Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Over the last several weeks we have been working hard to make a summer yoga schedule that brings people together safely during this challenging time. Thanks to the many people who reached out to us and filled in our reopening survey, we are excited to say that we WILL be running outdoor yoga this year. In case you missed it we released our timetable this week (check it out here!!) but you may notice one big change.
This time of year, we’d usually have a full calendar of rentals and events to share the yoga love with some of our corporate partners AND bring the company a much-needed financial boost. But if you read our Covid Call to Action, you’d know that in March we suspended all rentals, events, and programming, cutting almost all our income as a result.
For those of you who took part in our survey (thank you!), you won’t be surprised to hear that we will be trialing a subsidised class pass where members partially cover the cost of their classes. Each class will still be partially funded (by us) to keep our yoga as accessible as possible but we need your help to get us the rest of the way.
We were humbled to receive hundreds of responses encouraging us to reopen even though we need to charge a small sum. We are trying our best to keep running and we’re excited to test this new chapter together. We’re doing this as it is the only way to continue practising yoga together safely.
Mat Collective has always placed the community first. For 7 years it has been an unbelievable pleasure to grow this community to the size it is. We hope that if you are financially able, that you show your support by coming to class or buying from our shop. We’ve attempted to answer all your questions below so keep reading to see why we’ve made this huge leap.
Why are we transitioning to (mostly) paid classes?
Mat Collective has always been free to the community but it has never been free for us. Our goal is to share yoga with as little barriers as possible to as many people as possible. Under normal circumstances, we do that through rentals, donations, and corporate sponsorship.
We’ve been very privileged to have many supportive sponsorship partners over the years. As you know, many businesses are struggling to keep their loyal staff paid in transition to the new normal. While we’re very thankful to have worked with our sponsors, all businesses have needed to cut back to keep going. That has meant an almost 100% cut in our sponsorship funding.
But it’s free yoga. What costs do you need to cover?
This is always an awkward question. But, the important takeaway is that free yoga isn’t actually free (to run). We put in a massive amount of sweat equity, but ultimately there are a lot of costs that Mat Collective needs to cover to make sure we can continue to provide to the community.
For example, we pay for permits to use the public spaces where we practice. We cover the insurance costs associated with running a large outdoor class where many people with different skill levels join in (as we’re sure you can imagine insurance companies see a big risk in including people of all skill levels in an outdoor class), and we take a lot of steps as a collective to ensure that we run as smoothly as a big company but on the budget of a grassroots collective.
That being said, we’d like to take a moment to sincerely thank everyone who has come to our by-donation classes, and donated. Literally every dollar you gave made a direct impact. While we hope to be able to do more by-donation classes in the future, in reality, the wage teachers make from these classes vary drastically between enough for a dinner for two at Meet on Main, and enough for a bus ticket home.
We are lucky to work with some amazing teachers and they deserve to be paid for the services they provide to this wonderful collective. Because teachers are the lifeblood of our community, during this time we want to pay them and our staff well for risking their safety to run each class .
As we will always put the safety of our community first, we will be adding extra safety protocols in each class. We need to be able to ensure that our community members are safe while in down-dog. After all, how can you be at ease if you’re worried about social-distancing? We will be ensuring that the highest possible standards of safety and hygiene are maintained with the help of more staff, booking software, check in protocols, limited spots, and physical distancing.
So by now you probably realise, we want to keep being free and being authentic to how we’ve always been, but we are stretched super thin trying to provide for our community without an income and we can’t do it alone.
[Except for the new zero-waste pop up shop we’ve launched to help supplement out income. Please forgive the shameless plug in the middle of our discussion about class pricing, but supporting the store is the next best thing you can do besides showing up with us on the mat.]
In case you don’t know, we absolutely love working with all of you. For a really long time you have been our community and we have showed up for you, just like you have showed up for us. Last year over 10,000 people came to practice yoga with us and we adore every single one of you.
I like Mat Collective because I can’t afford regular yoga classes. Are there any classes that I can still go to for free?
YES but we’re still working on it. We realize that many people who work with us do so because it’s the only yoga community they can access for free outside of YouTube. We want to keep the dream alive so we’ll be offering partially subsidised places in classes provided by the community. We believe in people, and we hope that those who can afford it, make space for those who need us the most. If affording our programming is a challenge please fill this out:
How much will each class be?
We’re not going to get this right on the first try. There will be incremental improvements over the summer to make sure we provide access to as many people as possible. That being said, we will never charge the standard Vancouver rate of $25-$40 per class - we know that limits so many people from getting outdoors and on to the mat.
At this time, we’re trying our variable pricing, charging somewhere between $12.50-$18.50 per class, per person. You can see our price list here.
How does this work?
Before the class
Please sign up here
You will need to make an account and sign safety and COVID-19 waivers. If you (or someone you are enrolling) is a minor, please fill out the paperwork as directed. You will be guided through all the steps to select your classes.
To ensure an equitable chance for everyone to choose their spots, currently you can select classes 9 days in advance.
Arrive 15-20 minutes before the start of class to allow adequate time to check in and safely settle in.
For more details, check out our FAQ page.
Thank you for your ongoing support and understanding while we navigate this new journey together. We look forward to seeing you on the mat!