Teaching Yoga

For those in need of a recharge or an opportunity to find peace for a moment, yoga can be the perfect way to channel your inner zen. Although it is often deemed as one of the lowest-intensity forms of exercise around, sometimes even the downward dog position can result in accidents. As surprising as it sounds, teaching yoga can also come with potential risks and challenges.

Because of this, it is important that yoga instructors protect their own peace just as they help clients protect theirs. Let us show you four of the common challenges new instructors can face and how to avoid them.

1. Client injuries and claims

Yoga has often been classed as an “injury-free” practice that offers long-term physical and mental benefits. But in recent years, it has been discovered that this may no longer be the case. Staffan Elgelid, yoga therapist and associate professor in physical therapy at Nazareth University, tells Healthline that one of the biggest problems is that yoga is labelled as risk-free, when actually, it can carry the same risks as other forms of exercise, such as swimming or running.

In a 2021 study carried out by BioPsychoSocial Medicine, it was found that more than 5% of participants (both healthy and those with chronic illnesses) reported at least one acute adverse effect in their yoga practice. These symptoms included muscular pain, joint pain, and faintness. However, while the risks remain relatively low, accidents can happen — especially if positions are not performed properly.

As a qualified yoga instructor, it is important that you have the knowledge and awareness of how to safely teach yoga to students. This includes staying-up-to-date with key training practices in order to minimise risks for both your students and yourself. Furthermore, it is crucial that you know the medical history of each and every one of your students. Yoga instructors need to be aware of students who have experienced recent or past musculoskeletal injuries in order for exercises to be modified; which will prevent further aggravation or long-term damage.

Every business needs to protect itself with comprehensive insurance — and the same is true for yoga instructors. Doing so is particularly important when you consider the hidden risks involved with teaching yoga. For example, if a client accidentally becomes injured, you could be faced with a hefty compensation claim.

That’s where yoga instructor insurance comes in. “It can provide you with peace of mind, knowing you’re financially protected in case of an accident, such as if a customer is harmed or their property is damaged during one of your yoga sessions,” notes specialist broker Holistic Gold.

2. Growing competition from social media

The digital sphere has naturally become a big part of our lives. Whether we are posting a homemade acai bowl or yoga outfits on Instagram, it is safe to say that social media has had an effect on the practice.

With over 122 million “yoga” hashtags on Instagram, you can now get your yoga groove on from the comfort of your living room. Platforms, such as Youtube, are known for hosting some of the Best Yoga Channels with acclaimed pages like Yoga with Adrienne accumulating a community of 12 million followers. This can pose a challenge to yoga instructors because it means that users can now access online classes for free, making them less likely to attend a paid, in-person class.

While Youtuber Adrienne Mishler has gained certification and has around two decades worth of yoga training, many of these online content creators and self-declared “master yogis” lack proper qualifications and vital experience. This poses severe safety risks for individuals at home. It is important that you reiterate this to your students so that they can be aware of the risks of practising yoga alone, without a qualified instructor present.

Looking to stay ahead of the competition? It may be beneficial to look at popular at-home tutorials or social media posts to keep updated with the latest trends. In doing this, you can keep on top and cater your classes to your students’ preferences.

3. Income instability

Owning a yoga studio can bring both spiritual fulfilment and streams of income into your back pocket. But while the practice is peaceful, the upkeep of running a yoga studio and generating regular revenue can be stressful.

The primary income sources for yoga studios typically come from class fees, memberships, retail sales, and private sessions. But during the current cost-of-living-crisis, things have increased exponentially. Therefore, it is necessary that owners efficiently handle rent, utilities, yoga equipment, teacher salaries and marketing costs in order to ensure the studio stays financially viable.

It is crucial that you create and stick to a budget in order for you to determine what is appropriate for your studio versus purchases that are too costly and unnecessary. Calculate your monthly spendings in order to figure out how much you need to earn a profit. Some ways you can increase or generate additional income include:

  • Offering a wide range of classes that caters to different skill levels (from beginners to advanced professionals). You can also hold speciality classes which offer different yoga styles which will attract more students.
  • Having a membership fee which can offer clients access to an unlimited number of classes at a premium price. This can foster loyalty amongst students as well as provide your studio a steady stream of income.
  • Selling merchandise can be a way to also increase sales. Most yoga studios offer a variety of yoga-related products such as mats, apparel and wellness items. You could even form a partnership with a sustainable or local brand to elevate the studio’s reputation and its appeal to build a sense of community.

4. Managing professional reputation

As you know, you don’t always start at the top. Because of this, patience is key when trying to build a name for yourself in the yoga community. There’s no quick way to build your teaching experience and reputation. Experienced yogis acknowledge that it can take between a few months to a couple of years to establish your reputation and gain experience and knowledge from a yoga training programme.

While you don’t legally need a qualification to teach yoga in the UK, there are risks if you do not have one. For example, you will not be able to get yoga teacher insurance, meaning you will be liable for any accidents. If you are looking to have a renowned studio, then you will need to have certification.

Having a qualification will not only establish your credibility as a yoga instructor but also bring peace of mind for both yourself and your students — and this is definitely the most important thing.