What are the first few questions you think you need answers to when you’re a new yoga teacher training graduate? ‘Do I need a website?’ or you asked, ‘what do I charge for my classes?’ or ‘how do I use social media?’ Correct? All in all, every yoga teacher’s underlying dream is to get more students to come to their offerings. Why? That’s a great question. Something we’ll explore a little later. The truth is many yoga teacher trainings often teach you how to teach yoga but what none ever tell you is that a BIG part of being a yoga teacher is also about understanding how to get your yoga to reach more people. That would be the entrepreneur side of yoga in your life. If you choose to head that way.
Disclaimer: Before we proceed, here’s a disclaimer. I’m assuming your yoga teacher training program was rock solid. Meaning you’ve built a deeper understanding of yoga, the role of a yoga teacher & how to be of service. You’ve learned the history, basic philosophy, ethics & you’re fine-tuning your teaching skillset as you continue to grow & study. Assuming you feel ready & determined to start this teaching journey.
Doesn’t business go against yoga?
Nope! If we were ancient yogis who lived in the forest where society offered us food & shelter as needed. It would be a different story. But we’re at a different time. With different responsibilities. In fact, artha is the second pillar of the purushartha system. Without taking care of your need for sustenance & safety, you won’t be able to walk the path of yoga freely.
Now the easy way out if you don’t want to be a solopreneur is to work for a yoga studio. Where the studio takes care of most of the backend operations & you show up to teach your classes & leave. (Coming soon- pros & cons of working at a studio or yourself)
Most teachers especially post-pandemic are looking to grow the “number” of students who come to their classes as we can teach independently of a yoga studio more easily via zoom. I’ve taught almost every day for the past 8 years. I’m sharing some of my learnings with you. But know this, getting more yoga students to come to your class is a multi-layered topic with SO many different aspects to consider. Slowly, we’ll address one at a time. If you’re here for a quick solution that’s hidden in one blog – you’re in the wrong place.
Let’s get started.
Before you start to work on getting more yoga clients. You’ll first need to connect deeply with yourself. It’s a segment I like to call, MIND YOUR MINDSET…
Side note: If you like my perspective, content & podcasts then make sure to get on my email newsletter list right away.
Here are 5 tips to get more yoga students (Part 1)…
- Show up to connect not impress.
When you show up, show up to Connect not impress. Often especially because of social media, we feelthe need to show up & instantly wow our audience. Not true. What works for yoga teachers is showing up as your authentic self. Gone are the old days where a poster of someone in a complicated pose defined a skilled yoga teacher. Today, people care about your message, your mission, what you stand for, your quirks, how you’ll help them, etc…
Try to show up with a strong intention to connect every single time. Whether you have 1 student or 100. Be interested in your student’s struggles, fears, joy -why they sought yoga & more. See the person in front of you or online. Building a relationship with your student is key. This is what will keep them from going to a cheaper app or free videos on YouTube.
Stop thinking you have to teach complicated yoga sequences or advanced asana to really matter. See where you student is, meet them at their level & slowly build their practice up! Showing up to connect & serve every day is what will move the needle forward in your yoga career or yoga business. People will come back because they have a real connection with you. They’ll see you care, notice & serve them even when they don’t expect it.
Want to learn more about how to connect with your yoga students? Send me a DM right now on Instagram
How to connect in various scenarios? Here are some thoughts for you to explore…
Yoga class: Use the time before & after class. Whether online or in-studio. Open the class 10 minutes before. Engage with all students before class. Greet each person by name, make eye contact, ask how they’re doing, Ask if they were okay after the last class they attended with you. Do they wish for anything in their practice today? If you don’t know your audience keep the conversation general. So everyone can participate – if they don’t want to speak right away. You keep them going. Some prompts – weather, weekend activity suggestions, Netflix playlists, a new take-out place. Get creative. Doesn’t always need to be serious yoga stuff. Just stay away from – politics or anything that’s too personal.
Don’t unload on the students.
2. Teaching yoga is not about you
This is the most common mistake yoga teachers make. Teaching yoga is never about yourself. How often have you heard, I’m teaching a beginners yoga class at (insert time & date) come join me. Enroll. Take my class at XYZ class. Or posting a picture of you in (100th) handstand on Instagram that silently screams – watch how good I am. This honestly means nothing in a super crowded yoga marketplace where every other teacher is doing the same thing.
