Tips from the experts to help you grow the yoga business of your dreams.
This month’s mentor: Annabel Lee, 33, of Yoga with Annie (yogawithannie.co.uk)
DOES TEACHER TRAINING SET YOU UP FOR RUNNING A BUSINESS
I learned a lot in teacher training but I hadn’t expected all the ongoing lessons when I started to teach. I think teacher training is a wonderful foundation but only real life teaching can give you the experience you need. It’s okay to make mistakes, try things, refine things and figure out what works for you. Yoga as a subject is so huge, so figuring out where you fit is a big (and constantly evolving) task.
I came to yoga for the asana and then discovered all the wonderful benefits of mindfulness, meditation and spirituality. My practice really ramped up after my first child and I wanted to be able to share some of these benefits. Currently, I’m focused on running community classes that are fun, friendly and accessible. I truly believe in the philosophy that everyone has what they need within them, so I focus on unlocking that and helping students find their own inner teacher. I hate that some people feel put off coming to yoga because they think they need to look or act a certain way so I try and make my classes (and marketing) relatable and accessible.
I use Facebook and Instagram to advertise and engage with students. Videos go down really well - either short tutorials, or clips of me doing personal practice - usually with my toddler running rings round me! I want to show that yoga is for everyone and can be messy, and this kind of content seems to resonate. I know it can have its downsides, but I love social media as a tool to connect with others. It gives me a sense of community that I sometimes miss when teaching on my own.
WHAT'S YOUR SECRET MAKING
Being a great yoga teacher does not make you a great business person. Money makes people feel awkward and figuring out what to charge is hard. Money is just energy and you are giving yours, so it’s only right for students to return this - under-charging is no good for anyone. It’s also scary to put yourself out there and advertise your class or workshops in case no one comes. But you have to separate your work from your ego, so if it flops just learn that that time, format or venue isn’t a great thing to pursue.
Being a teacher doesn’t mean you have to jump headfirst into every opportunity that comes your way. Looking after yourself is so important and that doesn’t just mean keeping up your practice or eating well (although of course that is pretty crucial). It also means being realistic about what you take on, and scheduling so you don’t end up burned out.
The pressure we put on ourselves is so huge, and it can be easy to compare yourself to others. Why can’t I do that pose? Why aren’t my classes always full? Why aren’t I doing this to develop my yoga business? It’s easy to assume all your plans will immediately come to life, but good things take time. Drive is great but you have to give yourself a break.
Find out more about Annabel Lee: yogawithannie.co.uk
Written and compiled by Claudia Brown (yogabyclaudia.com)