7 Under-Served Community Groups Who Need Yoga
How to stop competing for students and grow your yoga teaching or studio business by serving specific groups within your local community.
Whether you’re an independent yoga teacher organizing classes or the owner of a yoga studio, competing in the mainstream can be tough.
Rather than try to compete directly with all the yoga providers in their area for the same students, smart yogipreneurs look for opportunities to work with underserved groups in their local communities.
The beauty of yoga is its diversity. It provides great benefits to everyone from preschoolers to athletes to seniors.
Many of these people never make it to regular classes in yoga studios for a variety of reasons. Sometimes they feel intimidated and like they wouldn’t fit in. In many cases, it’s a matter of scheduling and logistics preventing them from attending. However, they all need yoga — you just have to figure out how to reach and serve them.
In this article we’ll explore:
- Example Groups: Seven examples of community groups that could benefit from a regular yoga practice, their needs, possible ways to approach them, and ways you might pitch.
- Finding Them: Ways to find these groups — both online and offline.
- Logistics: Figuring out how to organize your classes for these groups.
- Upselling: How to attract people from these groups to your other classes and offerings such as workshops, teacher training courses, or retreats.
1. Parent Groups
- Needs: Many mothers greatly benefit from a regular yoga practice, yet may be too self-conscious for a number of reasons to join a class.
- Approach: Consider offering a free demo class during a monthly meeting or playgroup showcasing mother and child poses. Keep kids interested by selecting poses they can relate to such as down dog and tree pose.
- Pitch: “Yoga decreases stress while increasing strength and building muscle to help you rediscover your pre-baby body. It also provides an excellent bonding experience for parents and children.”
2. Work at Home Professionals
- Needs: Those with families often find mornings and evenings are full of commitments. Those who live alone tend to get up late and go to sleep late. Many will relish an afternoon yoga session instead of that second or third cup of coffee to maintain focus and productivity.
- Approach: Most studios tend to offer classes in the mornings, evenings, and weekends. You can stand out by offering an afternoon class for adults with the afternoon available. Adults who do commute to a workplace but have flex days usually take Mondays or Fridays off, so classes on these days are generally more popular.
- Pitch: “Yoga exists not only as an excellent stress reducer but also as an invigorating mind-body exercise that can increase productivity and focus.”
3. Pre-School Programs
- Needs: Kids with energy to burn and frazzled mothers are both in dire need of yoga’s benefits, but it’s not easy for them to attend a standard studio class.
- Approach: Reach out to the many pre-school programs in your area to see if they’d like to schedule a field trip to your studio or if you can bring a yoga class to the pre-school on a weekly or monthly basis.
- Pitch: “Studies show that young children reap enormous benefits from yoga. Regular practice can help children better manage intense feelings as well as master the mind-body connection.”
4. Senior Centers
- Needs: While mainstream studios may attract a few sprightly seniors, most will hesitate to go, feeling they won’t be able to keep up. Seniors are particularly concerned about avoiding falls, maintaining mobility, and staying sharp mentally.
- Approach: Research local senior centers, retirement homes, and active living communities. Chair yoga is popular amongst the senior population, particularly for those of advanced age.
- Pitch: “Yoga is an excellent practice to build and maintain balance and strength throughout the body. It activates the mind-body connection, which strengthens cognitive function.”
5. After School Programs
- Needs: After school programs are always looking for activities that appeal to students. Many studies document the benefits of yoga for students.
- Approach: It’s important to discuss who will cover the cost of the yoga session: will it be the program itself or the parents of the students attending the program? If it’s the latter, account for the time it will take to send home permission slips and send back money for the special class being offered by your studio.
- Pitch: “Yoga benefits students in a variety of ways; it can help release stress, increase focus, and build self-esteem.”
- Needs: Individuals dedicated to their athletic passions are always eager to learn new ways to strengthen their bodies, increase their endurance, and reduce the risk of injury.
- Approach: Offer yoga workshops wherever cyclists, runners, tennis players, or other athletes meet.
- Pitch: “Yoga provides a variety of benefits to athletes and active individuals across the board through its focus on breath work, stretching, balance, and overall endurance.”
7. Small Businesses
- Needs: Nutritionists, counselors, therapists, and weight loss professionals can all benefit from partnering with a yoga studio.
- Approach: Consider approaching these local businesses and working together to refer clients to one another, and offering such clients an introductory discount.
- Pitch: “Yoga compliments a variety of therapies that target physical and psychological self-improvement.”
Making It Happen
- Online: Apart from getting creative with Google searches, other places to look are CraigsList, Facebook Groups, and Meetup.
- Offline: There may be local places that are meeting places for your target groups including local schools, community centers, Churches, and local libraries.
- Scheduling: If in doubt, work with the group to run a survey to find the most advantageous days and times for classes. Easy-to-use survey tools include SoGoSurvey, SurveyPlanet, and Typeform.
- Fees: It’s important to negotiate if you’ll charge by person or by class. In some cases, the association or facility may pay for the classes.
- Coloring Sheets: When teaching kids, a simple accompanying craft such as a coloring sheet with an animal doing a yoga pose is excellent for maintaining their engagement. On the back of the sheet, you can include information about your various offerings for the parents.
- Cards: Hand out discount cards to encourage new members to attend classes. When new participants call, you can sign them up and encourage a punch card pass so they can try multiple classes!
- Raffles: Hold a raffle for one or two participants to win a class pass.
Over to You!
With a bit of planning and some savvy marketing, yogipreneurs can find all kinds of opportunities within their local communities. You never know what may come from reaching out to a special interest group or complementary small business in your area. While the first step may be the hardest, the resulting journey will be a rewarding one.
If you have any questions or would like to share your experiences, please post a response below. I’d love to hear from you!