I have yet to meet a yoga teacher who hasn’t at one point in their career expressed keen interest in leading some kind of yoga retreat. Be it big or small, there is something magical and powerful about having that time to be with your students outside of the yoga studio, exploring yoga and unique travel experiences together. It is a natural progression for any teacher’s yoga business.
In my years of working with yoga teachers, I’ve come to find three main elements in answer to the question: “Am I ready to offer a yoga retreat?” These are: the yoga/teachings; the teacher as a person; and the business. In this 3-part series, I describe these three elements with practical wisdom and manageable tools that help you determine whether it is good time to launch a retreat.
Part 2: The Business
This article will guide yoga teachers through the second element of designing a yoga retreat:
The business aspect isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind when the inspiration or idea to do a yoga retreat hits. However it is such an important piece to the puzzle it deserves just as much attention and reflection as the passion and teachings that are behind the retreat.
When it comes to the business behind yoga retreats here are the top three things yoga teachers should look at in deciding if they are in the best position to hold a retreat.
#1 Have Some Experience in the Business of Yoga (1-3 years)
Why? Plain and simple: you can apply your business experience as a yoga teacher directly to retreats AND you have somewhat of a following. As soon as you become a yoga teacher, you become an entrepreneur. It is up to you to define your brand and teachings, where you teach, who you teach to, and so much more. In many situations being a yoga teacher isn’t as easy as getting one check from one employer every couple weeks with your benefits, retirement, and all that jazz taken care of. Being your own business means learning to manage or find support for the logistics of all that comes with growing and being successful. All of this experience is super applicable and transferable to holding a retreat. It also helps to have a following of students that already know your work.
If you don’t have this foundation of students who are already come to your classes on a regular basis or follow your work online then it will be much more difficult to draw the attendees for a longer more in depth weekend or week long retreat.
#2 Get Comfortable with Marketing & Networking
Know yourself. Do you easily promote your classes and offerings already to your student base? About 80% (sometimes as high as 95%) of the people enrolled in a retreat will be your students. Especially if this is your first time holding a retreat. So what is the message in that.
A little statistic? Don’t be afraid (in fact be excited) to promote and talk about your retreat to your students any chance you get! Tell them to tell their friends. Tell other teachers who respect your work about the retreat and ask them to share with others when it feels appropriate. Part of being comfortable in marketing and networking comes with experience.
This is why I recommend teachers have at the very least a year of experience teaching yoga regularly before diving into the world of retreats.
#3 The Bottom Line Should Be More Than Just Money
Retreats are not big money makers. Ask any teacher out there that is doing retreats regularly and they can tell you -- teacher trainings, workshops, and large classes that are paid per head are all much more profitable than retreats. Remember a retreat is more than just the time you are there and teaching -- it includes the admin before, the outreach and marketing, the follow-up after, and so much more that is behind the scenes. But the money isn’t usually the sole goal for teachers that continue to hold retreats annually. Often there are other personal desires that get fulfilled such as wanting to live outside of the country for multiple months, or the desire to travel to a specific location or maybe even to visit family.
Each situation is unique but do know that if the aim is to make a lot of money there are other ways to do that. So another crucial piece of producing successful yoga retreats is the business aspect of it.
This involves your business experience, you ability to promote it, you having the student base to get sufficient enrollment, as the while knowing that the benefits of retreats are more than just about the money. It is community and the greatest adventure ever for both you and your students.
Lynann Politte’s unique approach, years of experience, drive, and vibrant enthusiasm provides the guidance and tools for wellness experts to manifest their revolutionary ideas into a real world reality. Lynann works with yoga teachers and authors to form strategies that integrate and expand the reach of their message, taking their business to the next level. Her support, management, and connections are the catalyst for the potential held in the wisdom and skills of each client. She is founder of Yoni Speaks and creator of Balancing the Elephant online business course for yoga professionals.
Find more info about Lynann on her website: yonispeaks.com.