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Yoga has a long history, dating back over 5,000 years, to the Indus-Sarasvati civilization in Northern India. This meditative, low-impact exercise has evolved over time, combining a variety of techniques, beliefs, and ideas. As Eastern medicine gained merit across the world, yoga followed, with studios being introduced globally. With its popularity growing, so has the need for qualified, reputable yoga instructor schools. Many of these schools offer a combination of services, each centered on the concept of reducing stress and holistic healing.
Who is this business right for?
Are you a yoga instructor who is ready to take your professional transformation to the next level? One of the many beautiful aspects of yoga is that it calls to many for continuous growth. If you are a passionate learner who yearns to share your teachings with others, opening a yoga instructor school may be exactly what you are looking for.
What happens during a typical day at a yoga instructor school?
If you are considering opening a school, you likely possess the thirst for knowledge and drive to continuously grow on a personal and spiritual level. You love to dabble in every aspect of healing practice, learning as much from your students as they learn from you. While you may employ an instructor or two, you will spend much of your time teaching yoga classes, practicing at least one session a day with your students. A complete yoga training class requires 200 hours of training and is often done as a retreat for attendees. During this time, your duties will increase, as many of your students will be traveling from other areas of the world. Immersing yourself in the program is critical to your school’s success, as building deep connections is what will set your school apart from the others.
Running a school of this magnitude requires you to wear many hats. When not instructing, you will need to manage the business aspect, network with others in the community, and market your school/studio.
What is the target market?
While it is true that you will be targeting a small niche of individuals, you do carry one distinct advantage - you understand these people, because you are one of them. Your ideal customer is one who has experienced the positive impact yoga makes on people’s lives, and is ready to share that blessing with their community. They embrace the principles of Eastern medicine and are on their own personal path of growth.
How does a yoga instructor school make money?
Your yoga school will likely generate revenue from multiple different sources. First, you should have a number of students who regularly attend yoga classes, instructed by either you or one of your employees. Clients are charged on a per-class or monthly basis, depending upon your fee structure. This will help you sustain through those first years, as you realize your vision for a yoga school. When setting prices for your instructor classes, be sure to consider who you want to attract. If boarding and food are part of the package, set prices accordingly. Your passion for sharing this lifestyle should not stand in the way of reaching the business’ financial goals.
What is the growth potential for a yoga instructor school?
Over the last few years, the yoga profession has been ranked as one of the top-growing careers, indicating significant room for development. Those realizing significant growth fully immerse themselves in this way of life, sharing their journey with others along the way.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful yoga instructor school?
To open a yoga instructor school, one must possess significant amount of knowledge regarding the history and concepts behind this age-old practice. Owners should have completed the 200-hour course, and have traveled the world learning from some of the greatest teachers. Running a successful and recognized studio prior to opening a school is highly advised. Yoga Alliance offers a number of classes and resources to start you on your path to fulfilling your vision.
What are the costs involved in opening a yoga instructor school?
As mentioned, most yoga schools start out as studios, offering daily classes within the community. Therefore, many of the costs associated with opening your school have already been incurred. You will need a dedicated space to host the school’s students. Some printed material may be necessary for your teaching, but the bulk of your classes will be through guided learning. If your vision is to host students from all over the world, it will also be necessary for you to assist students with lodging and food. Some schools have found success hosting in their own homes or studios, while others negotiate affordable rates with establishments within the community.
What are the steps to start a yoga instructor school?
Once you're ready to start your yoga instructor school, follow these steps to ensure that your business is legally compliant and avoid wasting time and money as your business grows:
- Plan your business. A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. A few important topics to consider are your initial costs, your target market, and how long it will take you to break even.
- Form a legal entity. Establishing a legal business entity prevents you from being personally liable if your yoga instructor school is sued.
- Register for taxes. You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
- Open a business bank account. A dedicated checking account for your yoga instructor school keeps your finances organized and makes your business appear more professional to your customers.
- Set up business accounting. Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
- Obtain necessary permits and licenses. Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
- Get business insurance. Insurance is highly recommended for all business owners. If you hire employees, workers compensation insurance may be a legal requirement in your state.
