Find Your Yoga Niche
A very common belief that can hold yoga teachers back is the fear that there is too much “competition” in the yoga teaching field. Although it is true there may indeed be a lot of yoga teachers out there, the good news is… there is only one you!
The more we focus on finding our own unique voice, the more we begin to realise we are the only person on earth who has the valuable perspective we alone have to offer. What we have learned through life experience, work, study – even things we may not have enjoyed at the time – can become the inspiration point to jump off from to find our own unique value. Then we can stop worrying so much about what others are doing and start focusing on sharing our own special gifts with the world.
Here are five steps to help you start to unearth what your own life story can tell you about how to find your place in the yoga world…
1. Find Out Who You Are
To best discover your unique place, first become clear on who you are and what you have to offer. Find the answer to the question “Who are the people I can best serve with my teaching?”
Start by finding out as much as you can about yourself and what you bring to the world. Especially when we first start out, it is tempting to try and be everything to everyone, but the truth is you will not be in a position to be appreciated by everybody. What is important it to find the ones who you can connect with and assist by getting focused on who you want to teach, and who will benefit from your knowledge.
Some questions to start you off:
– What hobbies/ sports have you participated in?
– What previous jobs or study experience do you have?
– What life events have happened to you?
– What knowledge have you gained from these experiences?
– What admirable qualities do you have?
– What have you survived that was challenging or difficult?
– What kind of people do you enjoy being around?
– What groups of people do you have a unique knowledge of?
Write down as much as you can – you never know what be relevant and may uncover the unique path for you to take! The idea is to find out what motivates you and what you are passionate about. Pay attention to who you attract and what you surround yourself with – this will tell you a lot about who you are… and who you want to teach.
Santosha students using their unique gifts to make it in the world…
One of our Santosha Level 1 Teacher Training graduates Kirsten had a career background in naturopathy, a passion for surfing – and a love for Balinese living. She now lives in Bali teaching yoga classes specifically for surfers as well as offering tailored Naturopathtic Yoga classes aimed at treating specific body issues, both through classes and via Skype. She has fused her passions and made a career out of sharing what she loves.
Another student Kaisa had a passion for diving. Along with her Level 1 Yoga Certification, she gained her diving certification and now runs Yoga and Diving retreats and classes on a tropical island in the Philippines. Even I have to pinch myself to think that that’s a “real job”. Imagine how she must feel 🙂
Closer to home, another of our graduates Gina works as a teacher with very overworked and overstressed teachers and students. She now not only offers her students help for their exams by beginning her classes with a ten minute meditation, she has started offering her fellow educators classes in the school gym. Demand has been so high she has had to increase the amount of classes she offers every week. She also has a passion for SUP-ing, so has added SUP Yoga classes to her teaching repertoire. She reports that she may not be a school teacher for much longer, as she has plans to shift into a full time yoga teaching career!
Because these teachers knew the potential students they were working with they also had a huge advantage – they know the unique demands of this particular group. As a teacher Gina knew how much stress and tension teachers are carrying, the hours that would suit them to do classes, the language they would relate to in an asana class. Likewise Kirsten knew what kind of classes would best serve her Bali surfers – even down to the best times of the day to hold these events.
2. Find Out Who Your Students Are – and What They Need
Once you have identified you own specific niche – and you might have a few – the next thing to do is start to get to know allllll about your students. Like the teachers above, you need to find the unique needs of this group so you can then best meet them. You know what they are dealing with, and can offer them solutions which will work in their situations.
– What do these students need? Physically/ Emotionally/ Mentally/ Spiritually?
– What would stand in the way of students attending classes? Timing? Location? Cost?
– How can I assist in making it easier for them to get to class?
– How can I support them in general?
Once you become more clear on who you want to teach you can begin to find your own path– who you are going to teach.
Now you have the answer to this question, start to become as informed as you can be on your group. Attend trainings specific to the needs of this group, read articles, study online and join groups. Some places to start:
Udemy – over 300+ online courses – some of them free
Yoga Alliance – online workshops – often free for members
Meet Up – meet people in your local area who share your interests
Open 2 Study – upskill with free online education
Another Santosha student kicking ass-ana out in the world:
Prior to joining our Santosha Level 1 Training Keri had years of experience as a mid-wife under her belt – and a passion for helping women navigate the new world of birth and motherhood. Running a business offering Pre and Post Natal, Mums and Bubs classes and offering extra support to pregnant mums through her classes and website was an obvious choice for her after graduation. Knowing this was the group she would be wanting to serve, she attended the Santosha Pre and Post Natal + Children and Teens Training in addition to her Level 1 Training so she would have the skills and knowledge to best assist these students.
3. Find out how to reach them
The questions to ask now are:
– Where do they spend their time?
– What social media or online groups do they belong to?
– What organizations do they join?
– What events do they go to?
In other words, you need to figure out where to find these people… and reach out! The best way to get students is to find people who would not usually go into a yoga studio and find them where they are. Now you have created your own students – no “poaching” or stepping on someone else’s toes to worry about here.
4. Give Value!
Once you have found your group, think about what you can offer them. This can be classes, private sessions, online classes, retreats or workshops. Ask yourself – what offerings will suit the specific group you are working with?
Always be trying to give value – whether it be to help people in a specific way or even by giving them a reason to laugh. By becoming an “expert” in your specific niche, you will always have more to share. Here are some ways to reach out and add value:
– Write a blog post based on a workshop you have attended or relevant book/ article you have read
– Share a picture on Instagram you know will make your followers day
– Add a short video to Facebook or Youtube with an inspiring or helpful message
– Regularly send out a newsletter packed with useful tips for your group
– Create a mailing list to keep your students informed on all the new things you have to offer them
At the end of the post or video you can always mention the upcoming workshop you are holding, where to attend your classes, or how to book a private session via Skype.
5. Get Creative!
Of course in this day and age social media plays a huge role in connecting with and reaching others. The possibilities can really be endless. Get creative on using these technologies to support you and get your message out. It’s never been easier to produce simple video content and get it up on the internet – all you need is a phone and a Youtube account and you can reach audiences all over the world. Likewise, think of how you can use Skype to be able to work beyond the confines of the students available your local area.
There are so many resources online including free webinars and tutorials to help you get up-to-date on the best way to instagram/ facebook/ twitter/ Skype your way to success, so don’t feel daunted by all the options. Here are a few pointers to get you started on your social media journey:
This is not to say you should spend your days as a yogi hiding behind the computer screen! Sometimes there is nothing like pounding the pavement the old-fashioned away, especially if your goal is to connect with potential students in your local area. Think of the businesses in your area – if you are going to specialise in yoga for back injuries is there a local Osteopath who you could meet up with who would be happy to share referrals with their patients, or display your flyer.
Again, knowing your audience, where they spend their time and how to reach out to let them allows you to help them by letting them know about the wonderful new resource available to them…. YOU!
Find this article useful? Have some tips of your own for making it in the world of yoga? Share in the comments…