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5 Habits of Highly Effective Yogis

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

Local yoga teachers and studio owners are truly the heroes of the yoga community when you consider all that goes into teaching and offering yoga. Daily through their offerings they inspire students to be more present, healthier, kinder, and vibrant. A highly effective yoga teacher is also a successful one. Yet too often, yoga teachers struggle with making ends meet. I’d love to make sure our local heroes thrive, not just survive. Success will mean different things to different yoga teachers; it might mean being content with your career exactly as it is now, or happy with how it unfolds organically. Success might be broadening your student base or earning a living that enables you to pay the bills, afford continuing education, pay for a child’s education, care for a loved one, or contribute to the causes you are most passionate about. But common to any vision of success is knowing what you want, setting goals, and achieving them. After querying 90 Monkeys graduates who were finding success in their careers as yoga teachers, based on the teachings they had applied from taking 90 Minutes to Change the World we discovered that there are five common habits of successful yoga teachers–and the best part is, they’re totally doable!
Presenting the 5 Habits of Highly Effective Yoga Teachers (in order of increasing importance):
5. They have a forum or consistently gather to get support from fellow teachers.
Successful yoga teachers find ways to connect with their local peers! From getting together for a potluck or walk in the woods to practicing together at a set time every week, forging relationships with your fellow teachers can help you to derive inspiration for your classes, sound out new ideas, share resources, network, collaborate and even find new professional opportunities.
4. They take their finances and savings seriously.
A teacher who takes her/his finances and savings seriously is confident, collected, and calm, rather than frazzled and stressed out in the classroom.
They are less likely to get upset when “not enough students” show up to class, which means that no matter how many students attend, they can be truly present for their students.
Set goals for how much income you would like to earn and WHY—knowing the “why” will help you stay motivated and inspired to reach your goal. Are you saving up for a college education for a child, your retirement, or a contingency account for your family in the event of an emergency? Are there other sources of income, independent of your yoga teaching that would help you reach those goals?
Successful teachers stay on top of their finances by paying attention to their bank accounts on a regular basis.
One tip: consider ‘paying yourself first’ by saving 10% of your income every month. This can seem daunting when there are bills to pay, but we’ve found that when teachers prioritize saving a portion of their income, they find new ways to earn that 10% (or more!) to cover their expenses.
3. They practice more consistently and therefore offer more variety and enthusiasm in their class.
Make time for your own practice and self-study! Schedule your practice and study time as though it is a paying gig. Use asana picture books, magazines, and other technologies like Yogaglo.com to inspire you to try new poses.
That said, be sure to approach your practice as something enjoyable that you want to do, not as an obligation. Give yourself 10 minutes only to do a practice so there is no looming pressure to get in a full hour.
Use the Yoga Timer App to encourage yourself to hold poses and/or practice for a set time without fail. Practice the sequence that you plan on teaching your students before class to see how it flows.
2. They view their yoga teaching as a profession rather than a hobby.
Never forget that teaching yoga is a great honor. People are paying you for the education you provide. They want to trust you and look up to you as a mentor and leader.
So, say this out loud, right now: “I am a yoga professional.” Own it! Make sure you stay current with all of your studies, trainings, market trends and be prepared to teach at your very best!
And the number one habit is…
1. They consciously give more attention to their relationships with their students, studio staff, colleagues, and other teachers.
Students come to yoga for all kinds of reasons, but one thing they all have in common is a desire for community and connection. One of the great services you can offer as a yoga teacher is to facilitate that sense of connection.
Extend the conversation with your students both in the classroom and beyond—make yourself available to them before and after class, and take the time to converse with them and find out about their lives.
Continue the conversation between classes on social media or with a newsletter.
Go the extra mile and do the “unexpected” with your students—write them a thank you card, or give them a poem or handout they can take with them after class.
And don’t forget the folks you work with! Be helpful around the studio as well as be extra warm and appreciative towards support staff. They are the ones that will refer people to you when students ask them whom they recommend on the schedule!
What have you done that has helped you boost your career as a yoga teacher? Leave me a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!
~ Amy Ippoliti, prAna Ambassador & Co-Founder of 90Monkeys.com
Learn more about Amy