Yoga and meditation is a philosophy that took birth under the Hindu religion in ancient India around 5th or 6th BCE. It aids a person in attaining inner peace by winning true control over the body and mind. But even after being over a thousand years old, today there are more than 200 million Yoga practitioners in the world and a 2017 study shows that about half of that population is of Indian origin. Another estimate says that the international yoga industry can be valued at a whopping $80 bn.
To fuel this growing multi-billion dollar industry the demand for yogis, yoga instructors, yoga classes and yoga therapy, training has risen in the past two years, particularly for yoga for beginners. According to a statistic verified by ASSOCHAM, there is a shortage of around 3 lakh instructors for yoga in India. Hence if you are thinking of starting a yoga class in 2019 then you are just an article away from making the right decision.
There are two basic steps that one needs to follow in order to become a yoga teacher. Number one, learn yoga. Number two, enrol yourself in a Yoga Teacher Training Course. There is a multitude of yoga courses, mostly classified on the basis of duration. These include 200 Hours Yoga teacher training, 300 Hours Yoga teacher training, 500 Hours Yoga teacher training, 1 month, 3 month or 6 month programmes, 1 year Diploma course, 3 year degree course, Master’s Degree courses and PhD in yoga sciences.
These courses delve deep into the subjects of human anatomy and physiology and help students learn different skills, teaching methodology and techniques from their teachers. Moreover, there are online yoga classes as well, which do a substantial job in taking benefits of yoga to the masses.
Choosing the right yoga school is imperative for doing inch-perfect yoga. Picture via Pixabay, CC0 Creative Commons
Best yoga institutes in India that offer these courses include SVYASA – Bangalore, Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram – Chennai, Bihar School of Yoga – Munger Bihar, The Yoga Institute, Santacruz – Mumbai (the oldest yoga institute in the country), Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga – New Delhi, Indian Institute of Yogic Science & Research- Bhubaneswar, Odisha, Dev Sanskriti Vishwavidyalaya – Haridwar and Kaivalyadhama – Lonavla, Pune.
Once you complete any of these Teacher Training Courses, though optional, it is recommended that you also get yourself a yoga teacher certification. It helps in expanding employment opportunities.
Got your RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) certification? Now you can apply for a tutoring job in some established yoga training institute, health club or private gym. But if you wish to spread your knowledge and skill, without having to work under an employer, starting an independent yoga studio is the best option.
However, opening a private yoga teaching centre has several overheads. If you are a hired trainer for an institute, all you have to do is teach your allotted set of students and then by the end of the month collect a fixed wage or pay a fraction of your earnings to your employer. As a self-employed trainer, on the other hand, you might have to take care of a few more variables.
You can cut costs by offering yoga classes in open grounds or parks. Photo credit: Matt Madd via Visual Hunt
First of all, you will need to rent a workspace. You can use an empty room in your own house if you have just started but a rented auditorium or gymnasium is more suited for the job. Then you might have to invest separately on other necessary facilities like lighting, equipment such as mats, ropes, gym balls, props and belts, drinking water, air conditioning e.t.c.
Once you are done with putting together all the basic requirements it’s time to chart out the session plan. Keep in mind that your first few students might not be dedicated clients but just trying out a new activity for leisure. So don’t mess up their already busy schedule. Place your classes only on days that are agreed upon by the majority of your students. Weekends or early mornings on weekdays will be a good choice.
At first, keep a low fee. This will help you in winning even unsure participants to the game. The average salary per month of a yoga instructor in India is somewhere between INR 10,000 and 25,000. But since you have just started out and have only a few trainees it is advised that you increase your fees gradually.
Lastly and most importantly choose what type of yoga you want to teach. There are numerous forms of art but in order to achieve mastery in this field, you have to concentrate on the few selected. The most popular and established yoga styles include Ashtanga Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Prenatal Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga or Vinyasa Flow, Iyengar Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Yin Yoga e.t.c.
Yoga mats is one of the most important equipment while doing yoga. Photo credit: debtony via Visual Hunt
Okay, this part of the story will have both good and bad chapters. By now you must be familiar with how to become a yoga instructor but what about publicising your service? Let’s start with the bad news. Wake up! This is the real world, no form of marketing is going to be easy or inexpensive.
Telling or rather requesting people to do something is easy if not sometimes embarrassing. But will they pay attention to you or your claims, even if you give them all the good reasons behind it? Chances are they won’t. Hence you should forget about starting your own yoga teaching centre.
But wait! A yoga class might be a little different from the other freelancing services out there. The main reason why most service provision propositions get rejected is their lack of customer benefit. The world is so busy selling products that people don’t even need, let alone want. But yoga, on the other hand, is something which can only have a good impact on an individual’s life. Some people might even be in dire need of it to improve their current health status. The things that are stopping them include a lack of time, lack of encouragement or who knows maybe unavailability of a yoga tutor.
But where to start? It won’t be easy making your services known to the entire town. Still, you can always start with friends and relatives. It’s not a guaranteed bet but there is a chance that most of them will turn up, at least for your first class. The reason behind that is a promised 1 hour refreshment and added health benefits. The rest depends on your quality of teaching.
Once you impress them with your knowledge and experience in the field of yoga and also teach them some skills that they can proudly share with friends, your job is half done. Hence, word of mouth will be the least expensive way to increase your initial student count.
You can also try promoting through posters and pamphlets with attractive and catchy adverts. The best way to promote your skills and enthusiasm to teach yoga is by announcing yourself online on dedicated tutoring platforms like Superprof. It is an online database of tutors where anyone willing can upload their profile describing their tutoring specs and services. You too can register yourself as a yoga studio owner or yoga teacher at home on Superprof and get approached by students interested in availing your services.
Choose the right and expense-free platform to advertise your Yoga teaching services. Photo credit: gruntzooki via VisualHunt
So you might be a highly qualified yoga instructor or a physical trainer who has studied and practised for years the art of body movements and its functioning. However, even after acquiring such sophisticated skills in the field of physical and health education, can you be considered a ‘good teacher’?
This article started with a broad discussion on a simple topic and that is ‘how to start a yoga center’. But is teaching yoga as simple as it seems? Just because you are really good at something doesn’t mean you can be blindly trusted with teaching the same as well.
That is why it is important to be a qualified yoga instructor but at the same time, a mere certificate of course completion doesn’t say much. You should be improving your skills everyday. You should practice your art more and more to gather as much experience as possible. Make mistakes yourself so that your students don’t need to face the same. And sometimes with enough repetition, you might end up discovering new tips or tricks that weren’t delivered to you by your teachers, but now can be utilised by your pupils.
A good yoga teacher also makes sure that each and every student gets a feel of equal treatment from his or her side. Students should not be discriminated on grounds of skill or calibre. As an instructor, you should not direct your focus only on the better half of your client base. You must also invest time on the weaker pupils. This helps in retaining students, even the ones who are less interested.
A job as a yoga instructor should not be taken up just for the mere purpose of making extra money. You must be really passionate about the art form and have an adequate amount of love and respect for it. Hence, before you start your journey as a yoga instructor, you should ask yourself first why do you want to continue diving into the world of yoga? Why do you even want to become an instructor?
A good answer is, you also want others to enjoy the same benefits that you did from this art form. Until you find a similar answer from deep within, well…keep questioning.