According to Roy Morgan polls, yoga is Australia's preferred cardio and core strength exercise — well over 2.2 million people participated in some form of yoga in 2017, and that number looks to be growing.
That's potentially one in ten Australians searching the internet for yoga classes at any one time.
Of course, this does not mean a yoga teacher can sit back and expect their class schedule to fill automatically.
Finding students to fill their classes and pay the bills is difficult for everyone, particularly new yoga instructors.
What do you need to know to get you on the best road to success?
Promote Your Experience and Your Style
Talking about yourself and your skills is hard — but essential!
How do you do this with confidence and authority?
State the facts — talk about your personal yoga practice, your experience as a yoga instructor and your qualifications.
Even as a beginning instructor, you will have experience leading small groups during your yoga teacher training. (If you haven't done any training, we recommend you do.)
Perhaps you trained in India? Make sure you mention this in your advertisements.
Make sure you highlight your area of expertise. Your yoga class may focus on a range of hatha yoga styles, or just one:
- Vinyasa Yoga (yoga flow)
- Ashtanga Yoga (power yoga)
- Bikram Yoga (or 'hot yoga')
- Iyengar Yoga (focus on yoga postures)
- Kripalu Yoga (also known as yoga nidra — a meditative style)
Or, you may specialise in prenatal yoga, restorative yoga or even goat yoga.
Mention why you started practising yoga and the results you've achieved.
What about a name for your business or yoga studio?
This is equally as important. Think carefully and choose a name that reflects your yoga philosophy and training.
The more people know about you, the more likely they are to trust you and try your yoga classes.
Gather the Support of Family and Friends
Try out your advertising, self-promotion, yoga lessons and breath exercises on your friends and family. Ask them to be honest!
People you are close to will be happy to be your 'trial and error', and practising giving instructions with them will help build your confidence with students you don't know.
Don't be shy about using your personal network. Start a conversation about the benefits of yoga. Mention that you are in the process of finding students. People will be interested and, like all beginning yoga teachers, you need every bit of help you can get.
Finding Students Through Personal Advertising
Social media and internet advertising may feel like they've taken over, but personal ads — the ones you see on community noticeboards, bus shelters and shop windows — stick pack a punch.
The key to personal advertising is repetition.
Ask your local cafe if you can place your poster in their window, flyers on the tables and your cards at the counter. Use a similar method at other shops, schools or your local library.
How exactly do you make your traditional, old-fashioned 'yoga classes near me' advertising hit the mark?
Step 1: Spend some time on the design of your flyers. Check the layout is easy to read and choose a colour that will make your poster stand out from the others. Consider what paper you'll use — recycled paper promotes the wellbeing philosophy of yoga.
Step 2: Do a little research to find out where the best places are to leave your advertisements.
Step 3: Produce your flyer, ensuring it includes:
- your full name
- your experience and qualifications
- your hourly or per class rates
- your phone and email contacts
- location of classes
- whether you do online yoga classes, private yoga lessons, or if you'll travel to different locations
- description of the format of your sessions and the style of yoga you teach (Vinyasa, Kundalini, Iyengar, yoga meditation and so on)
You may wish to produce your flyer in different formats:
- A4 sheet, either handwritten or typed on a single side, and with contact tear-off strips
- A5 or A6 sized leaflet or fold-out brochure, printed on both sides
- business cards or postcard with your essential information
Resist cramming lots of information onto the page — just give the most important information in the most concise form you can.
Larger posters are ideal for shop windows and noticeboards, while smaller ones can be great for cafe or waiting room tables, schools and letterbox drops.
Before you put your flyer up, make sure you've planned your yoga class carefully. Consider offering the first class for free as a trial for new students.
Whatever you do, take your time and make sure it reflects you as a yoga instructor.
Check for online tutoring jobs here.
Using the Internet to Advertise Your Yoga Class
While personal ads are effective, it would be remiss of you to avoid advertising on the internet.
Google tends to be the first medium people turn to when they need to find out something — whether they're searching for information or for a class or private tutor.
If it isn't on Google, it doesn't exist. (Jimmy Wales)
Potential students will search for 'yoga classes near me' or 'best yoga classes in (city)' — or even 'free yoga classes'.
Advertise online by posting information about your classes.
Have a look at these online platforms where you can advertise:
- Yoga Australia
- Find Yoga
- Yoga Centers Directory (Australia)
All platforms give you great exposure, however, unlike the first three, adding your profile and class information to Superprof is absolutely free.
The aim of Superprof is to provide a platform to make it easy for students and tutors/teachers to locate each other.
In addition, with Superprof, you get your own page rather than just being part of a listing with your web address, studio name or contact details. Your Superprof page will include a photo of you and there is plenty of room to write about what you offer, your rates, your schedule and where your classes are run.
Adding a short video is also an option — and recommended. You can use this video to talk about your philosophy or your background. Demonstrating some exercises or breathing patterns may also assist you in finding students.
Get People Talking About Your Yoga Classes
'Word of Mouth' is often considered to be the best advertising strategy of all.
The hardest part will be finding your first students. However, after this, as long as your classes are well-organised, and your students feel they have achieved something, their unofficial testimonials can do the rest of the hard work for you.
How often have you decided to buy a particular product, or try a specific service, based solely on the recommendation of a friend or colleague? You trust your friends and family — they're not going to tell you they've had a good experience if they haven't.
These days, many people will also go to social media and post a 'looking for recommendations' request.
In a nutshell, nobody really wants to be the first person to try something new. Money and time are too precious in today's society.
The other point to remember is that word of mouth has the unusual effect of encouraging loyalty — people are more inclined to continue with service-providers if someone they know has recommended them.
There is also nothing wrong with asking your students to share your details if they enjoy your yoga workshops. Have flyers and cards available for them to take with them to give their friends.
Above all your other advertising, don't underestimate the power of talking about your yoga classes and asking people to promote you.
The key to getting people to talk about your classes and recommend you to their friends, family and colleagues is simple — provide the best service you can. Be friendly, open and responsive. Make sure you are organised and punctual. Show your students you enjoy your yoga classes as much as they do.
If you do this — your students will talk and your classes will overflow.
To attract your first students, you may wish to keep your fees for your yoga lessons low. This might be tough for the first month or so, but before long you may end up with a waiting list.
One final tip: make yourself stand out in the yoga community by offering something different from the norm. Find yourself a niche, whether it's yoga for beginners, yoga therapy — or goat yoga. If you can provide something a little rarer, you may be potentially limit your client base, but you can offset this by raising your fees.