There’s a boom in the number of people becoming yoga teachers, with a multitude of reasons for doing so. Yoga and natural therapies are the fourth fastest growing industry in the world, according to recent articles in Washington Post and Time magazine. The articles also state how yoga is resistant to the recession as in a time of stress, people turn to holistic ways to cope. Not surprisingly then, many non-yoga teachers are starting yoga studios to be part of the gravy-train. I began my yoga business at age 22 out of emotional necessity. Yoga saved my life. I managed to obtain my Psychology degree by age 21 but the other side of me was wild. I explored partying and taking drugs, until, I found myself catapulting towards breakdown as painful childhood events resurfaced. I had to breakdown to awaken. Yoga and spirituality was my medicine. I had no choice, yoga had to be my way of life to the degree that it became my vocation. That’s how you make a yoga business work – make it of your soul, from your soul with an intention to awaken other souls. Anything less than this, in my opinion, will fall short of authenticity and will reflect in your business life in terms of progress, abundance and opportunities.
Once your deep soul stirring is established, you need to get on with the hard yakka. You need to be prepared to be a practicing yogi, a yoga teacher, an avid reader of yoga texts, an administrator, a counsellor, a cleaner, a social media and website creative, a receptionist, a bookkeeper and more! Running a yoga business requires all these multiple hats to be worn and if you are not willing to clean the toilet and sweep the floor in your own studio or one where you sub-contract to, forget about it! I have found the most successful yoga businesses are the ones where the owner rolled up their sleeves and did the menial tasks in the beginning. They built their business from the ground up. Amy Wilkinson founder and owner of Inna Bliss Studios did all the work herself in the beginning. She sub-contracted out to other businesses, taught most of the classes within her own studio, did all the cleaning, administration and behind the scenes work. Amy understands every nuance of her business and can therefore lead her team with insight, compassion and experience. She now has three successful studios across Brisbane!
Living the Dream
Many people embark on the dream of opening a yoga studio with the expectation that they will dwell in a ‘love and light’ bubble 24/7, with loving yoga students, reliable yoga teachers as employees/co-workers and a general feeling that the usual daily grind can be escaped. The reality dawns rapidly for many new yoga business owners. The usual daily issues still exist of course. In fact, if we are to continue to grow in consciousness with our now new role as studio owners or yoga teacher sub-contractors, we need plenty of challenges in order to flex our spiritual muscles. No life tests equals no spiritual growth. If you can survive this rude awakening that running a yoga business is still full of hiccups, you are on your way to a sustained and highly enjoyable new career. Once we drop the expectation, it becomes an absolute pleasure to deal with those very loving, understanding yoga students and those highly evolved co-workers. The blessings are plentiful in this field.
The big question – How? You could do it like I did and start teaching on your lounge room floor. Three people in those days was a huge class! The days when no-one turned up was a great opportunity to meditate and visualise how I would one day like my business to look. On the days when only one person showed, I ensured I taught that class with all the love and enthusiasm I would offer to a full class. I have heard of teachers choosing to turn one person away saying it’s not worth it, however, I feel if someone has made the effort to come to class, they should be treated like royalty! Make the choice to be 100% present and engaged every time you teach yoga and you will find the job not only a joy for yourself, you will also receive powerful feedback from your students and your classes will naturally increase through word of mouth. Kerry Spina, owner of Harmony Yoga Bliss, a renowned Townsville based Kids and Adult Yoga studio did just this. As Kerry says about how she made her business thrive, “Being consistent and reliable. I started with 3 – 4 children or adults in my class and I stayed consistent. I didn’t cancel classes, I believed that what I was doing would work and through building trust and connection the families and the adult yoga students would come and my business and community would thrive.” Kerry has become so successful in her 12 years of running her business she has now purchased the building she runs her studio in!
Where you choose to start teaching depends on many factors, so here are some ideas:
- Rent a local hall
- Sub-contract to a yoga studio
- Teach from home
- Lease a studio space
- Work in a fitness centre or health club
- Approach corporate offices for lunchtime yoga sessions
- Teach in pre-, primary or highschools
- Teach in a retirement home
- Film classes for YouTube and start an online yoga classes platform
- Do a combination of all of the above!
Invest and Manifest
Be prepared to invest in your business by investing in the people who assist you to conduct your business. Whilst it doesn’t sound exciting, the truth is if we joyously part with our cash with air of gratitude for those who make our dreams possible, we stay in a wonderful energy cycle of giving and receiving. This means we ultimately receive all we could ever wish for. If you rent a studio space, pay your landlord on time. Attend to those expenses of insurance, accountant’s fees, advertising, and ongoing education with the same devotion you give to your yoga students. As Kerry Spina passionately says “I have succeeded because I put people first instead of profit. All people in my business, not only our families and yogis- my team, the people that I collaborate with, the people who I outsource to, and our suppliers. The relationship I have with people within my business is my number one priority. As crazy as it may sound, it is that value that has created the connection and amazing community I have and the successful business I have. I wouldn’t have it any other way! “ Doing business in this way keeps your energy field clear of debt and brings you into alignment with your ability to manifest at a high level. Manifestation of business success comes effortlessly when you are the commander of your destiny. You choose to ‘walk in the light’, treating others with fairness and kindness, and sometimes with ‘tough love’ when called to stand in your power. This empowers your ability to command what you need from the Universe. You literally can command more income, opportunities for more work or a different way of working (retreats anyone?). You are the master.
We’ve all heard how being authentic brings success yet do we really know what this means or are we willing to reveal the depths of our soul to stay true to ourselves? What I am about to say may cause contention. Throw out the formulas! I have never been one for going to motivational seminars and taking on somebody else’s formula for success. Yoga and the motivational/money-making seminar circuits get confused in my opinion. They seem to, at times, borrow from the same philosophy, yet I feel the fundamental difference is this – yoga is a return to yourself, your heart, your deepest truth and knowing of what the right path is for you. When the energy of yoga awakens within you, you are more interested in peace and loving connection than you are in sticking to rigid formulas to create money. An awakened yogi knows they are abundant as their natural birth-right hence there is an allowing of money to flow, not a grasping. It is a different state of being. There is a trust in the peaks and troughs within business life and money matters, with an acceptance there will always be enough. And so it is. The real work then is being yourself and nourishing your soul. Success and money are a by-product of this higher intention. Real success lies in being courageous to shine your authentic light without self-consciousness. It’s so much easier to be yourself than to pretend your way through your career. The feelings of bliss that arise from being yourself is in itself ultimate success. This bliss-state leads to improved creativity and increased energy levels. As we combine great energy with flowing creativity, our yoga business soars to new heights. There’s also sustainability in being yourself. If we are acting our way through our business life, stress and fatigue quickly piles up. Let’s all commit to doing things our way, take that Hanuman leap of faith and take a risk to be seen for all our original talents and quirky ways. You were created by a Divine Intelligence to shine in all your unique glory. After all ‘Business of Yoga’ is just another way to say ‘Business of Your Soul’!
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