23: Where to Begin as a Yoga Entrepreneur

In this episode, Chris and John will be talking about where an aspiring yoga entrepreneur can start their entrepreneurial journey from and how they can grow their yoga practice to great heights. 

These topics will be covered in response to two questions that were asked by their listeners.

They will dive deeper into each topic and give us some detailed advice on where to start right after teacher training. They’ll explain some of the ways that an aspiring yoga entrepreneur can start teaching people so they can figure out who their target market should be before they can eventually set up their own yoga practice at a physical location, online, or even both. 

If you’re a freshly trained yoga teacher, this episode is perfect for you. 

Key Points Discussed:

  • Cutting your teeth by starting to teach as many people as possible right after completing teacher training (01:46)
  • You’ll never be ready, don’t let your ego keep you from acknowledging all you’ve put in to acquire the knowledge (03:22)
  • Figuring out who you want to serve by starting with your own story (05:37)
  • Avoiding burnout and keeping the fire lit by always remembering the big why (07:50)
  • When a teacher stops learning, they lose their right to teach (13:19)

Learn More About The Content Discussed…

Join The Facebook Group –> http://bit.ly/yogaentrepreneur

When Was It Released…

This episode was released November 27, 2019

Episode Transcript…

Disclaimer: The Transcript Is Auto-Generated And May Contain Spelling And Grammar Errors

00:00          Yes. Welcome everybody to this week’s episode. It is a special one. Chris, what are we talking about? Well, today we’re going to be covering two topics, two questions. The first is, where do you even begin as an entrepreneur, as a yoga entrepreneur, like how do you grow and then in that process of growing, how do you keep the fire lit in your own practice? Some good questions. Let’s dive in

00:23          What’s up everyone? You are listening to Yoga Entrepreneur Secrets. I am Chris Yax, and I’m John Yax. We are part of a small group of yoga entrepreneurs who are committed to making a living, doing what we love, without feeling guilty about making money, or ashamed of being successful, because we know the real value of yoga and how the world needs it now more than ever. This podcast is here to teach the strategies and tactics so we can thrive financially as yoga entrepreneurs. We are the Yax brothers and welcome to Yoga Entrepreneur Secrets.

00:54          So, this is a cool one cause we’ve been asking you all to rate, review, and subscribe, and, as you do so, leave a question in the review. And so, today what we’re going to cover is two questions that were left in the reviews of our podcasts. So thank you first for rating, reviewing, and subscribing. If you haven’t already, please go to the Apple podcast. Subscribe, rate, and review. We’d love to hear what you have to say, and if you have any questions, cause we’re going to continue to do this, and we want to make it very relevant to you and help you in any way that we can. So the first question comes at us from Peace Bugga @Jane_Highsome. I apologize if I mispronounced that last name. He probably did. So, the question is, where to even begin. How do I grow and flow? Great question.

01:46          How would you answer that, John? So, as a yoga teacher and yoga entrepreneur, which this… I’m going to assume that’s what she’s saying, is like anything, the best way to grow is to cut our teeth. When we finish teacher training, when we finish learning how to teach this stuff, jump in and teach as many people as you possibly can. If that means starting out a studio and teaching classes in a studio, or paying your family and friends. No, I kid a little bit, but not really. We have a… one of our teachers when he finished his training, he actually paid his friends to take his class so that he could cut his teeth with it. So, our point is, teach as much as you can, because in that process there’s two things you’re trying to figure out. Yeah. And that is who do you want to serve and how do you want to serve them.

02:31          So, this is really interesting. So, back in 2005 when we opened up hothouse… so, it’s even before that. So we graduated from our first teacher training, the one that like, certified us to be teachers in 2003. Right? And so in 2003, it was a totally different landscape of yoga. Like, there wasn’t social media. There wasn’t this whole big online presence that you have the capability of serving people. And so, for us, back in the day, it was like you’re either going to teach at another person’s studio, or you’re going to open up your own studio. And that was pretty much it. Yeah. So then… so that’s like, that’s kind of the, “How do you want to serve them.” Right? So, what we’re saying in the cutting your teeth is, during that process… so, really, you just got to get your feet wet. You got to get in the mode. You got to like… you’ve got to put in the reps of teaching.

