Over the weekend I spent few hours sewing face masks for my family out of some leftover fabric and vacuum filters. If you told me three months ago that I would be doing this on a sunny April afternoon, I’d think you were nuts. Yet here we are. Our human brains constantly attempt to predict what will happen in the future based on our experiences from the past. We fail spectacularly if we deal with a new phenomenon and have no experience in the past to compare it to. It seems logical to reason that we have no idea what will happen in a month, few months from now, or at the end of this year. It is scary to think about it, but it is necessary to do it, so that we could prototype our responses to potential outcomes. Remember that old saying – hope for the best, but prepare for the worst? So today let’s consider three different scenarios for the rest of the year and what it would mean for your yoga teaching.
Option 1. Stay-at-home orders and business closures that many places had implemented end by June 1. This means that you need to figure out how to stay financially afloat for the next two months. You had probably made huge strides toward that already. The main ways of dealing with it for yoga teachers include:
- Closing your yoga business and hunkering down while living off savings or income of other family members, as well as counting on government assistance;
- Switching to an alternative source of income (former part-time job, another job altogether, former career, etc.);
- Taking yoga teaching completely online with virtual classes, private sessions and workshops or prerecorded content.
You probably already decided which option (or combination of options) can carry you through the next two months. This would be the best-case scenario for most of us. However, it seems reasonable to project that life will not simply go back to normal on June 1st. Students will probably still shy away from large gatherings (including yoga classes) for a while, so the transition back would probably stretch out over weeks or months.
Option 2. Stay-at-home orders and business closures get extended through the summer. We are all hoping that by taking decisive measures now we “flatten the curve”, but we have no idea how far into the future that flattened curve will extend. What would you do if you couldn’t teach yoga in person till the end of summer? Could you afford to continue with the same arrangement you have set up right now? Or would you adjust the ratio between savings/alternative income/virtual teaching? Which one of those areas would you expand? If you decided to expand your virtual yoga teaching, which offerings would you count on?
Previously, we had discussed eight different options of teaching yoga. Out of those eight options, most could be done virtually (drop-in classes, yoga series, private yoga sessions, webinars, video recordings, teacher trainings and even virtual yoga retreats). It usually doesn’t make sense to do all of them simultaneously, so you will need to decide which 2-3 options are the most attractive and realistic for you. And how will you make them attractive to your students?
Option 3. Even now some health officials are warning us that there might be a second wave of the virus arriving in the fall, so our lives might remain disrupted through the end of this year and beyond. We hope it won’t happen, but if it does – what would you do? If you choose to continue teaching yoga full- or part-time, how will you widen your audience and differentiate yourself from all other teachers in the crowded online yoga marketplace? You would need to start taking steps to prepare for that possibility now. Those steps include clarifying your message, updating your website, reevaluating your social media, and so on. You would have to take steps to promote yourself and your services (which many yoga teachers are not fond of).
Fortunately, as yoga teachers we are familiar with the concept of pratipaksha bhavana, which can be translated as “cognitive reframing”. We know that we actually have a choice in how we view this issue of self-promotion – we can approach it from the place of fear and dread, or we can view it as an opportunity to clarify our vision and expand our reach. And it can actually be fun and enlightening, believe it or not. Next week we will start a conversation on how you can tell your story to find more students and convince them to study yoga with you – tune in!
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