Diary of a Yoga Teacher Faced with Covid 19: Phase 1 – Handling the Panic… 3 things you absolutely need to succeed.

How has Covid-19 affected you and your yoga teacher aspirations?

In a nutshell, here's what happened to me:

  • Friday 6th March – writing to students to explain the next sets of 6 week courses were not going to start, because whilst we were not in lock down yet, it was clear Covid-19 was becoming a threat to life as we knew it. With over 100 students signed up for these that was one huge blow to my income right there.
  • Monday 9th March – writing to regular students to ask if they still felt comfortable coming to classes that week – they did, so they went ahead.
  • Friday 13th March (yes really! I’m not superstitious but that was the date) I write to cancel all classes until further notice as it becomes clear the government is about to announce lock- down.
  • From comfortably generating an income of around £3500 per month teaching just 10 classes a week, all income stopped. All memberships were put on hold and I had to reduce the regular freelance support I had been paying with no certainty when I’d be able to increase their hours again.

The crisis sent me into a tailspin for 10 days…… 

Five days of sorting out the admin and responding to the dozens and dozens of messages and questions from my students.

Five days of wallowing – and feeling stuck! Of doing nothing positive to move me forward; of abandoning my yoga routine and practice (how could I?!) and just generally feeling sorry for myself!

Some yoga teacher and inspiration I was turning out to be!

Until one evening, having drunk too much wine, I gave myself a good talking to and vowed the next morning I would get up (despite the hangover I knew I’d have!) and make a start on planning some online offerings for my students, which some had already been asking me if I might do. (And there was me ignoring those buying signals! Honestly! How crazy was I?)

So, the following morning I did get up early. I went back to my yoga routine and by 9am had done my yoga practice, walked the dog and was sitting at my desk working on the offerings I would make to my students and preparing the launch.

One week after pulling myself out of the funk I had over 100 students signed up to 3 offerings – and my online classes began.

It was manic.

It was scary.

Whilst I’ve a lot of experience coaching and training online I’d never ever taught a yoga class online!

I had no equipment – (and no idea what I needed or what was best to purchase) and needed my assistant to help setting up the tech.

I had so many decisions to make – but just doggedly kept putting one foot in front of the other, responding to students and getting something out there.

I took what I’m constantly encouraging other yoga teachers to take: imperfect action!

And it worked: it generated income; eased the worry of cash flow and allowed me to keep a core base of my community.

Truthfully, my students say it provides structure to their week, and they really enjoy the sessions, and as for me, it’s kept me sane and eased financial concerns, at least for now. Whilst there are still uncertainties about the future, especially when a recent Guardian article talked of it being a year before gyms and fitness classes might look anything like normal, I am more optimistic than I was 8 weeks ago.

I am sure that some of my yoga teacher community will have successfully pivoted and made a success of teaching online – and if you’re one of them reading this right now, then I’d love to hear about how it all worked for you!

But if you’re a yoga teacher for whom this Covid-19 crisis has left you reeling; if you feel as if your yoga teacher dreams have been put on hold, or heaven forbid, crashed and burned, over the next few weeks I aim to offer resources and tips that I hope can lift your spirits and encourage you to consider what the next best steps for you might be, so you don’t stay stuck, or wallow, but find the right path for you going forward.

The truth is, when the chips are down; when the going gets tough; the yoga teachers who not only survive but thrive
will be the ones who have the right mindset.

And there are 3 key states of mind you’re going to need to offer you a greater chance of success:

3 key mindsets to making it through ANY crisis in your business but particularly right now in the face of Covid-19:

  1. 1
    Crises often spark panic mode. It’s just part of the normal human reaction. But the trouble is, what that does to our bodies is we are sending messages to our brains saying we are under threat. So the body responds as it was designed to do. It shuts down ANY form of functioning it deems un-necessary in that moment, and prepares us for fight, flight or freeze.
    Digestion stops. Heart rate increases. Muscles prepare to run. Cortisol, our stress hormone pumps out in spades.

    No time for creative thinking.

    No time for rational thought.

    No time for reflection, or connecting with our inner guidance or intuition.

    We either do nothing like a rabbit in the headlights, or we race into doing something with little thought out of an act of desperation, then feel even more desperate if that doesn’t work.

    So, if any of this resonates with you, and you haven’t glided effortlessly from teaching classes face to face to generating sustainable income online I invite you to take a step back and be open to looking for other options which might work better for you.
  2. 2
    Curiosity is about turning that round and asking, “If I can’t do this right now, what could I do?”; “How COULD I do (fill in the blank!)”; “Where could I learn (fill in the blank!) or “Who do I know or where could I go to get help to make this easy?”

    Asking the right kind of open questions allows the brain to look for the opportunities instead of shutting down and leaving you staring blankly and despondently at your computer and your bank balance……

    Start recognising thoughts that shut you down for what they are – limiting beliefs!

    Instead, start asking open questions. Because guess what that leads to…….
  3. 3
    For me, a key part of the initial work of trying to dig my way out of what appeared to be this gaping black hole was trying to come up with offers which would do two things:

       a) Be something that students would be keen to sign up for and

       b) Generate income for me on a sustainable basis – so not a “drop in” model and absolutely not a free model. (And I’ll talk about this whole money topic in more detail in further posts, because it’s just SO important, and such a tricky issue for so many yoga teachers.)

    You need to know your community – and then you need to be creative in thinking of ways you can serve them online, whilst still supporting yourself.

Businesses of all kinds are struggling through this pandemic. The truth is, it will be the entrepreneurs and businesses which are willing to be open, curious and creative who will navigate their way through it and come out the other side intact and thriving.

It’s never too late. Here’s a quote from one of my offers to my students:

When something bad happens you have three choices:
You can let it define you, destroy you or strengthen you. 

Whilst I faltered a little when the challenge first hit, I’ve decided to go for option three.

What about you?

Are you in our Facebook community?
If you want to join a community of like-minded yoga teachers, determined NOT to let the Covid-19 define or destroy them, make sure you’re part of the 
Yoginiors Facebook group, where, over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing what works and what doesn’t at a time like this.



Actions you can take

Join our FB group; and tell us your story of how you’ve coped with the Covid -19 crisis. Whether you’ve successfully transitioned online or struggled, I’d love to hear your stories. They will help others either realise they are not alone or help inspire them to take some positive action to move them forward.

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