03:22          And that’s why it’s important right out of teacher training to go at it immediately. And there’s a lot of people who like, you’ll never feel ready if you’re in a position where like you’ve done a teacher training and you haven’t taught yet, like you’re never gonna feel ready and understandably so because you have a high standard, most likely of what you want to offer people. And your ego will keep you from acknowledging the effort, the time, the energy, the money that you’ve put in to acquiring the information you have. Chris, do you remember when we finished training? We threw ourselves into our first class. Did you feel ready? Oh my God. I felt so. I would like to individually call and apologize to everyone who was in my first class. My first class was a 90 minute class. I taught it for 105 minutes. I went over 15 minutes. I didn’t even realize, but I did every single cue that I knew for every single pose, and it was just, it’s Christmas in that I was in that class and it was the worst.

04:21          It was like, it wasn’t that bad. He was a good teacher. He had no, yes it was, but it thought we were better than we were because we had experience in martial arts and teaching classes and martial arts, but it didn’t translate that well guys. It was like, it was a different thing and I just, I wasn’t ready. Yeah. By my third class, I was ready to quit. It was my third one. I was like, yeah, I’m not cut out for this. I’m going back to martial arts. And thankfully I didn’t stop. Right. But so that’s, there’s some value in that. Just like, don’t stop, just continue, but you got to start. That’s kind of the where like where do you start? Start teaching, teach anywhere. Like we said, our one of our teachers paid someone to teach them. Paid them to teach them. Yeah, but I don’t think you need to go do that.

05:03          Like we have people who just graduated from our most recent teacher training and they were going out and teaching at a church. They were going out and teaching at a nondenominational church. They were going out and teaching in the park and like they’re doing the work that needs to be done in the beginning. The point is you got to start. If you don’t start, you’re never going to get to where you want to go. And as in that process, as you’re teaching people, you start to get a sense of who is it that I want to serve? How do I want to express this gift of yoga to the world? For some people it’s they get in, they start teaching, they realize, Oh, I want to teach kids. I want to make an impact in schools and have this as a huge shift in the school system to help kids.

05:37          Some people realize I want to teach the elder. They want to teach people that are in retirement centers that need that mobility to get their lives back on track and so the game it’s wide open. Some people are like, I want to teach wounded warriors, I want to teach veterans. I want to like, but we have to get out there and cut our teeth to get that to actually acquire the skillset and then we decide who is it that we want to serve and a great start point and deciding and figuring out who you want to serve is to start with your own story. We just finished, I think by the time this’ll air, it’ll be a couple of weeks ago. Who is your who? We did a whole podcast. It was actually a live training that we did in our yoga entrepreneurs secrets Facebook group. It really dives deep into figuring out who is your who, meaning who is it that you want to serve?

06:17          But the where we start is with our own story. Like somewhere along the way, you got fired up to practice yoga and in that process to teach yoga and there’s probably some problems, some struggle that you went through. Maybe it wasn’t yours but it was somebody else’s and all of a sudden you got inspired to want to help them. That’s what called you to actually do a teacher training and to become a teacher and so if you didn’t go through that, consciously go back and reflect on your own story, reflect on your own experience or if you didn’t have something that like stands out, figure it out. That’s why the value of teaching is one, you’re going to get better at the skill set that you have, but you’re also going to be encountering a lot of people and you’re going to be able to talk to them and see what problems they’re experiencing and see how you can help them.

06:53          Once you’ve got that, then it’s how do you want to serve them? Now, we started with a story of us back in 2003 when we started teaching and the answer was teach at a studio or open up a studio. Well, we opted for both. We started teaching at a studio and then we opened up our own studio 2005. Now the opportunities that you have are so much more abundant because you can go online and do an online business. You can like create a Facebook group and have people pay you to coach them within the Facebook group. You can become a yoga coach, you can own a studio if you want to. You can teach and become like an independent contractor at studios and teach at a bunch of them. Like we had a student of ours who was just solely doing retreats to Bali. I was like, awesome. I was like, man, how did you figure that out? I want to do that. Um, so the point is then, so who and then how that’s how you begin and that’s how you continue to grow and flow is teach a lot because that’s going to cut your teeth and that’s going to get you better. And then in that process, figure out who it is that you want to serve and how you want to serve them.

