By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, YACEP
Not so long ago, Yoga teachers, in the West, taught small groups of dedicated students in basements, living rooms, garages, lofts, backyards, barns, or any other place that was convenient. As seasons changed, the location of the Yoga class might have to change too.
Evolution of Teaching
For example: If you live in a northern climate, teaching Yoga in an unheated barn might not be suitable as winter approaches. The same would be true if you live in an area where temperatures exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit, during the summer months. Students, who can accept extreme temperatures and inconveniences, are the exception, but not the rule. As Yoga classes grew in the West, classes moved into Yoga studios, large ashrams, fitness centers, spas, and large public areas. Suddenly, Yoga became something that teachers could devote their whole day to. As a result, some part-time Yoga teachers became full-time teachers.
The Need for Consultants
It was not uncommon to see Yoga teachers gathering in local book stores, libraries, and ashrams. The reason for these daytime gatherings was networking, mentoring, learning, and sharing information. Along came the Internet, with instant access to resources for teachers, such as streaming videos, forums, Blogs, and podcasts. Suddenly, there was a need for business consulting, Yoga coaches, and online mentors of teachers. Where would a Yoga instructor start to search for a consultant of teachers? A studio that survived three recessions and a pandemic might be a logical choice, if that lead trainer or director would share business and marketing knowledge.
If that option was not open, there were still a number of alternatives available, but let’s leap frog into the present. If you are looking for a Yoga teacher, consultant and business coach all rolled into one, you may want to make certain you are getting reliable knowledge. Consider the following criteria before hiring a consultant or coach that specializes in working with Yoga teachers.
Is the Coach a Yoga Teacher?
The person you hire may be a great consultant for local restaurants, but Yoga students are not exactly the same as a restaurant owner’s customers. Dedicated students are not motivated by the same methods as customers. Each business is unique and there are some similarities among all businesses, but it really helps when your consultant is a Yoga teacher.
Has the Coach Ever Owned a Successful Yoga Studio?
There are business consultants who don’t know what Yoga is. If a consultant previously owned a large and successful chain of gas stations, would that information be relevant to teaching Yoga classes or running a studio? Almost every adult has purchased gasoline, at least once, because he/she had to – unless they lived right next to their place of employment, didn’t transport their children, have their food and clothing delivered, or own an electric car. The point here is Yoga is not like gasoline or food. Energy and food are necessities.
Yoga is an Option
On the other hand, people don’t have to take a Yoga class. Some studies indicate that most American adults never participated in one Yoga class. If you live in Colorado or California, you may find it hard to believe, but many American adults are still sitting on the couch. How do you get them off the couch and make them realize the rewards of good health? In truth, it is much easier to sell people discount groceries or gasoline, especially right now. Teachers often forget that Yoga is an option. We have to make Yoga inviting to the general public. When we present “Mission Impossible” poses as part of our maketing, we discourage the masses.
Teaching Yoga in a Tough Economy
Economic trends tend to change. Lately, it seems as if we see economic changes every 2-3 years. If your coach has been successfully running a Yoga studio for the past 15 to 20 years or more, you are getting reliable information about prospering in rough waters. One option to consider is to take your time developing a business plan before jumping in. If you are already up and running, you must consider your expenses and decide if you want to research or hire a consultant. The cost of research is inexpensive, but research takes time. Each of us is in a unique situation, but going broke with a consultant is not the solution.
Options for Consultations
On the other hand, some consultants charge an hourly fee with no contract. You might gain a mountain of information in one session. You could implement everything that makes sense with the option to get a future consultation. The key to getting the most out of a consultation is to record the advice you learn. The necy step is to take action and apply short term solutions.
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