‘I can do things you cannot.
You can do things I cannot.
Together, we can do great things.’
– Mother Teresa
We live in a world where competition is an intrinsic part of everyday life. This tendency for competition develops at a very young age, and many people spend their lives elbowing their way ‘to the top,’ only to discover that the view from above can actually be quite lonesome. Our short-sightedness makes us fiercely protective of our own little corner of space in this wide world, and can bring out a viciousness that is usually counter productive and limiting as opposed to expansive.
With more and more yoga teachers becoming certified every single day, this nature of competition has crept into the yoga world- a place where one may imagine, the ethics and values of the practice would prevent its intrusion. Making a living from yoga alone can be challenging, and teachers are suddenly feeling a need to ‘fight’ for their place, to secure their classes and to vehemently protect and rapidly grow their classroom and online following. Being motivated, focused, and having goals is healthy and productive, yet when competition appears on the scene, these positive attributes can quickly morph into something more detrimental in nature.
Before you hang up your yoga pants and call it a day, don’t despair, there is good news here for yoga teachers! It is undeniable that everywhere you turn in modern society, yoga is on the rise, not just in terms of teachers, but in terms of practitioners. According to Yoga Alliance, in the US alone there are over 20 million people practicing yoga, with another 46 million interested in taking up the practice. The demand is currently far surpassing the supply. Which means, there is more than enough to go around.
It is evident that collaboration, not competition, is a beneficial and positive driving force that can assist and expand opportunities for yoga teachers all over the world. Each and every one of us has something unique to offer. We all have our own strengths, insights and passions to share with the world. What we can achieve together is infinite.
Co-creation is such an important aspect of success and we can, in fact, go much further in life when we join forces with the right people.
When we look at the nature of human existence, collaboration is a fundamental survival mechanism of the strong. Collaboration, as opposed to competition, instigates fresh ideas and fast-tracks movement. When collaboration is brought into the yoga arena, there is unlimited potential for creation and prosperity.
For some people, collaborating with others comes easily. While for some, reaching out and finding the right people to align and work with can be both intimidating and challenging. Wherever you may sit in this spectrum, there are many great reasons why collaborating as a yoga teacher can be beneficial for you and your business.
Before we look at how to collaborate, let’s dive into the reasons why collaboration is key.
Why it’s a Good Idea to Collaborate in the Yoga World
- Opens you up to new students and clients
When you align with another yoga teacher, it automatically opens you up to a new group of students and potential clients. Each of you will bring your own unique offerings and your own individual community to what you are sharing. While you may already have a loyal following of students, collaborative events can help to expand your reach and place you directly in front of your target demographic.
- Diversifies your offerings and income
Collaborating with others can help you to step out of your comfort zone and inspire you to be creative. While you may have set classes, go-to themes, trustworthy transitions and well-loved playlists, working with others sparks new ideas and will likely open your mind to alternative ways of sharing your gifts. Collaborating with others opens up brand new ways to diversify your income as a yoga teacher. It can be a real hustle to survive financially on studio classes alone.
Collaboration can open the door to offering longer workshops, retreats, immersions, online classes and even teacher trainings. With the world of yoga expanding and diversifying at such a rapid rate, the options for collaboration are endless- you just need to think outside the box!
Learn More! Click here to learn 25 more ways yoga teachers can make more money!
- Connects you to new studios and other teachers
In the same way collaboration introduces you to new students and clients, it also connects you with new studio owners and other teachers. Being a successful yoga teacher often means networking and being actively involved in your yoga community. Rather than limiting yourself to one studio, try teaching at different venues and open up your client base. As you find new studios and teachers, remember that you are also a student of yoga! Taking classes in different styles and with new facilitators will continue to help you stay inspired, motivated and challenged, which in turn will only improve what you have to offer your own students.
- Feel supported as you push your comfort zones
Comfort is a state of being that humans can’t help but love. It feels safe, we know what to expect, and there are no nasty surprises that make us squirmish or uncomfortable. But as the famous saying goes, ships are not made for the harbour. We are here to push ourselves, to grow, to step into situations that do make us uncomfortable.
Through challenge comes insight and expansion. Taking the leap to offer a workshop, retreat or immersion can be incredibly daunting, no matter how long you have been teaching for. It brings up all kinds of insecurities- ‘what if no one signs up, what if I don’t know enough, what if it’s an epic fail?’ When we step into these new projects and offerings alongside a trusted partner, the leap can seem all that less terrifying. Not only do you have someone to flesh out your ideas with, you have someone there to support you and cheer you on every step of the way.
- Financial support
Diversifying your offerings can come with financial obligations that you may not be initially prepared for. Organising a retreat, for example, can mean putting up thousands of dollars to secure a venue even before you start advertising the event. Applying for a workshop space at a yoga festival can mean sourcing flights, accommodation and other living expenses while you’re on the road. Renting studio space for a workshop, printing flyers or manuals, paying for online advertising, purchasing your own mats or props- hidden costs can indeed add up as you begin to plan these larger, more in-depth projects. Having a partner means splitting these upfront costs and feeling financially supported as you bring your creation to life.
