You’re an established teacher, with regular yoga classes and a foundation of good teaching experience. You’ve been thinking about leading a one-off workshop, but you’re not sure if you’re ready or not.
With the average yoga class lasting only one hour, and a yoga workshop being anything from 2 hours to a whole day, workshops are a great way for students to go deeper into a particular topic, or really challenge themselves physically.
For teachers, they are a way to explore a yoga topic that you love, guide your students to a deeper yoga practice, and challenge yourself to take the next step in your yoga career.
Here are some ways to find out whether you’re ready to lead your own yoga workshop.
You’re confident in your teaching style
There’s no point running before you can walk. If you’ve only just qualified and haven’t got a steady yoga teaching foundation, it’s inadvisable to rush into leading a yoga workshop. By giving yourself at least six months to get into your stride, you will gain confidence in your teaching style, as well as finding your yoga teacher voice.
Only after you’ve been teaching regularly for a while do you get to the point when you can teach your lessons without over-thinking every instruction. The nuts and bolts of the process start to be absorbed into your subconscious, giving your brain more space and time to be creative and spontaneous within the lesson.
You also find what you enjoy most about teaching. Do you relish the challenge of backbends? Do you wish you had more time to give to inversions? Or would you like to delve into the philosophy of yoga? These will give you clues about what topics to focus on in a workshop.
Your yoga business is up and running
Leading a workshop requires a marketing strategy to spread the word, (see On Yoga Teaching: 8 Business Tips for Teachers) and in order to have an effective one, it’s helpful (but not essential) to have a website and a newsletter email programme, such as MailChimp. If you don’t have either of these, then you would at least need some sort of social media presence, such as a Facebook page, and an email mailing list for all your students.
Before you plan your workshop, you need to get all the details in place so you can market it as early as possible. And it’s worth giving an ‘early bird’ deal in order to get students to book in advance, which ensures that they’re tied in to attend. When it comes down to it, you’re only able to give a workshop if students actually turn up on the day.
Your students are ready for more
Another really good way of telling if you’re ready to lead a workshop is if your regular students are ready to attend one. If all your classes are beginner’s classes and the hour is plenty for them, there’s little point planning a three-hour intensive workshop.
It might even be worth discussing it with them before planning it. Ask them if they’d be willing to attend and what kind of topics they’d be interested in. That way, they’re more likely to come along – and hopefully bring their friends too.
You’re ready to add to your income
As discussed in ‘On Yoga Teaching: How to Care for your Teaching’, a small but necessary part of our incentive for being yoga teachers is earning money. Workshops are one way that we can supplement our usual monthly income, as due to the longer length of the class, and also the extra preparation work, teachers usually charge more for workshops than regular lessons.
This shouldn’t be the main incentive, as being ready as a teacher is the first priority, but if you feel that you’d like to add to your income stream, there’s no harm in thinking about offering a workshop, which has the potential to bring in substantially more than your regular classes.
You’ve got a venue in mind
It might be that your regular studio or hall is fine for a workshop, but sometimes it might be worth thinking outside the box in order to attract students to pay more and spend more time at a yoga workshop. In the summer months, it might be worth finding a studio that has outside space so that part of the workshop could be held outside. Or perhaps you can find a venue with a cafe so that students can get some much-needed refreshments after their workout. It’s worth ensuring that the venue you have in mind is easily accessible, and also not too far from your regular student base.
I recently held a workshop with a beautiful garden outside. At the end of the workshop, the students sat outside and had tea and homemade cake which I brought along with me – which was a lovely way to round off the event. After all, everything’s better with cake.
Perhaps the venue might also be happy to help you market your workshop, which takes some of the pressure off you.
You’re ready for a new challenge
Last, but not least, you need to be ready for a challenge. If you’ve ticked all the boxes above and haven’t got around to leading your first workshop then perhaps you’ve been putting it off out of fear. So don’t hold yourself back! Feel the fear and do it anyway!
Leading your own workshop is an excuse to ‘geek out’ on a specific yoga topic that really excites you. If you feel ready to lead your students through a more advanced series of poses, or to really hone in on one particular area, then you’re ready to lead a workshop.
If you’re not sure, then take a look over your recent lesson plans for clues. Are there more complicated poses that you’d like to attempt in your classes, but that you never quite have time to fit in? If you’re still unsure, then don’t rush the workshop process. Make sure you feel comfortable with your content first.
Finally, remember that workshops are a chance to have fun and to have even more time to enjoy leading your students on their yoga journey.