Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Yoga Teacher Retention Tips
By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
How can Yoga teachers make new students realize the value of long-term training? Is it just luck, or where you are located, that draws appreciative students? Is there a method for teaching Yoga to new students, without scaring them off? Let’s look at many solutions to keep the interest of your established students and those new Yoga students, who just walked in the door.
When a new student arrives to learn Yoga, he, or she, may not have any previous Yoga experience. When teaching Yoga to new students, it is wise to see it from their viewpoint. Everything is new, including your staff, your system, and your method of teaching. It is up to the teacher to make of all these components “user friendly.”
Here are some tips for you, your staff, and the way your facility is run. Remember that these guidelines also apply to your existing Yoga students too. Never take them for granted and your students will stay with you “through thick and thin.” Always show appreciation to your existing Yoga students.
Always give Yoga students your complete attention and make sure your teaching method for Yoga is the best it can be. If you are feeling ill, or are in pain, you may have to let a substitute Yoga teacher, teach your Yoga class, in your place. All of us want to teach our own Yoga classes, but the quality of your teaching should always be the best it can possibly be.
Do not get caught up in “penny pinching.” Some teachers become adversarial about fees for every little thing. If you teach Yoga for a living, charge a fee that you can live with. Do not “short change” yourself, but avoid the perception of a “money hungry” salesperson. Do not hire pushy sales people either. Your Yoga teaching service depends on a professional image that is seamless, compassionate, truthful, and a pleasure to work with.
Make sure you can deliver on all of your promises. Never talk about Yoga as a cure. This implies that we cure our students of ailments. Yoga definitely does help with many ailments, but when you make guarantees, you leave yourself open for “legal grief.” A promise is a guarantee, and can potentially put you out of the Yoga business permanently.
When you teach Yoga, stick to the facts, and know the exact sources of research, before making a statement. Most Yoga teachers do not have a medical degree, so avoid medical opinions, unless you are a medical doctor. A wise Yoga teacher would tell his, or her, Yoga students to seek medical advice from a physician. Yoga students should also look into the value of a second opinion from a qualified medical professional.
Make sure your staff, and the person who answers the phone, are very friendly. If this is not the case, find replacements. A rude receptionist will scare off existing, and new, Yoga students. Your receptionist is the “keeper of the gateway” to learning Yoga from you, and gives the first impression of what you are all about. You will never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Lastly, always return phone calls. At our wellness center, we constantly get calls from new, and eager, Yoga students who called another school first.
However, the first call was not answered, and then, we get the second call. I cannot complain about this, it works to the advantage of my staff, but not answering phone calls, at any Yoga studio, gives all Yoga teachers a bad image.
If you follow these basic guidelines, you will keep more of your existing Yoga students. New Yoga students will want to repeat a good experience, so you do not have to preach them about the value of long-term Yoga practice. They will eventually see it for themselves and will come to appreciate your teaching method.
Always remember: Becoming a successful teacher is not luck, it is a formula that you must practice every day.
© Copyright 2006 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division