Nontraditional yoga gigs: Five Ideas for Teaching Yoga Outside of the Studio
When we think of teaching yoga, we tend to conjure up an image of a studio with beautiful hardwood floors, a soft earthy paint color on the walls, some instrumental music flowing through the speakers, and maybe even the smell of incense or essential oils filling our lungs. Teaching yoga in this environment is one of the most mainstream and can certainly be a fulfilling experience as both teacher and student, but it is far from the only option for teaching yoga in today’s world. If you are looking to step out of the box and brainstorm some different options that can appeal to your inner creative, supplement your income as a yoga teacher, or simply shake things up a little by trying something new, there are many options to consider.
The Best Nontraditional Yoga Gigs
Offer an Experience
You may be familiar with Airbnb for its vast options of places to stay while on a trip, but you may not be as familiar with Airbnb Experiences. Airbnb Experiences offer exactly what it sounds like - experiential offerings to check out locally or while vacationing in a new city. I recently took a trip to Denver, and a friend of mine booked an Airbnb Experience with a woman who led us on a gorgeous sunrise hike of the famous Red Rocks and provided breakfast sandwiches and coffees for us to enjoy as we sat down to enjoy the landscape post-hike. This experience got me thinking about all the incredible ways we can use skills we already have (in this woman’s case, hiking, imparting knowledge and fun facts about a popular tourist site, and preparing some incredible food) to bring joy to others and bring some additional revenue to our businesses.
As a yoga teacher, the options for creating your own “Experience” for people to book, whether you use Airbnb or your own website, seem truly endless. You could offer a personalized yoga flow for a bachelorette party or girl’s weekend (either by traveling to them or having them come to you), photo-op flow (guiding people into a picture-worthy pose like Dancer and taking their photo or partnering with a photographer to take professional shots), or take a page out of our Denver guide’s book and offer sunrise or sunset yoga at a tourist location near you - be it a mountain top, park, lake, or otherwise. If you do decide to host a class at a public location, be sure to check if there are any permit or reservation requirements before doing so to make sure you follow any processes that exist for using the space.
Where there are people gathering, there are opportunities to offer yoga!
Personalized Pre-recorded Flow
For even more flexibility and fewer logistics to coordinate, you can also offer to design a personalized flow for any occasion and send the link to your client via private password-protected YouTube link or emailed video. This could be offered for anything from a retirement party as a beautiful send-off into the client’s next phase of life, a corporate retreat, a morning celebratory and stress relieving flow for a bridal party the morning of the wedding, a restorative yoga class for a divorce party (yes, these are a thing!), you name it. You might market these personalized classes via social media, your email list, through posters or handouts at your studio, or via your website. The options here are truly endless!
If you have not yet heard of goat yoga, or a yoga class led in a space with goats that roam and jump on yogis, I encourage you to look it up for a smile and a laugh. Yoga improve our moods, as does playing with animals, so this is a truly incredible pairing! For the easiest entry, you may search “goat yoga” in your area and see if they are in need of teachers for their already established program. You may also partner with a local animal shelter to offer a fundraiser by organizing a “puppy yoga” class, in which you teach a class that has free-roaming puppies for your yogis to snuggle and play with. In this scenario again, you would not be responsible for bringing the animals, but you still get to enjoy the energy and smiles generated in the class. The class can serve a dual purpose as well: raising money for the shelter, and allowing students to adopt their very own puppy right then and there.
Offering yoga with animals can be a great natural boost for your yoga business, as people love to take and share photos during these classes and you can encourage them to tag you in them for some free word of mouth marketing. There are, of course, things to consider before taking on a yoga class with some furry friends in the room. It would be wise to tell people in advance to bring a mat or wear clothes that they do not mind getting dirty, in case one of the pups or goats has an accident in their vicinity, as well as having people sign a waiver to release you and/or the space of liability if a puppy nips at them or they get scratched by a wiley hoof during downward dog. For the most part, those who attend yoga classes with animals understand what they are getting into, but it is always best practice to set expectations in advance and protect yourself legally.
Partner with A Local Festival or Event
These days, there are so many incredible festivals and local events happening nearly every weekend running from art walks, to farmers markets, to bicentennial celebrations. Researching upcoming events in your area can be a great place to start if you would like to teach in a new environment and even recruit some new yoga students. Some annual events will have links on their websites that allow for open applications to participate or you may send an email via the “contact us” portion of an event page to offer to teach a yoga class at a future event.
If you do secure a spot to teach yoga at a large event, it is a good idea to set up a sign, such as an A-frame, to let passersby know they are welcome to pop into the class, what time the class (or classes) is offered, and even have some spare mats or towels nearby for any drop-ins to grab and join in. You may also come prepared with a bluetooth speaker if there is no music at the event (and if music is allowed) to help curate the environment for your class. Lastly, introduce yourself by name, let people know where you often teach or how to follow you online, and consider having a clipboard to allow people to sign up for your email list so you can reach them with any future offerings. Teaching in this high energy environment can be rewarding and fun, but it is also important to take advantage of the publicity and make it as easy as possible for those you meet to continue practicing yoga with you when the event is over.
Yoga in the Community
It can be easy to overlook spaces and opportunities that are right under our nose if we don’t initially consider them places that offer yoga. Places like golf courses, minor league baseball stadiums, community colleges, veteran’s organizations, and after school programs can all be great places to reach out to and inquire about offering to teach yoga. Even large corporations can benefit from a lunch hour yoga class offering for their employees or hosting a yoga class at a corporate retreat. Where there are people gathering, there are opportunities to offer yoga! You may start by simply pulling up Google Maps and scrolling through your area to notice what businesses or community spaces exist, then make a list of who you might like to reach out to. The worst an organization or space can say is no and the best they can say is “Absolutely, yes!, so why not reach out and see?
Hopefully the ideas listed in this article have inspired you or have even allowed you to generate ideas for other nontraditional yoga gigs you would like to pursue. It is refreshing to think outside the box from time to time and to think of new and creative ways to reach people through yoga and the options are truly limitless.