Yoga and Business

by Susi Hately, B.Sc. Kinesiology C-IAYT

I had a conversation with a yoga teacher last week who was interested in my yoga therapy program but was concerned that she couldn’t make a living upon graduation.

She actually told me about another yoga teacher who said that “Susi’s program is great, but you can’t make any money as a yoga therapist.”

I told her, quite literally, “that is hogwash.”

I then went on to explain the following. Yes, the yoga therapy industry is rife with a belief that you can’t make a living. It is not dissimilar to the yoga teaching industry. I heard some stats from someone affiliated with the IAYT that the majority of yoga therapists are doing karma work, or are paid very little.

All of that is true.

This is not the reality, though, for my grads. My grads – if they follow the principles that I teach – are all making a living. When I look at my statistics 80% of my grads are earning mid to high 5 figure incomes, and a growing number are earning 6 figure incomes.

AND, their lives are less chaotic, they are teaching fewer hours, they have much more ideal clients, and they are spending more time with friends and family. It is not uncommon for me to get emails 3 and 4 years later of grads who have been doubling their income every year 3 years running, by following what I taught them at the Therapeutic Yoga Intensive.

Some of them live in small towns. Some of them live in big cities.

All of them have built and are growing their own yoga therapy businesses. They are getting referrals from other professionals in their community and from happy clients. Many have paid off years of debt from taking other yoga trainings.

What  a recent graduate wrote:

I work a 4 day week . . .

. . . .not only am I out of debt, I have a much better relationship with my family than I have ever had. I have a stronger support network than I ever thought possible. I work a four day week and am in a place where I choose whom I work with and get to explore why I work with them. I am a much better massage therapist, yoga therapist, singer, actor, healer, alchemist than I ever imagined I could be. ~ Josh

Yes, I will admit my results are atypical. That is because I morally can’t offer a program where people don’t have the opportunity to earn back their fee and more. So within each of my higher priced programs, we spend time talking about how to grow a client base, mistakes to avoid, and how to craft your schedule to serve you, your family, and your life.

The is an important piece – nurturing yourself while nurturing others is vital. If we aren’t taking care of ourselves, how are we going to teach other people the ins and outs of taking care of themselves?

The aim is to not have to race around stuffing in energy bars and stimulant herbal elixirs. Remembering that business is all about relationships, and marketing is communication and education. It is about being connected and sharing, and not being slimy, slick, or manipulative. It is about showing you care, while maintaining your boundaries of “overcaring”, of supporting your clients’ growth while you support your own.

What I teach is simple.

You don’t need to run an online program. You don’t need to post on Instagram or Facebook. You don’t even need a product to sell. None of these are necessary elements but they could form part of the structure of your business if you want.

So what is it about?

Here are some key ideas:

A. Get Present to What Is:

  • Know how much time you have. We all have the same number of hours in the day, or how I like to put it – we all have the same sized plate. We each have stuff on our plate. Some of us have more stuff. Some of us have less.
  • Know what you want. Deep In your bones, your gut and your heart, what do you really, really want? Write that down. Look back at your time, carve out a small section where you can start to work on moving toward what you want.

No one plate is better than the other. The key is get clear on what is on yours.

B. Understand Your Job is To Solve Problems

  • People aren’t really all that interested in yoga therapy. They are interested in solving a problem. Explain to them, in language they understand how you can help solve the problem they have (back pain, lowering anxiety, improving breathing etc etc). So, don’t worry about what to call yourself. Just listen and help people figure out how to solve their problem.

C. People Will Pay for Certainty of Success

  • People will pay if they trust you can come through on your promise. This is where testimonials come in, and other forms of proof that what you offer works. This is particularly vital when you are offering something a little (or a lot) different from what is mainstream.
  • This is where good technical skill is vital. Get well trained and blend your training with growing your business skill.

D. Deliver on Your Promise

  • This builds on the point above. Get well trained. Become very good at your craft.

What I teach is not magic, where money will somehow pour into your life with no work on your part. That’s the bad news. The good news is what I teach are straightforward steps that you can take to grow your business steadily and with integrity. Sure it requires work, but at least you’ll know these steps have worked for other people in creating the life and practice they desire.

Looking forward to working with you,