How encouraging instructors to continually grow will create a better business.
One of the key aspects of running a successful yoga studio is establishing a core network of teachers. They are the ones instructing your studios and are a determining factor to if a student enjoys a class at your business.
That’s why making sure they are consistently developing and educating themselves is so important. Whether it be through more certifications, workshops or trainings, growth is vital for teachers.
At Shakti Power Yoga in Nashville, Tennessee, co-owner Lauren Farina said they constantly remind their teachers to be students first. Because of this, they encourage their instructors to seek out workshops or avenues in which they are interested. Then, the teacher is welcomed to teach what they learned to the other instructors.
“If a teacher wants to pursue a certain path, we encourage them to go and take that workshop,” said Farina. “Sometimes we even have them come back and teach a workshop at our studio to help our other teachers learn as well. As a yoga teacher, it is financially hard to always be on the go and going to trainings. That’s why we try to bring in people to Nashville so people don’t have to travel. This lights a fire for a teacher because as a teacher, you need to grow and get excited about things.”
Growth can happen within the studio as well, by putting a feedback system in place. Daphne Larkin, the owner of Sanctuary for Yoga in Nashville, attributes a majority of her teachers’ growth to their feedback system. She encourages teachers to try out a new style of teaching or a class if they are drawn to it, then they sit down and evaluate the success level.
“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.”
Shakti Power Yoga also has a feedback system for their instructors in place. They recently started the Shakti Teacher Growth Plan. The feedback system is a way for the owners and other instructors to evaluate what may or may not be working in an area that a teacher hopes to grow in.
“They let us know when we take their classes what they are hoping to work on,” said Farina. “They give themselves feedback and then we also give feedback on how it went. It is really everyone being support for each other and what they want to be. They may want to create more flow or create more breath. Whatever the teacher is up to we want to be a support for that. As a teacher, it takes some time to figure out the style or type of teacher you are striving to be, so it’s important to hear that feedback.”
Creating an environment of collaboration is something both studios strive for. At Sanctuary for Yoga, the community environment of teachers and staff have developed growth across the board for all involved. It has become one of the greatest education strategies 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 and encourage one another or give feedback. 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 and help each other grow.”
Farina explained growth for their instructors isn’t simply in becoming the best yoga teacher around; it’s about honing in on their passions and building one another up, no matter what way that takes shape. They are community leaders first, yoga teachers second.
“We want to build leaders, not just yoga teachers,” said Farina. “Our trainings really aim to help you find your authentic self. Each training is all about that next step of teaching, but also that next step of finding what you are passionate about and who you can partner with to collaborate with to create stronger leadership skills. It’s not just about teaching postures, it’s about what you are doing daily in your life and showing up as a community leader. That’s the best way we can educate anyone.”