Have you ever thought that filling your yoga classes would be so much easier with no competition from other teachers? Do you ever get riled up about other teachers? Admit it, you know you’ve gone there. Let’s take a good look at “turfi-ness”(which ultimately makes you feel unworthy) versus good old-fashioned healthy competition. When a teacher is “turfy,” she’s focused on herself, not her students. While it is important to look out for yourself, it is also important to do so tactfully, in ways in which everyone wins. Here’s the thing: students don’t want to see their yoga teachers getting petty. Let’s reclaim the word “competition.” The way we see it, a little competition is not only a good thing, it’s a GREAT thing for yoga teachers and students alike.
Here are 7 reasons why:
Reason #1: It helps grow the yoga market and demand.
With more yoga choices available in a given area, market awareness increases. Having a variety of offerings shows potential students that yoga is a healthy option worth their consideration. Would a town be considered a “foodie haven” if it only had one restaurant?
Reason #2: It’s natural.
Animals do it; children do it; it’s the way the world works. Yogis try so hard not to be competitive. Instead, why not acknowledge that we have inherited this healthy drive over millions of years? Accept it and then embrace the opportunity competition gives us.
Reason #3: It helps all ships rise on the same tide.
Reason #4: Being OK with competition makes you look like a hero.
Turfi-ness often slips out in the form of possessiveness (of students or timing of events) with an unappealing sprinkle of entitlement on top. This kind of behavior only makes you look bad. Do the opposite, and everyone will rally for you.
Reason #5: Provides an alternative for students who are not a good fit for your classes.
Students are free to experience multiple styles and this helps them index their yoga preferences. For example, one yoga teacher might not want to teach the twenty-something über-bendy yogis, but can better serve the fifty-plus crowd. If her colleague prefers the twenty-somethings, then it is a win-win for both teachers.
Reason #6: It forces you to be creative.
Reason #7: Ultimately, it helps you get better.
Throughout history, the fiercest competitors have spurred each other on to greatness. With no competition, you can become complacent and at best be mediocre. Someone has got to raise the bar! Of course not all competition is good—too much competition can clutter the marketplace and confuse clients. That said, instead of immediately getting contracted, see what happens when you welcome competition in the yoga world. You down?
Amy Ippoliti founded “90 minutes to Change the World” to help yoga teachers get more out of their careers. A New York City transplant, she has appeared on the covers of Yoga Journal and Fit Yoga Magazine and is a faculty member at the Omega Institute and Kripalu.
Taro Smith, a long time entrepreneur in the health and movement industry, is the main business expert for 90Yoga.com, an advanced multi-media business of yoga programs that has served over 1000 yoga teachers and studio owners worldwide.
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