A healthy community atmosphere is pertinent to a successful yoga business. While the benefits for the students are obvious, differences in the teacher atmosphere can be seen as well. Establishing a community for your teachers to grow and learn from is just as important for the well-being of your business.
Daphne Larkin, co-owner of Sanctuary for Yoga in Nashville, Tennessee, explained she understands every teacher is not right for every studio, so she strives to make sure her teachers are a great fit, making everyone involved happy. If the students see the openness and sense of community the teachers have, they can benefit from that atmosphere as well.
“I just want to be sure that when I see teachers that are really a great fit that I make them really happy,” said Larkin. “I really try to do what I can to take care of them and make they want to stay. In turn, it is really great for our community and our students. Our students have come to expect that no matter what teacher they go to that it is going to be an awesome experience. There are some communities where students are aligned with a single teacher, and while everybody has a preference, it’s kind of nice when you have students who are open to other great teachers that might be subbing.”
Larkin said her teachers have an open communication with her for any workshop ideas, special programs or creating teacher training modules. “I have had many teachers come to me and say, ‘I have this idea for a workshop that I want to do,’ and we always have a conversation about it,” said Larkin. “Some of our teachers that have been doing this a long time have formed teacher training modules that have become part of our 300-hour program. There’s a lot of space and opportunity for growth for our teachers.”
However, sometimes adding new instructors or a unique class to the schedule can be more challenging. It can take an extra amount of effort to encourage students to try the class. But knowing when to stop trying is just as important. Larkin explained at Sanctuary for Yoga all it takes is a few conversations between herself and the teacher to understand what is happening and what steps to take from there.
“I try to give a new teacher or a new class plenty of time to grow organically,” said Larkin. “At some point, if a class doesn’t seem to be working, or it’s just not a good fit, it becomes pretty obvious to both of us. It doesn’t happen very often, but when it has there’s a conversation that both of us sort of initiate and we just talk about what is and isn’t working. I don’t want to tell a teacher what style they need to teach. I want them to teach what they practice. I don’t want them to change their teaching just to suit an open time slot that I have. That isn’t going to be authentic or work really well.”
Incorporating discounts or special advantages can give your instructors incentives to consistently be at the studio. Giving teachers discounts to visiting workshops, sale prices at your boutique or offering unique ways to continue their personal education are all good steps to creating a positive environment for everyone at the studio.
“Teachers at our studio can take any class for free, which helps in creating our community because they drop in on other classes,” said Larkin. “They will come to my class, and I will go to theirs. Everybody shows up to classes and you get an opportunity to see each other. That’s the thing about our studio, is that it does have such a strong community that the teachers and the students are all always thrilled to see each other and practice together.”
With a healthy community atmosphere, anything is possible.