Untapped Yoga Teaching and Service Opportunities in the 2020s
Talking with fellow Yoga teachers, it appears we are all re-inventing what teaching Yoga is all about. The common thread in all of these discussions is the fact that teaching and being in service to others is one of the best natural medicines! We love it and we want to keep doing it!
Let me tell you about my friend’s 23 year old daughter. She was a successful college athlete, but after graduation she felt at a loss for what kind of work she wanted to do. After speaking to a counselor, she decided to pursue specialty education in working with the blind. Her in-depth studies in this area have opened doors for her occupationally and financially. Diving into the world of the disabled has brought her much compassion, knowledge and opportunity. Her skillset will always be needed… and think about the incredible benefit her training will be to her blind clients and their families!
Just recently, we received enrollments from a group of Community Health Educators who plan to offer a Chair Yoga program to Native and non-Native Americans in their clinics and online. They are using the Pandemic downtime to create new offerings for their Elder Community.
#1 – Find a Yoga Niche
If you are like many Yoga Teachers, your 200, 300 and even 500 hour training gave you great foundational knowledge. You probably can put together a stick figure asana practice, and even name the bones in the leg. With so many Yoga teachers in this world, how you distinguish yourself will be one of your biggest challenges moving forward.
Specialization is a way to narrow your scope and find the demographic that wants and needs your Yoga teaching.
In the Yoga world, teaching to the aged, injured and disabled is not the most popular style of Yoga. But that does not mean the need does not exist. And yes, teaching to this demographic is downright intimidating and perhaps scary. You may ask yourself, “What if I hurt someone, or don’t understand what their conditions or limitations are?” I ask you to reframe that question with… “What if I can help someone gain back mobility, get out of pain, and become more independent in their life?” When we are in service to others, we fulfill the human desire to feel needed. And you are certainly needed to teach Yoga to these under-served populations!
Search your Heart
- have a heart for kids, elders, and the disabled?
- relate best to athletes, deskworkers or baby boomers?
- have a physical challenge yourself that Yoga has helped you manage or overcome?
Take some time to check in with your heart and feel for the answers to “Whom should I serve?” and “Who needs my care and attention?”
How can you find your Yoga Niche?
Sometimes it is just plain obvious, but sometimes it takes a bit of exploring and trial and error. Chair Yoga Dance was first conceived by a Kids Yoga teacher, Olga Danilevich, who saw the joy it brought to the youngsters. She then started teaching Yoga to Seniors and brought in this movement modality… The rest is history!
By the way, the Yoga Vista Academy’s Chair Yoga Dance Training Program was sprouted from the seed that Olga planted.
Find an Inspiration
You might get inspired by a conversation, a person you read about, a community that seems forgotten, etc. When something touches your heart, that is inspiration knocking. Tune into that feeling.
At the Yoga Vista Academy, we offer Online, self-paced Specialized Yoga Teacher Training Programs for those looking to serve the under-served. The potential is great. Do the Programs below have your name on them?
#2 – Coaches and Yoga Teachers are in Demand!
The Health Wake-up Call is Being Answered
Have you noticed how many Coaching services are now available? We used to see them primarily for sports and business, but now the area of health coaching is booming! And this is not just a personal trainer type of offering. People are seeking help and support to make significant lifestyle changes to improve the health of their body along with their mind and spirit.
Who better to help than a qualified and trained Yoga Teacher? With our multi-disciplinary education of movement, anatomy, physiology and choreography we are in the perfect position to help those seeking better health.
Yoga teachers are needed not just to get people to move and stretch, they are needed to be Health Ambassadors and Educators. Unfortunately, our bodies did not come with a User’s Manual and over the years the body can break down, get injured or get sick. It is easy to lose hope and joy when health declines. Helping people navigate through those physical challenges with the many tools that Yoga offers is a gift of hope that Yoga Teachers can give to their fellow human beings.
How can you leverage the Coaching trend in your own Yoga Teaching?
Yoga Teachers are educators and motivators. We cannot force people into a Yoga pose, or make them alter a bad habit, but we can educate and help them view and do things differently. When a person changes their perspective, that is when change can happen.
Your task is to gain subject matter knowledge and weave together Yoga practices that can support that particular topic or issue. Combine those movement practices with discussions, handouts, and Q&A sessions, and you have an offering that can help others.
Ideas for Coaching and/or Virtual Workshops
The following list provides a few ideas for the types of coaching and/or virtual workshops a Yoga Teacher can offer:
- Low Back Pain
- Fall Prevention and Balance Problems
- Mental Overwhelm
- Age-related Degeneration
- Yoga Traditions and Concepts
Whether your coaching or teaching is in a one-on-one format or in a group setting, the more you step into the role of educator and motivator, the more people you will be helping. Check out the Yoga Programs below for Themed Classes you can bring into your Teaching!
#3 – Virtual Yoga Teaching is here to Stay!
The way we teach Yoga keeps evolving… and evolving fast. Jumping on the Zoom bandwagon was initially viewed as somewhat temporary, but guess what?… It has become the de facto standard for reaching many of our students who have vulnerable or comprised health. And so many teachers are thriving with this format that it is surely HERE TO STAY!
And guess what else?… Teachers are investing in cameras and microphones so that they can film their Classes and have them available On-Demand. Many new YouTube channels are being created and a lot more video libraries are being built. The opportunities to share YOUR unique style and insight are endless!
Virtual Teaching will Open Doors
If you are willing to learn new skills and expand beyond teaching live classes, Virtual teaching will open more doors for you. It takes time, patience and a monetary investment, but the reward is the ability to reach more people with the healing power of Yoga.
How can you leverage this Trend in Virtual Yoga Teaching?
Dive in! Yes, dive in and start learning new skills that will open new doors for you. If you are waiting for that job opportunity at the local studio or gym down the street in order to teach Yoga, you might be waiting a lot longer than you would like!
Here are the Steps
- Find a demographic to serve and get specialized training
- Shore up your technology skills
- Get a high quality camera/smartphone and an external microphone
- Find some free video editing software
- Beautify your Yoga space to make it pleasing to the viewer
- Market your classes on social media, YouTube, friends/neighbors and/or to your existing student community
After this workshop, you will understand:
- How to design your Yoga set to be pleasing to the eye
- How lighting works, both inside and outside
- Camera positioning and framing
- Video formats and file sizes – what the difference is between music and video files
- Video resolution – why you might shoot in HD or 4K, or in a lower resolution
- What kinds of cameras work better for shooting different kinds of videos
- How to get great audio/sound if you are far away from your camera
- Uploading and sharing your videos
- YouTube and Video Streaming – options to share your work
- And lots more!
Evolve and Doors Will Open
If there is anything we have learned from the first few years of the 2020s, it is that nothing stays the same. We can sit and wait for life and work to get back to normal, or we can choose to evolve with the times. If your heart calls you to teach Yoga, then you will find the right time, place and tribe to serve if you listen to your heart… and act.
Sherry Zak Morris
Founder, Yoga Vista
CREDITS: Author, Sherry Zak Morris, Certified Yoga Therapist
Editor, Maria Perez, Certified Yoga & Group Fitness Instructor