Successful yoga teachers are almost always able to confidently articulate who they teach and what they teach. Not only have they carved out valuable yoga niches but they’ve built their teaching careers around those niches. So how do you find your ideal yoga niche as a yoga teacher?
Well, as the yoga industry continues to boom and more new teachers continue to get certified, you might begin to wonder how you can reach students and support yourself when so many other teachers are trying to do the exact same thing? The answer is in finding an ideal yoga niche.
It’s really important to have a clear idea of who you are, what you are passionate about, and what kind of yoga teacher you want to be.
Lack of success is often due to not having a clear understanding of your own identity as a teacher and many yoga teachers make the mistake of trying to cater to everyone.
The result is an unclear message and they end up serving no one.
If you want to be well-known for something, you need to narrow in and focus on an ideal yoga niche – or a specific type of student with specific needs.
But yoga is for everyone so why should I have an ideal yoga niche?
It certainly is for everyone and of course as a yoga teacher you want everyone to benefit from yoga.
However, trying to offer a yoga class that meets the needs of every student can be difficult because everyone has different goals for their practice. It can also lead to inauthenticity and burnout because you simply cannot please everyone and be an expert in everything.
Students have different levels of experience as well as different ages, genders and backgrounds. So while it’s great to take an inclusive approach to your teaching, carving out a specific offering to meet the specific needs of a specific type of student can be highly beneficial.
As a new teacher or if you’ve been teaching for some time but in a more generalist way, finding your niche can sometimes be tricky. You could list all of your interests and passions and still come away feeling unsure and stuck.
But don’t let that hold you back because understanding your niche is part of the process to fully defining your specialism and marketing to your ideal student. So it’s better to get up and running than to wait around.
That way, you can test out ideas for classes, get teaching different types of students and learn from your successes and failures. You can take what you’ve learned from previous attempts and move forward with new ideas.
What is an ideal yoga niche?
Most yoga teachers are educated in asana, meditation, pranayama, anatomy and yoga philosophies as part of their 200hr training. Many subject areas are covered so it’s important to ask yourself: “what do I feel most passionate about teaching?”
Niches are smaller segments of a bigger whole and narrowing in on a specific subject that you are most interested in helps to define you as an expert teacher in this subject. It also helps your ideal student – the ones who are also interested in this subject – to find you and become your student.
There are many ways that you can do this, from focusing on one of the areas you learnt about in your training, such as becoming anatomically focused in your teachings or perhaps more spiritually and philosophically focused. And this focus comes from what you are most passionate about teaching.
Ideal yoga niches can include specific demographics, styles of yoga, combinations of yoga and many more. Let’s take a look:
- Specific Demographics: Gender, Age
- Style: Hot Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Yin Yoga
- Combinations: Yoga & Surfing, Yoga & Beer, Mum & Baby Yoga
- Yoga Interest: Meditation, Chanting, Pranayama
- Specific Interest: Yoga for Athletes, Yoga for Runners, Yin Yoga for Body Builders
- Therapy: Yoga for back pain, Yoga for depression, Yoga for recovery from addictions
- Location: Rooftop Yoga, Park Yoga, Beach Yoga
There really is a yoga for everyone these days and so the challenge as a teacher is working out your unique style and what it is that you can offer to your ideal students that is both authentic and can be delivered with passion.
So rather than offering a general yoga class, your offering becomes a niche yoga class that targets a specific group of students with a unique interest or goal.
You may worry that this will exclude potential students from your classes but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Instead, a niche allows you to connect with your ideal students on a deeper level and for you to be the passionate teacher that you are.
When you teach with passion, your students are more engaged and will tell their friends about you and your classes.
Why you should narrow down to find your ideal yoga niche
1. You’ll successfully connect with your ideal students instead of trying to connect with everyone
When you shift your mindset from wanting to serve everyone to focusing on your ideal student, you’ll become really clear on who you’re meant to teach and who the exact people are who can benefit most from being your student.
There are thousands of yoga teachers out there, but there are far fewer who specialize in something.
2. Marketing and finding your ideal students becomes easier
As your message becomes clearer, you’ll naturally start to attract your ideal student because you can “speak” to them on the topics that matter most. These students will seek you out and if you have a website or a blog where you write about these topics, you’re more likely to show up online.
You’re marketing efforts will become more streamlined and focused and your brand will have a consistent look and feel. This will help you to save both time and money.
