This month’s mentor:

Natalie Rice, 40, Mandala Studio, Southport


Does a YTT set you up for running your own business?

I think it all depends on where you are on your journey. My first teacher training was intense, personal and challenging. We had spent time discussing the next steps, we had ongoing support and encouragement, but everything felt overwhelming. Becoming a yoga teacher is a great opportunity doing something you love while earning an income, but running your own business is very different. Once you have completed your teacher training, you are given a certificate, but it doesn't mean you have perfected the art of being a yoga teacher or running a business. You have to transition from student to teacher and no matter how prepared you are there is always so much to learn.

Business plan?

I love a good plan, whether it's a life plan, business plan or just a plan for the day! Some of my business ideas are just scribbled bits on paper but I find they help me to process my thoughts and ideas clearly. Running two businesses with two toddlers can be chaos, so if I don't define and align my goals, things can get overwhelming. I also don't always stick to them, or hold the plans rigidly, but at the heart of them all is my mission statement.

Hardest lesson?

I think pretty much like we learn in our yoga practice we have to keep the passion at the forefront. You have to find the balance between sthira and sukham. Yes, it is tough and challenging and you have to work really hard and put in the effort, but it is worth it. But being over-enthusiastic, saying yes to every teaching opportunity, travelling here, there and everywhere will lead to burn-out. When you stand in front of a class with everyone's eyes on you it can be a lot(!), but you don't want your class to feel that, you want to put them at ease. I also have to add that it can be tough when people don't gravitate to you or your teaching. Imposture syndrome and feeling like a fraud or a failure if you don't know something or you don't fill up classes can be debilitating. In these moments, go easy on yourself and remember your reason ‘why’

Business coach or mentor?

I am constantly asking for help and guidance. Whether it's from my family and friends with the latest idea I have in mind or asking my customers and clients for feedback and what they want more of. I am grateful to have a lovely community of yoga teachers, studio owners and festival creators to offer unbiased opinions. I think business mentors and coaches are incredibly valuable, especially those with skillsets and strengths that might not be your forte. My business mentors help me soundboard my ideas and the direction and growth of my business. Receiving guidance, support and knowledge and inspiration is invaluable. The right coach for you will help keep you accountable and aligned with your goals and vision for your business.

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Self-care tips?

My self-care used to be dropping everything and racing to a yoga class. I found my practice changed slightly as I started to teach — in fact, through every transition it has changed, so I have created my self-care toolkit to keep my cup full. Grounding before class, letting go of expectations of what my teaching practice should look like and instead work with the bodies in front of me. I also ground after every class and release any judgements or things that didn't go ‘right’. Also, I learnt to say, ‘I don't know' to clients and not feel like I have all the answers and to say no to opportunities that aren’t in alignment with me. I think it’s important to try and maintain work-life boundaries with my time, phone, emails and social media. Comparison is the biggest killer of passion. I embrace nature, bubble baths, dancing, good food, family and friendships and I make sure I maintain my personal practice on the mat too.

Om Magazine

First published in November 2009, OM Yoga magazine has become the most popular yoga title in the UK. Available from all major supermarkets, independents and newsstands across the UK. Also available on all digital platforms.