The Top 5 Things Every Yoga Studio Must Stop Doing

A angry yoga student sits on her mat and scowls as she holds a bolster around her head.

By Shannon Brasovan, Two-Brain Yoga Business Mentor

If you want to offer a quality yoga service, stop doing the following things:


1. Stop Allowing Classes to Begin and End Late


I’ve had hundreds of coffee dates with hundreds of different yoga teachers, and 90 percent of them admit to never starting or ending their classes on time. They often say they just didn’t “feel” the time suited their class, they forgot to watch the time or they got caught up chatting with someone.

In Western yoga culture, we have somehow linked loose timelines with acceptable yoga service. But your clients work and have families and obligations. They are paying you to provide the service as it is listed on your schedule. If you say 10-11 a.m., 10:05-11:22 is a huge difference that can disrupt your clients’ lives.

If you believe in the yama of asteya (non-stealing), starting or ending late robs your students of their time. And it does not align your service with their expectations.

So take a stand against classes that do not run on time. No ancient text says yoga must be performed for 45, 60 or 90 minutes, so pick the timeframe that works for you and then stick to it out of respect for your students.


2. Stop Having Teachers Perform 10 Jobs in One Hour


Your teachers likely signed up to teach. If you have them answering the phones, checking people in, cleaning the studio and being the salesperson in the same hour they teach a vinyasa class, you are setting them up to fail.

If you hire them to teach vinyasa from 10 to 11 a.m., pay them to teach vinyasa. If you also need them to check people in beforehand, clean the studio afterward and sell memberships, set clear expectations, schedule that time and pay them accordingly. If you do, you will have better staff retention and better work from your team members.


3. Stop Playing the Price Game


It’s a mistake to sell by offering the lowest rates in town. It devalues your service. And if you charge less, you make less—which means you can never afford to improve the client experience or pay for teachers’ continuing education.

Walgreens and CVS intentionally set up shop across the street from each other because doing so makes their businesses better. Stop seeing the other studios in your area as competition, and stop the price wars. Start seeing other studios as motivation to serve your clients to the greatest degree. If you solve the right problems for the right people, they will pay the right price.


4. Stop Allowing Class Standards to Vary


If your website says your one-hour heated vinyasa classes are “flow on your own” style, your students will come in expecting exactly that. If your teacher decides that’s just not her vibe and wants to instruct a flow-with-me session without heat, the clients will not get the experience they expected.

While surprises can sometimes be pleasant, happiness almost always comes when expectations are met. If expectations are seldom met, you will not have happy, long-term students. Train your staff on how you want your practices delivered and have them agree to stick to your standards. 


5. Stop Teaching “Everybody”


I know this one is tough. We all want to be the catchall studio, where anyone can come and feel seen and served.

The problem with teaching “everybody” is that you actually leave out more people than you would if your client group were clearly defined. Have you ever been to a class where it feels like the teacher is in a yoga pinball machine, darting from one pose to another and one concept to another? It’s like a “yoga smorgasbord.” This is not the kind of practice you want to offer.

Get clear on whom you serve, and accept that you just can’t include everyone. This is more than OK! Your focus will leave space for someone else to serve those who aren’t ideal for your business. Yoga is for everybody, yes—but trying to serve everyone requires more teachers, classes and expertise than you can reasonably provide.

Take the pressure off yourself: You don’t need to reach everyone. Just teach the people you are meant to serve. 

For more info on mentorship for owners of yoga studios, click here.

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