The next chapter I’m reviewing for you in my new book, “Stretched: Build Your Yoga Business, Grow Your Teaching Techniques,” is called “Finding, Booking and Teaching Corporate Yoga Classes.” I taught a corporate yoga class yesterday and there were two new students in class. It’s so wonderful when employers make yoga available to people during the workday and especially when it’s free or low cost and right on site. Employee wellness programs are becoming more and more popular and companies like Virgin Pulse, owned by Richard Branson and part of the Virgin Atlantic Group, are really upgrading and expanding the kinds of program and gadgets (think: cool technology) that people can use ( while at work and even at home) to keep track of key health indicators.
Teaching corporate yoga can be a fun way to expand your teaching into a different area, outside the studio and for different rates. Typically, the classes you teach at a corporate location will be priced differently (higher) than your studio classes. You will set the rate (versus the studio setting the rate, which is what happens much of the time for studio classes). You will also be (in many cases) the only yoga resource available to the company, so it’s possible to not only be seen as the expert but to expand your offerings to other things, such as meditation workshops or presentations on stress reduction and other wellness topics.
The question I always get when this topic comes up is, “How do I find corporate yoga classes?” In this chapter, I give you a list of several options. The one I suggest the most to teachers is to ask their friends where they work. Personal connections are still the best way to approach a potential client and once you have the name of the company and you’ve gotten a sense of the size, vibe and culture of the place from your friend, get the name of the Human Resources contact person. If the company is small and doesn’t have one, which is rare, perhaps an office manager or even the CEO of the company is the right contact. Your initial contact is just to introduce yourself, most likely via email, to the person and let them know a little about your offering. From there, I usually leave it be and if I never hear back from the person, I just circle back with my original contact to let them know. I’m always careful when doing this to just report back, not to make any judgments. People are busy and maybe they didn’t have time to reach out. They might also not think it’s a good fit for their location. In any event, I always get back to the referral source to let them know the status.
I often get emails from teachers who have booked a corporate gig but they’re unsure as to how much to charge. This is really part of the whole business discussion of “knowing your base rate for services,” which I cover in the earlier chapters about the business side of teaching yoga. Once you have set that rate, you’ll know it and it will allow you to enter into discussions about possible new services with greater ease and professionalism. It’s when you’re unsure of your worth and your costs that these conversations become a challenge and you sound as if you’re unsure. In this chapter, I will give you some tips for setting your rate, writing up a contract agreement (if you wish- I give you a sample Statement of Work in the appendix of the book), and understanding the different options that are available. There are many different models, the best one being that the employer pays you directly and they also pay for the classes so the employees attend for free. But this is not the only model. The one suggestion I always give to teachers is this: set up a format so that the employer pays you. I have worked jobs where I’ve been paid by the employee. This is a tricker thing from the perspective of knowing how much you’ll be paid, taking time out before teaching to accept payment, dealing with the administrative aspect of keeping track, etc. and all of that not only makes your pay variable but adds administrative costs and overhead to the job.
The chapter also details things to consider from the teaching perspective. First off, this is most likely not the place to teach complicated arm balances or inversions (that’s just me; I suppose if you want to, go for it). But my suggestion and in my experience, these corporate classes will be filled with beginners, first timers and weekend yoga warriors. The focus should be (my opinion) on overall stretch and strengthen as well as education about proper alignment. I give you lots of tips in this chapter about the sequencing and format ( things like, “Do you Om?”).
I added a special section to the chapter to cover the topic of working with a group of students with mixed levels of experience. Because this is a paid private gig, I’ve had some teachers ask me questions about managing feedback and feeling pressured to change their sequence to meet the needs of one or two students. I give you tips on how to handle this scenario as well.
Think of these classes as a huge opportunity to decrease stress and help to create better body mechanics in people who sit at a desk all day and are under those awful florescent lights. To that end, whenever I teach, I always use natural light and give them at least that time away from the lighting they’re under most of the day. Also, get feedback from the class and give it back to your hiring contact. Corporate yoga classes and the feedback that comes from them is a great way to educate people about the benefits of yoga, promote the classes for the different benefits that arise and acknowledge the employer for sharing the program with staff.
Next Chapter: Teaching Students with Injuries and Different Medical Conditions.
Come to one of my book parties in the fall! Sign up for my mailing list to be notified of upcoming events!