Running a yoga studio can be a dream come true, but like all dreams it requires work. One of the major components of owning a studio is hiring yoga teachers. The teachers, in a large part, create the ambiance of the studio. They are the ones who interact with students and whose energy infuses a room. The goal of many studio owners is to hire responsible, knowledgeable, and dedicated teachers who create an atmosphere in line with the studio vision.
According to Scott Lennartz, the owner of Yoga Bhoga, a successful yoga studio in Portland, Oregon: There are actions the studio owner can take to ensure they have dedicated teachers who enjoy what they do and help facilitate a successful studio. Here are Lennartz’s tips for choosing and keeping quality teachers at your studio.
“I believe a yoga studio is a community, or really, an ecosystem. It has three parts: the students who come to the studio; the teachers who teach the classes and interact with the students both before and after class; and then the actual studio itself, meaning the entity that is the business, the place, and the facility. The reason I call it an ecosystem is because they all interact. When there is a positive interaction from one to another, it strengthens the interactions between all pieces.
For example, if the students are having a good experience with the teachers, then the teachers are happier; and when new students come in they experience someone who enjoys their job and enjoys teaching yoga. When more students come in, the studio benefits financially from a sense of community and a sense of energy. When the studio is stable, the teachers are happier because they don’t worry about being paid, and the right services and infrastructures are in place. Sometimes I call it an ecosystem; sometimes I call it a three-legged stool. Everything needs to be in balance for the stool to support itself.”
“I want teachers to understand what it is they are teaching and why they are teaching it, but I don’t necessarily care as much about what they are teaching. There are so many different philosophies, so many different approaches, so many different beliefs. I have my own opinions. I have my own experience. But what I want from teachers is that they are thinking about what they are teaching, they are seeking more knowledge, and above all, they are authentic. So they are talking to people about real experiences they’ve had in their life and they are trying to be real, as opposed to doing performance art and pretending to be someone else—another teacher, for example.”
“I believe what the teachers are doing is valuable. It is my goal to reward the teachers as much as possible. Part of that is financial. I make an effort to pay and to share with the teachers what comes into the studio as much as I can. Secondly, I want to support the teachers by checking in with them, going to their classes, asking how they are doing, and trying to foster a bond with them. That lets them know I am part of the studio as an owner and as a yoga practitioner; I care about their teaching, and I care how they are doing. Develop a sense of support, a bond, with your teachers, and also make sure they get paid for what they do best.”
“It is important for teachers to feel like they are paid fairly. If somebody teaches a class with 30 or 40 people in attendance and the teacher walks out with $20, then that is not very equitable and it is not a sustainable relationship. I don’t think the teacher will feel good, and it is not something the teacher can do for an extended period of time. I think paying fairly and trying to find opportunity for engagement and support of the teachers [makes for a successful studio-teacher relationship].”
“A common complaint is that teachers come into a class and leave. They don’t really know the owner; they don’t really know the other teachers. It becomes, in a strange way, a lonely experience, even though one of the things we talk about in yoga is the idea of community, or sangha. But for the teacher, sometimes that is not the experience. I think studio owners need to find a way to connect the people who work there.”
About Scott Lennartz
Scott Lennartz is an experienced marketing professional, leader, and accomplished yogi. Whether growing a Silicon Valley business to multi-billion dollar run rates, revamping a local yoga studio to better serve the Portland community, or balancing a handstand in the early morning, Scott has successfully navigated a variety of challenges both large and small.
Scott has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Mathematics, a Master of Business Administration, and is a Yoga Alliance E-RYT 500. He is currently the owner of Yoga Bhoga in Portland, Oregon, as well as the Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Voicebox, Inc.