February 22, 2014

Why You Need To Be A B%$#! To Be A Successful Yoga Teacher.

Photo Credit: Tucker Sherman http://www.flickr.com/photos/tshermankb/

Okay, before you get your yoga pants in a twist, I’m not talking about that b-word.

I’m talking about the need to be a yoga brand.

I’ve found that many of my yoga teacher clients have some confusion about this word, so, first off, let me define what I mean by brand.

Your yoga brand is your teaching style, your yoga niche, your offerings, and your unique “je ne sais quoi” all under one, cohesive umbrella.

If the word “brand” brings to mind colors, fonts, and logos, then this article will be a bit of a re-education.

So, let’s start out with two common brand misconceptions:

Misconception #1: Branding is a sales tactic.

Okay, let’s pause for a minute.

If the word “brand” is stirring up any negative beliefs or storylines, it’s time to put that aside once and for all. Branding is not a slimy sales tactic—it’s your uniqueness encapsulated and communicated to the world. It gives people something to get on board with, share with others, and become a part of!

Misconception #2: Brands only sell products or are brick-and-mortar establishments.

Branding is not just for physical products, and teachers do not need to open a yoga studio to have a successful yoga brand or business. There’s no need to start a yoga clothing line or sell yoga mats to become a brand.

Branding also can apply to teaching and services, and in cases such as these, brands can differentiate themselves in the way services are delivered, they way teachings are communicated, or the way yoga sequences are developed.

In my work of teaching business and marketing to yogis, I’ve found that the biggest blind spot for most struggling teachers is that they fail to recognize that they are a brand. And, therefore, they fail to raise their business awareness and skills to the next level to really make a difference. They get used to barely treading water—but building a yoga brand can help you sail!

I’ve outlined four core tenants of yoga brand building in hopes of motivating you to find, claim and grow your brilliant yoga brand as only you can!

1. You already are a brand.

That’s right, you already are one. Everything you say, do, teach, write, believe and create defines your one-of-a-kind yoga brand.

When we recognize that we, as teachers, are already yoga brands, our mission becomes bigger and more important. When we know that everything we do, say and create as teachers defines the essence of our yoga brands, we design offerings with even more thought and care.

When we realize that everything we put out into the world carries a glimpse of our brand, we begin to recognize that if we hone it correctly, we can (and will!) build something world-changing.

2. Your brand gives you power.

The cool thing is, when you “own” your yoga brand, you leverage the power of your uniqueness and draw the right students and opportunities to you.

Our yoga brands give us a platform to stand on that is so much bigger than just ourselves, and they give each and every one of us the opportunity to grow our yoga careers beyond the confines of our limited time schedules and energy levels.

In today’s world of 24/7 connection, people likely already have a perception of you and your teaching, thanks to social media and the internet. So, whether you actively cultivate it or not, keep in mind that your “brand” is making an impact.

Let’s take back our power as yoga change-makers and define our brands our way, to say what we want them to say. And, when we choose to actively view ourselves as yoga brands, we can make it stand for what we care about most.

3. Brands have missions.

TOMS shoes wants to “make life more comfortable” with its one-for-one commitment to match each pair sold with a donated pair to a child in need.

Kashi cereal strives to take “healthy eating from have-to to want-to” by focusing on creating delicious foods from wholesome ingredients.

And Lululemon encourages people to “sweat once a day” in an effort to get more people up and moving.

What does your brand stand for? What’s the message you want to share most with the world?

Before we can go out and build amazingly abundant yoga brands, we first have to know what our mission is. And it can take some serious (and fun!) reflection. Sure, we all want to help people live happier, healthier lives…but why? Let’s dive deeper.

What life experience, personal story, or angle do you bring to the table that’s different from other teachers out there?

Think about what drew you to yoga in the first place. Consider why you decided to go through teacher training.  Recall the questions, comments and praise that students regularly share with you.

Finding your brand’s mission is more about heart than head. Feel more, dive deep, and notice the message that only you can deliver to the world. It’s there, I promise.

4. Your brand gives you business clarity.

Once we’re clear on our brand’s mission, amazing things start to naturally occur. Our marketing improves, our teachings become more powerful, our workshops gain popularity, and we stay on-track with our long-term business goals.

When we know the mission we’re on, we recognize the immense benefit it can and will offer the world, and it’s no longer about just being a solo yoga teacher. It’s about spreading the yoga brand’s message far and wide to reach and teach as many people as can possibly benefit.

And in those moments when self-doubt or fear creep in, or when an obstacle arises, all it takes is recalling your brand’s mission, and you’re back on track.

As a yoga brand, failing is no longer an option. With our mission in place, the wheels are put in motion, and we are on our way! And, from here on out, it’s about cultivating a flourishing community that loves and supports the mission we’re on. No looking back, no giving up, we can do this!

Then, it’s only a matter of time until your yoga brand is enjoyed and talked about by more and more people, and the message that only you can teach is impacting lives far and wide.

Remember, you already are a yoga brand. Own it.


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Editor: Renée Picard

Photo: Tucker Sherman / Flickr 

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