“Words of advice for the starving yoga teacher,” by Stanley Pranin


“Everything mentioned here could be readily applied to the starving Aikido teacher!”

This is a slightly modified version of an article I wrote some months ago for one of my yoga teachers who was lamenting the fact that she couldn’t make a living doing yoga alone. Everything mentioned here could be readily applied to the starving Aikido teacher as well.

I’ve been thinking a bit more about one interesting way a yoga teacher might apply various Internet marketing techniques to enhance her reach and income.

Here is a hypothetical example. A yoga instructor goes to a park with her mat on a day with good weather. She finds a shady area under a large tree. By choosing such a location you don’t have to worry about harsh shadows. A friend comes with a video camera and tripod. If two friends are available, so much the better, as the yoga poses can be shot from two different angles.

She proceeds to perform a yoga routine at a slow to moderate speed that consists of about 25 (or whatever number) of asanas. There is no talking in the video, she just concentrates on performing the routine as expertly and gracefully as possible.

She goes home and takes the memory card(s) from the camera and fires up her laptop and inserts the card. She uses an inexpensive video editor like Sony Vegas Movie Studio to edit the video.

The video is cut up into 27 parts. The first part is an intro 1-2 minutes in length, then the 25 poses, and finally, an “outro” with contact information, link and whatever other relevant information that serves as a “call to action” for the viewer at the end of each segment. In other words, you want the viewer to take some specific action like provide an email address, go to a website or page.

The first edited video consists of the intro and the first pose with its title in Sanskrit and English. The instructor sets up her microphone and, while viewing the video footage, records a soundtrack which would be similar to her speech during a yoga class. An additional soundtrack consisting of royalty-free meditative type music may optionally be added.

If she wants to go into further detail, the footage at normal speed can be repeated and attached as a slow motion section thus tripling the length of the first installment. The overall length of the video clips should be no more than 3-4 minutes. Even 2 minutes is fine because people are in a hurry and want to consume the information in convenient, bite-size portions.

After the soundtracks are added to the video and all editing is complete, the video clip is uploaded to youtube. (If you don’t already have a youtube account, you need to set one up.) In the description section on youtube below the video, all relevant contact information and explanations with a clickable link are provided.

Next, she gets the embed code from the youtube video and embeds the clip on her website, such as a wordpress.com site, with an introductory text beneath it. The video is free to view but there is a contact form either below it or on the sidebar. In the outro of the video, the teacher requests that viewers leave their email addresses. One of the goals of this strategy is to build up a mailing list. Since the teacher has made a lot of effort to produce this free, useful content, many viewers will want to reciprocate by providing their email.

Next the teacher posts a screenshot image from the video on Facebook with an explanation and clickable link that takes the reader back to her website to view the embedded video. FB posts drive more traffic to the website. [IF YOU HAVE AN ADVERTISING BUDGET YOU COULD ALSO “BOOST” OR PROMOTE THE PAGE ON FACEBOOK TO GREATLY INCREASE ITS REACH]

On Twitter, a very brief explanation and shortened link are tweeted out to her followers. If you don’t have an account, it’s worthwhile setting one up.

The same video is linked to again after a day or two with a different screenshot from the video along with a slightly different explanation. This can be done 2 or 3 times within a week with different images to get the most mileage from the video.

The teacher then announces to her yoga classes that she has uploaded a new video to her website and encourages them to watch and leave feedback.

Also, the teacher sends a bulk email to the addresses on her list advising her contacts of the availability of this new instructional video.

The following week she puts up the second edited video containing the second asana with intro, pose, and outro in the same manner. She again makes announcements on FB and Twitter, sends out a bulk email, etc., to drive traffic back to her website and continues building up her email list.

She does this for 25 consecutive weeks. By now she has gathered several hundred emails and established herself as an expert and go-to person for yoga in her area.

At the end of the 25 week period, or even before, she puts together a DVD containing all of the 25 poses, that is, the entire workout routine. Also, to enhance the value of this footage, she creates a special index page on her website that serves as an index for all 25 techniques she has published with individual clickable links. Purchasers of the DVD are provided with this link too so that can access the material online. In other words, the video footage can be accessed as a complete yoga workout, or to study individual poses via this indexed page of links.

The teacher takes along copies of this DVD wherever she goes and mentions its availability on her website, FB and Twitter, via email, and discretely during classes and workshops. The DVD is priced at $19.95. 5 copies sold in a month’s period add $100 of extra income, and so forth.

So having taken the trouble to film one yoga routine — perhaps requiring about 2 hours shooting time and quite a few hours of video editing — the teacher has generated the material for 25 weeks of video blogs and a salable product for her trouble. The main expenditure is one of time and effort for editing, blogging and making announcements to students.

Of course this can be repeated with a more advanced yoga routine, a routine for seniors, for kids, or whatever you want.

Google will gradually pick up and index these videos as the number of installments increases. She would rank high on google searches for “Your Town yoga”, Yoga DVDs, etc.

The teacher can enlist the aid of her yoga friends and students on FB to like and share the announcements and increase traffic and sales.

Really there are many more marketing variations, but this is a basic example of one strategy. Almost no one will do this. This is the advantage that a motivated, disciplined, competent and charismatic teacher has. You’ll be the only one to do it…”


  1. Nice post on yoga. Thanks.

  2. It is really an informative post. I shall follow all its instructions. Thanks.

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