Being a yoga teacher is extremely rewarding! It is so exhilarating to help others connect to their bodies, breath, and mind in a relaxing, non-competitive environment.
As a new yoga teacher coming out of training the reality of putting everything together in a one-hour class is the most important work to focus on.
So, it is best to feel your way into that and find what works best for you to create success.
Once you’ve found some comfortable footing, the next step is to manage your business as a yoga teacher.
However, as that can be overwhelming at the beginning, we’ve put together a list of the top five mistakes new yoga teachers make to help you avoid them as much as possible.
The 5 Most Common Mistakes New Yoga Teachers Make
Taking Things Personally
So much time, energy, and love go into creating each yoga class and seeing a student progress and embrace their yoga practice is so fulfilling. It is very easy to get attached to that feeling.
However, on the other side, it is easy to take it personally when students’ have negative reactions in poses or stop coming to class.
Especially in the early days of teaching yoga, this can be mistaken for a personal offense.
Trust me, it’s not!
Over the years you learn that most people don’t realize they are showing a negative reaction to a pose, and it is all about their relationship to the pose, to their body, and to their internal dialogue–not necessarily you as the instructor.
This is the same with people no longer coming to your classes.
There are many factors. For some it is that life got busier, they got a new job, their kids have dance or baseball practice at the same time as your class, or they have learned all they feel they can from you and moved on to a different class to advance their skills.
This last fact is not personal–it’s progress.
By stepping back to see the bigger picture and remember your experiences as a yoga student, you can shift your perspective.
Opting Out of Liability Insurance
It’s important! Liability insurance may seem like one more expense out of many. However, it is a very important expense to add to your budget for many reasons.
Liability insurance protects yoga teachers from any lawsuits that may be filed against them. For this reason, liability insurance is one of the most important parts of running your own yoga business.
This is not just for those who open a yoga studio; it is for all yoga instructors.
Liability insurance protects your assets and creates opportunities. As many yoga instructors and studio owners do not make enough money to cover a lawsuit, liability insurance provides financial protection in case a lawsuit arises, so your career and hard-earned money are both protected.
There are also many places that require yoga instructors to work as contractors–not employees, and as a contractor, having your own insurance is a necessity.
Plus, coverage follows you to every location you teach at, so you can teach at multiple gyms, recreation centers, and studios.
Not Marketing Themselves
This can be the hardest part of teaching yoga due to the fear of putting yourself out there, lack of marketing knowledge, or financial reasons.
No matter what relationships you have with the current place(s) you teach at there will come a time when you need to know how to market yourself to get more work.
Fortunately, there are many low-cost/free options available that also don’t take up too much time to complete and are rewarding if you are concerned that putting yourself out there is too egotistical.
Social media posts are a good way to market your current classes and workshops.
Creating flyers and dropping them off or emailing them to prospective organizations is a good way to expand your teaching.
Handing out business cards to fellow yoga instructors helps them and you build a network to help each other when opportunities arise.
There have been many times when I’ve passed on another instructors’ information because I couldn’t teach the style or at the time a studio was looking to fill but I knew someone else who could.
Become a member of the Yoga Alliance as they will post your information on their website for businesses who are looking for an instructor.
Not Embracing Opportunities from Community Events or Outreach
Whether it is setting up a booth at the city festival, donating a yoga block, yoga mat, and private lesson to a silent auction, or being listed on a community website there are many opportunities in your local community to connect with potential employers and students.
It is easy to miss these opportunities when life seems busy enough, however, these opportunities are so important and worthwhile, even if you can only fit one in a year.
Not Considering Yourself a Business Owner
It can be so easy to think of yourself as being an employee at each place you teach at and forgetting that you are a business owner.
While you will be an employee at some locations, there will be other locations where you are a contractor.
It is important to remember no matter where you teach, you are your own brand. You are a representation not only of yoga and yoga instructors, but the kind of yoga you are passionate about, the teachings of yoga, the example you set on and off your mat, and the connections you make with the people who come to your classes and the people you work with.
Yes, there is a lot more to teaching yoga than meets the eye and it is easy to forget all the various tasks to do to be a successful yoga teacher.
I like to think of these as ways to practice the third Yama, Asteya–non-stealing. One of the biggest factors in non-stealing is time management.
Not stealing your time or others.
So before embarking on any of the tasks listed in this article as well as the many already on your to-do list, take a moment to become aware of your relationship to time–is it a healthy relationship or are you running from one thing to another and not allowing any downtime or even wasting time with excuses or procrastination?
Think of one thing you want to accomplish today
Think of one thing you are going to do towards that end
Think of one thing you are going to do for yourself
Think of one thing you are going to do for someone else