I know. I really do know.

We are not meant to have fears as yoga teachers or studio owners.

We are meant to be among that exalted crowd of yoga professionals, for whom life is nothing less than practising yoga every day, getting that ‘yoga body’, wearing bamboo infused lounge wear and dispensing unicorn breath and love with every step we take.

But it’s not like that really, is it?

There is a lot of written stuff out there about how yoga teachers or business owners have ‘bad days’.

Yes – newsflash, we are only human. We get grumpy, and we bite back. Like most people there are days when we just don’t see the point, and simply want to crawl back into bed.

But what about the actual, real situations that we fear on a practical level?

These are many, and varied. And apart from ‘breathing’ and ‘letting go’ here are some actual real things you can do when everything goes PETE TONG for you in your teaching or as a business owner.

Yes, it’s scary. But let’s not mess around and just dive in to some of your worst fears as a yoga studio owner and teacher.

The Worst Things That Can Happen To You As A Teacher

You have a total brain lock while teaching

I’ve not actually been teaching that long. I got so scared of it that my heart rate would increase just thinking about ‘teaching a class’.

I was not scared of public speaking, and in fact I am a bit of a show off.

BUT – I’ve never been so nervous as in my assessment class for my teacher training and I had a mental block about being ‘not good enough to teach’.

I came out to run a studio in Thailand recently, and had to immediately get over myself and get into it.

But the other day – I froze.

I had no idea what was coming next or what the point of my class was. Literally, total brain freeze.

Listen – when your students are in down dog or childs pose – THEY CANT’ SEE YOU !

Take a moment. Look at your notes. Take a BREATH.

Don’t feel bad. It’s about THEM not you….

One of your students hurts themselves

Okay this is a tricky one.

Ultimately, your students are responsible for their own bodies.

You can cue, you can help them, you can give them modifications that will help them mellow out their practice.

But ultimately, with the right instruction, it’s down to them.

Which brings me on to – The Right Instruction.

ALWAYS teach child’s pose. Even if you have a class full of experienced yogis in front of you.

You can build in variations with shoulder flexes, gentle twists and wide legs to stop it getting dull.

But don’t ever not teach it. Your students need to know there is a safe space to come into.

And if you have time – or an assistant – there is nothing nicer than having two firm hands on your lower to enable you to sink deeper.

You get asked to demonstrate something you can’t do

Hideous. Just hideous.

So – after three years of shoulder injuries, my crow (bakasana) is not so strong.

But students LOVE to practice it, especially the side version where placing the elbow into the hips gives a lovely accessible variation that most people can do!

So my point is, whatever you are asked to ‘do’ – if you can’t, then SHARE your experience with your class.

They want to know you are human, they want YOUR story around poses. We are not gods – we are yoga teachers, some if not most of lot of the time. We are not all Rachel Brathen  (I LOVE HER!!!)

So as a teacher, you will know how to safely guide a student in and out of a pose. USE that knowledge. Don’t feel like you have to be able to do everything.

BONUS POINT – what about if you fall out of a pose you are demonstrating? It’s happened to us all folks, just breathe, smile and turn it into a learning point.

The Worst Things That Can Happen To You As A Studio Owner

No one comes to class – a room of empty mats

As a teacher or studio owner this has to be the worst.

WHY won’t people come? Have I screwed up massively? I am a great teacher though! But my studio is AMAZEBALLS! Is my marketing wrong? Am I in actual fact a terrible teacher?

Noise, noise, noise.

Look my dears. It’s gonna happen.

Sometimes, your best laid plans, get waylaid.

It’s raining. It’s a holiday. Just though some convergence of time, space, and life, no one comes to class. You might have even done a HUGE amount of marketing before this particular class. Or even done a massive promotion.

And then no one comes. Gutted. Can’t really say any more.

But here is the other side: it’s really, really not about you personally.

Yes you heard me. Right now, you are crying into your green tea. But listen, there are so many factors that influence a ‘full’ class depending on where you are, if you run a studio or are affiliated to one.

There are so many various ways, as a private teacher or studio owner, to lessen the pain of this happening. Yoginomics 101 will give you a ton of inspiration and guidance to help you through….

And guess what ?

It’s a thin silver lining we know, but if you are ready to teach and no one shows – then USE this time!

I was super upset the other day. Empty mats.

Managed to somehow get past my own ego and went through a speed practice, just on my own, of a new class I had wanted to try out.


Be patient, it takes time to build your following and your business.

Your best teacher leaves

He, or she, is amazing.

You personally like the teacher. A LOT. Your students are raving about this individual.

Unfortunately, yoga teachers tend to be a transient bunch. Let’s be honest, travelling with yoga is kind of a perk of the job!

As a studio owner or manager however this is going to be harder to manage.

I recently lost my best teacher. I say ‘lost’ – she’s rightfully going home after a period of travel and I can’t fault her for it.

But my students say she is ‘the best’ and ‘they don’t know what to do when she is gone’ – bloody right I say!

But as a studio owner here is the thing – people leave: I have to man up and build my team. I would like to think it puts the pressure on, in a good way. Your teacher team is the engine room of your studio and is a crucial driver of success.

I’m used to building teams this from working in London, but I will be honest it’s tricky.

I’m currently using Yoga Jobs All Over The World on facebook (which I hope ultimately to replace with something more efficient as part of Yoginomics!) and I have two amazing new teachers coming but this will always be a challenge.

You guys know how hard it is to get new teachers so what are your tips? Leave us a comment below.

Your studio gets broken into

This is probably one of the most heart-wrenching things that can happen, but unfortunately there are some rotten people out there. The same ones who may rip you off on your studio rent, sabotage your marketing, or steal your props.

There’s not a huge amount to be done, but one word will save you some of the heart ache and stress, and that is INSURANCE.

Just as you would your home, and your own body (and we will be assimilating more info on insurance for yoga teachers in a future Yoginomics resource) you should always make sure your studio is insured.

With any luck, you’ll never need the policy, but at the very least you’re assured some peace of mind.

So there we have it business yogis, some of the biggest elephants in the room that aren’t Ganesh. We’d like to hear from you though! What have we missed? What are YOUR biggest fears as a teacher or studio owner?

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About The Author

Jules Barber

Jules Barber is the Founder & Creator of Yoginomics. Having worked in a golden cage in London for 15 years she sold out of her business to become a yoga teacher, corporate wellness specialist and location independent entrepreneur, on a mission to mentor and coach the next generation of amazing yogis - teachers and students alike.

1 Comment

  • Lorena Kastner

    September 29, 2015

    Definitely had a good laugh reading through your article on the true elephants of yoga! Absolutely made my evening, as I couldn’t agree more. Thanks for sharing your experiences to make those aspiring to be studio runners feel reassured and not alone.

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