Wise Words On Building A Yoga Career
A year ago, when I decided to make a significant career shift and move from advertising into the world of yoga, all I knew was that I was following my heart. Of course, I knew that someday I’d be teaching. But honestly, unlike the past, this time around, I did not have a clear blueprint for the future. Foolish, some may say. Fortunately for me, at every little bottleneck since then, I have had solutions coming to me from the universe – in the form of people I already knew and connected deeply with and from others whom I have formed special bonds with after embarking on this journey.
My association with a1000yoga is one such bond that began with my TTC last year. Since then, I have attended a lot of their sessions and workshops with a view to gaining inputs towards shaping my own career. The most recent workshop called ‘Mind your Business’ held last month was a valuable one for teachers like me. Facilitated by Pradeep Gowda, it was an truly an informative session for the gathering that comprised of both new and experienced teachers.
So what was the session really about?
With the buzz in the yoga industry today, there are more and more practitioners and of course many more teachers. In this scenario, any teacher who aspires to build a successful long-term yoga career has to have a good strategy in place. As a teacher, one may have plans to set up a home-based practice or studio. Or one may choose to go down the freelance route. In either case, it is important to have a sound knowledge of how to go about these in the most effective way. The ‘Mind your Business’ workshop explored both these cases and offered guidance towards creating a good strategy for success.
The session was on the business of yoga and yoga is spiritual knowledge that one ideally cannot not put a price to. So naturally it all began with an interactive debate on whether it is right to charge for yoga in the first place. Participants put forth interesting and varying viewpoints. This debate concluded with an understanding that while one does not charge for the knowledge that is infinite, one does for time, infrastructure and operational costs. And as instructors whose only source of income is teaching yoga on a part-time or full-time basis, the time surely has to be compensated for.
At the next level, the session addressed the finer details of setting up a studio. At this juncture it was quite evident to all of us that there was quite a bit of yoga to be practised in the running of a business! From the people to be dealt with, to the design of the products and services, to the marketing plans and a hundred other aspects, there’s a lot to do. A teacher who is involved in all this also needs to be detached and calm and not allow the stress of the business to leak into a session. Tough one yes, but of course, achievable if you do things in a disciplined way and follow the basics as shared with us in the workshop.
The session underlined the importance of a business plan at the onset. It spoke about the kind of business entities one could decide on basis the business plan and the legal procedures involved in setting up the body.
The workshop addressed setting up the infrastructure, going into the specifics of studio dimensions, requirements, location and more. Also discussed were the kind of services & products to be offered and how to go about pricing these. We then spoke about sales, costs, profit forecasts and regular monthly evaluations.
Another topic that we spent some time on was about recruiting and managing teachers, managers and other resources. The workshop laid special emphasis on how it is important to hire the right people for the right expertise with time. As beginners might, doing everything on ones own is hardly sustainable and can hamper fast results and growth.
The importance of practitioner feedback to be integrated into scheduling was a key point. Flexibility in scheduling is thus a given, with a regular shuffling of the different types of classes offered. Training and motivating the teachers and other resources was mentioned as a factor that maintains the quality of sessions and overall service.
As a business, marketing campaigns, essential legal issues, banking & accounting and analytics also become important and so, were discussed.
Moving on to a freelancer’s career, the workshop spoke about the fundamentals of a Curriculum Vita. As with setting up a studio, it touched upon the marketing aspect, especially in an online context.
The session stressed on the importance of choosing a niche as a freelancer in order to differentiate and present oneself as the expert in the area. Further, we were given tips on how to manage teaching opportunities including personal, group, workshop and retreat sessions. Remuneration particulars and personal taxation were also explained.
Balancing ones sadhana and advanced learning with teaching is a difficulty most freelancers face but have to overcome to ensure growth. The pointers from the session definitely provided answers towards how to achieve this. It was an empowering session for the freelancers who otherwise struggle to get many of these answers with no existing organized peer support groups.
All of us participants had our notepads filled with tips and the questions were never-ending. The interest levels were so high that the session extended much beyond the specified time limit. So we were all thrilled to hear about the more extensive two-day session to be held on May 23rd and 24th for a deep-dive into the various aspects. I’m surely going to see many familiar faces on the 23rd!
Log in to www.1000yoga.com for more details on the same!
Hata Yoga practitioner & Instructor