- Define your brand. Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
- Establish a web presence. A business website allows customers to learn more about your company and the products or services you offer. You can also use social media to attract new clients or customers.
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
Where can I find a business mentor?
One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
What are some insider tips for jump starting a yoga instructor school?
Since most individuals enter this field because of their love of yoga, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that you are running a business. Remember, yoga is about balance. Spend the time necessary to maintain balance, focusing on marketing and networking in the community, both on a local and international level.
How to promote & market a yoga instructor school
If you have decided to take your yoga business to the next level by opening a school, you have, hopefully, built a name for yourself within the community. Word-of-mouth will serve as a great source of advertising. In fact, many teachers have even found success advertising to their current customer base.
Throughout your personal journey with yoga, you will make connections from every corner of the world. Approach these healers, seeking out mutually beneficial partnerships. This should include: other instructors, acupuncturists, and Ayurvedic holistic healers. Health food stores are also a great resource for advertising your services.
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How to keep customers coming back
Since this is a one-time, 200-hour class, you will have to get creative when identifying ways to retain students. Those most successful in the industry continuously strive to grow as natural healers and teachers. Continuing education classes often prove profitable, while many take it a step further, learning other aspects of Eastern medicine, such as Ayurveda.
How and when to build a team
If you have become accustomed to running your yoga business yourself, now is the time to start building your team. Marketing and handling the business and teaching in the studio will likely keep you busy enough. While your school may start out hosting only 3-4 certification classes a year, there is a great deal that goes into planning such a business venture. Adding at least one team member will free up enough of your time so that no aspect of your growing portfolio suffers and you are able to focus the majority of your time on educating students.
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a yoga instructor business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.
Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.
For information about local licenses and permits:
- Check with your town, city or county clerk’s office
- Get assistance from one of the local associations listed in US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources.
Maintain Personal Asset Protection
Don’t think that just forming an LLC, or any other type of business, will save your personal assets in case of a lawsuit or other matter by itself.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your LLC is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Two of the simplest steps that will protect your business, and yourself, are to:
Open a business bank account
- This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Get a business credit card
- This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.
Certificate of Occupancy
A yoga instructor business is generally run out of a storefront. Businesses operating out of a physical location typically require a Certificate of Occupancy (CO). A CO confirms that all building codes, zoning laws and government regulations have been met.
- If you plan to lease a location:
- It is generally the landlord’s responsibility to obtain a CO.
- Before leasing, confirm that your landlord has or can obtain a valid CO that is applicable to a yoga instructor business.
- After a major renovation, a new CO often needs to be issued. If your place of business will be renovated before opening, it is recommended to include language in your lease agreement stating that lease payments will not commence until a valid CO is issued.
- If you plan to purchase or build a location:
- You will be responsible for obtaining a valid CO from a local government authority.
- Review all building codes and zoning requirements for your business’ location to ensure your yoga instructor business will be in compliance and able to obtain a CO.
How much can you charge customers?
Yoga school fees vary, depending on how the school is designed and what is offered. Schools that include room and board in their fees charge $2,800 to $3,400 per student, per class.
What are the ongoing expenses for a yoga instructor school?
Like any business, you will incur standard business expenses, such as rent, utilities, marketing, and website hosting. To insure your school stays on top of the latest trends and teachings, it is important that you invest in yourself each year. Conferences andcontinuing education classes can be found all over the world, ranging in price from $300 to upwards of $1,000. Be sure to include travel expenses in your budget and strive to visit someplace new and inspiring each year. This will help keep you balanced and feed your hunger for greater knowledge.
How much profit can a yoga instructor school make?
Since many yoga schools also host yoga classes, it’s difficult to uncover specifics regarding the profit behind yoga schools. However, if your school’s fees are set at $3,000, and you incur $1,000 in expenses per student, your profit per student is $2,000. If you host a class of ten students, four times a year, that’s an annual profit of $80,000.
How can you make your business more profitable?
To increase annual profits, most schools choose to offer less intensive classes, charging up to $1,800 per student. For students seeking a less hands-in approach, consider selling DVDs, offering online courses, hosting webinars, and publishing their own yoga instructor books. Those seeking to offer a well-rounded school have also found success hosting classes in other aspects of holistic healing.