Tips from the experts to help you grow the yoga business of your dreams

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This month’s mentor:

Sarah Mangan @SarahManganYoga based in Birkdale, north-west England

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

Teacher training in India was a truly incredible experience, but like everyone else on the planet, I didn’t see the pandemic and all its consequences on my yoga horizon. Subject matter expertise in yoga alone was not going to be enough to start and sustain my business. All the ideas I had worked on to position and promote my business were, rather ironically, turned on their head by the lockdown in 2020. Frankly, without having had previous business experience, I would have found it incredibly tough. The choices were mind-blowing: online during lockdown…but how? What tech did I need? Would the quality be good enough? Would clients have an enjoyable experience? Then how best to market my services, defining and refining how I articulate the value that yoga practice brings. This meant overcoming a lot of preconceived ideas and stereotypes about yoga. That being said, it also allowed me to deepen my knowledge, and continue with my yoga studies, which I believe is essential as the initial 200 hours is really only the beginning.

Your niche?

I’m a bit of cheat here as I have two passions: functional movement yoga and rocket yoga. I love these as they allow me to focus on strength, mobility and performance. It’s great learning the biomechanics and physiology that underpin my teaching. I mostly work with athletes and sports teams as I know how valuable yoga practice could be in preventing and the rehabilitation of injury. My work supporting athletes in their performance means I operate alongside physiotherapists and strength and conditioning coaches as part of a professional team. In addition to my sports-specific work, I deliver regular rocket classes in a number of studios around the area. I also focus on breathwork and meditation and have been privileged to work in local schools and businesses using these techniques to maintain calm and focus. Yoga is for everyone and being in a position to champion its benefits is something I really enjoy, wherever that may be. This diversity ensures my business has a solid and broad foundation.

Business plan?

I have written a new business plan every year since starting out and I have already learned that it is almost 50% obsolete as soon as I’ve written it!  I believe balance is important as things change (especially economically right now) so be prepared to pivot and adapt your plans accordingly. Pragmatism is a useful thing in business and so whilst I maintain functional yoga and rocket yoga as my focus, I am grateful for the variety of client relationships I have established.

Who do you admire?

I’ve had the pleasure of spending time with and learning from Sarah Ramsden. I really admire her and how she has blazed a trail for  yoga in sports and in football in particular. The work Sarah did with elite players has really given yoga a credibility at all levels of the game. This is so important, as there sadly remain some stereotypes around yoga practice that undermine its credibility as part of an  athletes training regime.

Hardest lesson?

The toughest lesson I have learned is to keep pricing simple. Structuring pricing around number of attendees, session duration and commitment on number of sessions creates a matrix that can be off-putting. But we must remember to know our worth!

Written and compiled by Claudia Brown. If you’d like to be featured in this column connect via Instagram @YogaByClaudia

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.