07:50          Yeah. The next thing that happens, and this kind of relates to the second question, is that when we get out there and start teaching and we’re consistent with our teaching, we tend to fall off. Our practice. This happens with most teachers, is they start to teach so much that they forget about that self care. They forget about their own practice and staying committed to their own practice. And this is vital in our ability to be exceptional teachers not falling off our practice, continuing to practice. But think about this. We all have those days, especially as we start to teach more where you teach two or three classes in a day and the last thing you want to do is get back into the studio and take a class. You get tired, but our ability to teach in all the emotional States, and this is why we are extremely adamant about teaching, like so when we first opened up our studio, all our teachers had to take five classes a week. That was the policy in order to teach with us. Now, I’ll preface that by saying we didn’t have a wives or kids at the time, so we were practicing at that time, six to seven days

08:49          week. For me it was like six because at that time and in my early twenties I would go hard all the, because the reason I was practicing was different than than the reason I’m practicing now, but what we said was, listen, our standard is six to seven we require of our teachers five. Why? Because we knew that for them to teach and to stop practicing meant they would be ineffective as teachers and they would stop growing and Chris needed a party night too. Yeah, my early twenties I probably did in their 20s we decided to have a party day. Oh my God. Yeah. Yeah, man. It’s trying to find the balance, trying to find the balance. But fast forward, two years later where we got married, we had kids, we started to realizing that we needed to balance life out in order to practice that many days a week in the studio.

09:41          Now we use, you know, home practice and things like that and we’ll, we can talk about that later. But in order to do that practice that much, other things had to take a side and we didn’t and that’s not, we’ve talked about this before in our value ladders, what’s most important in our lives and health is way up there and families right there too. So for all of us, for Chris and I, what we’ve realized is I need to shift this a little bit, right? And so we ended up dropping it down. As we got busier with life and kids and family, we started practicing four to five days a week, right? And we require a teachers to at least teach three to four days a week. So it’s shifted a little bit. And it happens as we get older and we evolve and we start to realize, okay, there’s other things that are in my life that are extremely important to me.

10:21          I need to balance my time in different ways. Right. So we’ve really haven’t answered the question of how do you keep the fire lit as you continue to teach more and as you increase the level of responsibilities. So the real answer, it was kind of embedded in what we were talking about, which is we’ve got to figure out why we’re practicing and then how our practice relates to how we’re teaching. And so, and it’s an evolution. The real answer is like the big takeaway is how do you keep your practice like on fire? How do you keep the fire lit for it is always remember your big why. Like when you started practicing yoga in the beginning there was something that captured you. There was a why that like drove you to practice even when you didn’t feel like it. Right. And then for us it was like, I want it to be the best Yogi.

11:05          Meaning I want it to be able to do press ups into handstands and all the different arm balances and at one point I was like, I want to be able to do like a one arm handstand and that meant a lot to me. That was my big why I wanted to get better physically because I was very performance oriented coming from the martial arts background. Now fast forward to what John was talking about here I am now like that was my early twenties I’ll be turning 40 this coming March at the time this is being recorded and I’ve got a wife, I’ve got two young children, I’ve got two yoga studios and a whole other business AXA concepts and my life is busy and the reason I practice now, my big why I don’t care about the handstands, I don’t care about the press stops, I don’t care about the physicality as much.

11:46          I care about the physicality and how it keeps me feeling good in my life. It keeps me showing up for my wife. It keeps me showing up for my to be the best father, to be the best husband, to be the best brother, the best employer that I can possibly be. So my big why is men, it’s not for the physical, it’s not to do these advanced like all basically like gymnastics type things because that’s what ends up happening when you advance in the yoga Asana, the yoga postures, it’s how the yoga practice affects my life. The real, what’s embedded in that question is at some point you’re like, man, I don’t feel like practicing. I taught two classes today. I taught three classes that I’ve taught 10 this week. I’ve taught 15 this week. Man, I don’t feel like getting back on my mat.

12:26          So how do you get on your mat when you don’t feel like getting on your mat? The answer is remember why you’re doing it in the first place. Go back to why you started it in the first place and that will connect you. It creates the environment mentally for you to show up physically. Yeah, and I know that when I continued to practice day in and day out through all of the emotional ups and downs, when I’m feeling a little bit off energetically, when I’m feeling tired, when I’m feeling energized, when I have so many other things to do, but I prioritize getting on my mat. I realize that when I have those experiences, those are the exact experiences that my students are having to so that I can actually talk about those experiences in classes and relate to my students even more so. So it’s powerful not just for us, right, to get our bodies feeling good, to get our minds clear, but it’s powerful for us as teachers to be able to relate to our students because they are doing the same thing.

