With in-person classes allowed to start up again from Monday 17th of May, yoga studios in the UK can finally open their doors to real-life students again.
If you’re a yoga teacher who has dreamt of opening up your own yoga studio, you might feel that it’s time to get those dreams out and dust them off again.
But before you launch into anything, there are a few things worth thinking about.
What are the Options?
A Room of one’s Own
If you’d love to run your own yoga studio but that seems like a step too far, there are other ways to have your own studio.
You can start with converting a room in your house into a small yoga studio. Keep it clear and clutter-free and (if possible) solely devoted to yoga. This can be for your own personal practice, or you can open it up to students for 1:1s or bespoke small classes. That way you can have the benefits of being able to teach in-person classes in a space that’s yours, but without the financial risk that comes with a full-scale yoga studio business.
Many yoga teachers have already had to fashion their own yoga studios over the past year from which to stream their online yoga classes, so this should be fairly easily achievable.
Just make sure that your insurance will cover you if you have paying students in the house.
If you have a big enough garden you can build your very own bespoke yoga studio. As a rough guide, the size of a standard yoga studio is around 20 square feet, which would accommodate around 15 – 18 people (without social distancing).
There is a myriad of options you can go for, from a glorified shed to a high-end studio, depending on your budget. If you’re a dab hand at DIY (or someone you live with is) then you can always convert a summerhouse into a studio. Companies such as Green Retreats specialises in building purpose-built yoga studios in the garden, although prices start from £16, 745.
If you plan on having students in the space you’ll need to think about toilet facilities, heating, lighting, access, and insurance. You’ll also need to invest in equipment for students (and storage space).
If your yoga studio dream is to create a community hub, then you might want to set your sights on a yoga studio business. This would be set in a building with one or more rooms that could be used as studios and with a weekly schedule of classes and workshops delivered by a range of teachers.
The first thing to remember is that your yoga studio is a business first and foremost. Your passion for yoga won’t pay the bills. If you haven’t got a head for business then it will be worth paying others who do.
How Do I Set About Opening a Yoga Studio?
You’ll Need Premises
The first thing you will want to do is find the location of your yoga studio. Perhaps you have a local building in mind already. It will ideally have a large space suitable as a studio, with even floors, ventilation, light, and plenty of wall space. You’ll need a reception area, changing area, toilet facilities, storage facilities (or space for bags and coats), and storage space for yoga equipment.
This can either be rented from a landlord or bought outright. Either way, you’ll need to offset the initial and ongoing expense of buying or renting the space, as well as any renovations you’ll need to do, with the projected income from the studio once it’s up and running.
Plan to Succeed
So how do you work out projected income? Speaking as a yoga teacher myself, it’s surprising how much time is needed to be spent on yoga admin. If you become a yoga studio owner, you’ll be upping your yoga admin about a hundred times.
Before you secure your venue it will be worth having a business plan already in place, so that you can approach banks for a business loan.
You will need to be ahead of the game if you want to keep on top of your schedule, payroll, taxes, health and safety and so on.
You will need to have proper bookkeeping – tracking every single transaction, expense, etc. If this isn’t your thing then hire someone for whom it is.
With all of this, if it’s not your area, then get advice and pay for help. We can’t all be good at everything.
This is important if you’re a solo yoga teacher, but if you’re thinking of opening up a yoga studio, and employing other teachers, they’re relying on you to get new students through the door. You need to plan your marketing approach carefully and be consistent.
Try not to go down the route of free or discounted classes as this will devalue your product.
This is incredibly important. Your teachers are what will make your studio a success or not. Make sure you interview them first and perhaps get them to do a micro-teach so you can see them in action. Make sure their philosophy and style fit in with the ethos of what you want for your studio.
This may sound wishy-washy, but it’s the core of your yoga studio. Be clear about what you want your yoga studio to be. Will it specialise in one form of yoga? Will it focus on community links? Will there be a holistic and wellness aspect to your studio? Will you have yoga philosophy talks?
Write everything down, make a vision board, have a folder of photos, quotes, and businesses that you admire. Then when things get real, you’ll have your vision to return to and keep you going!