The business of teaching yoga
How to make a living out of teaching yoga. By Leo Cosendai
So, you’ve got your certificate, or perhaps you’re planning ahead before even enrolling? Right, so let’s dive right into it by defining what a business is: The creation of value through a service or a product, which when purchased by a consumer generates a profit for the provider; a business is not a charitable enterprise which usually invests donated and raised funds to make a positive impact on the world — that would be its profit so to speak.
Here, the breed we’re interested in is conscious business, and here’s what it must do to thrive in the aquarian age:
1. Add real value to the consumer’s life
2. Create a positive impact in the world
3. Make a profit
For obvious reasons, teaching yoga and meditation naturally positions you to do just that. However, once you go into business — and regardless of the industry you find yourself in — everything changes: the unexpected is to be expected.
It can be daunting but fear not, for this can be a golden opportunity to face many limiting beliefs and mental constructs. I am quite sure it’s an experience that can catalyse decades of growth, that is if you allow it.
Okay, you’re ready? Let me share with you 10 questions that will help lay the foundations for whatever you end up creating as a well-preneur!
I understand you might expect answers and not questions in such an article but let me tell you something: questions are my go-to tool for pretty much everything. They help me come out of tunnel vision, they raise my IQ and EQ, and so much more. I can’t stress this enough and emphasise that greatly with my teacher trainees, so here we go!
1. What is it that you really value in your yoga practice and experiences? How can you deliver more of that for people who are just like you?
2. What is it that you know that other teachers don’t (life experience, life events, what makes you ‘you’), and also that people like you really need? The world is hungry for experts and tired of jacks of all trades. As wellbeing evolves, you can expect everyday people to know more about yoga tomorrow than the average 200- hour yoga teacher did when they graduated in the year 2010. True story.
3. What kind of person are you? What kind of teacher are you? Who are your favourite teachers and why? What was their journey like, what did they do well and what mistakes did they make? Go into research mode and learn.
4. Are you looking into going full-time from a part-time situation or are you jumping in with no safety net? Think about each scenario carefully and ask yourself what can you cope with so you don’t burn out or give up too soon.
5. What are/were you doing professionally? Do you have existing skills that you can feed into your new/future career?
6. Who do you know in your close and extended network? Are there any collaborations, service swaps or favours to be thought of?
7. Have you thought about how your relationship with yoga will feel like once your livelihood depends on it? Have you thought about how this will affect your relationship with it?
8. Are you willing to cut back on living costs and re-invest your hard-earned pounds back into your business? Are you saving for rainy days and quiet summer months? Are you committed to practicing yoga more than ever, facing discomfort and working smart to get to out-ofreach itches so you can proficiently help people do that too?
9. What does the picture look like if you project yourself down the line in 5-10 years? I’d also study where the current yoga ‘scene’ is at, and ask myself where is it going? Use your imagination coupled with real facts you have about the past and the present, and you will be surprised how right you can be about the future. Finally, plan where you’re going and then leave plenty of room for life to nudge you here and there — you have to be adaptable.
10. What are you prepared to do to make it work? What are you not prepared to do? Set your boundaries now and then change them if you find find they turn out to be dusty later on. Here’s to your success in helping others.
Leo Cosendai is a sound meditation teacher based in London (leocosendai.com), the founder of sound meditation app Third Ear (thirdear.com) and the HarperCollins author of 7 Days Sound Meditation (audible.com)