Bolster.

This is where you find a group of users who have similar accounts to you and you all comment or like or follow each others. I found a group on Facebook that I’m part of and it’s worked quite well. There are daily challenges both on Instagram and Facebook but I’ve mainly focused on Instagram.

The idea is that if 10 people take part then you comment on 9 posts and then get 9 comments back on your post. It works at boosting your engagements and also I’ve found that once you have a couple of comments then other people comment too.

It’s worked really well and also quite a few of the people who are part of the group now tend to comment and like posts even if it’s not part of the challenge and I do the same. It’s a great way to feel more engaged with people on Instagram and also to have a group of others to discuss options for increasing engagement with.

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Growing Social Media – Hashtags

Part three of my Social Media growth (sorry it’s been a few weeks but life has been a bit hectic).

The third thing that I’ve done is to use lots hashtags. Instagram will recognise up to 30 hashtags either in the post or in the first comment. I’ve found putting them in the first comment is a bit neater. Instagram also doesn’t really like if you use exactly the same tags in the same order for each post so I manually add them and put slightly different one for each post based on which I remember or which are most relevant for that post.

I like lots of posts with relevant hashtags. This can be either manually done or you can use a ‘bot’. Various bots break Instagram’s terms and conditions so I use one that only posts from your browser when you’re online from that computer. It’s called Everliker and is free for up to 700 likes per day. I personally find that that’s enough to keep my engagement high and my posts with about 100 likes.

I also do quite a bit on manual likes especially just after posting something to help raise the profile of it. I read that if you want to get into the ‘top posts’ section of a hashtag they take into account the number of like in the first hour so I mainly post when I have 10 minutes to then spend liking, commenting and generally engaging with others on Instagram.

 

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Outdoor Yoga

A few weeks ago was a rare beautiful Scottish Summer day. It was warm, clear and I was teaching a yoga class. It was forecast to be 21 degrees at 8pm so I took the decision to move the class outside.

It was a bit odd in that I am used to teaching with props and extra props within easy reach. I couldn’t physically carry all the bolsters, blocks, blankets, straps and mats that I’d like the 10 minute walk to the park. Instead I had to decide to just bring straps, mats and blankets.

It worked out wonderfully. It was warm enough in the sun to be comfortable with a lovely gentle breeze. I’d picked a spot not too far from the road/path so it was easy to get to but it was next to some trees so quite and didn’t have anyone go past.

I’d love to do outdoor classes more often but the weather doesn’t always agree with me.

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Growing Social Media – Follow UnFollow

Part two of my social media growth plan was to increase my Instagram following. The way I did this was two fold and one I’m going to continue while the other I’m not. First we’ll cover the way I’m not going to continue going forward.

Follow then unfollow people.

If someone follows you on Instagram then if you’ve a small following you’ll generally look at there profile and if it interests you follow them back. The idea with this is that you then unfollow people a few days later so they don’t notice and your following to follower ratio improves.

There are various companies that either sell you software to do this automatically or will do so manually for you. Bots and allowing others access to your Instagram are against the terms and conditions so there is a chance that your account can be closed and you loose all the followers you’ve built up.

Pros: 

  • Bots and marking companies to do this are relatively inexpensive for the results they promise.
  • It works. This is why people do it.

Cons:

  • It basically ruins your Instagram feed. You follow 200 people normally and they’re the ones that you want to see posts from. Then you follow 300 extra, so you miss the posts from the 200 that you care about.
  • Using bots is against Instagram terms and conditions so risky.
  • It’s annoying for those you follow and unfollow.
  • Instagram can put a freeze on your account if it’s being accessed from two locations at the same time.
  • Followers may not be genuine.

It works and that’s annoying but I get why people do this. I’ve done it for a month and it’s basically ruined my enjoyment of Instagram for that month. It’s not been easy to keep track of people that I actually want to follow and engage with.

