Updated: Dec 3, 2020
Tips for new yoga teachers - know your worth!
When you start seeing your worth, you’ll find it harder to stay around people who don’t. When you know your worth, no one can make you feel worthless.
You have invested in becoming a yoga teacher, time, money and effort. Don’t undercut and undervalue yourself. Even thus, there certainly will always be more to learn you know a lot and are ready to go out there and teach. There are lots of online courses and workshops you can go to refresh and increase your knowledge. Life allows you to learn and to share (on and off the mat), and the most important thing is being present and disciplined in your efforts.
Working in a studio, gym or setting up your own classes?
Make sure you offer your services in places that value you. It becomes very frustrating to work for places that do not share the same ethical values with you and who don’t appreciate you as a person. In my opinion, it does not matter much if you work in a gym or studio, it is a bit like working in general, it depends who manages the place and who are the people you work with.
In a studio you may earn slightly more, but not necessarily. I have found people in gyms as nice as I have encountered people who come to a yoga studio. People who come to a gym might like other activities as well, but this does not mean they are not dedicated, yogis.
When you are trying to set up your own class, some places may charge a lot for the room hire, and it certainly makes sense to do some marketing research to see if they also attract a lot of students or what their policy is to help you to find students. I personally feel like an individual teacher (self-employed) we are not there to build the business of others but your own (or helping each other). If the agreement is based upon a percentage share, there should be a minimum payment for you to turn up in the first place.
In the past, I have lost plenty of money by paying places who promised me “success” and “yoga places” have even charged me to have put me on their website but expected me to put them onto mine for nothing. It can get frustrating if you end up paying to teach. Give yourself a reasonable timeframe of how long you are willing to invest in that class before you reassess that situation and move on and put your efforts into something that will give you the earning you deserve.
Cover classes are a good idea to find out about different places.
I just advice you to be discerning and check those places out. Maybe put yourself on a cover list first, get to know places and have a chat with the owner to see if they are in line with your ethics. Often working for others (even thus they expect us to be self-employed and pay our own taxes) means losing a lot of freedom, they cancel classes as it pleases them, but will not pay you. I know instructors who worked for years loyal for one gym which then got all their classes cancelled just before Christmas and there was not even a long notice or compensation given to them. Never mind a “merry Christmas “ card.
Recycle and replenish yourself
Don’t make a mistake to work work work and forget about why you chose yoga in the first place? Go on a retreat yourself or enjoy a nice holiday where you can do your self-practice.
“You are special too, don’t lose yourself.” Ernest Hemingway
Expand your horizon and stay true to your passion
Overall, stay true to yoga and its essence of healing. However, in the long term, don’t rely on just teaching public classes! Don’t think your audience is ONLY in the gym or studio! Approach other places! There are still lots of people who have not started to practice yet or have not stepped into a studio yet. Where can you find them? Look around you and be creative.
Don’t be afraid to say “NO” – don’t say yes to every opportunity. Consider if this opportunity is taking you in the right direction? I have taken on too many classes in the past which were too far, did not pay good enough, were not the authentic place I felt I wanted to give my “self” too etc. Often, I ended up tired, forgot about my own practice and felt disillusioned. I also experienced the robot-like performance of those teachers who did not stop to question all this.
Their classes were terrible for me and reminded me of how important it is to stay passionate and fresh about it. We live in an ever-changing environment, and to stay successful, we will have to adapt to new technologies, marketing strategies to stay competitive on the market. It is important to appreciate the help of professional bodies and setting our own boundaries.
Grow your yoga business without losing your soul and authenticity. Reply to your enquiries swiftly and don’t wait for days before you reply. An alternative way is to enclose in your email the sentence that it will take you a couple of days to reply as you are on retreat or in class so that people know you do not forget about them.
Don’t forget to design some solid “Terms and Conditions.”
Make sure you have clear terms and conditions, that is if you sell people, for example, a 10-class pass. What is your refund policy? What is the expiry of the voucher? What if people cancel less than (let’s say) 24 hours in advance? What if people who booked don’t show up?
Have you got a First Aid certificate, insurance and how to lobby with Social Media Groups?
Most gyms and studios will ask you for an Insurance and First Aid certificate. There are plenty of suppliers of courses available. Shop around, and you will find a reasonably priced one. It does not have to be one who says, “yoga first aid”.
There are plenty of groups on Facebook for support and where you can announce your new classes, look for cover and advertise your retreats. Network with other teachers and encourage your students to recommend you or to share your posts or even review you. One tip is don’t just send endless sales ads. People are pretty sick of them, and we seem to get an overload of them on social media, and it’s almost better if you can make a soft sale, that is, do you have something useful to say and some useful advice? Write a few points and then offer your services.
Afterword on ethics…
There is a lot of talk about morals and ethics in yoga, and at the heart of yoga, we have the sutras, but do teachers and studios act kindly to each other? Sometimes, yoga has become a business that drives other people to ruthlessly out of the market. Teachers are tired and don't feel validated and appreciated and struggle to survive. The essence of being ethical in a world that relies more and more on social media and drives out good competent people gets more and more important. From the first day I started teaching, I realised the lack of ethics in what became my job for the next 15 years. I kept saying that I found more ethical behaviour in some multinational companies than in some of the teachers and yoga studios/gyms I met along my path. Of course, this does not count for everybody I met, and I also met some very kind people, but unfortunately, those seemed in the minority.
After a long time of teaching, I realised how important this part is in being a teacher, that is, to be reminded from the beginning just because we are yoga teachers, not everybody, we will meet is a yogi or will do us good. I am not here to discourage you, but to encourage you to stay real all the time and be prepared for this. I wish somebody would have mentored me and helped me to deal with a lot of things that came up my path. Yoga is a wonderful gift we receive and give to others, keep the essence alive.
Never let anybody dim your flame.
If you need mentoring, I finally feel ready to offer after more than 15 years of teaching a unique mentoring programme. Find out more here. Also, offering yoga teacher training in 2021. It is a self-development course and which you will not only learn about the roots of yoga and its different traditions, philosophy and applied anatomy, but also how yoga can help you to take it off the mat and feel good about your decisions and life. If you have any Yoga tips for newly graduated teachers to add, email me and let me know!