While yoga is known for creating emotional well-being and fostering physical health benefits, the business side of running a yoga studio successfully requires the same strategic planning and marketing as any other business. With that in mind, there are a few important points to mull over when you start a new business — it’s essential to know what you’re striving for, what your goals are, and to have a plan that sets you up for success.
In 2020, the yoga industry in the US totaled 11.56 billion dollars, with over 55 million Americans participating in the practice. There’s definitely money to be made in the yoga world, and with a savvy business strategy, you can run a popular yoga business right from your home.
Certification required to teach yoga
To open a yoga studio, you’ll need to become a Registered Yoga Teacher. You’ll find tons of wonderful benefits available when you have a certification, like an increased sense of well-being and the ability to help people learn yoga. But that’s not all — yoga teacher certifications are internationally recognized, allowing you to teach yoga abroad, a great opportunity for yogis who wanderlust. There are also plenty of marketing benefits if you get your certification through an organization like Yoga Alliance (YA), which has an online directory and access to free online workshops where you can continue to build your skills.
Yoga certification courses to become a yoga instructor come in various lengths, from shorter 200-hour courses to longer 500-hour courses. Pick one that feels most in alignment with your intentions.
Define the type of yoga you want to teach
The style of yoga you choose to teach will help you to define your business model and the yoga studio setup you’ll create, including the props you use, the music you’ll play, and the overall vibe of your studio. For example, if you decide on a fitness-focused practice like ashtanga, your space will be more energetic than if you want to teach a more restorative style like yin or hatha yoga.
Here are the six yoga styles you’ll see most often, but don’t be afraid to look into more niche styles if that’s what you feel called to teach.
Hatha yoga is a spiritually-focused style that uses hatha techniques to channel energy into attaining a yogic mindset. While all yoga seeks to combine physical and spiritual well-being. Hatha is less physically demanding and puts more emphasis on deep stretching and long poses.
Vinyasa is a method of connecting breath to movement and stringing poses together with breathwork. Vinyasa is a more dynamic and fast-paced type of yoga style referred as well to as ‘flow yoga’ or ‘power yoga.’
Bikram yoga is practiced in a room heated to around 105° Fahrenheit and with 40% humidity. Because of this, it’s commonly called hot yoga. Named for its creator, Bikram Choudhury, this style of yoga has been gaining in popularity since the 1970s.
Kundalini yoga focuses on releasing inner energy trapped or held within the body. This style of yoga combines breathing exercises with singing, chanting, and yoga poses to release kundalini or “coiled” energy.
Iyengar yoga is a precise form of yoga that seeks perfect bodily alignment in a specific sequence of poses — aka asanas. Iyengar often uses props such as blocks, bolsters, towels, and benches to support structural alignment.
Ashtanga is a style of yoga typically associated with physical fitness due to its focus on swift, athletic movements and pace combined with deep breathing. Ashtanga follows a strict series of poses, moving from one to the next in consistent succession.
Create a business plan
A yoga studio business plan helps you create a solid foundation for your company and set measurable goals. You’ve probably heard before that when you set personal goals, it’s helpful to write them down — the same goes for businesses. Following a simple outline and including some key elements is all you need to get started.
Choose a name and create a logo – A good business name is simple and descriptive. Ideally, you want it to impart the vibe of your business and let potential clients know what your business does. A logo is the graphic representation of your company’s name. A great name that is easy to remember coupled with a clever logo can help your business come across as polished and professional. Creating a logo doesn’t have to be expensive, you can even create it yourself with a free logo maker tool.
Competitor analysis – Some detailed research into the landscape of your direct competitors is helpful for all new businesses. You’ll want to look into similar businesses in your local community marketed toward your ideal student for a yoga business. Learn about how your competitors advertise, market, communicate, and price their classes to ensure your business is competitive.
Customer analysis – Customer analysis gives you information about your target demographic. This information includes details like age, gender, digital presence, and what wording or tone of voice will be effective as you advertise your yoga business.
Marketing plan and strategies – Research yoga studio marketing strategies to help you learn how to get more customers. Likely, your yoga studio marketing strategies will involve social media, digital advertising, community events, and traditional print advertising.