It’s grown my following hugely and it’s been a great boost. I think I’d do it again but maybe on a month that I wasn’t wanting to use social media much.

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Growing Social Media -Promoted Posts

Following on from my early post, the first way I’ve been growing my social media has been promoted posts.

I’ve primarily been doing this on Facebook as I’ve used other means for increasing my Instagram followers.

This is really easy to do, link your Facebook account to PayPal or another method of payment and then on the post click ‘boost post’. You then decide the audience, value that you’re happy to spend (£1 per day minimum) and how long it’s going to run for. I’ve done a bit of experimentation to find the best targeting for my adverts but it seems to now be working.

Pros:

  • Very easy to set up.
  • Can be paused at any time if it’s not working on if you’ve filled the class that you’re promoting.
  • Increased general awareness of brand/yoga classes.
  • Great information on who saw and responded to the advert which helps you target better next time.

Cons:

  • Can be expensive per result
  • Targeting can take a few tweaks to get correct.
  • Lots of ‘interested’ people in events but can be hard to convert to bookings.

In general I’ve found promoting events on Facebook successfully but not really had much luck with single posts.

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Growing Social Media

I’ve been quiet on this blog recently as I’ve been busy focusing on my yoga business and growing the social media for that. Instagram and Facebook are slightly odd things. As I’ve posted already, there are studios that won’t hire you if you don’t have a high enough Instagram following. I’m not doing it for that but to try to drive more people along to classes.

If I have a higher number of likes on Facebook, follows on Instagram and engagement on both then I rank higher on search results. I’m hoping that this will then translate into greater awareness of my classes and in turn better attendance. It seems to be working, August is usually a really quite month for classes but with a few promoted posts, I’ve got three new people signed up for blocks of classes and had several more come along as drop in.

This has been done in four different way each of which has advantages and disadvantages.

  1. Promoted posts
  2. Follow/Unfollow
  3. Liking hastags
  4. Collective Social Media Bolster

I’ll discuss each in it’s own post but in less than four weeks I’ve grown my Instagram following by 1000 followers (from a start of less than 200) and my Facebook page by 40.

For some this might not seem huge numbers but it’s made a change for me.

 

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Yogi and Bare Box

After failing with my first attempt at a yoga subscription box I signed up for a one off from Yogi and Bare Box

I’ll update more fully once I’ve used all the products but there was quite a good selection.

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It included a mat bag and strap, that I’m not sure that I’ll use as I have better versions of both already and I think most people who would sign up for a yoga box would too. img_4146

 

It had some snacks which I’ve not tried yet.

 

Some facial wash which I used last night and was quite nice. It smells good and seems to agree with my skin which is always a good thing. I’ll keep using it for a while to see how it goes.

A necklace that I quite like but I’ve not worn yet.

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And finally a sheet mask. A friend is very into these currently and I’ve not yet tried one. I love a good face mask in the bath so this will be coming out soon.

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Un-Yogi Yogic Thoughts

I am starting to teach more classes over the next few months. I’m back to two classes on a Wednesday with different times and we’ll see how that goes on, I’m teaching a monthly Friday night class and another monthly yoga with alcohol class. In general I’m busy with yoga and it’s a good thing.

I also am trying to teach a morning class at my office every two weeks. This is going to be by donation (to our office charity of the year), in my own time and very chilled.

However, when I sent an email out about the class stating that it would be on one of two mornings. This was as I can make these mornings on a regular basis and it suits me. I got a reply back from one of my colleagues asking if I could hold it on a different day that suited them better.

Erm no. I’ve offered to teach it when suits me. I already teach four classes most weeks and am trying to work on a personal practice too. I don’t want to change things so I don’t get to do things that I enjoy doing because it suits you.

It made me really annoyed. I ended up taking a couple of deep breaths before replying that days other than the ones I stated didn’t work for me but if they were ever available on the mornings that I’m teaching then they’d be welcome to join in.

It’s hard to be yogic about yoga all the time.

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