Finding your place in the yoga business requires clear direction on what you have to offer. What kind of yoga teacher are you and who do you want to teach? Examine this section with self-confidence. After completing all the modules in this program, you have a good idea what kind of yoga you like best. You understand what yoga means to you and how it fits into your life. Use that self-awareness to find direction for where you want to teach, how to promote yourself and what aspect of yoga you want to pursue more education. Consider the legal and organized side of the yoga business too.
Where to Teach
After completing this YTT program, you’ll be prepared to teach yoga classes to whomever you choose. Consider who you want to teach and in what setting.
- dedicated yoga studio
- fitness facility
- private events
- in your house
Wherever you teach, you’ll gain a new perspective on what the practice means to you and how to best share its attributes. Be receptive to the reasons your students come to classe, transmit the practice in the most authentic way you know how, continue your own practice and above all, keep educating yourself on the nuances of yoga.
The business of yoga is complex and here we will discuss how to market your teaching, the legal aspect of insurance and finances, opportunities for ongoing education and governing bodies such as the Yoga Alliance.
Online teaching is flexible teaching. You will present your knowledge using media so that learning is built around the physical, geographical and time constraints of learners. The use of media removes physical, geographic and time constraints. Your students don’t have to commute to class; they don’t have to worry about what they’re wearing and they don’t have to adhere to a studio schedule. Nobody can see them and they can unroll their mat whenever and wherever. Create good classes by asking the following questions:
Are you broadcasting or using two- way communication? Broadcasting is a recorded audio or video clip that your students can access on their own. Youtube, for example, facilitates broadcasting. It is one-way communication. Two-way communication is a live medium where you can see and/or hear your students in real time. Zoom and Skype are two-way communication.
How are you representing your content? Sometimes you teach physical ideas, such as deep stretches for the hips. Sometimes you teach philosophical ideas such as right thought and right action (the yoga yamas and niyamas). But whatever you teach, consider how will you use media to represent your content. If you are creating a Youtube video, how will you adequately describe each pose so your student can do the practice without watching the screen the entire time? If you’re using two-way communication, how will you inspire your students to understand the yamas? Your goal is to represent the abstract ideas of yoga in a way that students can relate to. Your selection of media must represent yoga in a concrete way through descriptive words and clear demonstration of a concept.
Marketing and Self-Promotion
When you are first starting out, you will need to market yourself. Where will you promote yourself and how will you get students to pay attention?
Social media. There are more than a dozen platforms to advertise yourself. Consider starting a dedicated page to advertise your teaching schedule. Social media sites allow paid advertising. That might be a worthwhile way to get the word out.
Email List. The best way to get in touch with students is directly to their inbox. It’s a good idea to ask students for their email address and then send out a newsletter or email update on a regular basis. Keep an ongoing list at the place where students sign in for classes and ask them to write their email addresses down. Be sure to let them know they can unsubscribe at any time!
Business cards. Wallet-sized business cards can be printed at home or by a printing company. Having something with your name and email address to hand to prospective students is a way to remind people to attend your classes.
Website/blog. Having an online presence is a useful asset. Keep it simple at first so that you don’t need to constantly maintain it. A broken website is worse than no website!
Whichever platform you use to promote your classes, ask the following five questions:
What? (call to action)
Download the “self-promotion exercise” in Course Materials. Use the exercise to focus your marketing efforts. The exercise is adapted from Jessica Robson’s Marketing Course. jessicarobson.com
Word of Mouth
Do not underestimate the power of word of mouth! Your teaching style will be discussed by your students. You cannot expect every student to like your style, but you can influence their perception by exemplifying yoga in your daily interactions.
To teach authentically, you must embody all the attributes of the practice. Honesty, discipline, non-reactivity, loving kindness, compassion, respect and strength of character are some of the qualities of the practice. As the teacher, you transmit all these lessons from the practice both on and off the mat.
Embody the practice in all your daily pursuits and allow the practice to represent your best self. Your yogic self will shine through and students will pick up on these qualities. This advice is related to advertising because it reminds you of the power of the practice you are teaching. You aren’t always seeking students and money from your daily actions, but you are paying homage to the practice of yoga which is the centre of your business.
Investigate your options for insurance coverage. Liability insurance is a necessary precaution to take against potential lawsuits. As horrifying as it is to imagine a student suing a yoga teacher for negligence, for poor instructions or for a dangerous class, there are examples of such behaviour. Insurance will protect you and your assets. Unfortunately, you don’t even have to be in the wrong for a lawsuit to be directed at you. The reality of a litigious society is you must protect yourself. Research the insurance you need for the classes you are offering and purchase accordingly.
Educate yourself about yoga and the art of teaching long after you’ve finished this program! There are many options for courses, both in person and online. Be sure to examine what a course is all about and the credentials of the teacher before enrolling. There isn’t a wrong reason for teachers to create continuing education modules, but there may be some that are more relevant for your interests.
Just like there isn’t a wrong reason to practice yoga, anything that teachers put effort into offering will have value, but ensure that you are signing up for something that is congruent with your own values.
The practice is diverse and ancient and there are many interpretations of its application. Every teacher has something worthwhile to say, so take as many trainings as you can fit in. Get to know other teachers and learn from them. They all have something special to say about the practice.
The Yoga Alliance is an evolving organization that was created as a database of teachers. The YA eventually created a set of standards from which to base 200 and 500-hour Yoga Teacher Training programs. They also govern which programs of fewer hours can be used as “continuing education” for teachers.
Their model of governance is helpful for establishing congruence across teacher training programs. The intention is that every teacher training program will adhere to a set of standards. The Yoga Alliance strives to keep pace with the evolving and growing business of yoga by suggesting standards and maintaining a teacher database.
It’s up to you, as a teacher, to decide how much you want to participate in YA’s model. It is not a requirement for teaching that you register with the YA. The only requirement for teaching yoga is that you have students who want to learn from you! With that in mind, only teach what you know to be true and embody the teachings of discipline, honesty, compassion and respect. By being honest in what you believe yoga to be, you will attract students who believe in you. Following that, you may decide if the Yoga Alliance is a worthwhile organization for you to subscribe to.