Last updated on September 24th, 2023.
Yoga studios are quite popular. You probably have quite a few in your area. And perhaps you’ve been thinking about a career in yoga. You may dream of living the yogic lifestyle and even spreading the beliefs to others. You may be attracted to following a belief system that stresses non-harm and the search for inner happiness instead of chasing for a dollar.
There is a lot to say for living the yogic lifestyle. You’re encourage to be truthful, righteous and wise. You’re asked to live simply and spiritually and sacrifice the ego. Self-discipline, study and contentment are also key qualities encouraged of yogis. Yes, it’s a difficult lifestyle but so rewarding. Living the yogic lifestyle can cause you to be more focused on what’s truly important in your life. And by focusing on what’s really important and ignoring all of the incidental and unimportant things in life, you may find that your stress levels begin decreasing.
But, if you take the steps to immerse yourself in yoga, first by learning to practice yoga, and then learning to teach yoga, how can you begin spreading the lifestyle to others? There are many career paths for yoga teachers. There’s corporate work – teaching lunchtime yoga classes at offices. Or there’s freelance work, subbing for teachers in studios, teaching classes at churches, hospitals, or even farmer’s markets.
But, one of the most rewarding ways to live the yogic lifestyle and spread the message of yoga and immerse yourself in the yoga world day in and day out is to own your own yoga studio. Yes, running and launching a yoga business like owning a studio is a huge responsibility but, if it’s done right, it’s worth. Read on for more information on running a yoga business. This article may inspire you to begin your journey to starting a yoga business.
How do I start a yoga business?
Read on as we discuss the five steps to successfully start a yoga business. We’ll explain the most important step as well as talk about the other four steps in-depth. We’ll also discuss the pre-requisite for starting a yoga business: gaining your yoga teacher training certification. Next, we’ll answer that burning question: Can you make a living as a yoga teacher? Thankfully, we have good news on that front. We’ll show you how, with a lot of hard work, you can indeed be a successful yoga teacher. Later, we’ll talk about how to create a successful yoga studio from the ground up. We’ll give you the ins and outs of not just establishing a business but growing a community of like-minded yoga practitioners. And finally, we talk about the pitfalls of running a yoga business and how you can avoid problems. Don’t worry, there are steps you can take to make sure your business runs smoothly and successfully. Wow, we have a lot to cover. So, keep reading; we hope our information will help guide you through the development of your own yoga business.
5 Steps to Successfully Start a Yoga Business
After you’ve studied for and earned your Yoga Teacher Training Certification, there are a few more steps you will need to take before the start of a yoga business. The most important step you’ll need to take before establishing your dream yoga business is to have a business plan. Many businesses have failed because business owners lacked the knowledge to successfully run a business. We’ll give you some tips below on how gain the business acumen you need to have a thriving yoga business.
We’ll also go over some of the other important aspects to starting a yoga business, such as creating your brand, picking a good location for your studio, and choosing the right style of yoga to teach. But first, let’s talk a bit about Yoga Teacher Training.
Yoga Teacher Training
It’s important to find the right yoga teacher training. It’s pretty much essential, though not required, that you take a course that will allow you to get certified by the Yoga Alliance. The Yoga Alliance is an internationally recognized yoga teacher certification body that requires specific criteria to be taught to prospective yoga teachers. When a yoga studio is looking to hire a new teacher, or a yoga student is searching for a teacher, that teacher’s Yoga Alliance certification will show everyone that they have passed a set of standards set out by the Yoga Alliance and are highly qualified to teach yoga.
Once you have found the right program for you, either online or in-person, it will take a few months to get through the course. You’ll study not only yoga poses and the sequencing of those poses, but you’ll also study ancient Hindu texts. And, you’ll learn about physical anatomy and the chakras ( the belief of an energy system in the body). Further, you’ll learn about yoga philosophy, how to live a yogic lifestyle, meditation, yogic breathing, and so much more. You’ll spend a required amount of time practicing yoga as well. All in all, it will be a lot of hard work, will take a high level of dedication, and will cost a good sum of money, but if becoming a yoga teacher is your dream, then it will be all worth it. And, one of the best things that will come out of embarking on a yoga teacher training certification course is the contacts that you will make throughout your schooling. Those contacts will help you network, find yoga jobs and maybe even attract clients, which will aid you in starting a yoga business.
