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5 Brand Building Tips For New Yoga Teachers

In the early 1990s, Rodney Yee began producing instructional yoga videos and DVDs through Gaiam – selling millions of copies and cementing himself as a household name in the United States. But what made his content so successful? Why did so many people opt to practice in their living rooms with Yee rather than travelling to their local studio?

While the answer has something to do with Yee’s exceptional talent and the convenience of a home practice, much of the series’ success can be attributed to Rodney Yee’s personal brand. Long before Instagram, YouTube and the dawn of online streaming services like Gaia, Rodney Yee understood that an instructor can leverage themselves to get people on their mats. That teachers can use their personality to sell classes or, in his case, DVDs.

And believe it or not, you can too. In our ultra-connected world, yoga teachers have countless avenues to share their story and connect with their target audience. But how do you establish your personal brand when just starting out?

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What is a personal brand?

Think about your favourite yoga instructor. What do you like about them and why are you more likely to turn up to their class than one led by someone else? The answer may lie in the style of yoga they teach or how rigorous you find their classes. You could simply enjoy their personality or the way you seem to flow with them. This all boils down to that instructor’s personal brand and the way they offer value to their students.

Simply put, your personal brand as a yoga teacher is what you do and how you do it. A personal brand is all encompassing. It includes:

  • The services you offer and type of classes you teach.
  • Where you teach.
  • Your personality, the stories you tell and how much you choose to share with your students.
  • Your style of cueing and adjusting students.
  • Little touches you add, such as essential oils, poetry readings and so on.
  • Your personal yoga philosophy.
  • The way you challenge students and introduce new positions or exercises.

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And why does it matter?

Back in the day, the studio was your primary means of connecting with potential customers. The Internet and rise of social networking has changed all of that, however. Today, yoga teachers have countless opportunities to interface with students and advertise their classes. More than ever before, yoga teachers can work for themselves rather than for one studio.

There are several reasons to build your personal brand, especially when you’re new to teaching. With an established personal brand, you’ll be better equipped to:

  • Reach more students and earn more money.
  • Travel the world, working flexibly.
  • Get a job with a desirable studio.
  • Secure cool teaching opportunities.
  • Become an online influencer.

Ready to get started? Here are some brand building tips you should know.

1. Social media is an amazing tool

Love it or hate it, social media is an incredibly effective way to reach customers. Unlike traditional advertising, social media marketing is personal – it allows you to share your story and communicate openly with fans and followers.

Some best social media tactics for yoga instructors include:

  • Make business-related handles – Ditch the personal username and choose a handle that reflects your yoga business clearly.
  • Use multiple networks – Don’t limit yourself to a single network. Stay active on multiple platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat.
  • Emphasise video content – Viewers retain 95% of a message when watching a video – versus just 10% when reading!
  • Get personal – Don’t shy away from sharing your values, thoughts and opinions. Social media is meant to be personal, just keep it professional too.

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2. Find your point of difference

There’s a lot of competition out there. What makes you different?

Successful brands have a clear point of difference – a reason customers would choose their product or service over the competition. To establish yours, find ways to incorporate yourself into your practice. That might mean coming up with themes each class, establishing your own style or hosting some kind of challenge for students. The most important thing is to make sure you’re constantly adding value for your customers and giving them reason to come back.

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3. Treat it like a business

Good brands don’t just happen and your personal brand is no different. Successful instructors invest time and money into their yoga teaching business and themselves. To stay on top of your trade, it’s important to constantly work towards deepening your practice:

  • Attend workshops and yoga retreats.
  • Find a professional mentor.
  • Seek feedback from students and other instructors.
  • Keep your social media accounts and professional platforms polished and up-to-date.
  • Prepare for your classes.
  • Schedule time in daily for brand promotion.

4. Write a mission statement and set of values

Completing a teacher training and pursuing a career as a yoga instructor is no small feat. Why did you choose this path?

Like any other business, your yoga teaching brand should be guided by a clear mission statement and set of values. Sit down and think about why you decided to share your practice with others and list the relevant values you hold most dear. What is your vision for the future and what do you hope to achieve through your teaching?

Once you’ve brainstormed, articulate this into a clear, concise mission statement you can use as the basis for your business and personal brand. Check out our mission statement below for an example:

5. Get out there!

At the end of the day, being a successful yoga teacher is all about impacting others and interacting with your clients. To this end, don’t get so caught up in your personal brand that you forget to get out there and do your thing!

As a new instructor, take every opportunity to teach and make your name known. Host events, go to workshops, try out different studios and don’t be afraid to work for free if it means connecting with new students and showing what you can do. Marketing and branding are amazing, but it always comes back to how well you can make people feel!

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About Natalie Fortier

Movement has always been a passion for Natalie, who found yoga ten years ago when a knee injury sidelined her from her usual exercise routine. Since then, Natalie has pursued every opportunity to grow, learn and deepen her practice. This journey brought her to Bali in 2015, where she spent six months living in Ubud and frequenting the island’s many amazing studios.

Originally from the United States, Natalie is currently living in New Zealand where she works as a writer and communications advisor. When she isn’t behind a computer screen or on her mat, Natalie spends her time travelling the country with her partner in their campervan.

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