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During Economic Uncertainty, Spiritual Yoga Attendance is Up—With 4 Top Tips on Incorporating Spiritual Yoga Classes in Your Spa

Posted: August 17, 2011

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A crisis of this kind inspired Arielle (a pseudonym), a 36-year-old media exec, who says, “My yoga practice correlates pretty directly with instability in the world and my life.” She first took up yoga in the wake of 9/11; during the second Bush administration, she practiced more regularly. Then, in the midst of the Great Recession, she became a serious Ashtanga practitioner, and signed up for a yoga retreat when half her office was laid off.

Author Siobhan O’Connor regularly practices yoga at Jivamukti, arguably the city’s most devout studio. O’Connor notes that some teachers emphasize the spiritual practice more than others. “This time last year, I would wager those spiritual teacher’s classes were a lot less crowded than they are now, and I chalked that up to people not really liking the messages, or wanting a workout more than a sermon,” she says.

But last year’s sermon seems to be this year’s sanity lifeline. With the unprecedented downgrading of U.S. Treasuries, the crisis in Europe, and riots from Egypt to London, yoga is proving a good coping strategy for many. “I have to suppose people are, like me, looking for a lot more than a workout from their yoga.”

Only on Tips from Melisse Gelula and Alexia Brue, founders of and journalists and wellness experts who have visited hundreds of spas, about how spas can begin to offer yoga classes to meet the spiritual needs of their clients. (To stay up-to-date on the latest wellness news and trends, subscribe to

1. Don’t fake it.

Just as your spa staff must have certain certifications, your yoga teacher should, too. Not every certified yoga teacher focuses on spirituality or weaving it into their classes as much as you might think. Did she study Ashtanga or hot power vinyasa? The two are as different as vegan and French cuisines. Do your research and hire the most appropriate expert for your clients' needs.

2. Get an expert.