Ok, we’ve talked about the first step in your yoga career, yoga teacher training. Now, check out the five most important steps you’ll need to take to start a yoga business:
1) Have a Business Plan
It’s risky to start any business, let alone a yoga business without a yoga business plan. You may want to take a business course in order to learn how to create and run a business. Or, there are yoga teacher training programs that also teach you how to develop and grow a yoga business. That could be quite helpful to study yoga and business altogether instead of taking two separate programs. You’ll want to get all your ducks in a row such as whether you’ll be running the entire business online, or perhaps will have a brick and mortar studio but also offer online classes. Decide what the business is going to look like first and you’ll be well on your way to create a great yoga studio. And there are people out there who will help you plan your business. Many public libraries have free business discussions. Also, there may be free seminar held by your city or county as to how you can start your own business. Take advantage of all the free information you can get by calling your library, city, or county and seeing what is offered!
You can also talk with other yoga business owners for guidance as to how you should craft your business. Plus, through your yoga teacher training, you may have lifetime communication channels open with your teachers and fellow students. Some teacher training courses allow students access to teachers and all of the yoga teacher training information for life. And, with more and more teacher training classes offering sections on starting a yoga business, you’ll be able to review the information and you plan your new business.
2) Establish a Website
You’ll need a great website. With the advent of online yoga classes, you’ll want a website that not only offers your schedule of in-person classes; you’ll also need the technology so you can teach classes online. And, for either the in-person classes or online classes, you’ll want great descriptions of each class. You may want to hire a marketing firm that can not only handle the technology but can write all of the text that will be displayed on your site. And, don’t worry if you can’t afford a marketing team at the start. There are plenty of freelance web designers and other marketing professionals out there that may be willing to trade their wares for yoga classes. Trading is pretty common in the independent contractor and freelancer world so don’t hesitate to barter your services.
Just remember that nowadays, students and prospective students expect the high-tech touch. Many people will take one look at your website and if it doesn’t offer the latest and great technology, social medial links and the like will bypass your business and go to the next one.
3) Establish a Brand and Sell it
A great logo will make you stand out from the crowd. And remember to use that logo everywhere. A marketing firm can help you create your brand. A great logo will help grow your business so make sure it is recognizable and memorable. And, along with establishing the brand, why not sell branded items in your yoga studio? You could put your logo on yoga mats, T-shirts, water bottles, etc., and market them to your students. Some yoga studios even get into to marketing hand creams, lotions, and other health and beauty items. You’ll want to get your logo out into the community so think outside the box.
A great way to get your name out of the public is to call up a local TV station and ask if you could do a yoga demonstration on their morning show. You’ll get tons of eyes on your name and yoga and will probably get a lot of business from the segment. There are also natural-themed magazine and newspapers that you could write yoga articles for. It doesn’t hurt to ask. And, although you won’t be able to demonstrate your yoga, you could see if you can get interviewed on the radio.
4) Find a Great Location
Establish a welcoming location, in an area with a lot of foot or car traffic. Make sure there’s parking nearby. But, even though you want to be in an area where people will notice the business, the environment will also need to be quiet. There’s nothing worse than trying to relax in a yoga class but being distracted by the roar of traffic nearby. Also, make sure the yoga space is neither too hot nor too cold. You’ll want your students to be comfortable. A great yoga space will be one that has its entryway and lobby placed away from actual yoga practice space. Even better is one that has all that, as well as a meeting space, where you could hold seminars and other events, like music or movie nights.
Or, if you’re planning to start a yoga business online, create a space where you can teach yoga, one that looks pleasing on camera. But one that is also relaxing for you. If you want to get into a meditative space in your mind and teach meditation to your students, but the room you’re in is distracting, that will defeat the purpose. You’ll need to put your money into a good camera, high bandwidth internet and professional lighting if you want to compete with other online yoga teachers. There are yoga videos that have over a million views and the reason why is that, besides being fantastic at teaching yoga, the teacher put in the effort to buy up level equipment. It’s not a thing you can skimp at, because people will know. And, if they think that you’ve got a bargain basement YouTube channel or online teaching platform, they will click off and look for another yoga teacher.
