We are coming up to the anniversary of the UK’s first lockdown. It feels like it’s about a hundred years ago, and five minutes ago.
Last May I wrote an article about getting ready for yoga teaching after lockdown, with no inkling that I would be writing virtually the same article almost a year later.
But this time around it’s different because we are older (and feel a LOT older) and wiser. We know that there are no certainties anymore.
How to Navigate the Roadmap
The government has come up with a ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown, with dates that are now seared into the national consciousness. For yoga teachers, the important date is the 17th of May, after which ‘indoor adult group sports and exercise classes’ [click here for full roadmap plans] will be allowed to start up again.
This is on the proviso that these indoor classes are Covid-secure, and have all the safety measures in place, i.e. socially distanced, sanitised, with regular washing of hands, wearing masks etc.
We won’t all be joyfully stuffing like sardines into sweaty yoga studios – yet.
What do you want?
There are just under two months to go ’til we can teach in-person again, unless you’re up for teaching al fresco yoga classes in the local (currently extremely muddy) park.
Having done it for nearly a year this has become the new normal, and you’re either sick to the back teeth of teaching from your living room, or you’ve adapted to the relaxed new routine of only having to change out of your pj’s ten minutes before a class!
Some teachers can’t wait to get back to seeing people face to face – the atmosphere of a busy studio, the chats, and the social life that surrounds classes.
While for others, the thought of getting back to the old routine of rushing from one studio to the next is not an inviting prospect. Work out what it is that YOU want.
Now is the time to choose to run your yoga teaching business in a way that works for you.
Mix and Match
If you haven’t missed teaching in-person classes then you don’t have to go back to it. The choice is yours. If you’re not sure, then why not ask your students what they’d like? Come up with a questionnaire and use a site like Survey Monkey to work out what your students would prefer.
You might feel that a mixture of the two would be ideal. You could keep some regular online slots and add in regular in-person workshops so that your students can get a mix of both.
Or you could partner up with another teacher or other wellness practitioners, such as a sound meditation or gong bath player, nutritionist, or coach, and plan a whole ‘wellness’ day in a beautiful setting. There’s no doubt that once we are out of lockdown, there will be a market for retreat days (or even weekends).
Get in Touch with Venues and Studios
You will probably want to return to some form of in-person teaching, even if it doesn’t look quite the same as your pre-Covid schedule.
There’s no doubt that yoga studios, halls, gyms, and other venues have taken a huge hit this past year. Get in touch with them to make sure they’re still in business. If you want to run monthly workshops it might be worth getting onto their books asap, as other teachers may well have the same idea.
If you worked for different studios, give them a ring so that when they’re drawing up their new in-person timetable you’ll be in mind.
With the passing of a whole year, there may well be opportunities out there. Do you have a venue that you’ve always wanted to hire or a studio you’d love to work for? Get in touch now as they may have big gaps in their books.
You’ve learnt to Be Flexible
2020 taught us that plans can never be set in stone. We’ve learnt to be flexible and to adapt, and we might even have picked up quite a few new skills along the way.
Although we now have a date to aim for, last year’s Christmas being cancelled at the last minute means that nothing is absolutely certain. While we can certainly prepare to return to in-person teaching, many of us now have a working schedule of online classes, YouTube recordings or Live lessons on social media, so that we can continue to engage with our best assets – our students.
Maybe 2021 can be the year that we capitalise on that period of self-reflection and commit to studying again in order to specialise in our yoga teaching. Perhaps you suffered a bereavement and would like to explore therapeutic or restorative yoga? Or you’ve established a meditation practice and would like to incorporate more of that into your classes.
There’s no rush
The final word on how to prepare for yoga teaching as we navigate the roadmap out of lockdown is with kindness to ourselves.
While we can find positives from the past year, it has also been very, very tough.
If you’ve carried on teaching online – well done. If you’ve continued to stay in touch with your students – you’ve been a lifeline. If you’ve challenged yourself to try social media, live-stream teaching, podcasting and online challenges for the first time – you’ve grown in trying times.
The truth is, Covid-19 remains a part of our lives, and if you’re not ready to re-model your yoga teaching business (AGAIN), then don’t change anything until you’re ready.