3. You’ll stand out and become an expert in your ideal yoga niche
Having a niche is a fantastic way to establish your credibility and set yourself apart in this crowded yoga space that’s building up around us.
It will become much easier to stand out amongst the thousands of yoga teachers out there because you have a unique audience who connect with you because of what you’re offering and because it resonates with them.
4. You’ll deepen your knowledge and grow your confidence
Focusing on a niche allows you to accumulate deep expertise in a particular subject over time.
Building specialized knowledge can help to grow your confidence both in delivering your teachings and in marketing your offerings.
5. You’ll be happier and more fulfilled
Most importantly, you’ll teach authentically and from the heart and this is how you attract your true fans. These are the people who will follow you from studio to studio and deeply connect to what you have to offer
You’ll be able to teach what you love in your own personal style and start to accept that some people will love it, some people won’t, but you’ll be happier and more fulfilled teaching yoga in a way that allows you to express your true self.
How To Find Your Ideal Yoga Niche
Now you know the benefits of having a yoga niche and some ideas of niches. How do you find yours?
I want to share with you the three steps it takes to uncover your unique calling.
STEP 1: REFLECT
Spend some time reflecting on how you currently teach and how you’ve taught in the past and if there’s any differences or changes over time. What do you enjoy most about teaching? Did you teach any specific classes or events where you felt really alive and why?
Then reflect on your personal yoga practice. How is it different to what you teach?
Journal, meditate and think about the specific parts of your yoga teaching and your personal practice that get you really fired up. You can then begin to map out your relationship with these topics and begin to create a clearer picture of who you are as a teacher.
Ultimately you should go inwards, tap into your intuition and your authentic deep self and ask: “what kind of yoga teacher am I?”
STEP 2: BRAINSTORM
Then go on to brainstorm some ideas related to your other passions in life. Your niche is just as much about your personality as it is about your student’s needs. These two key things must work together for your niche to be a success. So ask yourself a few questions:
1. What hobbies and interests do you have outside of yoga?
2. What do you do in your free time?
3. What and who inspires you – nature, books, culture, music, teachers?
4. What do people ask for your advice about?
5. What has influenced your life and shaped who you are?
6. What comes easily to you?
7. What education and training do you have that is unique?
8. What do people say you’re good at?
When you have the answers to these questions, you should see if there is answer that is or could be a good fit with yoga!
STEP 3: TEST & EVALUATE
The only way to truly know if you’ve found your niche is to test it out. So, before you tell everyone about your new focus as a teacher, test it out by hosting a class with your niche!
You will only get real clarity on this by taking action and a good way to set this up is to host a free yoga class, invite people to attend and see how it feels before fully committing.
Sometimes ideas look great on paper but when we actually try them out, logistically they don’t deliver or they just don’t “feel” right.
Do some research to see who else is offering yoga for your niche – this is a good sign! Classes already operating shows there’s demand so don’t be put off if you’re not the first teacher to deliver this style or combination of yoga.
Remember, your niche may not be what you originally set out to be, but ultimately it will be so much more rewarding because you are aligning with your passions.
But what about earning less money?
You now know why you should niche and how to go about finding your niche but you may still have some niche-related fears. So let’s take a moment just to break through some common myths about niching.
“I’ll earn less money”
Actually the opposite is true! Many teachers think that they will limit the number of students they teach by niching.
And while you might see lots of different faces coming through the door as a more generalist yoga teacher, niching helps you to keep the same students week after week. As you sharpen your marketing message, the right students and clients will find you and these ideal students will want to practice with you time and time again. This is how you build loyalty and it is much more expensive to find new students than it is to keep the ones you’ve got.
By niching you’ll create true fans that spend more money with you, that book your workshops and retreats and spread the message about what an amazing teacher you are.
Remember, when you try to serve everyone, you serve no one.
“I’ll only ever be able to teach this niche”
Your niche should evolve like you do and as you become an expert in your ideal yoga niche, you’ll have more credibility to branch out in the future.
As a yoga teacher you have lots of strings to your bow and niching can be scary but the reason a niche is so remarkable is because you get to be 100% authentically you and to build a really loyal tribe of students.
From this established place you can grow consistently over time and it becomes much easier to successful enter and flourish in new niches.
There really is something out there that only you can teach to the world. And that is your niche.