Thinking about combining your passion for sun salutations with your business know-how? You may have a recipe for success. In fact, if you're a big fan of yoga, you might already know a lot of yogis who are practitioners as well as entrepreneurs. Any of your teachers who own their own studios, the yogi who owned the company that certified you, or any groups that support yoga teachers are brimming with entrepreneurs.
In most of my posts about work-life balance I have mentioned yoga, usually with the intent of providing advice for entrepreneurs on how to slow down their days, reset their mind through meditation, and increase their business productivity. Through my own experience with the practice, I've seen just how much the entrepreneurial spirit fills many teachers, who work extremely hard to make money off their expertise and build their personal brands. It has inspired this article.
Yogis can be just like any other Entrepreneur.
Teaching yoga is like any other industry in that you don't "need" special entrepreneurial training in order to turn your teaching certification into a business. If you're certified, you've likely been practicing for awhile, have seen your fair share of studios, and maybe you've even worked in one. With these experiences you innately know how to impart your yogi wisdom, and now all you need are the nuts and bolts of running a business.
In any given certification program, you'll find a sprinkling of future teachers with dreams of opening their own studio. Some will, some won't, and some will discover after practicing for 60+ hours per week (in the most intensive programs) that maybe they don't want to be all yoga all the time after all. Then there are those who pursue certification only to fall deeper in love with the practice--so deep that they want to spread that love to others. Just like that, an entrepreneur is born.
Why Turn Your Passion Into a Business?
There's only so much you can do as "just" a teacher. It's kind of like being a substitute teacher in a public school system because you may not always have enough control over how much money you make, or exactly what and where you'll be teaching. Depending on where you teach, you may or may not be able to assist students the way you feel comfortable, might be told whether to speak in English or Sanskrit in class, and in some cases you'll even have the flow of your class planned out for you.
As you can see, venturing out, starting a new business and creating an environment that you find ideal can be helpful to your peace of mind. The benefits go beyond you and stretch out to others. For instance, some studios offer "karmic classes," which are free to the community. Others might partner up with a local non-profit and offer classes at a charity walk or give in-kind memberships for a raffle.
Some yogis have a rich, personal background that brought them to their entrepreneurial point. Most people can tick off the basic benefits of the practice, from improved attention spans, to decreased stress levels in the workplace, to better flexibility that complements just about any sport.
However, yoga has also been linked as a great option for brain injury victims, PTSD, depression, and eating disorder recovery to name just a few. Yogis who have personal experience in yoga helping these kinds of traumas and disorders might find themselves starting a studio with classes specifically focusing on these situations or as a means of educating others about it.
You Have Your Entrepreneurial Equalizer Built In.
Yoga and entrepreneurship are like chocolate and peanut butter. They go very well together. If someone asks you what one of the biggest downsides to being an entrepreneur is, you'd probably say "too much stress." If you're asked what the biggest benefit of yoga is, you might say "stress release" or "relaxation."
As a yogi, you already have a great means of stress management literally at your fingertips (assuming you're in forward fold, downward dog, or another such asana). Have you ever wondered why entrepreneurs seem so frazzled while those working in a yoga studio--including the owner--are so at ease? Practice really does make perfect.
Yogi entrepreneurs have a leg up (again, sometimes literally) on the competition because they've been honing their stress management skills for years. They have a means of removing themselves from stressful environments and tuning into their own private practice or a group class. They're also surrounded by like-minded people who understand the importance of hydration, good nutrition, holistic wellness, and peace of mind. It's tough to be stressed when you're surrounded by Buddha statues and soothing music.
So, are you a yogi or an entrepreneur? Maybe you're both. Just remember: If just getting to the mat is the hardest part, maybe just deciding to start your own business is equally as tough.