When you can’t get away to the wilderness and nature – then – check out your local yoga studio instead.
When you know nothing about the studio, many of us may seek out Yelp reviews . Have to say while helpful to locate the place, beware of Yelp reviews. And I say this as I know someone who used to work there.
Some things to note – Check the left column side – that is, know who the reviewer is, her/his profile and really wonder what made this reviewer review the place – then remember the human nature – usually if a consumer is satisfied or content, there’s no rush to mention this on Yelp. Know that statistically good reviews are harder to come by than bad reviews. No one rushes home or to app to write a good review but they do to write a negative one – it’s that human nature thing. If all is well, one is not as motivated, taking all for granted – but if something is not, we do like to complain or bring it up. Some Yelp reviewers tend to want to review only when they have something negative to say – and this is most especially the case when you check the number of reviews this reviewers have posted in the past – anything fewer than 10 is questionable in terms of objectivity – then check the number of friends and what they have reviewed in the past – then wonder about what motivates the reviewer to review. For public service? To get attention ? Is the reviewer angry or disappointed in some way? Is the reviewer unbiased and have no conflicts of interest – or are they friends and family? Read between the lines.
So, then, comes the credibility and qualifications of the reviewer to consider. How qualified is the reviewer? Imagine, BKS Iyengar or Patbi Jois getting reviewed by Yelp – I mean really – even Masters may not get all 5 stars … when it comes to teachers, how fair is it ? Is there any knowledge of the lineage, body of knowledge that a teacher may be holding back until he/she feels is the appropriate time. If it’s a restaurant – what gives this reviewer an authority in restaurant service; the menu, etc.; if it’s a fitness place, then ? There are some good articles written on this subject – such as when trying to decipher these reviews, perhaps disregard the 5 stars and 1-2 stars, read up on the middle ratings to get a clearer picture. So … the point is, Yelp is only helpful if you know how to read the reviews:
You have to try and experience the place yourself, without the preconceived prejudices. Be Open to Discovery. In that sense, be that Yogi – the free spirited, open minded, flexible soul with a core strength, fully grounded yet floating with ideas. Let go of the critical busy busy mind and judgments and focus more on yourself and the experience. You can feel the vibe – the energy when you tune in. In this day and age when you can google just about anything and while not everything on the internet is true, you can educate yourself a little about the practice and if you want to go further, ask the teacher. Unless it’s a workshop, the teacher is just teaching these regular weekly classes where all kinds of people pops in – so it’s a challenge to build on to make it progressive – like a course so you can make requests.
I have been plenty disappointed when I relied on Yelp review. Today, I may find some of them to be entertaining but best referral is still word of mouth and your own direct experience especially given that we are each unique and different from each other in our likes and what we are looking for. I am not writing this because I received any negative rating; rather, I felt very sympathetic about those business owners who try so hard but have to be so reactive to these outside inputs. They have to perhaps heed some of the inputs but … it’s not a true demographic survey and analysis based decisions. It’s just reactive and defensive. It is good of course to listen to the voices of your clients but your long term loyal clients will stick with you if you keep doing what you believe in. If we are confident that we truly have the training, experience, and that passion for what we believe in and practice, then, it’s undeniable – because you are so authentic.
In the end, that’s all you can be – that is, Being true to yourself and shine with confidence. Don’t be fearful of how others will perceive you, judge you, grade you, rate you. Basically, you have to live from the heart and feel the love for what you are doing so that it’s obvious that what you believe in and invested a whole lot of time is allowing you to shine. Your light will light up others 🙂 You are not defined by others but you are the only one who can define and express yourself as long as you remember that it’s ultimately not about you – it’s about those you are serving – it’s about bringing yoga to lives of others who may not have been as lucky to devote so much time in training and learning all about it. It’s to be shared – Blessings to all – with gratitude,