At some point in my yoga teaching career I shifted to a place where teaching 14 classes a week was the norm.

Someone said to me that teaching that much was unsustainable and I scoffed, “but I have to teach that many classes to make a living”.

As time went on I was getting burned out and exhausted and I finally acknowledged the truth of that statement.

Once burnout sets in it is hard to bounce back. Your energy levels become zapped, your creativity wanes and your motivation to maintain your personal practice can completely slip away.

Getting off the hamster wheel of group classes may feel scary but it is the right thing to do to create a sustainable career teaching.

The results might surprise you:

I eventually gave up a lot of my group classes and started to approach teaching very differently.  My focus shifted away from ongoing, weekly classes to teaching workshops, specialized series and privates.

Once you free up some space in your schedule you will be amazed what kind of space can be freed up in your energy levels and how much more connected you will feel to your yoga.

Favorite Alternatives to Teaching Group Yoga Classes::

  • Consider teaching a specialized series {as in – 4, 6, or 8 classes on a specific topic} which allows you to be in control of when you work and how much you make. You can rent space or run a series on a split with a studio. See what the most cost effective arrangement is so that you can maximize what you receive per student. You can set a minimum number of students so that you would need to make the series a “go”.
  • Focusing on building your private practice will help you make more per hour. If you could add one private session to your schedule each week you increase your dollar per hour ratio {this will depend on what you charge as well as what your rental or payment arrangement is where you teach}. Privates are a great way to build your clientele as well as creating word-of mouth business growth.
  • Workshops can help you focus in on a specific topic.  You can reach an audience of students you might not otherwise get to teach. A workshop is a fantastic way for students to sample new teachers, styles, methods, etc. Workshops allow you to show your diversity of training and skills beyond what you might be able to do in the typical group class.  This can bring in new private clients and find those students who are interested learning more in a specialized series.  Be sure you advertise your workshops to maximize the number of enrollments. Also, be sure to follow up with workshop participants.

Are You Ready to Leave Group Classes Behind?

  • Take an honest look at your schedule and see what class/classes feel the most draining and that you are the least excited to teach. Consider dropping those from your schedule {you can opt for however many or few you need to}. This will free up some space to rest and reinvigorate. Taking a look at what you need to let go of can really help propel you forward.

Use that new-found free time to schedule a specialized series and private lessons.  Let your current student base know that you are available and aim for one new client next week.

  • Start the word-of-mouth advertising right away.  Tell your students about your new offerings. If you have a blog, write a blog post with information on your new schedule and availability for private lessons.  If you have a newsletter be sure to send out an update with this information. Don’t be hesitant about letting your people know about new ways to work with you.  You never know who has been waiting to work with you beyond the group class format.
  • Enlist the help of fellow teachers in your community who teach complimentary styles of yoga, wellness practitioners and current students to help you reach and draw in new people to your offerings.
  • Write a handwritten thank you note to all of your new private clients, workshop participants and series students.  This really helps build loyalty and shows that you are concerned about the progress people make when working with you.

Taking these steps helped me bounce back from a case of burnout that left me questioning whether I still wanted to teach yoga at all.  I  was able to be more inspired when I was teaching and started creating new offerings.  My personal practice is now stronger than ever which has helped serve as additional inspiration for my yoga business.

In fact – I would have never been able to create my 200hr teacher training without the creating this space by dropping my group classes. Pushing past the initial fear of dropping classes was worth every moment of uncertainty.  

 

BTEmilyLoupe.jpgEmily Loupe is the founder of YogaTeacherMentor.com

Her first love is adaptive and therapeutic yoga, and more recently she’s passionate about helping yogis to think outside of the mat in both their teaching and how they run their businesses. She believes that everyone should have access to yoga and more teachers should be feel valued and fulfilled.

 

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