5) Pick a Type of Yoga
Typically, a yoga studio will concentrate on one type of yoga. For instance, a studio could specialize in Ashtanga. Yes, they may offer some beginning Hatha classes, but the majority of the classes will either be actual Ashtanga or have aspects of Ashtanga yoga to them. By concentration on one type of yoga, you’ll be able to attract a clientele interested in that type of yoga. Ashtanga students will want to try out a new Ashtanga studio. Jivamukti students will all be curious about the new Jivamukti studio in town, and so on. But, make sure you are adept at the type of yoga you plan to teach. Ashtanga, for instance is a very specific type of yoga with specific poses and sequences.
Can You Make a Living as a Yoga Teacher?
Absolutely. You can definitely make a living as a yoga teacher. It will take a lot of hard work and perseverance and success won’t come overnight! But if you study and plan, you’ll be that much closer to making a living.
First of all, you must budget for the fact that you will be paying tuition for your yoga teacher training. And you may need to move your work schedule around so that you can attend classes. And don’t forget about the time you’ll need to study and practice your yoga teaching techniques. That could be time away from a gig job and could cause you to take a hit in the wallet. And, you may have to pay for childcare while you’re at class if you have little kids. There is a lot to think about. And it will cost you time and money. But, it will be worth it in the end if your dream is to become a yoga teacher.
Making a living out on your own
But, once you have that yoga certification, it becomes all about marketing yourself. If you’re planning to be an independent contractor and not work at a studio or even own a studio, that be prepared to have an erratic schedule. You may be called at the last moment to fill in for another teacher. Or you may be driving to once side of town for one class and then after that class, you have to get into the car and drive to the other side of town for another class. And, don’t forget, you can also be a private yoga teacher, going into someone’s home to teach one or two people. Again, here, think outside the box for places where you could teach. What about a museum or a public garden? It doesn’t hurt to call them up and offer your yoga teaching services. It can be done. You can make a living as an independent contractor. Try brainstorming and don’t be afraid to cold call places to inquire if they’d like to host a yoga program. The idea will be beneficial for them as much as it will be for you, so it makes sense for them to say yes!
A great way to make a living if you’re a freelance yoga teacher is to find some corporate jobs. You could teach yoga in a hospital setting on a freelance, part-time or even full-time basis. There are also elementary schools, homes for the aged and companies who hire yoga teachers to come in a teach. Also, a up and coming environment in which to teach yoga is in Farmer’s Markets. Quite a few farmer’s markets are offering yoga in outdoor locations among the fruit and veggie sellers. Sportswear stores are another great place to hold a yoga class. It will bring positive attention to your brand as well as the store’s brand. Stores will see an uptick in traffic, and you’ll be able to pass out your business card, flyers and even branded items such as keychains if you teach around town.
Working for a studio
Or, you can work at a studio. If you are a thoughtful, engaging teacher, you can build up the studio’s clientele, and could be rewarded with being scheduled for more classes. You may be asked to teach special workshops that focus on one specific yoga topic, such as gong meditation or ayurvedic medicine. The more work you put into being a studio yoga teacher, the more benefits you will reap, allowing you to make a good living. And the more return students, the better the studio will do, businesswise, which will mean job security for you.
Studio work may not always be 9-5 so you may also need to look for other yoga teaching jobs, perhaps as an independent contractor. Working for studios and for yourself at the same time is quite common and will afford you the money you’ll need to support yourself and hopefully save for running your own studio.
Owning your own yoga studio
Lastly, if you are going to start a yoga business, you can open your own studio. And yes, you can make a living. Again, you need to attract clientele. And being certified through Yoga Alliance will definitely help. As we said above, having a business plan and knowing how to start a business is advised if you’re going to own a yoga studio. Having a good logo and brand, and marketing yourself will attract students, allowing your studio to make money. You could start training teachers and begin teaching online; both ventures will help grow your business.
You may also want to enter into a joint venture with a massage studio or a rehab facility. Operate a business out of a location that also offers other bodywork, naturopath medicine, acupuncture, etc.
What makes a Successful Yoga Studio?
A successful yoga studio feels like home. It’s calm, chill and a place that you want to go to. And, when you’re there, you don’t want to leave. A successful yoga studio just doesn’t offer classes in a studio. It may have events, such as movie nights, showing movies relevant to yoga. A successful studio may promote and organize concerts of local or touring musicians who play the style of music you’ll hear in a yoga class. A successful yoga studio has its name out there. It’s a recognized location and people think highly of it. It’s part of the community.
