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Secrets of Successful Yoga Studios
Paul M. Jerard Jr.

What will happen if you are a competent, talented, and compassionate Yoga teacher, without enough dedicated students? Here is a simple answer: Don't quit your "day job" and don't open a Yoga studio of your own. Sorry to be so blunt, but you need time to grow your following.

When, or if, you develop a following as an independent contractor, then and only then, think about opening a Yoga center. This is not meant to be harsh, but there are enough Yoga centers with poor business skills to go around, and you don't need to lose every penny you saved without developing sound business plans.

Therefore, please take time to develop a Yoga business plan with goals and estimated time frames. Unfortunately, I have seen too many Yoga studios open with a "one month plan." Can you imagine opening an ashram without a telephone, getting caught up in zoning board complications, or just hoping for the best? One poorly organized Yoga studio makes all Yoga teachers look bad, and leaves the public thinking every Yoga studio is like that.

How do you feel when you go to a deli for the 20th time and the counter help tries to avoid you? Do you feel like going back again, when, half the time, they get your order wrong? Where am I going with this?

Every Yoga studio should have an appointed person for customer service and public relations. Yoga teachers should know all of their students' names "by heart." If you ignore your Yoga students, there is no reason for them to stay. They will feel unwelcome and unworthy. One of the worst ways to handle a student / teacher relationship is to ignore a Yoga student.

Be careful of perceptions that make you feel like you are better than your Yoga students. Remember that your students pay you to teach Yoga. You should treat them like your best friends. How many of your friends are paying for your meals, car, mortgage, or your vacations? Your Yoga students are "number one."

Doing the "little extras," keeps Yoga students. When a student has a question, it is your job to give an informed answer; and if you do not have one, consult with a senior or master Yoga teacher. If you are not a "people person," do not become a Yoga teacher.

Make sure that the person who answers your phone loves people. You can't keep a Yoga studio open with a grumpy receptionist. The receptionist is their initial "gate keeper" of a Yoga studio, and for Yoga students, that gate should be held open with a wide smile.

Each Yoga studio should be a haven for students to find what they seek, without putting up with inferior service. They face far too much of it, outside the Yoga class. You should know the needs of your students and promise only what you can deliver.

© Copyright 2005 - Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

About the author:

Paul Jerard is the director of Yoga teacher training at Aura in RI. He's a master instructor of martial arts and Yoga. He teaches Yoga, martial arts, and fitness. He wrote: Is Running a Yoga Business Right for You? For Yoga students wanting to be a Yoga teacher.

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