Tuesday, October 14, 2008

When the Teacher is Ready, the Niche will Appear

I began teaching yoga classes part-time in January of 2009 and then full-time in June after obtaining health insurance as a "domestic partner." Now in October, I'm finally feeling myself drop down from my head into my heart, providing classes that honestly share my truth. When I sit in front of my students at the start of each class, I'm no longer concerned that my words don't sound authentic or that I'm not offering the type of class my students are looking for. It feels wonderful to simply stand strong in my yoga knowing that I can only share my truth, leaving class attendance up to the universe. At the same time, getting over the butterflies in my stomach has allowed me to consider the long-term financial outlook for a career as a yoga instructor and how I might expand my offerings and increase my income.

In her previous comment, yoga teacher Laurel (A.K.A. "Lola") shared how she maintains a stable income by bringing yoga to seniors and children. Finding a niche is an oft-discussed topic amongst instructors as it's purported to bring greater financial prosperity and as I continue to grow as a teacher, I am open to and excited about developing a yoga specialty. Of course, the real challenge comes in deciding which group to target. Some popular niche markets include: corporate yoga; yoga for inflexible guys, kids, seniors and women; strongly spiritual yoga; and pre-/post-natal yoga.

When I consider popular and less-popular niches, I just can't imagine choosing one when they all sound great. I believe that the yoga I share as a teacher has to be in line with my truth and choosing a niche simply for financial gain won't yield the results I seek. Still, I need to start paying the bills and my current class income doesn't afford my modest urban lifestyle. For now, I'm going to continue meditating on my classes, which range from from gentle to strong vinyasa, hoping to find a little clarity about what yoga I'm meant to share.

Hopefully, when the teacher is ready, the niche will appear!

QUESTIONS
  • What's your niche?
  • How did you decide to focus on that specialty? Did it manifest organically from your teaching?
  • Have you found specializing to be financially fruitful?

3 comments:

Zhu said...

If I may suggest something as a yoga student...

I find a lot of studio in Ottawa cater to gov' workers and as a NON-gov' worker, I struggle to fit a class in my schedule.

A lot of classes are early morning, at noon or in the middle of the afternoon. But as a teacher, I have to be on time and I can't really be even 10 min. late because I did yoga at noon...

So I'd suggest teaching flexible hours. That doesn't mean classes at 10pm but 5pm or saturday morning would be nice.

I'm not saying it doesn't exist but trust me, I struggled to find classes!

Felicity Bell said...

Thanks for your comment Zhu. I would absolutely agree that offering classes at a range of times can help reach more students and a wider range of students. It's unfortunate that you're having a hard time finding classes in Ottawa given your work schedule. In NY, there are so many studios it's easy to find classes of all levels at any time of the day. I'm current teaching morning and evening classes over the weekends as well as midday and evening weekday classes. Perhaps you could bring up your scheduling predicament with your studio. If studios get enough requests for certain types or times of classes, they very often try to respond to their students wishes.

jindi said...

Yoga holds that a person’s health condition depends on himself. It lays emphasis on physical, mental and emotional balance and development of a sense of harmony with all of life. There’s nothing mystical about it.Nor is it external. Rather it is an inner faculty. Yoga endeavors to re-establish inner balance through a variety of ways, ranging from the gross to the subtle. Which is why it is considered a holistic art.Rather than prescribe treatments, yoga therapy encourages awareness. Through age-old yogic techniques, we get to know ourselves better.From that knowledge, comes the ability to more easily accept and adapt to change, resulting in enhanced well-being in body, mind, heart and spirit. Hence its applicability to almost all chronic conditions.

What approach does yoga therapy take?

Contrary to modern medical science that tries to identify the pathogenic factor (be it a toxic substance, a micro-organism, or metabolic disorder) then eliminate it, Yoga takes a totally different point of view. It holds that if a person is sick there must be a deeper reason behind it – that illness doesn’t arise by chance. It is the result of an imbalance, a disruption in the body-mind complex that creates the condition. Here the symptoms, the pathogenic factors, are not the issue. Yoga believes that the root cause lies somewhere else.
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