Students Standing In Solidarity With Small Businesses
Job Title: E-RYT 500 Yoga and Meditation Teacher and Teacher Trainer
Location: San Francisco, California, USA
What Are The Key Elements of Planning Successful Retreats?
Timeline planning • Selecting your venue • Itinerary & program design • Sustainability considerations • Marketing • Financials & profitability • Legal forms & liabilities • Insurance
Christie Pitko, E RYT-500, began practicing yoga in 2001. Since then, it has healed her spirit, ignited her creativity, and encouraged her to take her time. She enjoys helping students stay curious about the inner landscapes of their bodies and minds through yoga and meditation.
She hosts yoga retreats in California and abroad, where students get to deepen their practices in serene locations. In the summer, you can find her guiding SUP (stand up paddle board) yoga classes on the San Francisco Bay.
How Has COVID-19 Impacted Your Business?
I had to cancel three retreats this year. I still have two scheduled for late 2020, and I’m hoping to run them, but I’m not sure what the future holds. There is a lot of uncertainty as venues struggle to stay open. I refunded all of my students, but I personally have lost income. Not all of my venues were able to give me 100% back, and I also spent a good amount of money on advertising.
In What Ways Has This Changed Your Perspective?
I’ve come to see that my community is strong, dedicated, and loving. I’ve had folks reach out to me who were supposed to be on retreat with me (we were supposed to be in Costa Rica right now as I type this) offering kindness and wanting to register for next year. I’ve had guests donate funds to venues that had to close and lay off employees. I have folks registered for an online retreat that I am hosting to stay connected with one another.
What’s Your Current Business Outlook?
My yoga offerings are now being taught via livestream. I’m hosting an online yoga retreat with a good sized group registered thus far, and if that goes well, I will probably offer another. I had to learn on the fly how to teach online, and it’s gone well. I’m grateful to connect to the regular students and to meet new ones. One unexpected surprise: I’m able to fit more students in my virtual classes than could fit in the yoga room!