A few days ago a few local teachers and I were talking about the Business of Yoga or should I say the Busyness of the Yoga BIZ. On comparing notes we discovered we spent more time on the computer, working out marketing strategies or coming up with clever ways to get people to our classes than actual teaching time” “It’s crazy,” my girlfriend remarked, ” all I want to do is share what I love and help people, but to get them to know about me I have to be some sort of super business woman as well. I wish there was someone out there who would set up a yoga management company and take care of all the details.” Well of course that would be nice but it’s not always that simple. Unlike big agencies who handle actors or musicians, yoga is still in its infancy when it comes to promotion. A Yogi Manager needs to be someone who loves yoga, has top marketing skills and is willing to take a risk with a little known teacher. My friends are both very established in our community and even teach overseas, but to build a consistent following has meant going door to door at times and substantial financial investment.
Recently I attended a one day information session for Yoga Teachers . It was presented by Brook McCarthy from Yoga Reach. There were about nine of us at the seminar and it was interesting to be learning about self promotion with fellow yoga teachers who were possible competitors. Brook’s attitude to this potentially sticky situation was admirable. She advised us to see each other as invaluable support. Comparing successes and failures meant we would all learn more about what worked and what didn’t work and she encouraged us to remember that each person had a different target audience. Someone who loves Kundalini yoga might never come to a restorative class and the Vinyasa flow junkie most likely wouldn’t enjoy the detailed work required for Iyengar. Brook’s advice reminded me of permaculture. Throw everything in the ground, see what grows and let the garden find its own beauty and perfection.
Hearing everyones personal stories was inspiring as were their ideas about how they wanted to share Yoga and get the word out there. No matter what any of us does for our work it’s nice to think we could really enjoy it too and for me that’s whats so beautiful about teaching. As a yoga teacher first and for most comes your own practice, then comes your experiences from that practice and last comes the joy in being able to teach and share. So why oh why do we have to make it all so commercial? Again Brook came to our rescue with some sound advice. She decided to create a business to help yoga teachers promote themselves because she felt Yoga teachers undervalued themselves in the name of “yoga”. In other words Yogis aren’t into money, success and worldly things and hence felt uncomfortable adopting business models, which is actually quite ironic because the most successful Yogis are successful because they have adopted a business model.
Of course not everyone wants to be super successful, they just want to share Yoga in their local community and make a living from it because it’s what they love to do. They want to be able to share their ideas and opinions in experiencing yoga. And that’s exactly what Brook emphasised in our seminar. People are no longer interested in products- they’re interested in ideas. That’s why Facebook has 800 million members and is now becoming one of the leaders in self promotion and marketing . It’s all about the commodity of ideas now.
To encourage us Brook suggested we look at what others are sharing about Yoga, see what we resonate with and get creative, make films, take pictures, write poetry. Be inspired and inspiring. Listening to Brook really sparked my own creative enthusiasm. I could do so much more than teach a yoga class I could explore all the things I loved off the mat.
I have always been good at recommending others. It’s why I love teaching teachers. I see someone teach and I get goosebumps. I love the process that someone goes through to find their voice as a teacher. But now I was armed with a new set of tools. Tools to recommend myself. It’s would be easy to take a back seat and hope that someone would ” discover me” but on the other hand its also a bit of a cop out. I mean haven’t I been here all along- isn’t it up to me to discover myself? Isn’t that what yoga’s all about?
Now thats an idea I’d like to share!
to find out more about my upcoming byron yoga teacher training visit www.rachelzinmanyoga.com