MyYogaBiz - Jinty Ella Sheerin
Tips from the experts to help you grow the yoga business of your dreams
This month’s mentor: Jinty Ella Sheerin, 54, Ashtanga Yoga Exmouth (ayeyoga.co.uk) in Devon (co-founded with brother, Neil Richardson). Co-host of the WomenKind Collective podcast with Lou Hockings-Thompson.
Does a YTT set you up for running your own business?
I don’t think it does but then why should it? Running a business is a different set of skills and people sign up for a yoga teacher training (TT) for many different reasons. Some don’t want to teach, they simply want to delve deeper, in which case we have to ask what are we not teaching them in our yoga classes? The best yoga teachers or facilitators are the ones who continually listen and learn, whether that’s spiritually or philosophically — but you don’t need a TT for that. It is important to know your worth and values when setting up your own business. A TT that encourages students to do the inner work, find their own style of teaching a particular method rather than the cookie cutter type cues, so that they are confident in their teaching skills and what they are offering, over chasing a demand or trend in a landscape that is forever changing, is more helpful.
What’s your niche?
My brother and I have taught together for a long time now and our teaching style has changed over the years. I don’t think we chose a ‘niche’, I think it chose us. We teach Ashtanga in an individual, accessible, inclusive and fun way, informed by our own experiences, courses and our students. Adding more pranayama and self-inquiry, we now offer smaller classes and more one-to-ones.
What’s the secret to making a living?
It depends on your expectations and values. Having our own yoga shala, or teaching at home, as we used to, helps as you don’t have to answer to a studio manager’s demands or pay huge overheads. We love offering private and one-to-one classes, and having a tranquil space to offer, rather than going to someone’s house, suits both student and teacher and fills the gap between busier evening classes. Courses, workshops and day retreats work well for us too:
they suit our individualised method of teaching and support us financially…and who doesn’t love a retreat?
My brother was my first teacher and within a month of learning yoga I was practicing 15 minutes, three times a week. At this time I was caring for my young family and working, so this became my self-care. The practice became six days a week but is still my self-care and somewhere along the way I added pranayama and meditation. It brings me back to the here and now. I also love a cuppa and a good biscuit to dunk.
It took me a while to learn that I will not be every student’s cup of tea, neither will they be mine. I used to feel worried if a student didn’t come back or if I felt they weren’t enjoying the class, sometimes then adapting the class to suit someone’s preference, but this was simply a lack of confidence on my part. Understanding that there is a teacher for everyone, but it doesn’t always have to be you, it’s not personal, this taught me to teach what I knew, bringing me to another tough lesson…you don’t have to have all the answers. I’m a yoga teacher not a Jedi master!
Written and compiled by Claudia Brown (yogabyclaudia.com)