You thought you arrived too early at the home studio of your yoga instructor since the usual cars parked near the house weren’t there. You went immediately round the back and found your instructor having tea. You didn’t get the email or SMS that today’s class is canceled. A plumbing and heating company is currently working on a leaking pipe and the broken broiler system.
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She apologized profusely for the miscommunication and asked if you wanted to join her for some tea and just hang-out. It was the perfect moment. You wanted to talk to her and get advice on how she started down this path of teaching yoga. You told her that after finishing your student exchange program in Lanarkshire and upon your return to the States, you want to put up a similar business or start a career as a yoga instructor. She was more than willing to share some insights.
An Overview of the (Commercial) State of Yoga
Before it took the form of a commercial industry worth billions of dollars-$12 billion to be exact in 2018 in America alone-yoga was all about spirituality, self-awareness, and physical self-regulation. The goal was to achieve a higher level of consciousness that creates harmony between mind and body as well as with nature. By attaining this harmony, an individual is freed from sufferings or diseases.
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Many practitioners have oversimplified this harmony and freedom to mean “physical development” or physical health alone and have placed less emphasis on spiritual development. In other words, practicing yoga is merely a physical exercise.
She warns that you shouldn’t forget the importance of spirituality and self-awareness.
Yoga and You
Perhaps the practice and teaching of yoga will always be linked to commerce and profitmaking. That is not to say that it is awful. But here are more things to note about your career plans as a yoga teacher:
- The home studio first. The temptation to rent a space, book students, and hire co-instructors is strong. But then you reckon with the overhead costs and the number of students regularly, and the cash register is barely registering a positive number. Consider taking it slow and starting your operation from your home or apartment. Engage limited students who can help spread the word. If you reach a critical mass in terms of interest, then you can consider expanding.
- Craft a unique message. This is the opportunity to heed and apply your yoga teacher’s advice. While the routines and positions are physical exercises, structure your teaching so that you can also emphasize spirituality and self-awareness. It is also essential to create a focus for your business. Don’t spread yourself too thinly and watering down your unique message by taking just any yoga gigs from private lessons to corporate affairs.
- Me time. You have got to have your “me” time-a time dedicated for yourself to meditate and commune with the spirits. This is what re-charges you and prepares you to impart your wisdom to your students. Your time on your mat, alone in the room, is needed for that self-awareness.
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There are plenty of recommendations you can find that will help build your yoga business. Make sure that while you need to succeed in the business side of things, never forget about the true meaning of practicing yoga. Use these points as guides.