After yoga teacher training, starting your yoga teaching business is kind of like telling the world you’re a yoga fanatic.
Before teacher training the practice of yoga is highly personal, you do it for yourself. It’s glorious and indulgent me-time. At least, that’s what I felt when I first started doing yoga at the YMCA over 20 years ago.
When I realized I had become a yoga fanatic I knew the right choice for me was enrolling in yoga teacher training. Teacher training was a protective bubble of positivity surrounded by uplifting fellow yogis. When I graduated and wanted to actually teach yoga, that bubble suddenly burst. Yoga was no longer just me-time, a time to take a break from the stresses of daily life and relax. Yoga WAS real life. It was my real life and my job and I had to start telling others about it. I had to start promoting myself, something I had no experience doing and I didn’t really know where to start.
The completion of yoga teacher training can be a bit of shock as you shift from student to teacher. It is a big step that can leave you a little vulnerable. You may be worried that you will turn people off by promoting yourself too much or too hard.
You Don’t Want to be THAT Person
We’ve all had the experience of having a friend or acquaintance contact us out of the blue about their new business. If we’re not interested, and the friend is insistent, it can become uncomfortable and put a rift in the friendship.
We don’t want to be that pushy person, but we also have to figure out how to put ourselves out there in a way that feels good for everyone. We all know of people “living the dream” doing a job they care about and talking passionately about it in a way that inspires. They make it look easy, not sleazy.
It’s Like Teaching Yoga to Tweens
Overcoming the hesitancy to promote yourself is like teaching yoga to tweens. They can be reluctant to try yoga because it’s different or they associate it with something “not cool” and they don’t want to look foolish in front of their friends. But once they’re doing the poses and playing the games they forget about their worries and just enjoy themselves. Before they know it, class is over and everyone is hugging.
Maybe we all still listen a bit too much to the twelve year old kid inside us. The one who cares what other people think and who doesn’t want to look foolish but doesn’t want to miss the party either. That kid also has the urge to take chances and put him or herself out there to experience something different and create a new life for themselves.
What’s Your Comfort Zone
In yoga teacher training we learn that it is best for beginners to start with beginning poses. And so it is with self-promotion in the business realm.
When I started my business, I started with people who I knew would be supportive. I told other yoga loving people in my social circle, I told my supportive family members and I told my friends who I knew would be happy for me and believed in me enough to tell others what I was doing.
I offered myself as a substitute yoga teacher to experienced yoga teachers who needed help during their time away for holidays or courses. I approached new studios looking for people with energy.
I formed networks and shared my passion for my specialty, kids yoga, with anyone who had kids, taught kids, worked with kids or was interested in kids health and happiness.
I did NOT tell people if I thought they would find fault in my yoga teaching career move. That would be like me trying to do Crane Pose in my first yoga class – definitely difficult and for me, dangerous. Beginners are best starting with beginner steps. Build your business in a sweet and steady way.
Be True – Avoid Sleazy Advertising
Advertising can be designed to trick people into buying (I’m looking at you Vitamin Water!) The yogic approach to advertising which involves working with integrity to build relationships has been successful for me. This type of marketing helps people see if my offering is right for them.
I started blogging to show people what I am about, what my teaching philosophy is and to give readers an opportunity to figure out if they resonate with the way I do kids yoga.
It’s best for new teachers to not promise the moon. Let your advertising be true to who you are and describe what is unique about what you are offering. If you’re promoting a kids’ yoga class let your customers know that your kids class is challenging and disciplined helping children build focus and develop attention. Or maybe your kids class is playful and relaxing which helps children relieve stress and learn to manage anxiety. Whatever your style, develop advertising to reflect it so you attract customers who will appreciate what you offer.
Advertising that has a point of view doesn’t feel gross; it actually helps people make an informed decision.
Build Slow, Build Strong. Be a Support for Yourself.
I didn’t overload my stress levels as I built my new kids yoga business. I took part time jobs that eased the financial pressure. I went out of my way to connect with other yoga teachers to brainstorm ideas for classes. I got their advice on what to charge and how to get myself out there as a reliable and professional teacher and shared my experiences with them. I sought and found active communities of support.
We have a private Facebook Group for Young Yoga Masters graduates that connects grads from all years and supports our new kids yoga teachers. If you are thinking of taking adult or kids yoga teacher training, find out what kind of post-training support is offered.
If you’ve completed your yoga teacher training and are at the place where you’re ready to teach new classes but don’t know where to start, you aren’t the only one. As you start putting yourself out there let everything that you’ve learned in yoga guide you.
It is possible to create a new career, full or part-time, without destroying all the things you love about yoga and about yourself. You might have begun to take yoga teacher training because you were a yoga fanatic and there is absolutely no reason it can’t stay that way as it it becomes your job and your business. I say this with confidence because I’ve been living that passion for over twenty years now.
Aruna Kathy Humphrys
Lead Trainer, Young Yoga Masters
Yoga Alliance Registered Children’s Yoga School
For our fellow yoga fanatics reading, we invite you to consider the Young Yoga Masters Kids Yoga Teacher Training.
Click on the link below for more details.
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