7 Ways Yoga Teachers Keep Their Students Coming Back

Ways that yoga teachers keep their clients and students coming back to their classes (and raving about their classes in the process)? Let me count those ways...

Let me just say, first off, that this is about one thing: how to lift your students up. Yoga teachers everywhere need to know that this is the reason people come to their classes, to any yoga class. It is because they want to raise their vibes, they want to fly higher.

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And you know how this is from when you were a student who couldn't wait to get to the studio. 

It is an escape, a release, a lift to attend a yoga class or session. It just is. No matter if they are coming to bust a mama belly, to grow a butt, or to avoid co-workers during the lunch hour. They are really there to be raised. Their personalities may not get that, but their spirits do. The spirit is coordinating this move into the practice. 

7 Ways Yoga Teachers Keep 'Em Coming:

1. Make eye contact with every single one of them:

Today's world can be really messed up: eye contact is missing for one thing. I think that's part of the reason why isolation is going up, along with mental health issues. Not only that, but eye contact is beautiful way to let someone know she can trust you. 

And trust is huge for a yoga teacher. I once had a wonderful teacher tell me, "Thank you for trusting me." It was eye-opening for me (because she had just maneuvered me from wheel to handstand, and the eyes were popping out of my head along with the veins in my forehead).

It required a lot of trust on my part, but I respect yoga teachers a lot. I trust most of them because just like students are coming to be lifted, yoga teachers are coming there to lift (again, whether either party knows it or not). 

Eye contact says they can trust you to take care of them for the next hour or so. But don't pull a Larry David and stare into their eyes with suspicion or creepily gaze at them like they're all aliens. Just look directly into their eyes when you greet them (of course try to greet everybody obviously, but I feel like that's obvious). 

The point is to make them feel seen.

2. Ask your students how they feel, what they need:

Especially if you're chatting with them before class. I did this today, and a student said she had ran a marathon and felt tight in the outer hips. So I threw some good pigeons, pigeon chairs, thread the needle and fire logs onto the fire. 

Here's what is awesome about doing this: they see you care about them. You changed a little bit of your sequence for them! Little ole them! And maybe they won't feel so little. They'll feel big (not big in a bad way). But they'll feel special, and that's how I want everyone I come into contact with to feel. And I know that because you're an awesome yoga instructor, you like to make people feel special too (see what I did there?). 

If they aren't shy or private, you can say something like "This next pose is dedicated to Genevieve." (I love the name Genevieve..if you know someone named Genevieve shout out in the comments below). This always has the effect of making me feel like a musician, which I love. But maybe know him or her a bit to the point that you know they won't cringe in the corner, turn the color of a beet, or run out crying because everyone now knows that she wants to rejuvenate the strength of her vaginal walls. 

The point is that you attune with them, get to know them, ask them about the day they're having, whether they need energy or chilling out, what part of their bodies feel stiff. Think like a masseuse. Any problem areas?

3. Always target the core:

Seriously. Try to get it into every class. If they start seeing ripples on the belly, muscle on the ass, a slimming of the waist, they won't be able to resist the magical powers of yoga, and especially, your magical yoga. 

Not only this, but the core is really the foundation of a million poses. Inversions are sh++ without a core. Forward folds? Core mania. Even backbends necessitate the power of a beautiful core. 

You could be Donald Trump up there, and if you gave them a strong, gorgeous core, they'd come back to you. Everyone loves a bikini body. You know it's true. I'm not trying to say that everyone is shallow. On the contrary, I'm saying that everyone wants to be strong because strong is beautiful. That's why a toned belly, slimmed and toned back, and round ass look beautiful because muscle (and actually fat too) is healthy and therefore beautiful. 

KEY CORE POSES FOR BELLY, BACK, AND BUTT:

  • Navasana (belly)

  • Half navasana

  • Temple pose (butt)

  • Bridge (butt)

  • Lunge pose (all)

  • Locust pose (back)

  • Bow pose (back)

  • Leg-lifts (belly)

  • Yogic bicycles (belly)

  • Upavishta Konasana B (belly)

  • Chair (all of them)

  • Baby cobra {hands off the floor} (back)

  • Warrior 3 (all of them)

  • Plank (all of them)

  • Dog splits (butt mostly)

You know. I just wanted to give a list because it helps to have a list sometimes.

4. Do they like good music?

It's about making them feel good, right? 

Music is always a fast route to feeling good. And not just for them. It can change the whole dynamic of a bad day for you too. There's nothing more daunting than having a horde of people come to you to be uplifted when you're having a crappy day. So say it's been one of those devilish whammies, then just turn up your own favorite song to teach your favorite poses to your students. They will feel the shift in energy because you are the keeper and leader of the energy of the class. When you rise, they rise. 

But know what to do about music. And this means knowing your people. I have a lot of different ages and genders (well, there's only two) but I like to make sure everyone is comfortable with what I got going on. I'm not going to play Limp Bizkit to 70-year-old women, you know? (Well, I would not be playing that for myself but you get my example there). Whether we are going to party, or take it easy, I want everyone to be smiling. And the music is there to bolster that, to support the mood, the theme. To support your students.

I've taught plenty of classes in which I just kept it silent. There's no shame in that. In the same vein, I like silent pauses in a conversation to see how comfortable the other person can be with it or with me or with his or herself. Maybe sometimes, you make it a music-less class. These can be powerful. But more energy is required on your part to keep things high and strong. Because music supports the teacher for the most part. Music helps the energy flow. Music is a great uplifter and a big help. 

