ok, so you know what want to make a difference through yoga. you know that it's your calling. you know it's your life work. but, are you now wondering how you can distinguish yourself in such a crowded yoga world? with so many studios, teachers, and teachers-in-training out there, how do you make a splash in the yoga community? how do you get seen, heard, and recognized for what you do best?
well, i have good news for you. just the fact that you're even asking these questions means that you're ahead of the curve. a lot of teachers are perfectly happy to teach a few classes a week for their local community. but not you. you're thinking about how to be a force in the yoga world. you want to make a difference not just in your local community, but beyond!
you've likely been giving the advice at one time or another to develop a yoga "niche" if you want to stand out -- yoga for athletes, chair yoga, yoga-dance, what have you. and that's great if you're really and truly drawn to a niche. but if you're not, you can't force it. just like your yoga practice, you're teaching and teaching style has to an extension of you.
instead of thinking about how to incorporate a "gimmick", like playing top 40 songs during class (unless that is an authentic expression of who you are!), think about how you can infuse more of YOU into your classroom, website, and teachings.
remember, your students come to your class for a reason. they like you. they like what you say. they like how you teach. if they didn't, they wouldn't be there. just by being you, you set yourself apart from every single other yoga teacher in the world! you distinguish yourself just by authentically showing up for your students.
now, of course, this is easier said than done. it's easy to find yourself trying to emulate teachers that you admire, adopting their speech, mannerisms, or cuing (i know i've been there!). instead, notice how you interact with friends, family, and loved ones, and bring more of that person into the classroom. is she funny? wise? serious? silly? poetic? bold? powerful? reflective? logical? curious?
take note of what students request of you, what they thank you for, what questions they have, and what family and friends ask your advice on. maybe you rarely use sanskrit and they love you for that, or you always open with a poem that themes your class, maybe you have a way of breaking down complex poses that gives more students doorways in, or perhaps you're extremely knowledgeable about the yoga sutras and teach on them often. it could be any number of things, and remember, the very thing that sets you apart is often something so basic and "everyday" (in your book) that you're likely overlooking and over-thinking it.
investigate why people come to you, and you'll likely begin to see that you're already carving out a beautiful (and unique) space for yourself in the vast and wondrous yoga world! capitalize on the uniqueness you innately possess to distinguish yourself and your teaching.