June 16, 2012

The Social Media Life of a Yoga Instructor. ~ Chrys Muszka

As a full time yoga teacher, my week is jam-packed.

When I first started, however, I imagined teaching as much as I could with my free time filled with asana practice and meditation. However, this is not what happened.

To survive in the city by teaching yoga, my life and many other teacher’s lives are spent traveling to different studios, emailing studio directors and confirming schedules, answering requests to sub classes and finding someone to cover a class—all while saving enough money to do my next training, pay rent and eat healthy.

Even with all the classes I’m teaching and subbing, my greatest fear is getting to class and having an empty room—or that awkward class with only two or three students. To avoid this fear, smart yoga teachers have completely embraced social media—not only making updates about their classes, but also by creating yoga pages for business.

We’re striving to get people to hit the coveted “like” button by sharing insightful articles, inspiring status updates and linking to studio pages to help broaden the audience.  Thanks to social networking, I once ran a workshop where only one regular was present, with the rest all coming from advertising on Facebook and Twitter.

These days, I spend more time online in cyberspace than on my mat or engaging with the “real” world.

In the process of spreading the word for my retreat in Mexico, my days are filled with computer time. While enjoying my morning coffee (yes, I’m a caffeine-loving yogi), I think of interesting ways of putting a link to the retreat on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and Pinterest while linking, mentioning and hash-tagging certain people, businesses and words.

It’s all in hopes that more people will “like” my page or follow my tweets and in turn, join me in Mexico. I’m out all the time putting posters up and leaving postcards at coffee shops, but I’m not sure people are into reading things on walls anymore.

Social media gives immediate responses; people “like” my status, start following me, retweet and leave comments. This way I know my efforts are paying off. Other media doesn’t have this effect. Who would have thought that I’m now researching how to run a successful Twitter campaign? Social media makes my job a bit easier and keeps my pocket book happy—even though I spend a good chunk of my day staring at a screen.

So, what is this all about? Why am I going crazy about social media? Teaching yoga is a competitive career field!

In any major city, there are probably hundreds of teachers from part-time to full-time.  Any studio owner can tell you about the tons of emails or phone calls they get from teachers wanting to come on board at their studio. I remember when I started practicing (10+ years ago), there were three main studios with four to six teachers on staff in my city. Now, there is a studio every few blocks in the downtown core with 10-20 teachers on staff.

So, where does a teacher start in this growing mecca of instructors? How can you really spread the word and share what you love to broader audiences?

Cue social media—the yoga teacher’s best friend!

If used properly, it can help you stand out from the sea of instructors. The world knows you’re teaching by reading your Facebook updates or tweets. In the last four years of teaching, I am grateful to Facebook for all the events I was able to share, which brought more then my regular students to the room.

I wouldn’t be at the same place in my career without it. The word yoga means to bring union, to unite—and social media is hugely helping us instructors do just that. It’s truly extraordinary.

In short, next time you see your yoga teacher let them know if you appreciate their online posts, and if you haven’t already, “like” their page/follow them on Twitter!

If not you (the one who knows their greatness), who else will spread their presence and good message both in life and on the internet? If you’re a teacher reading this, make a page, get Twitter and see what happens.

Worst thing that could happen is you deactivate your account and send a carrier pigeon instead.


Chrys Muszka is a Yoga Teacher based in Toronto, Canada. He has taught internally in Guatemala, El Salvador & Indonesia. Practicing yoga for 10+ years, and has trained in Toronto, Montreal, Guatemala, India & Bali, Indonesia. A student first, and teacher second, of yoga, he enjoys just riding this crazy thing called Life-finding love, truth and passion in the process! You can follow him on facebook at facebook.com/chrysyoga, twitter at twitter.com/#!/chrysmuszka or on his website www.chrysyoga.com.


Editor: Cassandra Smith

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