On the main floor of Greco Fitness in Westboro, clients can sip on complimentary espresso or order a healthy shake from the juice bar. Next to the counter sits a small wooden box, where donations are being accepted for the newly launched Yoga Collective.
The Collective is offering a series of yoga classes to both members and non-members of Greco, and classes include power, flow, yin, hatha and yin/yang styles. Unlike some of the bigger gyms where members have to pay an additional fee for yoga, the Yoga Collective encompasses a donation-only model.
Inspired by his time at a donation-based studio in Santa Monica, California, Greco owner Marc Laham saw an opportunity to utilize their existing studios to introduce this revolutionary yoga concept. “The Santa Monica studio had a box at the door with a cheesy little donation sign, and the line-ups were down the stairs and around the block,” describes Marc.
The collective model has been adopted by several studios in the United States, but as far as Marc’s aware, nobody in Canada is utilizing a donation approach. “When people find out about the collective they’re blown away,” says Marc.
The Yoga Collective’s suggested donation is $10. “We’re making yoga accessible and affordable to everybody,” says Marc. Drop-in classes are great for those who find an unlimited monthly yoga pass not worthwhile. As well, busy folks find these types of classes more flexible than a set schedule (and at a much lower cost than other drop-ins.)
Marc also sees an advantage to having yoga classes in a fitness studio. “At the Yoga Collective, Yogis have full access to the facility’s amenities, including filtered water, the juice and espresso bar, showers and towels,” says Marc.
The donation model means that there are no terms or expectations from the clients, and Marc describes that aspect of the business as being similar to yoga. “Yoga is all about surrendering and letting go,” says Marc. “It’s your practice – breathe through it, and listen to your body.”
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