Another important way your yoga studio will achieve success is if, as we spoke up above, you have a good grounding in how to run a business. The statistics for small businesses failing in their first year are pretty high. But if you know how to run a small business, your business stands a greater chance of thriving and growing. And, by running a business smoothly, you’ll attract more repeat students. People aren’t going to want to come to a shoddily run business. One that may be open one day but not the next, due to erratic scheduling. One that doesn’t take credit cards or overcharges. It does take a lot to run a business smoothly, but if you have a good knowledge of how to operate a yoga studio, you’ll be rewarded in the long run.
Build a community
A yoga studio that is trying to achieve success must have great teachers, ones that can really connect with students. And the studio could participate in the larger community, perhaps have having events that raise money for charity. There are also vegan festivals, yoga festivals and music festivals that the yoga studio could officially attend to sell merchandise, offer clinics and all-around market themselves to gain business. Make the studio a home-base for likeminded yogis. Have vegan potlucks. Or open houses to introduce your business to the community. You, as the owner, could join your city’s chamber of commerce to aid in the expansion of business in the community as a whole. You’ll have the inside word on what’s coming to the city and what’s leaving, allowing you to make more informed business decision. You may even find that there are opportunities to expand your yoga studio into bigger, better spaces based on the information you learn as being an active participant in the business community.
Guiding prospective teachers
Another means to success, a great source of income and way for a yoga studio to be a community is for the studio to run a yoga teacher training program. If you, as a yoga studio owner, have insightful ideas about yoga and want to spread them to a new generation of students, then you could begin offering a yoga teacher training program. And those teachers could then even become teachers at your studio. You’ll be confident to know that they are teaching the type of yoga that you deem important, as you were the one to teach them. And, you can be assured that they will be educated in the yogic values that you deem important. It’s your message that you want to spread. And by training your own yoga teachers, you’ll be able to spread that message, attract a like-minded clientele and grow your business.
Why do Yoga Studios Fail?
A yoga studio can fail for a of a number of reasons. Here’s a list we’ve compiled of the problems that can occur in running a yoga studio:
- As we’ve said before, lack of understanding how to run a business is the primary reason businesses fail.
- Not offering introductory rates – to get students acclimatized to the new studio environment, it’s crucial you offer introductory rates, BOGO rates, etc. And you’ll attract more clientele.
- Not hiring good teachers – There are plenty of yoga teachers out there. But the trick is to find the right fit for your studio. Newly hired yoga teachers will have to have a compassion and understanding of all different abilities in people. They’ll have to be friendly and competent. And, if they are not, students will know and will go find another studio.
- Not taking advantage of high-tech business practices – Students want to sign up for classes online and pay for them online. They’re used to online transactions in all parts of their life. And they want a seamless method of interaction with their yoga studio. They want to check in online, when they drive up. And they may also want the option of online classes when there’s a snow day.
- Not balancing your social beliefs with business beliefs. Hard business practices, like making sure everyone pays the same amount, maybe great for business. But, what if you know of a student who is having money troubles. If you can afford to charge them less, it’s a good idea to do so. Set an example to your students that you follow a yogic lifestyle and running a business won’t deter you from your ethics and convictions.
Going Forward with Success
If you want to throw off the chains of the 9 to 5 world and be your own boss, there’s a lot to be said for starting your own business. And there is nothing more meaningful then successfully starting a yoga business. A yoga business is still a business, to be sure. But it’s so much more than that. A successful yoga business is a community. A gathering place where people come together to work on themselves, inside and out. You’re helping the community. Making people healthier, more conscious of their bodies and their minds. Above, we went into the ins and outs of starting a yoga business. There’s a lot to think about. But, thankfully, we gave you the 5 steps to successfully start your yoga business. We hope you took a look at all of the important information we offered, information that will help you break into the yoga world and run a success business. And of course, you definitely will need the information we offered about making a living as a yoga teacher. Teaching yoga is time-consuming but so rewarding in the end. We’ve all seen businesses fail, so by learning what makes a successful yoga studio and reading about all of the pitfalls and circumstances in which a yoga studio can run into trouble or go out of business, you’ll be armed with the ammunition you need to go out there and be a success. We think that running a yoga business can be a positive venture for both you and the community so why not look into it further? It doesn’t hurt to make some inquiries. You may like what you see and take that leap!