Yoga International Community Partners Program Poses Big Questions

yoga international community program

HONESDALE, Pa., March 25, 2020  — Yoga International Community Partner’s Program promises to help yoga studios during COVID-19. But should you trust it? 

As you will know if you have been following THE DAILY MEDITATION on social media or our newsletter, amidst COVID 19 many yoga studios are moving their classes online.

COVID-19 forced yoga studios around the world to close-down, meaning they are no longer able to give their regular lessons. As a direct result, many yoga studios have closed down around the world. And many others have been looking for ways to survive [READ: How Yoga, Meditation Studios Can Survive].

Yoga International, a membership platform that specialises in online yoga classes, has decided to offer ways that yoga studios can continue teaching by using their platform to launch the new Yoga International Community Partner’s Program.

My initial response to this was two-fold. On the one hand, yoga studios definitely do need to move online right now, and Yoga International does definitely have the technology to help them do that. On the other hand,  it immediately flagged in my mind questions about copyright, about what business relationship yoga teachers would have with Yoga International, about pay scale, and whether this supposed solution would genuinely help yoga teachers or simply help Yoga International itself.

So I decided to investigate to find out more about the Yoga International Community Partners Program and its pros and cons for yoga studios.

Yoga International Community Partners Program – Intro

In an effort to help yoga studios survive COVID-19 and the forced closure of yoga studios, Yoga International is opening up its services.

Yoga International CEO Todd Wolfenberg said, “We [are] uniquely positioned with technology and a platform, and we listened to the needs of yoga teachers who were reaching out to us, unsure of how they would keep their communities together during a time when people need yoga’s benefits the most.”

Wolfenberg launched a “Community Partners” program, which allows yoga studios to publish content on Yoga International’s platform. This allows teachers to collect a percentage of revenue from Yoga International’s contacts via membership sales.

Wolfenberg says that the turn-around has been immediate, with more than 600 studio applicants reaching out.

No doubt this fast turnaround was funded entirely by yoga teachers panicking in response to the effects of COVID-10.

Looking closer at the details

On the surface, Yoga International’s solution sounds great. But I wanted t dig a little deeper to see how this might effect Yoga International and local yoga studios.

For Yoga International themselves, they obviously create profit by having local yoga studios sell their memberships to their existing base of members. This is potentially extremely lucrative for Yoga International, whose membership plans cost $14.99 per month.

So how about for yoga teachers? Those poor guys who are currently scared about losing their businesses and facing bankruptcy? Does the program actually help them? Or is it a wolf in sheep’s clothing?

Yoga teachers earn 50% in perpetuity. This is not the biggest problem, although taking 50% of yoga teacher’s salaries just for a streaming service does not seem in-line with wanting to genuinely help yoga teachers.

The biggest problem I have is this: The payment kicks in after a 30-day trial.

yoga international community

This seems utterly bizarre for a service that is supposedly designed to help yoga teachers with coronavirus. Those teachers and studios need money now. Why are they forced to wait 30 days?

I do understand that Yoga International has a free trial period, so that explains teachers can’t be paid right away. However, this, for me, massively reduces the value of Yoga International for yoga studios, which are facing serious financial problems right now.

Another factor is how long yoga studios will need to stay closed. Of course we do not know how long COVID-19 will go on for. But the moment it is over you will be able to bring your students back to your studio and continue your regular sessions.

You risk losing all your students

The biggest negative of Yoga International for yoga studios is that you massively risk losing your students forever.

Think about it. Instead of supporting your studio, you are moving all your members to a competitor (and yes, Yoga International, as a business, is a natural competitor to your yoga studio). If you send your students to Yoga International now, do you think they will come back to you when your studio reopens? Or are they more likely to stay with Yoga International and the hordes of yoga teachers on there?

It might seem like a simple solution, but there are huge risks that yoga studios should be aware of.

There’s A Far Better Solution For Yoga Studios

Yoga International’s community program is basically like a Venus Flytrap. It looks oh so inviting. But you’d be giving Yoga International 50% of the earnings you make from their site, and you would risk losing your members to a competitor.

There is a far better solution: Do it on your own.

Every single thing that Yoga International offers you can do for yourself, for free, while taking 100% of your members fees. I’ve written a complete guide (for free) to setting up your yoga studio online. And it will give you everything Yoga International offers you.

On its website, Yoga International’s Community Partner Program says it gives you the following abilities:

  1. Publish your own classes on Yoga International (alongside our teachers).
  2. Keep your students active and engaged and start immediately!
  3. 50/50 Partnership: You will receive 50% in perpetuity for all members coming through you after the 30-day trial.
  4. You’ll receive information about how to best film online content from the YI Video Team.
  5. No worries about online liability insurance—YI’s site covers your content.

So, because I truly believe in supporting local yoga studios, let me show you how to do all this for free (see the link above for a larger guide).

  1. Publish your own classes on Facebook Live, Instagram Live, or Youtube live for free and accept payments on your website.
  2. Keep your students engaged on social media, where they already are!
  3. Take 100% of your membership fees instead of 50% by selling your own classes (again, see the link above)
  4. Simply Google “How to film shiz”. Honestly, it’s not hard.
  5. Keep your own yoga insurance!

I believe in protecting my readers and local meditation and yoga studios. That’s why I urge you to look at ways to maintain control of your own business, which you worked so hard for, without going for an easy-solution that takes 50% of your money.


By Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison is a qualified meditation teacher and writer with more than 15 years experience in meditation and mindfulness. He studied meditation in Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University. Paul has helped thousands of people to discover their true potential through mindfulness, yoga and meditation.

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