How to lead a Yoga workshop
Workshops can be very beneficial for students who would like to gain deeper understanding of a certain topic that might only be addressed shortly in a Yoga class. Once you start teaching (or maybe even before that), you’ll figure out your strong points:
Maybe students keep on telling you that they really enjoy your adjustments, you’re an expert in breathwork or you know how to effectively and safely teach arm balances. Whatever the topic may be, make sure you know it inside and out. If people are attending a workshop, they want somebody with extensive knowledge and experience to guide them, so you might want to save workshops for later in your teaching career. (It all depends on how long you’ve been learning about and practicing in the field: Maybe you decided to become a teacher after years of a continuous Yoga practice and have done breathwork for many years.)
I will guide you through a few questions you should ask yourself when planning and executing a workshop:
1.How do I come up with an idea?
Ask yourself: What do you particularly enjoy in Yoga? I don’t just mean the physical practice, but all seven limbs of it. Or is there maybe something else that you think would go really well with Yoga? (water Yoga, goat Yoga and hula hoop Yoga are good examples that there are no limits to your creativity).
The next question should be: Is there a demand for this workshop?
Serious practitioners will probably frown upon courses like beer Yoga, so opt for something that you know people are interested in. Talk to your students and other yogis about what they’d like to learn more about or work extensively at.
Then do some research: Are there other people in your area doing similar or even the same workshop? Try to understand how much supply and demand there is for what you intend to teach. If it turns out that there are workshops about your topic on a regular basis, find a different topic or wait for a while until you come up with a new idea.
2.Am I ready?
In the end, it is up to you to decide if you’re ready: Usually, if you start taking notes about your topic and can’t stop writing because you’re overflowing with ideas, this might be a sign that you have enough knowledge and material.
Also ask yourself what your students might be struggling with, or what they should pay special attention to (if you’re teaching arm balances, for example, how to safely get into and out of arm balances).
Create a plan and see if it is enough material for a workshop.
You should always include an introduction – to the topic and to yourself.
Then warm your participants up (that could be physically or mentally),
leading up to the main part of your workshop. This should be the longest part, the core of your workshop.
Give the participants time to implement what they learned (you can also include partner work here).
Then find a way to close the topic, answer any questions and give them ideas how to implement the concept in everyday life.
(You don’t have to stick to this structure, it is just an example – if a different structure works better for your topic, you’re more than welcome to modify.)
3.When, What, Where?
Where will the workshop be? How long will it be? When? How many people can attend? What do I need to provide?
Implementing everything can be quite a challenge: If you teach at a studio where people know you, your teaching already speaks for yourself: If you give well structured, interesting and creative classes, people will expect the workshop to be as well thought-through and might be curious about it.
But keep in mind who your audience is: If you’re teaching beginners Yoga classes, but you’re giving a workshop for Yoga teachers, no publicity in the world is going to make your students come to your workshop. You need to advertise it in other places where Yoga teachers teach or hang out.
If you decide to teach at other venues, inform yourself about the rent you’d have to pay first: Is it worth it? How many people would have to attend to cover the rent? Is it realistic? Other venues have their own appeal: It might be a quiet little house outside the big city that makes for a great weekend getaway. But how do your clients who have no cars get there? Is there parking for those arriving with cars?
Every location has its pros and cons: The studio you usually teach at is a place you’re familiar with, and people know you. The studio might even help you with advertising, and you might be allowed to use their equipment (see below), but you still need to make Yogis that attend classes elsewhere aware of the existence of your workshop. It might also not feel as “special” to teach where you’re always teaching.
A new location might be more expensive, and have downsides you’re not aware of (noise, no proper heating,..). Some people might not be able to reach the venue with public transport, other might like the idea of a weekend getaway. It always depends on your options and students.
-Duration and Date
How much time do you need to cover everything you’d like to teach? How many breaks should there be? How much time can the average person spare? Which day of the week is best?
Keep all those questions in mind when structuring your workshop. Usually, weekends are best for most people.
If it’s a longer workshop (a full day or two), you need to think about where the participants are going to get their food from (keep in mind that there might be vegetarians or vegans).
Will they drive home and come back the next day? (I do not suggest including accommodation in your first workshop: That almost makes it a retreat, and there is already enough you have to think about).
I suggest scheduling a break every two or three hours, even if it is just a short break. Your workshop might only be a few hours long, but you should always offer a few snacks like fruit and drinking water.
-Capacity of the venue
How many people do you expect to attend? How many need to attend for you to break even? How many people can comfortably fit into the space?
Consider these things before looking for a venue and announcing the workshop.
Is there anything the participants will need? Make sure to mention it on your flyers, and bring some of it yourself, because some people will most likely forget it (e.g. props like blocks and straps). If it is something people don’t usually have at home or that can’t be transported (like a setup for aerial Yoga), you need to find a venue that already provides those things.
4.How will people know about this?/How to market your workshop
Assuming you know your topic, are confident that people are interested in it and you have a workshop and venue plan, think about how people will know about the event:
Do you have an E-Mail list, or do you know a lot of studios where you can distribute flyers? Can you post it in different groups on social media?
If you feel like you can’t draw enough attention to the event, you might want to consider collaborating with another Yoga teacher in your area who has more experience teaching workshops and who works in the same field. This means reworking your whole plan: How many people need to attend to cover the costs for both of you? Is your venue still big enough? How much longer should it be? Do you need more equipment? Etc.
-Announce your workshop in advance.
This should give people time to check their schedules and makes it less likely they already have plans. If your workshop takes more than a day, you should announce it at least two months in advance. If it’s one day or a few hours, four to six weeks will do.
-Use social media
Create an event for your workshop and invite people you think might be interested (don’t spam – don’t invite your grandmother who lives on the other side of the country to an arm balance workshop (unless you have a very active grandma, of course)). Also send out E-Mails or announce it on your blog, if you have one.
-Give a discount for early sign ups
Don’t go too low – you should still make money off early sign ups, but a 10 or 15% discount might give people an incentive to commit.
5.How much should I charge?
There are a few important questions to consider:
-How many workshops have I taught before?
-How rare are my skills?
-How expensive is my venue/equipment etc.?
-How much time did it take to create the workshop?
-How experienced am I in the field?
The general answer is: The more experience, the higher the price. Your first workshop shouldn’t be too expensive, and you might not make a lot of money, but if it is something you enjoy and keep at it, your audience will grow, and your profits increase.