Jodh and I teach yoga because our practice transformed us, and we felt called to pay it forward. We imagined that having a positive impact on others through yoga would be incredibly fulfilling work, and we were deeply drawn towards it.
We know we’re not alone in this.
It’s not to say they don’t exist, but we haven’t personally met yoga teachers who go into teacher training with an audacious business plan with dreams of making a killing. Usually, they’re looking for a more fulfilling and purposeful way to be in the world.
Not only haven’t we met anyone coming into this work chomping at the bit to get started on marketing, to the contrary, most dread that part and hope and expect that the yoga studios will take care of it. In our earlier years, we admit to fully expecting that the studios would take care of that piece while we focused on preparing for and teaching our classes. The fact that many studios expect teachers to self-promote becomes a point of contention.
As yoga students, we get told that when we’re ready, the teacher appears.
The teacher doesn’t just appear. You’ve got to seek them out. Even if that means simply maintaining an open awareness.
Similarly, students don’t just appear. In their open search, should we as teachers cross their path, if we don’t say anything, they won’t know. Prospective students don’t walk around telling everyone that they’re seeking. Should that happen, inviting them to class and seeing their enthusiasm doesn’t mean they’ll come to the next class.
How long does an intention “sit on your desk” before you act on it? We’ve had students tell us they kept our schedules up on the fridge for a year before they finally came in. Sometimes we find out they went somewhere else because, quite frankly, that somewhere else prompted them to act.
We like to see our teachers self promote, yes. For their own personal success and fulfillment.
That said, we do not expect them to self-promote.
It’s worth noting that many teachers aren’t concerned about treating yoga like a business. Many are content to teach a class or two a week, lead a workshop from time to time while managing a family and/ or another job. Only a small percentage of teachers attempt to make this a full time job.
We believe that any studio that thinks that they can use yoga teachers’ willingness to market as a part of their marketing strategy may need to rethink their marketing strategy. On the same token, no matter how well a studio markets themselves as a studio, the teachers that know how to share themselves with students and keep themselves front-of-mind to (prospective) students will experience greater connection, purpose, and fulfillment.