by: Kathleen Flanagan
As a fairly new Yoga teacher – deciding how to start my business has been as challenging as Eka Pada Bakasana (One Foot Crane Pose – also often called One Foot Crow Pose). It’s not something you take lightly or hop right into. And there are many kramas (stages) you must work through to get to the thing that must be gotten.
To put it as simply as I can for the sake of this article, it should be true that; as responsible Yoga teacher’s we’ve chosen this path (or this path chose us) so as to help lighten peoples loads or hopefully we approach the teaching of this sacred practice as a way to help people breath more deeply as they step one foot in front of the other into a more conscious presence.
In no way is the intention to be rich or be the best or get people’s legs behind their head.
The conundrum, however, is that we live in a country where we must be able to afford to pay (Manhattan! San Francisco!) rent and also continue to eat. If Yoga means to “yoke or unite” then so it is, that we must indeed find the Yoga between maintaining the integrity of this sacred practice and in making a living as well.
What’s brilliant about the Yoga community is that Karma counts. There are a lot of friends with skills to offer who will barter. For example: My beautiful friend, Andra, has helped me build my website and in return I am helping to get her body back to “pre-baby” shape while also tossing in some meditation and pranayama practices for when little baby Emory won’t stop wailing in the night. Win-Win.
But how are people promoting themselves without selling themselves? I’ve been asking around Manhattan looking for some answers and here’s one option for how to “make it happen:” Hustle.
Lori McAlister (www.loriyoga.com) from New York City works hard. Prior to making her living as a Yoga teacher, Lori was a bartender in the City. She watched people throw events at the bar where she worked in order to promote themselves and so when she was ready to promote her newly built website the idea wasn’t far from the back of her mind.
She decided to throw an “I’m Launching my Website” party the moment is was up and running. She invited friends from her email contacts and facebook to a party at a bar. She decided she would make Swag Bags and in every bag she included her business cards and free yoga passes to the studios where she taught classes (Sonic Yoga – www.sonicyoga.com – and New York Yoga – www.newyorkyoga.com). She also raffled off a yoga mat that NY Yoga donated and a free haircut with a friend who worked for Vidal Sassoon. Close to 50 people came and from there, how she’s gotten private clients has been by word-of-mouth.
It’s become a doggy-DownDog world out there. Yoga has grown exponentially in the past 10 years. So, before you start your business there are things to consider. Being a teacher requires more than a certificate and registration with Yoga Alliance. It requires strong devotion, true dedication and steadfast integrity – among other things. It is not to be taken lightly. Unfolding the petals of your lotus takes due diligence and if you are called to undertake such a position, you have been afforded the opportunity to not only shape bodies but also thought patterns. It is a decision to Evolve.
Go in Peace and namaste.