The Business of Yoga: Part Two - How to Build Yoga Class Attendance
From the Editor
So you’ve gotten your yoga teacher certification, you want to get your name out to potential clients, maybe teach at a studio, but how do you even know where get started? Lauren Eckstrom, yoga teacher extraordinaire, has put together this first-time yoga teacher’s guide to success for YogaTravelTree.com to pass along to you! Throughout November, she’ll take you deep into the big bad world of business, and give you some guidance as you begin your journey teaching yoga.
Part 2: How to Build Yoga Class Attendance
Once you establish a permanent class schedule, remember, building a class takes time and patience. You must take the new class seriously and begin the process of relationship building with your students and their studio. This requires 5 key strategies listed below. Building a strong class with regular students and support can take anywhere from 6 months to over a year so put your practice into action, take deep breaths, and enjoy the ride!
- Be Personable: Before class begins, introduce yourself to new students. Get to know their injuries and make yourself both accessible and personable. This means arriving at class at least 10minutes early and probably staying at least 10 to 15 minutes after. Get to know their names and make yourself available to answer questions both before and after each class. Of course, it’s important to remember student-teacher boundaries and your time is valuable so in the coming weeks we’ll discuss how to handle students who require more time and attention than you can provide in this short window of time but don’t let those students interfere with your ability to circulate amongst your students and share your presence with everyone.
- Be Compassionate (toward yourself!): Do not be discouraged if your class attendance fluctuates. Class attendance fluctuates for every teacher - new and experienced - so try not to take class enrollment too personally. Understand that the time of the year, holidays, tax season, school schedules, etc...all impact class levels and you will experience a normal up and down in attendance. It generally takes a year or longer to build a class so cultivate patience, compassion, and steadiness as you begin.
- Be Consistent: When you first begin teaching, do not sub out your classes. You must show consistency and earn the loyalty of both your students and the studio you are teaching at. Understand that you might have to delay time off or vacations in your first few years of teaching in order to build your classes and sustain momentum.
- Be Pro-active: You can take additional steps to meet new students by taking other classes at the studio, introducing yourself to all of the teachers, and being involved with the studio’s social networks (for example, Facebook) and their community events (for example, charity events, workshops, or kirtans). These are great strategies for meeting new students, becoming a familiar face in the community, and becoming an integral part of the studio culture.
- Be a Team Player: Keep in mind, another wonderful way to build your classes is by continuing to sub. No matter how long you have been teaching, subbing is a great way to support your fellow teachers while meeting potential new students. When you take the time to sub, it also shows studio management that you are a team player. Do not offer to substitute classes you are not ready to teach or do not have adequate training to teach. Only offer to sub classes that fit your level of knowledge and experience. When you sub a class, be sure to teach to the level advertised on that particular class even if it is a different level than you are used to teaching. At the end of the class, make sure to share your regular class schedule with the attending students.
Another key strategy to building class attendance in today’s booming yoga community is marketing. Next week we’ll take a close look at marketing strategies that will help you build classes with integrity and mindfulness.
Lauren Eckstrom is a Yoga Alliance certified yoga instructor based in Santa Monica, California. With background and training in Vinyasa based Power Yoga, her classes combine creative sequencing with a focus on safe, sound alignment. Lauren also caters toward students rehabbing from injuries so her breadth of teaching includes advanced yogis, brand new practitioners, and yogis dealing with a therapeutic approach to the practice. She specializes in Power Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Gentle Yoga, Yin Yoga, Yoga for Beginners, Pranayama and Meditation.
In 2012 Lauren associate produced and was heavily featured in The Ultimate Yogi with Travis Eliot, a 12-disc, 108 day all encompassing yogic lifestyle program.
Lauren currently teaches privately and leads group classes at The Yoga Collective, Tru Yoga and Yoga Vista