At the beginning of the year, one of our longtime students, Sue Bowman, approached me about doing a survey at HAYC. As Sue explained how the survey would work, it sounded like a fantastic way to get feedback about our studio and classes. The survey was emailed in early March and we received more and better responses than either of us had anticipated.
First, thank you to everyone who took time to fill out the survey. Over half of our current students and about ten percent of our former students answered; a remarkable number of responses. Sue tells me that an average response for an electronic survey is somewhere around 15%! Additionally, of the current students, almost 100% said they would recommend HAYC and 95% said they already had recommended us to others. Of the former students, 98% said they would recommend us. I am extremely grateful for your trust, confidence, and loyalty to our studio. Thank you.
The final question in the survey asked for additional comments. The responses were overwhelmingly positive or offered constructive comments or suggestions. What follows is an explanation of some of the more common issues.
More bolsters and longer belts: Got it. At the beginning of the Spring session we put more bolsters and more eight and ten foot belts in each of the rooms.
Rooms are too crowded: I have a friend who owns a yoga studio in Arizona. He puts little sticky dots on the floor that are just a few inches wider and longer than a sticky mat on all sides. Students are expected to put their mats inside of these dots, and usually there is less than a foot of empty space between each person. Fitting as many students as possible into a room is a common practice in many studios.
We limit classes by room size so there will be enough space in a room for those registered for the class and for those making up. For example, we limit classes in our largest room, the Green Room, to thirty people. For weekend workshops in the Green Room we set the limit at forty people because no one will be making up. If we followed the dot system like my friend in Arizona, we could easily fit over sixty-five people in that room.
Smell in the lobby: Several people commented about the smell in the lobby. Replacing the lobby carpeting was a step in the right direction and our cleaning service now scatters baking soda throughout the studio before vacuuming to help keep the entire studio smelling fresh. We also have the carpets steam cleaned regularly. However, everyone leaves their shoes in the lobby and summer is approaching, so this may still be an issue. Since many people have scent allergies, we are limited in which air fresheners we can use. We are testing some baking soda brands now and will continue to experiment if they are not effective.
Scheduling a class with a certain instructor on a particular time and day: Though we are one of the largest studios in the area, we are still limited to four rooms of classes at any one time, and our schedule, especially in the evenings, is full. Many people have been taking classes for years and have found an instructor, day, and time that suits them and they return to that class session after session. If we replace one class on the schedule with another, the people in the original course will lose their weekly class.
Additionally, we try to balance the schedule in an attempt to provide make up classes and a variety of choices in each day and timeslot. We cannot have two Yoga 1-2 classes at the same time on any day or five Yoga 2 classes at 7:30 on weeknights. Also, instructors are not always available to teach in other timeslots; many have family or work obligations. When there is an imbalance, we try to correct it as we are in the Summer session by adding a Yoga 2-3 on Tuesday at 5:45 p.m.
Breaks between sessions: Though this did not appear in the survey, we regularly receive comments about the breaks between sessions. Since I bought HAYC in 2001, we have always had the same number of weeks each session every year. For example, the Summer session is always eight weeks and the Fall session is always thirteen weeks. There are the same number of days off each year.
The breaks serve two purposes. First, they give us time to schedule major repairs and upgrades to the studio. In the past year we replaced the carpet in half of the studio and had the entire studio repainted. Second, and more importantly, the breaks provide time off for the teachers. Yoga instructors who teach continuously tend to burn out after just a few years, yet over half of our instructors have taught at HAYC for more than ten years. In the survey, 65% of the people currently taking classes responded that what they enjoy most is the quality of the instructors. The breaks allow our teachers to rest and come back refreshed to their classes each session.
Friday and weekend classes: A number of people suggested we hold more classes on Fridays and in the afternoon on the weekends. Right now on Fridays we have a Yin Yoga class in the morning and children’s classes in the afternoon. When I added Friday evening and Sunday afternoon classes to the schedule in the past, very few people signed up, and we need at least five people to register for a class to keep the class going. Since so many people requested these classes I will ask you: What classes would you like to see on Fridays and at other times on weekends? I will have a box near the front desk where you can drop in your suggestions for times and classes. If there is enough consensus, I will add a class at the time and day suggested.
Finally, thank you again for filling out the survey. If you have other comments or thoughts, you are always welcome to email me or leave me an anonymous note. It may not always be possible to fulfill your request, but I value your thoughts and input.
More Survey Results:
These statistics are based on the responses of the people who answered the survey in April 2012.
Statistics About Respondents:
52% Current students who responded
10% Former students who responded
Of the current students who responded:
90% are female
84% are over 40 years old
99.8 % would recommend HAYC to a friend. Only one person said they would not.
95% have recommended HAYC to a friend
Of the former students who responded:
91% are female
84% are over 40 years old
98% would recommend HAYC to a friend
81% would return to HAYC if their circumstances changed.
Responses from Current Students
Percentages of current students in each class level:
34% Yoga 2 or Yoga 2-3
26% Yoga 3 or Yoga 4
20% Yoga 1 or Yoga 1-2
12% Gentle Yoga (This number may be slightly low because it was left off the survey for the first 12 hours.)
4% Specialty classes such as Yin Yoga or Yoga for Scoliosis
3% Vinyasa Yoga
1% Kids and Teen Yoga
Most important reason you first came to study at HAYC? We only allowed one response to this question which generated a number of comments from people who wanted to make multiple selections. We limited the number of responses because multiple selections would have not provided much useable information. The top answers were:
30 % Increase flexibility
17 % Get physical exercise
16 % Health or medical reasons
16% To reduce stress.
13% Curious about yoga
Most important reason you continue to study at HAYC? Only one selection was allowed for this question also.
57% I feel better doing yoga
15% Increase flexibility
7% Health or medical reasons
What do you enjoy most about HAYC?
65% Quality of the instructor
12% Variety of what is available
10% Studio’s ability to accommodate individuals’ different physical capacities
There was no major interest in a Pranayama (breathing class), an early morning class or a 4:00 p.m. class. Interest in meditation was neutral.
Many thanks to Sue Bowman for suggesting this survey, compiling the questions, and tabulating the results. I greatly appreciate her time, effort, and expertise.