How to start a yoga business: Here's what you need to know
Are you an aspiring yoga teacher looking to open your own studio? If so, you may be wondering how to get started. This post will help you figure that out with info on what kind of yoga instructor certification you need to start teaching, and what type of insurance is best suited to your needs.
Spoiler: You technically do not need a certification to teach yoga, but it definitely helps. Read on to learn everything you need to know about why you should get a yoga instructor certification, how to do it, and how to protect what you’re building.
Related: Learn how this lawyer turned her love of yoga into a full-time business
Who needs a yoga instructor certification?
To start teaching yoga, you do not need to have a certification, but you may have trouble finding a job, or clients, without one. Many studios require that you have at least a 200-hour RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) certification. The RYT 200 is the foundational certification you need before you can advance to any of the other designations.
There are 6 designations in total:
- RYT 200
- RYT 500
- E-RYT 200 (Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher)
- E-RYT 500
- RCYT (Registered Children’s Yoga Teacher)
- RPYT (Registered Prenatal Yoga Teacher)
All of these certifications are approved by Yoga Alliance, which is a non-profit association with over 90,400 members. Its mission is to “promote and support the integrity and diversity of the teaching of yoga.”
After completing the RYT 200 certification, you are eligible to apply for a more advanced teacher certification. For instance, the E-RYT 200 is for Experienced Registered Yoga Teachers and requires 1,000 hours of teaching experience.
What are the benefits of a yoga instructor certification?
By becoming a certified yoga instructor, you will have access to more jobs since many studios require certification. If you work as an independent contractor, you may have an easier time attracting clients with this designation. Think about it this way, when you choose a doctor, do you choose one without a degree who’s simply practiced by watching videos online? Not likely. You would want a professional to provide the best care based on their education and experience. The same goes for yoga instruction. People taking yoga classes want the best experience for the money they’re paying. Therefore, they’ll research and find the best instructor around. Likely, they will make their decision based on the information available at their fingertips. See more below for marketing tips!
In addition, becoming certified provides you with international recognition and demonstrates your deep knowledge and skill in the practice of yoga.
Membership at Yoga Alliance is separate from obtaining a certification, but if you choose to become a member, you enter into a community that provides resources and support to help you in your yoga career. Their website lists the following membership benefits:
- “Marketing in the RYT directory,” meaning you will be listed as a certified instructor for potential students to find you.
- “Access to free and online workshops.” Yoga Alliance has a vast database of workshops to help yoga instructors teach and grow their careers.
- “Advocacy alerts,” meaning Yoga Alliance will contact you about issues in the news that impacts the yoga community.
- “Invitations to community events.” This allows you to network with other yogis in your area.
- ”Insightful publications” about yoga and special discounts on yoga attire and classes.
Yoga instructor certification requirements
Here are the requirements you need to know to obtain a RYT 200 certification.
- Complete at least 200 hours of training with a qualifying yoga school. Keep in mind that you must complete all your training at one school and cannot combine training from multiple schools.
- For the RYT 200, you do not need to complete any teaching hours, however, any certification above this one requires that you complete a certain number of hours toward teaching.
- You must pay a $50 application fee to Yoga Alliance for the certification.
- You will also need to pay a fee to the yoga school of your choice. Most programs will cost around $2,000.
- To maintain your certification, you must pay a $65 annual membership fee to Yoga Alliance.
- You also must complete continuing education courses to maintain your certification. You can read more about the specifics on the Yoga Alliance website.
What can you expect in a yoga instructor certification program?
In any RYT 200 program, new yoga instructors are given the foundations of practicing and teaching yoga. You can expect course material related to anatomy, types of meditation (Asanas and Pranayamas), the history of yoga, how to structure a class and teach poses, and the ethics around the business of yoga. You can read more about what is considered ethical business practices related to teaching yoga here.
These topics could vary based on the school you choose, but at its core, any RYT 200 program is designed to teach you about the rituals and practices of yoga and provide you with the tools you need to instruct others.
I’m a certified registered yoga teacher, now what?
Now that you’re certified, it’s time to look for studio space and of course, clients!
Chances are while going through the hours of training, you may have been securing a location where you can bring your yoga practice to life. Be sure to do your research, if you live in an area that already has multiple yoga studios, it would be wise to consider branching out a bit more. Naturally, if the yoga services you plan to offer differ from what is available, then it makes sense to proceed – or even partner with another studio owner. You could share the space and save on overhead expenses that way.
How do I market my new yoga business?
It’s time to get clients. The best way to do this is by getting the word out that you’re opening a studio! Visit your local Chamber of Commerce and see what you need to do to join. If there are medical offices near your studio, stop in and see if you can leave some fliers or business cards in the waiting room. Same for gyms in the area (they may not allow this as it might compete with the services they offer – but worth checking). If there are spas around, again, a good place to drop off information about your business. Think about your audience and what the clientele would look like, then choose locations where this audience may be found. However, don’t limit yourself! While the demographics may seem obvious, you may find people wanting to try yoga coming from places you never imagined. Be inclusive of all but have a keen sense of who your target audience is.
Create a presence on social media. Facebook is huge, but you may want to venture on Instagram and TikTok where you can post pictures and videos of yoga sessions and poses.
Make sure you create a Google business profile. This will allow your business to come to the search results page when people type ‘yoga studios near me’. You want your business to appear as an info box providing your location, phone number, and website and offer a place to read and write reviews.
Related: 5 ways to boost your business right now with this Google freebie
Some may find it beneficial to offer an introductory deal to appeal to more people. These days, people almost expect an offer, whether that is a discount or value-added service. You can do a “buy one class, get one free – or at a reduced rate” deal, offer a water bottle or apparel branded with your studio name and logo (a perfect way to get your name out there), healthy snack bar, yoga mat, or something along those lines as an incentive for signing up for a class or membership.
Safeguard what you’ve built
When you decide to take the next step to open your own yoga studio, make sure you're protected with insurance for yoga studio owners. You owe it to yourself, and your business, to safeguard it against the unexpected. Hiscox can help, get your free quote today for a policy tailored to your needs, then rest easy knowing your business is protected. Namaste.