As yoga teachers, we’ve all heard the complaint that the market is saturated with yoga classes and it’s hard for newer teachers to find jobs.  Here are 5 ideas to break out of the “yoga studio or gym” paradigm and reach a larger student base.

  1. Teach Schoolteachers
    Every Wednesday from 4-5pm, we move tables & chairs out of the way in the Bell Elementary School Library so a group of about 10 schoolteachers can roll out their yoga mats and create an oasis of peace in their day.  I charge $60 per class and each person pays their share based on how many Wednesdays they think they can make it.  One of the teachers does the math & collects the money.  I just show up and teach.Reach out to your kid’s teachers or ask your friends with kids for contacts.  Bring the school secretary some cookies and ask her who to talk to.  Donate yoga classes to school fundraisers, attend the fundraisers & bring your business cards.  Check out this article for more ideas.
  2. Teach Schoolchildren
    Some of the same networking tactics as above could land you a gig teaching children at private schools.  If you love kids and think that nothing would be cooler than exposing the next generation to the benefits of yoga, this could turn into a lucrative gig.  The main challenge with teaching kids at studios is that people will skip a kid’s class a lot more quickly than they will skip their own.  If you come to the kids where they already are every day, you can create a more consistent relationship with them that could influence them for life.  Another possibility would be to work with the after school programs at private schools.
  3. Teach Campers
    Summer camps are always looking for activities to keep their charges occupied and calm.  Approach the camps in your area in February and again in early Spring to see if you can come up with a mutually beneficial arrangement: you bring some zen into a possibly chaotic environment and they help you pay your bills.
  4. Teach semi-privately
    One of the hardest things about starting new classes is getting enough people there to make it worth your while.  Privates are too expensive for many people to do regularly, but semi-privates can be the best of both worlds.  If you have a room big enough to hold 4-6 mats in your house then you won’t need to worry about renting out a space or commuting.  If your house won’t work, then check with your potential students to see if one of them has a suitable location. If you do need to rent a space, you might be able to rent out a room that isn’t usually used for yoga for a fee that winds up being less than the going rate.  Do make sure that you can reserve it by the day and don’t have to commit to a full month.Once you have the space figured out,  approach your regular students with the idea of semi-private classes where they can get more attention.  Each month, the people involved commit and pay for the classes they are able to attend.  If you don’t have enough people to commit on a particular day you can offer the people who do want to come that they can either pay more or you can cancel the class for that day.  They pay in advance for the following month.I have a regular group of people who I work with on inversions.  In a given month, we will meet anywhere from 1-5 times with anywhere from 4-6 people per class (I cancel if fewer than 4 can make it).  I charge each person $15, which winds up being $60-$90 per class, minus the space rental fee.  We have a blast, they get the individual attention they need to progress, and we only meet when I’m getting compensated fairly for my time.
  5. Teach Outside
    During the warmer months or if you live in warmer climates, finding a free outside space to teach can be a great way to offer something a wee bit different to your students.  Consider forming an alliance with an outdoor gear store to find active people who like to spend time outside.

These are some things that have worked for me in the past, how about you?  How have you broken outside the box to help you make a living?

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