ABOUT THE SHOW
If you’ve worked in the yoga industry for a while, you may have had the feeling that something “wasn’t quite right”. We’ve had many conversations on this podcast about issues inside of the industry, and how yoga businesses are set up. Being a former studio owner myself, I don’t believe it’s (usually) the fault of malicious intent on the part of studio owners, but rather a reflection of the basic structure of the studio model.
That’s why I was so excited to speak with today’s guests, Avita Bansee & Markella Los about The Connective, a teacher-owner, worker-co-op, online studio. The team at The Connective are actively creating an alternative where the teachers are also owners, who have come together on the basis of shared values to build an online studio that supports the whole, just as much as it supports the individual.
Avita is a yoga teacher and business owner. Life experiences as an Indo-Caribbean single birth parent of two and her continuous study of philosophy, politics, pranayama and biomechanics inform her teachings and self-practice. Her classes are centered on cultural and political reflections, breath, strength and active rest while maintaining a sense of playfulness. In addition to her yoga training, she has a Masters in Political Science from the New School of Social Research and an Honors B.A. in Philosophy.
Most recently, Avita is Co-founder and Central Steward of The Connective, a cooperatively-owned online yoga studio. Merging her passion for social justice and yoga, Avita focuses her energy on creating original content for the platform and ensuring that the business is guided by the ethics of antiracism, yoga and social justice.
Avita teaches regularly on The Connective and on Tejal Yoga and Social Justice platforms.
Markella Los is a communications strategist and digital organizer based out of Brooklyn, NY.
A former yoga teacher and teacher trainer, she was a lead organizer of Unionize Yoga, the campaign that succeeded in establishing the first yoga teachers’ labor union in the US. At the onset of the pandemic she founded The Connective, a cooperatively owned online studio committed to providing a sustainable livelihood for yoga and movement professionals, and raising industry standards for quality, diversity, anti-racism, and accessibility. Her personal mission is to use her leadership, communication, organizing, and strategy skills to advance social justice by working with others to develop their own power and agency.
FIND THE CONNECTIVE
- What The Connective is and why Markella was inspired to start it
- Avita’s early experience with yoga at home, and how she started teaching
- The legal structure of setting up a collaborative business
- Why shared values are the glue that holds The Connective together
- What it’s actually like to be a teacher-owner in a studio
- The benefits of being in a collaborative business vs. owning a business individually
- How yoga has been devalued
- Advice for starting your own collaborative business