How People, Place and Purpose Inspire New and Unique Yoga Offerings

Many yoga teachers face a conundrum. Growing their career means teaching more classes but teaching too much leads to burnout. So how do you grow your career without teaching a million classes? You attract more students by making your offering UNIQUE.

One of the best places to look for inspiration is to fellow yoga teachers around the globe. Take for example, Jess Fleming and Dawn Hood the Co-Founders of Just Add Yoga. These teachers had a passion for sharing yoga with people who might be intimidated by it. They wanted to break down that barrier by speaking to them where they are instead of where they think they should be.

At an after-yoga brunch one day, they started to take that yoga concept of ‘meeting people where they’re at’ a bit more literally. Where were these people who had never done yoga, thought they should do it or who used to do it and wanted to get back to it? What would make yoga more comfortable for them? How can they make it as comfortable as going out for drinks with friends? Boom!

That’s when Beer + Yoga was born. Since then they’ve gone beyond the beer, hosting yoga classes in bars, breweries, wineries and distilleries. They’re crafting totally unique experiences in the Seattle area that are drawing big crowds.

And, very diverse crowds, Jess explains, “Our whiskey classes are more than 50% men. It was shocking. Wine is 97% women.”

That’s a good thing. It means they’re digging deep into that pool of people who might not feel comfortable going to yoga. “We’re always reaching new pockets of people based on the location and the type of alcohol that we have.”

But, Jess cautions yoga teachers, “It’s not just about doing yoga in a weird space.” She encourages teachers to look at what they love for inspiration in creating a unique yoga offering. “We’re drawing from personal experience. Your experience in life is completely unique. There’s probably somebody interested in what you love.”

And, remember where you are. Just Add Yoga works in Seattle because of the culture there. There’s already a community around socializing and celebrating craft beer, spirits and wine. They looked at that and asked themselves how they could create community and connect people inside that space through yoga.

Jess’ final piece of advice to yoga teachers is to hammer your ideas out with friends to see what works and don’t do it just to make a lot of money. You have to let go of expectations and have a bit of fun with it; “A lot of teachers can get stuck and heavy trying to create the perfect thing. If you can let go of that, you’ll find a freedom.”

Now it’s your turn. Let’s see if we can come up with a few ideas for you. Grab a pen and paper. Draw four columns – this will all make sense as we work through the different elements that can inspire a unique yoga offering.

The first element of your offer is your style of yoga. If you teach a variety of styles, you’ll have more options. On your worksheet, write all of the styles of yoga you like to teach in the left hand column.

Next, think about the people you serve or would like to serve and list them in the next column. Be specific here to get more potential ideas. For example, you could put women, millennial women, stressed out workers, or stressed out millennial women. Also, think about people you might like to work with or collaborate with. It doesn’t have to be another yoga teacher – it could be someone with expertise in an area, a special talent or something to share. For example, a chef, a musician or an inspirational speaker.

On to the next column. This is one of the most exciting columns and where you can get really creative – place. Think about the unique places where you live – where do people go when they come to visit your hometown? Where do you love to go? Maybe it’s a beach, a forest, a building, a museum, an aquarium – don’t just think about places that you can do yoga, think outside the box.

Our final column is for purpose but we’re also sneaking activities in here. So, you could put your intention for the yoga here or you could put an activity. So, for example if you purpose is sparking creativity you could also put, painting, journaling or drumming here. You can even throw in something fun here like a style of music you love or even a style of clothing. Just make sure it’s something you love and that you have access to.

Time to tap back into our childhood play and start connecting the ideas! Draw a line from item one in column 1 through an item in columns 2, 3 and 4. Come up with as many combinations as possible. Your sheet should look like a hot spaghetti mess by the end!

You’ll have a whole lot of stuff that doesn’t work but somewhere in there is a truly unique yoga experience. Feel free to drop one of the columns if you want – sometimes all it takes is pairing two things. For example, Laura lives in Kelowna which is located in ‘wine country’ and she love wine. So, she created a retreat called Vino & Vinyasa – you guessed it, after yoga class, they all head out for a wine tasting.

The possibilities are literally endless! Imagine yoga for nerds at the local science centre, stretches and sketches, power yoga and politics, 80’s yoga (Madonna songs, leg warmers and side ponytails mandatory)… I could go on! And now, so can you. Keep in mind – this could be a class, a workshop or even a retreat. Just take a look at your inspiration chart and let the ideas fly. Something unique and inspiring is bound to come out of it.

So, what did you come up with? We’d love to hear about it in our Facebook Group.

Image courtesy of Kayleigh King, Moon Tiger Media

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