Teaching Yoga: Class, Book or DVD?

If you’re a yoga instructor, most certainly you have considered which means is the best way to help teach proper form. Whether your teaching involves live classes, working as a personal instructor, writing yoga books or creating a series of DVDs, you’re going to run up against a different set of obstacles and challenges.

It comes down to a few basic factors. First, you need to find an outlet that fits into your overall plan- your idea for what your brand is- one that suits your strengths, one that appeals to your ideal customer and one that will help you progress toward your long term goals. Yoga books, DVDs or classes will all help you achieve your goals- they are just different means of allowing you to reach the same end.

When debating about the use of books, ask yourself who buys books? It’s not a secret that book sales are on the decline, but eBook sales are actually increasing. (1) The average yoga book buyer is going to be someone who doesn’t have the time or money to attend a class, but would still like to study at their own pace, rather than use a DVD.

A DVD buyer looks a lot like a book shopper. Similarly, they may lack the time or money to attend a class, but may be more of a visual learner who wants to study at their own pace.

Finally, somebody who attends a class is likely a very social learner. They may have a little more money and time than the book or DVD buyer or they may simply prefer an in-person experience.

When considering live classes, you will want to consider possible disadvantages. For example, if you’re renting your own studio, you would want to ensure that business picks up immediately so you can keep the lights on. There are also insurance concerns and competitive yoga businesses to consider. One way to minimize these concerns is to consider live yoga interactions by way of a one-on-one personal interaction at a student’s home or your home.

On the other hand, when writing a book or selling a DVD, you have little to no overhead. Digital distribution of either media from will also decrease any financial expenditures. However, with digital distribution, comes over saturation. For example, a search on Amazon.com for yoga media will result in close to 5,000 choices for DVDs and about the same for books. (2)

In all three of these cases, one factor to consider in your decision making is your audience. Diamond Dallas Page, a pro-wrestler and now yoga instructor, has written a book of his own entitled “Yoga for Regular Guys”, which is aimed at a particular market. Mr. Page has also contributed to “Real Men Do Yoga”, which seeks to dispel stereotypes regarding yogic form and illustrate that yoga can be just as helpful for weight lifters as it is for marathon runners. He creates a market for his product by considering his ideal shopping targets.

Finally, ask yourself what are your strengths? If you can’t write well, can you work with a ghost writer- who can put your notes and ideas into the form of a cohesive book? If making a DVD, can you act naturally in front of the camera or will you feel silly giving instructions to nobody in particular? Are you business savvy enough to run a live yoga class or are you the kind of people person who would excel at making house calls and giving private lessons?

Sometimes it makes more sense to go outside of your comfort zone- go ahead and write that book even though you’ve never been comfortable behind the keyboard or make that house call even though you can be a little shy.

Ultimately, there’s no one right choice, and the most successful yoga instructors do a mix of all three. Begin where you’re comfortable, start at the point that makes the most sense to you and explore your options from there.

(1) http://www.theguardian.com/books/2012/may/02/rise-ebook-sales-decline-print-titles
(2) http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field keywords=yoga