We all love supporting our local business owners, from shopping at the farmer’s market for our produce to following our favorite yoga teachers’ weekly classes. So much that our work vacations are filled with yoga retreats to exotic destinations with our favorite teacher! It just feels good to nourish our innermost being seeing how it directly impacts our local communities through supporting these business owners. THIS is what the essence of GatherYoga is- connecting to your local teacher, even when you can’t make it to class. We offer a way to bring your teacher with you- in your home practice, on your business trips, or for those days when life gets in the way and you can’t make it to the studio. Your teacher can continue be there for you… Virtually.
The newly launched platform and video marketplace of the Local Collective on GatherYoga is a place where you can find video collections from local teachers. Local teachers who have dedicated their lives to teaching. Local teachers who nourish their communities and are looking to expand their work in the digital realm. It’s been over a year in the making, and it started with a spark. A spark between two expatriate yoga teachers who shared a common passion for yoga…
Five years ago, fouders Alesha and Natalie were both living abroad in Switzerland, Alesha on the tail end of an MBA at IMD in Lausanne, Natalie as a trailing spouse of a repatriated Swiss husband. Professionals by their own right in different domains- Alesha as an aeronautical engineer and Natalie as a world-class slalom water skier- the two had a mutual desire for one thing:
The reality was that living in Switzerland proved a challenging choice of residence for evolving their love of yoga teaching and practice. They put their heads together and within an afternoon came up with the concept of Gather: A Yoga Collective. English-speaking yoga in French-speaking Switzerland. Bringing people together abroad to unite over a love of yoga.
A couple of babies and hundreds of hours spent developing a platform for “Finding Your Yoga” later, the two mompreneurs launched their directory of students and teachers in January of 2014. And while they loved the project and thrived on putting their heads together to create the directory website, it didn’t take long to realize that such a business wasn’t going to sustain either one of them creatively OR financially.
They went back to the drawing board and posed a very basic question to each other:
“WHO DO WE WANT TO SERVE?”
This became their laser focus, and in actuality, answering this question was easy: the teachers. Gather has always been about crazy love for the local teachers.
So the next natural question became, HOW?
This was a lot trickier to answer. As teachers themselves, they both wanted it to be something that resonated at their deepest, most core level.
What they recognized was that the teachers give SO much of themselves to their students, their communities, their studios, their families… and it was always happening live and in person.
They spoke to many teachers who were overextended and even burnt out over their service to others. As teachers, the only way they could serve was face-to-face.
And when the teachers were asked what the most commonly posed question from their students was, it was a resounding, “Do you have videos that I can watch when I can’t make it to class?”
And, astoundingly, the most common answer from the teachers to their question was, “NO.”
As a result, this became the launching point of the new platform. Getting the teachers online. Empowering them to make the move themselves from exhausting LIVE teaching to online collections of videos.
And here they are today. A full-service community for experienced yoga teachers providing tools for educating themselves on best practices to go LIVE as well as a platform from which they can share and sell their hand-crafted videos.
Joining the platform isn’t for everyone. Becoming a part of the Gather Local Collective entails credibility, commitment, motivation and patience.
“That is one of the hardest parts of joining The Local Collective,” states Natalie. “Watching yourself on camera for the first time can be a pretty brutal act of radical self-acceptance. Being okay with a final result that can NEVER be perfect? Talk about evolving your relationship with self!”
The teachers on the platform have been hand-curated by Natalie and Alesha and next-phase growth of the collective happens on an organic level via referral or recommendation.
“We are growing a movement,” says Alesha. “We are changing the game for teachers online. We are creating a marketplace for their teaching, and are bringing many who have never been online EVER into that sphere for the first time.”
Game changers? You could definitely say that. They have an uncompromised love of the teacher and won’t budge on making sure that teachers are compensated in the most lucrative way possible on the site.
“We want this to be a place where teachers are able to create a viable revenue stream for themselves, “ say the founders. “But it definitely takes courage on their part!”
GatherYoga is a movement for the local yoga teacher to evolve and grow with conscious intelligence.
Being a part of Gather is the ultimate act of self-care for the yoga teacher. In generating online content, teachers are creating a means for supporting themselves even when they can’t be at the studio or in front of students teaching. As small business owners themselves, it is the bravest, most responsible action they can take.
The evolution of this platform has been a long time in the making, but so has providing support for local teachers. One thing is for sure, Alesha and Natalie are in it for the long haul.