Hosting a teacher training at your yoga studio is a great way to increase traffic and awareness to your space, bring in extra revenue, and perhaps even source top notch teaching talent. But before you dive in and decide to hold a full teacher training, have you considered all aspects and impacts for your studio? We interviewed two yoga studios on each end of the globe to learn more about what goes into holding teacher trainings. Chelsea Parrish, YogaWorks Program Advisor and Troy Abraham, Melbourne, Australia’s MOVE Yoga Programs Developer, shared some insight about crafting their studio’s programs.
WHY HOLD A TRAINING?
First connect with what has inspired you to consider offering a teacher training in the first place. Some studios view a teacher training as a way to maximize their empty studio space and bring in extra revenue. Maybe the idea of infusing your studio with variety is an exciting idea, and could lead to new teaching talent. Others see the opportunity to hold a training as way to spread their own teaching style and offer new ideas to the yoga community. “Our founders Maty Ezraty, Chuck Miller and Alan Finger were all serious and highly accomplished yoga practitioners who wanted to share the gifts they learned from their own wise teachers,” Parrish says. “After they opened our first studio on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica in 1987, the demand for well-trained yoga teachers began to grow. They wanted to share their passion, and many styles to students and teachers alike.”
CONSIDER YOUR TRAINING STYLE
Not all teacher training programs cover the same curriculum, or are taught in the same style or format. You may chose to offer specific styles of training, like Yin or Vinyasa yoga teacher trainings. Will you offer a month-long intensive training, a year-long weekend program, or perhaps shorter modules throughout six months? Some studios chose to offer comprehensive programs that include multiple styles. Many larger trainings also include anatomy, sequencing, and yogic philosophy.
MOVE Yoga began by offering a 150-hour Mastery of Teaching training, focused on honing a teacher’s skills to relate to students. “The planning with our 150-hour was to shift the market. We discussed the current offering in the market, and while many offer great content and valuable teachings, there aren’t enough trainings focused on refining and enhancing a teacher’s ability to functionally deliver a class,” Abraham says. MOVE Yoga plans to offer a 200-hour training this year. “With the 200-hour, we decided that we could help to give teachers a great start by design in a program that teaches the principles of the practice with an emphasis on how they use the knowledge, wisdom and experience they possess to facilitate impactful classes.”
YogaWorks, which began offering teacher trainings back in 1990, has since morphed their core teaching style into many different formats to fit different schedules and durations all over the world. Parrish says, “In addition to hosting trainings at most of our 52 YogaWorks studios, Yoga Tree studios, and our two dedicated teacher training centers, we also send trainers to other non-YogaWorks studios so that more people can learn using the gold standard in teacher training for over 25 years. We work with each studio to select a trainer and format that fits the studio’s needs.”
The way the YogaWorks training is integrated into the studio’s schedule allows regular students to get a peek into the life of trainee. “Offering teacher trainings at our studios is a great opportunity for other students to see what our trainings are about. Our [trainees] can often be seen coming to additional classes on their downtime, which shows trainers and other students what they have been learning.”
HONE YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE
Once you map out the style, format and duration of your teacher training, it’s important to outline what you’re trying to achieve so you can create measurable verticals to keep you on-track and record learnings for future trainings. In addition, once you identify your main audience, you can better target your marketing and messaging.
“YogaWorks teacher training is not just for those who want to teach! Our program is great for those who want to deepen their own practice, dive deeper into the study of yoga, and for those who just want to have a transformational experience,” Parrish says. “For students who do want to teach, our mission is to provide them with the necessary foundation to skillfully teach with confidence, safety and integrity.” YogaWorks begins their planning for each training a year in advance. “Once we connect with our studios and know our clients, then we are able to work with the studio to create a format that works with our trainers, and students.”
RECOGNIZE POSSIBLE CHALLENGES
An obvious obstacle to tackle first is the logistics—how will you host hours of trainings within your studio and still run regular classes? At MOVE Yoga, the trainings are hosted during weekends, so the curriculum doesn’t affect the regular class schedule, which helps avoid disruptions and overcrowding in the space. What works for one studio may not work for another, and you may want to consider renting larger spaces away from your studio or finding an appropriate outdoor setting.
STAY TRUE TO YOUR MISSION
With the planning, coordinating, and executing of a teacher training at your studio, it’s easy to lose sight of why you wanted to offer it in the first place.
“Be passionate, be excited, and design it your way!” Abraham says. “Many studios are trying to design trainings that are similar to everyone else’s, but the key to making a difference is to stand for what you believe the practice represents. If you don’t know what your unique offering is, wait and be patient.” While planning and implementing your training, always refer back to your mission statement and vision as a studio. Circle back to why you wanted to open your yoga studio in the first place, and remember, you’re helping to cultivate a new generation of yoga instructors!
Image courtesy of YogaWorks.
Miranda Raimon is a freelance health, wellness and fitness writer who believes that life is a balance of green smoothies and pinot gris. A former yoga studio manager and fitness instructor, helping others live happier and healthier lives is her passion. Miranda is part of our ClassPass Partner Success Team. Follow her adventures on Instagram.