By week four after our arrival, I was feeling antsy, ready and eager to teach. But the house wasn’t done, the studio was a sty and I had no choice but to wait. By week five, there was progress; the cork and bamboo flooring we had brought with us was laid down and for the first time, I could envision a studio. With that, I picked an opening date, the first Sunday after the month-long Jewish holidays and two-week school vacation. It was everybody’s first day back in routine, an expression called achrei hachagim or after the holidays.
Thanks to our year here, I already knew how to advertise and could navigate my way around the relevant Yahoo Groups—InHasharon, newraanana, tanglo—to start. My first post read: Grand opening of new yoga studio in Raanana October 23, free classes all week. Then I devised a schedule: Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, mixed level women’s yoga in the morning; Wednesday afternoon teen girl yoga; Wednesday night mixed level yoga. I tried to catch people’s attention with questions like: Are you looking to start a new practice? Take class in English? Practice in a sunny, spacious studio nearby in Raanana? Find a new teacher? I wrote that if they answered yes to any of the above, I’d like to introduce myself, and so on and so on. I pressed SUBMIT.
Then I got sneaky and took group emails that had been circulating about potluck picnics in the park and wine tasting evenings and surprise birthday parties and replied to all, emailing people I knew and spamming those I had not yet met. I addressed it to friends, old and new; I emailed the parents of kids at the girls’ school, introducing myself and my studio.
And I sat and waited.
Minutes passed. Days even. Finally, some emails trickled into my inbox from old friends, new acquaintances and total strangers. I answered each one about time, location, pricing and waited some more.
In the meantime, the house progressed. Philippe removed all of the boxes and clutter off of the studio floor. He and I cleaned it, swept, vacuumed. We hung a cork board for announcements. I plugged in my ipod docking station. We moved an old shoe rack next to the entry. I printed out personal waiver forms. I joined the Israel Yoga Teachers’ Association so that I could take out personal liability insurance. I unpacked my blankets, blocks, straps, mats.
And I waited.
On the day of my grand opening, my first two students arrived early at 8:07. By 8:23 we were all seated, eight women and me. By the week’s end, 29 people had come to classes. For some, it was their first yoga class ever; for others, it was clearly a once-in-a-lifetime experience just to say they tried it with no intention of returning. Now, what remains to be seen is who will come back for more.
Week after week, I unlock my basement door, sweep my floor clean of dust and dirt and creatures (thus far, I have found a huge black beetle, a baby beetle, a lonesome spider and tiny ants) and wait. Most mornings there are two or three people; my teen class is now at eight and my evening group is six. It’s a start.
A month later and I network nonstop. I have met with a local American chiropractor to discuss working in his office privately; I had a frothy cappuccino with an American esthetician in front of the hair salon where she rents a room to discuss creative avenues to advertise; I bring flyers wherever I go and email any lead I am given. I figure that if you put yourself out there to the universe, the universe will respond.
And so I wait.