Budgeting – Set a budget for your yoga business ahead of time to help you learn how to maximize income. This helps you understand where to spend your money and ensures that you continue to make a profit.
Financial plan and income – It’s important to consider your company’s budget and the income you’ll make from the business. How do you plan to pay yourself? Do you want your business to reach a certain income level or profit margin before you pull a paycheck? There are many financial aspects to consider as your yoga business grows.
Projections – Projections are part goal and part prediction. They help you figure out realistic growth patterns for your new business over the first three months, six months, the first year, and onwards. Take the time to create projections — it’ll help you better understand what to expect for financial growth and plan for what you need to do to meet your goals.
Design, space, and infrastructure required
Get clear on what your yoga studio will need both in terms of design and functionality. Even more than other types of businesses, yoga requires a decorative, calming aesthetic to promote a positive practice. Hiring an interior designer to help you achieve the vibe you are looking for can be a great idea.
Size is important to take into consideration for your home yoga studio. A typical yoga studio needs approximately 20 square feet of studio space per person — this allows for a regular-sized yoga mat plus a couple of extra feet for each person to move around. Your living room, dining room, or roof terrace space, if the weather in your region permits, can be great places to set your yoga practice area since it will allow having enough space to accommodate several students at a time.
Here are a few basics to keep in mind when you put together your at-home yoga space:
Flooring – Hardwood floors, cork, or rubber are your best choices to provide a soft, clean surface for higher-impact movements or accidental falls in challenging poses.
Lighting – Overhead lighting tends to be too harsh for a yoga studio. Softer lights, like floor lamps and candles, are great for restorative practices. Diffuse overhead lighting is great for more energetic yoga styles. Installing light dimmer switches in your yoga practice area is a great idea to be able to turn the lights down and allow everyone to relax during poses like savasana.
Audio – Investing in a quality sound system that provides maximum motivation and relaxation for your clients is important. Depending on your budget, choose built-in speakers or a few strategically-placed Bluetooth speakers for your yoga studio setup.
Mats – Have a stock of spare mats on hand for beginners who don’t own a mat or for any students who forget their mats at home. Make sure to sanitize them between classes.
Props – Find a storage solution for props like blocks, straps, wedges, bolsters, pads, and wheels. This helps students quickly locate the props they need, keeps your zen space organized and decluttered, and enables you to keep track of your prop inventory.
Heating and cooling – Depending on the style of class you’re teaching, you might need to change the temperature of your studio. Bikram yoga requires a hot room, but you’ll also want a warmer room for relaxing styles like Yin yoga. During warmer months, consider installing an air conditioner — you don’t want anyone overheating while they’re trying to relax! Hence, when your HVAC system breaks or malfunctions, a call for immediate inspection and repair should be done. In these situations, an HVAC access door to reach HVAC Mechanical systems more quickly when maintenance work needs to be performed.
Welcome area and store – Even if you’re working with a smaller space, designate a front desk area to welcome students, an area for clients to remove shoes before entering the yoga room, and a place to store them on shelves. Have hooks or lockers for storing personal belongings. If your space allows, create a small store to promote the sale of merchandise and gear.
Office area – Find space for a small office to keep your desk, computer, and some storage shelves. This way, you can maintain a work-life balance by separating your office area from the rest of your home.
Create a website for your studio
It is important for yoga teachers with an at-home yoga business to build a website that has a professional look, this is essential for attracting students and reassuring them that your business is trustworthy. You can hire web design services to make sure your website looks polished and professional. A website also lets potential new students view the space before committing to a class, and is a perfect place to host a calendar that facilitates online bookings, allows students to leave reviews, and directs your online marketing efforts.
Optimize the website for mobile
People lead busy lives, and many of your potential students need to be able to complete tasks like finding a new yoga studio, checking out the schedules of the classes they’re interested in, signing up and booking classes on their smartphones. That’s where website optimization comes in.
Build a website that is mobile-friendly to ensure that the user experience on a smartphone is seamless and easy. You can also consider having an app made that your students can download onto their phones. A clunky or malfunctioning mobile site is a surefire way to discourage new clients, so make sure your mobile version is clean, simple, and easy to use.