If you want to be a successful yogapreneuer, you should always position yourself to think about, & talk to your (potential) clients. Here are 2 examples for you…
- Instead of saying come do yoga with me – try to understand what they may be struggling with. Stop saying come to my evening class. & instead try this. “I bet sitting at your desk all day can make you feel sore in your lower back, & exhausted from working all day. Wish you could spend a little more time taking care of yourself today? Well, I’ve got you covered. Join me for a lower back care yoga class today. You’ll walk away feeling refreshed, & you bid goodbye to your lower back troubles. I’ll see you at (insert time) & (insert location) & (how to sign up)
- Trying to get people to wake up for a morning class? Try this…A great way to energize your body & get your mind into high performance all day is to get a morning yoga practice in! If you haven’t tried it – you’re seriously missing out on a golden opportunity here. You’ll be on top of your to-do list all day. I bet you’ll even have fun knocking the tasks down. Come try this, PJs welcome! See you at (insert time) & (insert location) & (how to sign up)
- Instead of posting an arm balance or a handstand, what if you posted a picture of you in Trikonasana & spoke about the first time that you attempted this pose. How you thought you may fall & how you noticed you had never bent this way. Share the vulnerable part of that experience. Not the “look how good I am a bit”.
What you just did here – is step into your customer’s shoes. There’s something called your ideal customer in the marketing world that we can talk about at some point. But you could also just look it up, so many experts talk about it.
3. Work on your communication skills
Everything we do in yoga is about communication. Whether that’s teaching a yoga class, posting on social media, or writing an email newsletter…You have to start learning to communicate skillfully, effectively & compassionately. Yoga teachers have a lot of content available at their fingertips. How we navigate through it is what is the tricky part.
Your potential yoga clients are constantly being bombarded with messages all the time. By learning to communicate effectively you’ll figure out how to stand out. That way you’re the obvious choice for them each time they need a yoga fix.
Communucation as a solo yogapreneur goes way beyond what you do in class. Most yoga teachers spend 100s to 1000s of dollars learning how to sequence. But barely anytime on learning how to communicate outside of class. There are a few things you could do to get your communication game started…
Every day spend 10 minutes writing about your yoga. It may not be as sexy as posting a picture of you doing yoga. But when you sit down & start writing about your relationship with yoga. You’ll get better at storytelling & expressing yourself. Here’s what you want to do…
a. Set a timer for 5 minutes
b. In a dedicated journal write for 5 non stop minutes whatever comes to your mind about yoga
c. Do this for a full month
What you’re doing here is learning to sort through your thoughts & find clarity on paper. There will be many days where you’re wondering what to write about. But someday you’ll go beyond I like this pose because it makes me feel good to more relatable stuff.
If you want a few journal prompts, check out this Live Instagram video where I shared some ideas.
4. Who are you uniquely going to serve
You can’t teach anyone & everyone. Niching down is significant. Initially, I had dreams of teaching everyone yoga. But over time, I now know at my studio – my clients are mostly stressed out & overworked IT employees, largely POC who show up because they don’t feel connected to a white yoga studio in the area. These are people with very well-paying jobs. Mostly with young families & very full lives. Serving them is where my bread & butter comes from. My personal dream though is to teach teachers (or aspiring teachers) I use the studio to feed into that dream. I’m here now – but it took me years to understand & build to this.
Figure out how you can serve those around you. You may have big yoga dreams but the start is always at the grassroots. Remember, we don’t show up to impress. For example – 2 of my teachers love teaching yoga to kids. One of them is teaching people chair yoga for seniors only. Try to understand what lights you up to teach. While there’s a lot to explore, this is the start. Takes a while to find your answer to this one.
5. Learn from outside industry experts…
Most of us learn yoga not the other side of entrepreneurship. If you want to really get better at building your base, you’ve got to learn to strike a balance between yoga learning as well as actually working to be a yoga teacher. In this regard, learning from outside our industry experts will be tremendously helpful. You can learn about everything from communication, copy writing, list building to social media from outside experts often for free. There are podcasts, blogs, free videos and trainings about this. Next time, you feel stuck – ask yourself do you need to learn more sequencing or do you need to learn how to get students to teach sequencing to?
This is part 1, come back here for part 2. Or join me every Tuesday at 12:30pm PST for Tea time Tuesday Live segments on Instagram to have conversations like these live. You can also ask your questions!
Hope these help…:)