One thing that you discover as a yoga teacher is that you are also now a business person. Of course you teach yoga for the love of it, but you can only teach if people are willing to come to your classes. And hopefully return again.
There is a delicate balance in gaining clients and keeping them. We thought it would be helpful to talk about what to do and what not to do when it comes to keeping clients.
Don’t be a show off
Many people think of yoga as acrobatics and yes, it is impressive if you can do that seemingly impossible arm balance. But students are not there to be treated as an audience. Instead, take the knowledge and experience you’ve gained and offer the advice back to your students. Try to avoid using your skills to boost your ego.
Offer a range of options
Remember that there might be a range of experience amongst the students in your class. Even if you are teaching an advanced class, there might be people who have ignored this information or students who are working with an injury. No matter what, as a teacher, you should be offering multiple steps when approaching a posture so that everyone can access it safely and to the best of their current abilities.
Be flexible with your students
Everyone is different with ranging abilities. Some days, students might be low energy or recovering from an illness. No matter what, it’s not up to you to push your students. Your job is to guide, and the students will follow at whatever pace they choose. Encouraging a student into a posture they don’t feel capable of can be mentally upsetting and even lead to injury. By pushing your students too much, you might end up pushing them away for good.
Be careful with hands-on adjustments
Some people love the extra attention and some people hate it. But you can run the risk of alienating your students if you get too touchy. It’s a personal thing to be in a class, in tight clothing while twisting into positions that make you feel vulnerable. As a yoga teacher, it’s best to proceed with caution. One effective way to know whether your students are receptive to hands-on adjustments is to ask them to raise their hands at the beginning of class if they’d rather you not touch them. This way, they won’t be forced to endure an adjustment when it is making them uncomfortable.
Don’t cram them in
We’ve all been to yoga classes where not much more than an inch or two separates the mats. And while that is a sign that you are probably doing something right, you also don’t want your students feeling like cattle you’re cashing in on. Having a bit of breathing room can help practitioners feel comfortable, and will help them feel welcome to return to your next class.
Watch the temperature
Hot yoga is not for everyone. Unless you are teaching a specific hot yoga class, keep your eye on the temperature. You don’t want people unprepared for heat to suffer. And remember that once the class gets going, the temperature in the room will rise so you don’t need to blast the heat in the beginning.
Be encouraging and supportive
Yoga is not a competition and it is often a big challenge for students to even make it to a class. Students should not walk away from a yoga class feeling like they’ve failed at something. One of the best things about yoga is that classes are meant to be full of growth and the teaching style should reflect that. Therefore, encourage your students and remind them that wherever they are at with their practice is great and they deserve a pat on the back for simply showing up and trying.
We hope these tips help you in your teaching evolution. There are many wonderful teachers out there who are making some simple mistakes and alienating their students. As a rule of thumb, it’s best to remember that you are a teacher and a guide and it is up to your students to follow at their own pace. With that in mind, you are sure to develop an excellent following.