You’ve probably heard yoga teachers talk about their ‘niche’ or specialty. Maybe you even have one yourself.
If not, now is the time to carve out your niche in the crowded yoga world. And we’re here to show you why a niche is important and how to find your very own specialty.
First off, let’s define ‘niche’ as it relates to the yoga industry.
A niche is a small slice of a larger piece of pie, so to speak. It helps you narrowly focus on a specific type of yoga, a particular ideal student or demographic, or even a personal interest. Here are some examples:
- A yoga type/style niche might be Yin Yoga or Hot Yoga.
- A yoga student niche might mean you teach chair yoga to seniors in an assisted living center. Or, on the flipside, you become the go-to children’s yoga teacher in your community!
- A yoga interest niche might entail focusing on teaching yoga to athletes or yoga to those recovering from addiction.
In a nutshell, having a yoga niche allows you to align with your ideal students and effectively market your skills and expertise in a crowded yoga space.
Why is a Niche so Important Right Now?
Now that we’ve discussed what a niche is and shown you some examples, you may be thinking: Why do I really need one?
Well, for starters, according to the Yoga Alliance/Yoga Journal 2016 Yoga in America study, there are two people interested in becoming a yoga teacher for every one actual teacher. And, there are two people in teacher training for every active yoga teacher.
And, let’s flash forward to right now: During COVID-19, tons of online 200-hour TT programs have been pumping out new yoga teachers at a rapid clip. Couple this with the fact that studios are shuttering, and some of them, sadly, will not reopen after the pandemic is in the rear-view mirror.
These converging factors have led to a flood of yoga teachers without as many studio teaching options. This also means there are tons of newbie instructors leading virtual classes and promoting them on social media - all trying to entice students to enroll in their yoga sessions.
By now you may be thinking: I’ve got a digital payment and booking system. I love vinyasa yoga and that’s what I’ll teach. I’m good to go.
Not so fast. Thousands of other yoga teachers are thinking the same exact thing.
The bottom line: You’ve got to set yourself apart to get noticed. You need something to help you stand out. This is why you need a niche.
Besides helping you get seen in a very noisy social media and online space, here are three other ways a niche will help you stand out as a yoga instructor:
1. You’ll Reach The Students That Align With Your Interests And Expertise
For example, if you’re a mom or a preschool teacher, maybe you want to become a kids yoga teacher. Niching it down even further - maybe you want to focus on teaching classes to preschoolers. Now this will certainly differentiate you from other yoga teachers in your community!
2. It’s Easier For You To Market To And Reach New Students
Instead of teaching vinyasa yoga like a large majority of yoga teachers, if you have a niche, you can specifically target groups. For example, if you want to teach burned out female entrepreneurs, you can post to particular social media groups for women who own small businesses. Or, maybe you want to teach a specific audience like children’s yoga to homeschoolers (yes, that’s a growing niche!) In this case, you can reach out to homeschool pods via Facebook groups and neighborhood communities.
3. You’ll Teach What You Know And Love
By focusing on a particular niche that you can relate to - like Yoga for Athletes if you happen to be an athlete - you’ll connect with students who appreciate you for teaching what they need. These students, in turn, will talk up your classes with other like-minded athletes who may need stretching without judgement.
4. You’ll Earn More Money
If you’re fresh out of yoga teacher training, you might be thinking: I want to teach yoga to everyone.
But again, it’s important to realize that teaching everyone may mean you teach no one. No students equal no money. As we stated above, the field is packed with vinyasa yoga teachers who want to market their classes to everyone. As a result, they are lucky to get one or two students to enroll. Yet, by establishing a niche, you may be the only game in town and you’re more likely to get students to enroll in your classes.
How to Choose YOUR Niche
For some yogis, choosing a niche is easy. For others, not so much.
Regardless of whether this is easy or hard, it’s time for you to get to work and discover who you want to teach and why. Here are some steps to take before settling on your niche.
1. Get out your journal
It’s time for some self-reflection and what better way to do this than to start journaling.
To begin, get quiet and spend some time meditating. Notice what comes up for you.
Then, grab your journal and write down the answers to these questions:
- What type of yoga do you like to practice the most?
- Why did you become a yoga teacher?
- What are your absolute favorite classes to teach and why? Do you enjoy the students? Why? Do you like teaching this particular style? Why?
- Is your favorite type of personal practice different from your favorite classes? How so?
- If you could choose any type of student to teach, who is it and why?
Once you’ve gone through this mindfulness exercise, take time to reflect. The answers may not come to you immediately, and you may have to repeat this several times.
2. Test out new classes
Once you have a sense of the type of yoga you like to teach the most and who your favorite students are, it’s time to try out some new ‘niche’ classes.
For example, if you’ve decided you want to give a Yoga for Runners class a go, well, what’s stopping you? Gather up some runners and teach a trial class!
After the class, reflect on how you feel. Are you invigorated? Were the students excited for your next class? Do you think this could be your ‘niche’? If yes, it’s time to get to work on your new class descriptions and marketing plan. If not, give something else a trial run!
3. Seek Support
Once you know your niche, you have a two main options:
- You can build your yoga business alone
- This can feel isolating and you’ll still need to put a lot of time, effort and money into growing your yoga business, personal brand and classes, even though a niche will help you stand out.
- You can seek a supportive community
- This community may come in the way of a yoga studio where you can teach your specialty classes, either online or in-person. Keep in mind that, while you may want to open your own yoga studio, this will cost thousands of dollars. Plus, now may not be the best time to do this - especially if you can forge relationships with other yoga business owners.
Besides partnering with a studio or another yoga business, you can also join a community of yoga teachers in your same exact niche.
Pretzel Kids yoga, for example, has a branded membership community offering support and resources; a web platform to manage and get direct enrollment in your classes; social media and promotional support; ongoing teacher training classes; and even direct job placements online, in schools and in studios. As a Pretzel Kids member teacher you can even use the Pretzel Kids name and logos to gain instant brand recognition for your kids classes.
Isn’t it Time You Found Your Niche?
Hopefully you now have some great ideas for your niche. And, to learn more about how a niche teaching kids or other groups will lead to more profit, you can watch this brand new webinar.
Are you ready to carve out your niche? You’ve got this!
About The Author:
Robyn Parets is the founder and CEO of Pretzel Kids®, a rapidly growing kids yoga brand offering a subscription membership and training for yoga teachers, classes for kids and families, and a web platform to help yoga instructors boost their income and gain more job opportunities.
Robyn has been teaching kids yoga since 2004 and formerly owned a thriving studio in suburban Boston. In 2016, she closed her studio to focus on her niche: Pretzel Kids. Pretzel Kids teachers are now located throughout the U.S. and world.
In addition to running Pretzel Kids, Robyn is a former journalist, a business coach to female entrepreneurs, and often writes and speaks about the importance of children's yoga for many national media sites. In her spare time, she searches for flea market finds, takes photos of faraway lands, meditates for at least 5 minutes a day, and spends time with her 3 sons, 2 dogs and 1 husband! You can learn more about Robyn here.