Calling all Hilltown Yoga Teachers

Michelle Ryan of Chesterfield, MA writes:

I’m a yoga teacher from Chesterfield, MA. I and my fellow yoga teacher and “Chesterfielder” Sarah Prince, are writing to you in an effort to reach out to yoga teachers throughout the Hilltowns.   Sarah and I came up with an idea as a way for Hilltown yoga teachers to work together to network with each other, market ourselves and help effectively bring the benefits of yoga to the families living in far-flung towns.

A few days of posting flyers on over-stuffed merchant bulletin boards made us both realize that our individual efforts at marketing were not as effective as they could be. We both feel that the variety of teaching traditions represented by Hilltown yoga teachers is wonderfully broad, and can potentially benefit people of all ages; when intermingled, our efforts at bringing yoga to the Hilltowns more effectively and sharing expertise with each other can enhance our own, and our student’s, practices.

As yoga teachers and practitioners, we all share the same goals of growing as teachers, as well as effectively reaching out to potential students and building sustainable yoga student populations in our own communities. So, why not work together to make our voices heard?

Like a studio without walls, we could create a Hilltown Yoga Teachers Cooperative where we support each other through networking and shared teaching experiences, and through mutual marketing efforts, producing marketing regularly together, via poster/newsletter, through free community demonstrations, or by working with other marketing resources like the web or local newspapers like the Country Journal. And, together, we could develop a weblog that lists classes by town/teacher/style/day/time. This website could include greater detail on our classes, teacher bios, directions to facilities, descriptions of yoga styles, etc.

Another benefit of creating a cooperative would be the ability to continue classes even when we are ill or out of town, by subbing for each other (for example, I recently subbed Sarah’s Chair yoga classes in Cummington and Chesterfield while she was in Virginia visiting her daughter and new grandchild).

Finally, both the opportunity to attend another teacher’s class, and the luxury of being the student for a while in the challenge of a different tradition, are so refreshing that it would be wonderful to support each other in this way, too.

We’ve contacted the Hilltown CDC in Chesterfield to see if they could help us organize, and they are happy to help and give support to our efforts.

One big question that we are sure you have right now is “How much would this cost?” The honest answer is, “We don’t know.” However, if we organize and work together, sharing our mutual skills and expertise, we are hopeful the costs will be low, but the benefits will be great.

If you are interested in brainstorming with Sarah and I some more about this idea, or know of yoga teachers in the Hilltowns who might be interested, let Michelle know via my email,, 413- 296-0122 or Sarah at, 413-296-9201.

If there is interest in this idea, we’d like to hold an organizational meeting in the next couple of weeks, at a place and time to be determined.

There are a lot of people out there wanting to do yoga who would love to find it in their hometowns – and in these tough economic times, buying local and being green are marketing points that we as Hilltown teachers can offer. We feel that we can approach the teaching of yoga throughout the Hilltowns with a sense of abundance, working cooperatively to enhance our own teaching and practice, and to make our voices heard throughout the region. What do you think?

We look forward to hearing from you!


Michelle Ryan and Sarah Prince

p.s. If you know of any other yoga teachers in the Hilltowns (within a 10-15 mile radius) that may be interested in this idea, please let us know, or share this letter with them.

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