Business and yoga… Do these two words really go together?
Some will say no, and that we shouldn’t be charging for a sacred practice such as yoga and to not focus on the money, or that it’s a hobby, not a business.
For me, yoga is a lifestyle and path of service that I am beyond grateful for. While the money is not the focus point, I feel it’s ok to open up a conversation about it because after all, we do all need to make ends meet and pay for costs of living. If that means doing this through something that we love, that we believe in and are passionate about, with good intentions, that offers value and service to our community, whilst getting paid so we can live and continue to sustain this work, then I feel it’s more than ok.
There also comes a point where it’s good to look at whether this lifestyle becomes a hobby or a business, and one of the main differences between the two is if you are actually making money or not.
New and recently newer yoga teachers, have you asked yourself this question? How far do you want to go with this? Do you want a yoga business?
If you know that you want to have a sustainable business as a yoga teacher, there are two key things that I feel every yoga teacher in business needs to know and do.
1. Diversify your income beyond just teaching classes.
Unfortunately, the way the yoga industry is set up does not allow for yoga teachers to earn an income through only teaching classes that reflects how much we give, the value we bring or the hours and energy that goes into it all.
Here’s you: Running around teaching 15-20+ classes per week, stressed, burnt out, losing your passion, going through the motions and feeling resistance come up, just thinking about saying “downward-facing dog, as you breathe out” one more time this week!
Sound familiar? This is not sustainable! We all know that 15 x one-hour classes do not equal 15 hours of work. It’s a lot more than that once you factor in time spent travelling, arriving to class early, staying after class late to have tea with students, planning and practising the class, research, study, exploration and more… plus sometimes travelling between multiple studios on the same day.
This is where it becomes necessary to diversify your income through other means outside the classroom, like workshops, retreats and even looking at the online space. Creating other forms of income that help to leverage your time, energy and finances, will give you more freedom and take the pressure off having to run around and teach so much, so you are able to continue to do what you love, whilst being able to pay for costs of living and not feel so stressed all the time.
2. Invest in yourself in business training, not just yoga teacher training.
I have observed a common theme amongst yoga teachers around all of this. So many teachers focus on expanding their skills as yoga teachers (and people) through attending teacher training after teacher training, but many don’t focus on expanding their skills in business and marketing. What we end up with are so many incredibly skilled and talented yoga teachers who have no idea what they are doing in their business, are struggling and stressed financially, burning the candle at both ends, are unsure of how to move forward and grow in this area, to make a sustainable living and create more freedom for themselves.
I’ve heard many yoga teachers talk about how, if money was no object, that they would happily spend most of their time going from teacher training to teacher training. I’ve said that myself previously and I still feel that way.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with doing more yoga teacher trainings. (there are SO MANY more I’d like to do!) But if we want to give ourselves the best opportunity for making this a sustainable way of life, then investing in business training as well goes a long way.
That may be easier said than done because yoga teaching can be financially challenging, however, putting a little bit of money away over a period of time can help with saving up for this. Many business trainings also have the option of payment plans. This is mostly how I was able to make things work earlier on.
I’ve done several online business and marketing trainings, as well as watched countless free webinars and videos, listened to podcasts, read many blogs and articles and have attended in-person social media workshops. All of this has made such a big difference in my business, confidence and growth in so many ways. It has helped me understand how to communicate with my ideal clients on social media, understand authentic sales and marketing, sell-out workshops and women’s circles, create and sell e-books, discover and create alternative income streams, and so much more.
I no longer feel like I am flying blind with no direction or not knowing how to move forward. I also continue my learning in business just like I do with personal growth and yoga, and I feel this is so important and one of the aspects that can make a big difference in creating a sustainable yoga business VS struggling and always feeling like you have no idea what you’re doing.
If you’re struggling in business, it may be useful considering if it’s worth postponing that next teacher training and investing in a business training instead. If you are diligent at taking action through what you learn and are able to grow your business, then you will be able to afford to attend more yoga trainings in the future anyway! Think long-term investment.
I already mentioned in my blog 3 Things I Wish I Knew When I Became a Yoga Teacher that there is no mention of the business foundations of yoga in our original training, so it’s really up to us to educate ourselves and find a training or trainings that resonate with us.
I recognise that for some people there may be resistance to studying business, marketing and sales, etc, however, there are authentic, genuine, purpose-driven and heart-centred approaches to all of this.
Whatever we focus on and practice, is where we will grow and become skilled at. Just like anything, if you don’t invest any time, energy or focus, how are you going to excel and grow? As Dave Ramsey would say, “What you focus on, you win at.”
What do you think? Can you relate to anything that I’ve mentioned above? Is there anything that you would add? Do you invest in yourself in business or just yoga teacher trainings? I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to share your thoughts below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org