Use a booking plugin or app
A booking plugin is a third-party app that connects to your website. An app is a mobile application that people can download on their smartphones. Apps and plugins allow your students to view your class schedule and book online.
These are great ways to encourage new students to sign up and make joining your studio as easy as possible. With our ever-increasing reliance on technology, you could lose out on opportunities to welcome new students if they have to make a phone call to book a class. Find a booking app you like and make sure your students know it’s available.
Define your digital marketing strategies
Optimize SEO – With a few yoga studio marketing strategies, optimized SEO can put your company closer to the top of the search list. Most people won’t go past the first page of a Google search, so it’s important to ensure you show up at the top of searches for keywords related to your yoga business. For that, it’s recommended to use optimized content marketing and an effective link building strategy.
Listing on Google Business and Google Maps – Google Business and Google Maps both include reviews of businesses, service offerings, website links, and even product offerings. Use the central dashboard in Google My Business to ensure people can find the location of your studio easily, and the info your audience sees is updated and complete.
Facebook and Instagram ads – If your audience spends time on social media, you’ll want to advertise to them on those websites. This is where social media ads come into play. Social media ads are easy to tackle if you want to learn how to use them. If not, connect with a marketing pro who creates and manages ad campaigns to get you going.
Email marketing – Once you have a list of students, you can use their emails to promote new classes, sales, merchandise, or offer referral incentives. As long as your emails are well-crafted and not sent too frequently, email marketing is a great way to grow your business. Use tools like CRM with email marketing for bulk emails and automatic follow-ups without manual hassle.
Social media posts – Many consumers turn to social media to research a company before they commit to a purchase. You don’t need to be a social media guru — just be consistent in how often you post and keep your content on-brand.
Get the proper insurance for the business
Regardless of the type of business you own, it’s always a good practice to have insurance that covers a variety of scenarios. For example, you’ll want a policy for your physical space that protects against the cost of a break-in or any damages the studio sustains.
Additionally, you’ll want professional liability insurance, aka errors and omissions insurance policy or E and O insurance. Professional liability insurance covers yoga instructors and businesses if a student makes a claim against the studio. Accidents happen, and the costs can pile up quickly if you don’t have the proper coverage.
Additional to insurance, it is important to create an LLC that will provide legal separation in case you get sued for whatever reason when operating your yoga studio, and an LLC will protect you from not losing everything you own outside of your business.
Focus on creating an exceptional customer experience
Provide a top-notch customer service experience for your students to keep them coming back for more. A clean, tidy space and a welcoming environment go a long way to ensure your students feel safe and happy in your studio. With these essential tips, you can create a positive experience that brings joy and light to your clientele!
Hire the best yoga teachers – Great teachers tend to amass loyal students. If you can afford to bring in an established teacher to your business, you’ll likely reap the rewards as their students begin to call your studio home. The same goes for new teachers — if you’re interviewing new yoga teachers, take your time and thoroughly vet candidates to ensure you’re hiring the best and most prepared staff.
Listen to your customers – When you put your sweat and tears into something, it’s easy to feel defensive when you hear suggestions or comments. Use feedback to show your students that you value their opinions and input. Even if you choose not to implement their suggestions, listening with an open mind goes a long way.
Encourage feedback – Emails asking for feedback, a suggestion box, and reading online reviews give you an honest idea of areas where you can improve your yoga business. The best part? You’ll be rewarded with a confidence boost when you discover what your students love about your studio.
Additional strategies to get more customers and maximize your income
Brainstorm secondary strategies to boost your income and get creative about ways to promote your studio. This powerful duo will help you to maximize your profits while gaining your yoga business exposure in the community.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Sell branded items like yoga mats, towels, water bottles
- Sell yoga and meditation items like mala beads, yoga clothing, yoga books, etc.
- Offer meditation classes
- Offer online yoga classes
- Offer on-site classes for hotels and wellness clinics
- Offer on-site yoga classes in gyms
- Offer on-site yoga classes in corporate offices
Starting an at-home yoga studio is a worthy goal that allows you to channel your inner yogi and business guru into one fantastic profession. With a little bit of planning, creativity, and a sprinkle of dedication, you can turn your zen dreams into a thriving reality that brings you an income and sparks your joy and inner peace.