In what seems like a sea of yoga teachers with fancy websites and huge Insta followings (showing off perfect handstands on the beach!), it can be easy to feel like you’re not good enough especially when you’re a new yoga teacher.
But let me tell you, new yoga teacher, YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH! What you have to offer is uniquely you and if you have a calling to this wonderful yoga teaching game, then it’s your duty to give your most authentic version of you.
But it doesn’t hurt to know some new yoga teacher basics to get you off the starting blocks, does it?
It’s good to know that Digital Yoga Academy has a wealth of business information, trainings and courses for new and more established yoga teachers. It’s all super accessible and easy to understand even if you’ve not got a business background.
UK based yoga teacher Lee-Ann Cordingley shares advice from her own personal experience as a new yoga teacher and growing her own yoga business.
1. Start thinking of being a new yoga teacher as having a yoga business
I owned a successful business in a completely different field, but I didn’t want to think of my yoga teaching as a business in the early days. I love what I do, I love sharing it and ‘business’ felt like a dirty word. But here’s the deal:
“it is an exchange of energy currency in exchange for your knowledge”
If you’re receiving money for a service you provide as a new yoga teacher, regardless of how much money, you’re running a business.
Altering my mindset in that way was instrumental in the growth of my yoga business.
As self-employed new yoga teachers, we are yoga entrepreneurs and the founder of our own yoga business – and therefore we need to start thinking like a business!
2. Separate your personal and business interactions
One of the first things you should consider doing is keeping your business ‘Business’ and your personal ‘Personal.’
A good way to do that is to have dedicated channels of contact. We might not all want to have two mobile phones in our pocket, but you may not want your personal number being publicly available.
Having a dedicated email address is a win, especially if your own email is something like firstname.lastname@example.org. It should have an air of professionalism about it!
A pivotal part of my own development was the words of another yoga teacher:
“decide what is acceptable to you”
…working hours, the times of day that you respond to messages or return calls, how you price or lead your classes.
It’s important to have that little bit of detachment from your business so that you can remain authentically you.
Hands up who wants to be at the beck and call of Tom, Dick or Harriet who may not even show up to your class after all your carefully worded emails, text messages or instantly answered telephone calls in the middle of the night?
Nope. Didn’t think so. Value yourself and value your time.
3. Engage with your community
Embrace your class sizes and make them count.
Notice the difference:
“I only had 3 people in my class”
“THREE people took the time to come and learn yoga with me!”
If numbers are all you are focusing on, it may affect the energy that you carry onto the mat making those three people feel that they weren’t good enough.
Nobody wants to feel like that, least of all in a yoga class!
“…People won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel” Maya Angelou
Folk are choosing to spend their energy, money and time in your class, learning from YOU – yes, you, new yoga teacher!
That’s pretty amazing.
If they feel valued and important, there’s a high likelihood they will come back. Chances are, they’ll tell another person how they felt and in turn, your class will grow.
Within your TTC you will have gleaned knowledge about yoga philosophy, anatomy and safe practice of the asana but you should remember ahead of each class:
your energy is everything
The same goes for your communications away from the mat. Do you respond to messages in a professional, timely manner? An auto-responder could take up the slack.
I have a regular client of more than two years. When I initially spoke with her she told me she’d contacted another teacher who didn’t respond until nearly three months later. Based on that experience, my client did not want to go to the classes.
That made me sad because I have attended the other teacher’s classes and I know how great they are.
People want to be heard and acknowledged both face to face and in other forms of communication. It’s just good manners, isn’t it?
4. Be present on social media
Getting the word out about your fantastic new classes can be tricky if you haven’t dabbled with a bit of online marketing.
This term can sound scary for some, but I think we all have a little bit of an awareness of social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and it’s quite easy to apply your personal knowledge to create a group or a business page.
Unless you’re a techie wizard, start by focusing on the one platform that you find easiest to use – or start on the one you know your students are using most.
If you don’t know, ask them!
I set up my Facebook business page and fumbled around on my own quite successfully but when I found Kelly’s blog post on creating a Facebook business page, things made lots more sense.
I continue to tweak things and learn all the time.
Social media algorithms are ever-changing and the resources and experience that Digital Yoga Academy share are invaluable.
Having this channel provides your students with a place to keep in touch with you. We’ve all experienced attending an amazing yoga class and coming away having that sense of a shared connection.
Your online community can help you to keep the experience alive and fresh for your students. As a wholly unexpected surprise for my own classes, I now see a dialogue between my regular students who did not know each other before and I LOVE that!
It really does add another dimension to my community classes that people enjoy.
5. Make connections with other established & new yoga teachers
If you happen to be the only new yoga teacher in your area, this can be a pretty lonely place to be.
If you happen to be in an area with an abundance of yoga teachers, this can also be a pretty lonely place to be because it might be accompanied by feelings of insecurity or competition.
In just the same way as holding a community space online for your students is beneficial, being part of a network of yoga teachers is so supportive.
You can share details of your own forthcoming classes or events or information about teacher trainings. Most importantly, you can connect with other people doing the same job as you, who encounter similar highs and lows.
6. Charge your worth – even when you’re a new yoga teacher!
A teacher with more than 20 years’ experience may charge more for their expertise than a teacher newly qualified, but of course, there are exceptions. Assess your own classes and what you offer.
Don’t set your pricing in accordance with the way that other people teach.
I know how many months you have spent reading, learning, training, attending first aid courses, the philosophy books, the anatomy papers, the CPD courses, the hours and hours and hours of personal practice you have spent honing your craft, not because you have to but because it’s right.
I have a theory that to be working in this profession, you must have a caring nature and you want to see others thrive and succeed as much as you want it for yourself, so the rub is:
if you charge less than you believe your classes are worth, you may find more students who are looking for a cheaper class but are you devaluing the experience for both yourself and all the other yoga teachers in your area?
Just a little something to consider with the idea of asteya floating around in the background.
7. Know your craft
As we know, this world of yoga is so vast and there are so many exciting areas for exploration.
Depending on which regulatory body you’re affiliated with, there will be different requirements for how many hours of Continued Personal Development (CPD) you should undertake, however, I am a firm believer that we should only undertake learning when we are ready to learn.
“Atha yoga anushasanam” ~ Now, the teachings of yoga. —Yoga Sutra 1.1
If you’re attending course after course after course to add extra teaching strings to your bow to grow your classes, you need to think about how much of the information are you actually retaining?
When you begin to impart aspects of these studies to your students, will they be from the heart or recited from memory?
Above all, I believe the best thing you can do to really know your craft is to maintain your own personal practice.
If you can’t feel the poses or the practice, how can you impart wisdom or knowledge about them with the people who are spending precious time and money to learn from you?
Personally, I get so excited about learning new stuff that sometimes I make myself busy for the sake of being busy, but without fail, as soon as I get back to my mat or meditation cushion…
And I remember.
I feel a calm and stillness and a focus. And isn’t that what we want to share and encourage?
Guest Writer: Lee-Ann Cordingley
7 Important Business Tips for New Yoga Teachers
A Hatha teacher with a passion for anatomy and physiology and a desire to apply philosophical lessons to modern living. Lee-ann believes in teaching her students to support the body’s natural healing ability with the gifts of yoga. Encouraging mindful practices on and off the mat greatly aid the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system, healing from within and promoting positive body image and lifestyle. She has a nurturing and fun approach and is sympathetic to those who have physical or mental wellbeing challenges or difficult circumstances.