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  • Writer's pictureYou Yoga with Zara

How to get yogis back into classes

After graduating from Bristol School of Yoga in 2019 I was working for a yoga teacher in my hometown of Bicester, Oxfordshire. Classes were busy and it was great to finally be teaching as a fully qualified yoga teacher.

At the beginning of 2020 when COVID hit us all like a ton of bricks I was faced with the reality of having no work. The yoga teacher I was working for decided to take her business solely online throughout the pandemic and with no clients of my own I was very much on my own.

I made the decision to start my own yoga business. I worked tirelessly day and night on building my website, launching social media platforms, researching booking systems, whilst also furthering my training in children's yoga and pregnancy and postnatal yoga.

With a life full of uncertainty, one thing I was sure about was that I did not want to teach online. One of the main reasons I chose to become a yoga teacher was to create an environment for my students to feel safe and the blissful atmosphere that can only be created by having yogis all in the same room together. This was the feeling I was holding out for.

I was always optimistic that life would make it's way back to normal, albeit a new type of normal yet there were also plenty of times when I felt like I had made all the wrong moves.

I was sure that with yoga being focused towards Wellbeing that this would surely be a business that the government would allow to reopen sooner rather than later.

There was a huge emphasis on how the entire nation had suffered mentally from the pandemic - this was right across the board, from children, to adults, to the elderly and it had effected everyone from all walks of life.

With hope and optimism in my heart in June 2020, full of confidence and ambition I launched my company You Yoga with Zara.

I made purchases of mats, bricks, blocks, bolsters and eye pillows making preparations for a time when life would return to some kind of normal.

Eventually, in May 2021 after 3 lockdowns, a few false starts, lots of heartache, hours of sitting and watching the news for updates - finally in-person classes were back!!

I was ready to finally do what I had put my heart and soul into.

Yoga classes were once again "open for business".

It certainly hasn't been plain sailing. Life has been tough for everyone not to mention financially.

It has taken patience, heartache but finally from January this year, nearly two years after we first heard of coronavirus, my classes are finally booming!

My top tips for getting people back into in-person yoga classes

  • Be patient

There have been many times where I have had little to no students in class. It has been heartbreaking. Regardless of this, keep advertising, keep showing up and keep making yourself available for when students do arrive.

  • Understand

Not everyone will feel comfortable in a class environment, I have found students have asked a lot of questions about the set up of the class. Reassure them you are working as safely as possible. Make the,

  • Marketing

Keep your social media going with updates. Make sure you are consistent. Ask people who do come to a class to write a review. If you are offering things like postnatal classes, advertise in local "New Mum" groups. Wherever you are teaching, advertise in the local area including shops, coffee shops, community centers and look into newsletter or flyers that are delivered by local community groups etc.

  • Workshops and Events

Look at bringing something different to your audience. I have been offering Garden Yoga and Yoga and Prosecco. This has been a great way for people to practice, but be outside. They have been able to communicate and bond with others in an outside environment. Some people may find this more accessible for them. Be creative.

  • Be reasonable

If a student has booked into a class and have COVID, move their class to another session giving them time to recover. Understand that some people are taking longer to recover than others and that there may be uncertainty and vulnerability around COVID for people.

  • Carry on regardless

As hard as it may be, things will get easier. Stick it out. Remember why you trained, why you put in the hours and hold yourself in a space of positivity.

Many of my students have not practiced yoga at all during lockdown purely because they have missed that undeniable feeling that comes with practicing in a class full of other like-minded students. This is a feeling that I personally don't think can be replicated.

Future Plans

I am concentrating my efforts on the two businesses that I own.

Birth and Beyond with Zara where I offer a Birth and Postnatal Doula Service looking after women and families throughout Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. And my yoga business, You Yoga with Zara.

I am finally in a place mentally and financially where I will be returning to Bristol School of Yoga for my Advanced 300 hours. I cannot tell you how excited I am for this.

Since completing my 200 hours with Laura and Ashley I have been desperate to get back. COVID and lack of finances have meant this has been very much on hold for me.

Bristol School of Yoga holds the most special place in my heart.

I have never been in a place of learning where I have been made to feel so safe, so accepted and completely held. Laura and Ashley were both able to create this environment with ease. Not only did my training at Bristol change my life, but I have made friends and connections that have helped to shape my journey.

I have trained in London in packed classes with hundreds of fellow students where there was no time for questions and no time for reassurance. For me, I need personal engagement. I need my questions answered and I need to feel part of something.

I was absolutely spoilt with the wonderful qualities that Bristol School of Yoga have to offer.

Laura and Ashley have both given me the confidence I have needed to be myself.

Starting my 300 hours will feel like a dream come true.

Hang in their fellow Yogis!

Brighter days are on there way.

Love Zara xx

"Without the rain, there would be no rainbows"

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