Study different artists and new releases and try to get into new types of music. Be fearless and creative with it. This is a majorly fun part of being a yoga teacher. For some reason, we don't dance as much as we used to. Maybe people will come to your class to partake in a glorified form of dancing: yoga. 

5. Smile. Just do it.

You know what, just do this for you. Study after study, MRI after MRI has shown that smiles light up the good parts of the brain. I am definitely paraphrasing but definitely not making this up. I have read about these studies.

And I believe in the smile. For the smiler and for those who witness the brilliance of the smile. Even if you don't mean it, a smile can really help. I guess I'm talking about faking it until you make it. Part of me wants to say: "FAKING IT! I refuse to be inauthentic!" But then I have to calm myself down and say, "Listen, if you're having a bad day, and you have to teach a class, do you think an angry, sad face is going to make them feel good?"

And then that defiant me slinks away, and lays down on the couch because that'a what she feels like doing. The yoga teacher me keeps on smiling, keeps on teaching and keeps the crazy, lazy me from sabotaging the whole situation. 

And then all of me can go cry in a bathroom after the job is done. Catch my drift? Show must go on sort of thing. Journal, meditate, dance or punch later. Right now, there's a class to teach. 

Smiling shows your students that you're there with them. That you're not at your vet or other job or doctor's office or classroom. That you're there with them, present and ready to lift them up. Because it's your job.

No, it's your career. To lift others up. That's a nice thought. You're in the right business. 

6. Make the savasana as badass as possible:

I don't know that I'm fantastic at this, but if there's a song I really love, I play it almost too loud. That's always good, especially if it's been an awesome class with a lot of movement. 

Or maybe there needs to be complete silence with your guidance into their bodies and breath. Or maybe utter and complete silence with nothing from you or the speakers, whatever your gut tells you about the people, what they need and how the class went. Perhaps you only feel like giving some knock-out wise words at the end. 

Maybe you even give a very brief Thai massage. At my TT, they did this to us at every practice, and it was so amazing. My teachers truly took joy in nourishing us this way. I don't always do this because sometimes it's just not going to happen. I admit that. But I do it from time to time. When I do it, I ask my students put their hand on their heart if they want to be adjusted. Pull and their legs to stretch the lower back a bit, massage their hands, and do the same with their arms. 

Don't forget that most people like to be touched, and it's actually wonderful for us. It nourishes the brain and boosts the immune system. No, it's not just for babies. And think about this: some people go completely untouched for whole days. I can't handle that thought. To me, it is the loneliest feeling in the world to think about that. 

That's why I'm touchy-feely and proud of it, baby. Let me know if you got a problem with that. (But I'm not touchy-feely in a creepy kind of way, let me clarify...nor a violent way as the latter sentence seems to imply). 

If you're not going to touch them during savasana, then try to assist them during class(asking if it's ok of course). If someone doesn't want to be touched, then please don't for goodness' sakes. 

During your badass savasana, you could place something over their eyes like a cold washcloth sprinkled with lavender oil (my favorite) or maybe just dab a little bit of a special essential oil and rub it into their temples. 

One thing for sure: bless them all while they lay there. Send them your beautiful vibes, wish them well. Wish them consciousness, love and creativity. It feels good to do this for them, and maybe they'll feel it. 

(Feels good to do this for people outside of class too). 

7. Talk to them as much as you want after class:

You don't have to be homecoming queen or king, but don't run away. Be friendly. Show them light and love. Listen to them. Breathe while you talk to them. People love talking to their yoga teachers. I don't know what it is, but they do. So offer yourself a little bit more if you can. 

But don't exert yourself with the social aspect of it. I've found that many yoga teachers are introverts like me. And it can be a little tiring for many of them so always respect your own boundaries. Life is demanding so be kind to yourself as well as to them. Know how and when to politely glide away from a conversation with a student.

Ignoring them or running out is not always okay. Realize that you are a leader, and for many professions, social grace is a necessity. Yoga Instruction is a profession in which you must learn your limits and keep your boundaries strong, while showing the light of your kindness to all who come to learn from you without condescension. It's tricky, it's still a tight rope for me to walk. But we just keep trying to be the best we can. 


TEACHING YOGA:

  • Two of the best things I recommend for this is meditation and your own yoga practice. Get some crystals from Sage Goddess in order to heighten both your meditation and your yoga practice, which are both very important for your teaching.

  • Something that has helped my teaching is a mental performance supplement called Ciltep. Mixed with a little bit of cacao or coffee (not too much caffeine), this supplement produces some of my best classes. You need to take 2 or 3 on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. Then you can eat a little bit, a little while after. This is a natural nootropic that uses vitamin B6, artichoke extract, Acetyl-L-Carnitine, L-Phenylalanine, and another root extract. I have loved this supplement. It keeps me on track, knowing right from left, keeping my sequence sorted out and clear. That cognition power extends to my students who are energized by my clear thinking and well-spoken class.

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What are some ways you keep your students coming on back? How do you make them feel good? We know you're a good teacher so come on and let us know! Comment below. 

Related: How to Accelerate Your Teaching With Mudras: 11 Hand Gestures and Corresponding Poses

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