13:20          We’re telling them to practice consistently. They’re coming onto their math and every kind of different emotional state and when we can speak to that, we create connection. Yeah. We have a coach of ours who says when a teacher stops learning, they lose their right to teach. That’s what John just described is like when you lose the connection of what it feels like to be a student, you’re not growing and staying, that you’re not leveling up your experience of the practice. So you lose the relatability to people that you’re actually teaching. And what’s so sad is that like the very thing that sparked the desire for you to teach and give back in this way was your practice. And if you look at your practice like throughout your lifespan, of course it’s going to change. I think one of the reasons we lose the fire is because we’re trying to practice with a Y that’s no longer relevant.

14:12          Like today, if I cared about doing handstands and stuff, I wouldn’t fire me up because I don’t care about it. It’s just inside. It’s like, it kinda hurts to say that because I really used to like identify with being able to do some cool stuff. But now I care about like being patient with my kids. Because if our why’s and what Chris is describing is, is that your why has to create emotion, emotion drives behavior. If there’s not enough emotion around your why, it’s not a big enough why because it’s not going to drive you. Like the example he just used is not enough. Why? For him or myself to get on our mats just to perfect our handstands just to perfect some part of our physical practice. There is a huge Y in the

14:52          ability to keep my body healthy, to feel good, to keep my mind clear so that I’m better at everything. I’m a better husband, I’m a better father, I’m a better brother, I’m a better son. It helps me become excellent in all areas of my life and that is a big enough life for me right now. And that’s how my practices evolve just like Chris’s.

15:08          Yeah, and the side benefit of that is then like we said, you get to relate to the students at every level of their practice. Like we’ve been open for 15 years now and we have students who have been with us the entire time, even before we opened up the studio. And because we continue to practice, I can relate to where they are now at their level of experience. And that their level and lifetime of their practice. Super valuable. So the real like what does winning look like for the beginning? It’s teaching and like doing it, doing it when you don’t feel like doing it and practicing when you don’t feel like practicing because you’re connecting to the big why and you’re just putting in the time to stay connected to what’s most important to you in relationship to your practice and in relationship to your teaching.

15:48          I’ll add to that. You’ll also feel that one of your students comes up to you and says, I have been going through the toughest time of my life and coming to your classes has helped me in such tremendous ways. I can’t even describe it. When your students share those victories in their lives, there’s intense experiences they’re having and how coming to your class has helped them in their lives. That is, that’s what winning feels and looks like.

16:11          Yeah. So you want to do lightning round on me? Speed round on you. All right. Let’s finish this episode off and do a speed round on Chris. Listen to a couple of the interviews that we’ve done. We always end with a speed round, and John, just do this at me. So tough. Everybody off the cuff. Here we go. Speed round. Chris, answer the questions as I read them out to you. So my favorite food is a used to be Angela [inaudible] and now it’s Tenpay tacos. I like it. The book everyone must read is untethered soul by Michael singer. It’s part of our required reading for our teacher trainings. I feel most alive when I’m surfing. Whew, man. Ah man. Let me qualify that when I’m inside of a barrel surfing. Oh, and that’s actually the moment that you get spit out of it. It’s like being born again.

17:04          People. Oh my God. So good money is a tool to buy back my time so that I can focus on what’s most important in my life. My number one passion in life is yoga. Come on, dude. Freedom means, Oh, freedom means acknowledging that I have a choice in any given situation. To see the situation in a way that lifts me up or at least gives me insight, or at least very, very minimally does it. Let me fall into this victim mindset, sweet a God or source, whichever word like to use. God is everywhere all the time and is loving. And last but not least, when people remember me, they’ll say he really gave a shit. He really cared. Yeah, that’s it. Amen. That’s it for speed round. All right, Chris, take us out. Thank you for listening to yoga entrepreneur secrets. Please rate, review and subscribe and as you’re reviewing drop a question and you can be featured in the next Q and a section of our, one of our episodes upcoming. So thank you so much. Do the work. Honor the struggle and make the world a better, a place to live. Peace, peace.

18:29          Yes, thanks so much for listening to Yoga Entrepreneur Secrets. Do you have a question that you’d like us to answer raw and uncut on the podcast? If you want your questions answered, all you need to do is head over to Apple Podcasts, and do three simple things. One; rate and review telling us what you think of the podcast. Two; in that review, ask anything you want related to yoga, and three; if you want to shout out, leave your Instagram handle or name and that’s it. Then listen in to hear your question answered Live, raw and uncut. Join us next time on Yoga Entrepreneur Secrets Podcast. Thanks.

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