Your mind may already be buzzing with new collaborative ideas by now! If you are still unsure, let’s look a little more closely at specific ways you can collaborate in the yoga world.
How to Collaborate in the Yoga World
- Tag Team Classes
This is where you share a regular yoga class with another teacher and tag team one another. You may alternate between teaching poses, or split the class in half depending on your strengths- one of you may lead standing poses and the other lead seated poses, one of you may love inversions, while the other focuses on backends or twists. You can come up with a more choreographed class plan, or if you are confident feeding off one another and the classes energy, you can be spontaneous and mix things up more. These classes are great fun and introduce you to new students in a dynamic way.
A workshop can be longer in duration than regular classes (2 or 3 hours), a half day or a full day. They may be a straight-up yoga workshop, or involve other modalities or components depending on who you wish to work with. They may dive into a specific yoga theme such as handstands, or even be more philosophical and look at the yoga sutras or meditation techniques. If you are expanding beyond yoga, workshops may include yoga combined with mala making, energy exchanges, mandala drawing, journaling, a cooking demo, an essential oils talk or an introduction to Ayurveda practices. The options are endless!
Collaborating with a partner for retreats is a great idea, especially if this is your first dive into the retreat world. It allows you to plan with someone you trust, bounce ideas off one another, find the perfect location, flesh out all the details, and then of course have hands-on support during the actual event. Retreats are a lot of work– both in preparation and execution! So having a partner or team here can really help the event be successful, enjoyable and profitable.
- Online Programs
Yoga has certainly embraced the digital world and this opens up even more space for collaborative projects that can potentially reach a global audience. From online yoga classes to online yoga programs, there is really endless potential to share what you love in the digital realm. Collaborating online has the same advantages of in-person events; you can expand your reach and audience, work with people who offer diverse and complementary skills to what you offer, and you have someone to share the workload with. Online offerings can also have a much broader reach, can have lower financial costs, and also have a longer shelf life, meaning you can ‘recycle’ the content and offer the program again.
Learn more! 5 Ways to Take Your Yoga Business Online
Festivals and yoga conferences can be a terrific way to strategically place yourself in front of a wide and engaged audience. If stepping into this kind of limelight sparks a flutter of nervous butterflies in your tummy, collaborating with another teacher in these environments can serve to take the pressure of and also create a unique and enjoyable experience for attendees. As mentioned above, work with someone that complements what you offer and that you feel confident working with.
Learn More! How to Teach Yoga at a Festival
- Special events
All of the above considerations have primarily focused on uniting with another yoga teacher. Yet in the ever-morphing world of yoga, you can collaborate not only with other yoga teachers, but also with other skilled professionals. You could align with musicians to offer a live music yoga class. You could invite bodyworkers or energy workers to offer a yoga class with components of massage, reiki or acro yoga. You could connect with a nutritionist to offer a workshop on yoga and healthy eating. It is possible to collaborate with other practitioners of movement modalities such as dance, surfing, pilates or martial arts. Think outside the box and be creative!
A couple of last pointers:
- Choose someone you truly vibe with. Collaboration can test your patience and some of these endeavors can also be quite big and at times, stressful, so be really careful with who you choose to align with.
- Work with someone who is different from you and who compliments you. For example, if you offer Yin Yoga, choose someone who offers a more Yang style. If your strength is meditation, work with someone who focuses more on asana. If you are a big personality who loves to be expressive and bold, work with someone who balances you out.
- Come to decisions together and ensure both people feel valued. Respect is essential when collaborating. Ensure you and your partner or team all feel equal and supported.
- Split up the work and divide tasks depending on your unique strengths. Luckily, we are all different- some people love admin and social media, while others are tech-phobic! Some people are big picture people and others are more detailed oriented. We all have things that we love doing or that we are naturally better at doing, so split up the tasks in a way that utilizes your unique strengths.
- Make it fun. Collaborating with others should always be an enjoyable journey. Don’t get too bogged down in the details or if things don’t always go exactly to plan. Remember that your vibe attracts your tribe, so stay positive, motivated and enjoy what it is you are sharing.
- Don’t compare yourself to your partner. Admire and appreciate your own qualities without falling into the comparison/competition trap.
- Don’t do it for only monetary gain. Sure, the financial rewards are one of the reasons to embark on a collaborative project. Yet try not to get too caught up in the figures. Think abundantly and focus on the other perks the experience offers- like gaining new skills, meeting new people and pushing your own boundaries.
- Don’t bite off more than you can chew! While it’s great to push yourself and try new things, be realistic, honest and authentic with what you can bring to the table. Don’t sour ongoing potential collaborations by offering more than you can deliver. Feel confident with what you have to share and are capable of delivering before reaching out to others.
Have you had a successful collaboration with another person in the yoga industry? We’d love to hear about your experience in the comments!