Who is Your Ideal Yoga Student?
W hen I first started teaching in 2003, I assumed my ideal yoga student was someone just like me – I was dead wrong. 80% of my students were women, most were 5-15 years older than me, and most were completely consumed with family or business life. For my students, yoga was their daily escape, their “me time”, and their low-impact way to stay healthy and fit with a community of people they respected.
At the time, I was a 20-something yoga bum, underemployed and completely obsessed with hip openers. So why did they like my classes? To find out why, I asked them (you should try this too, btw)!
Here’s what they said:
“I like that your classes are hard, hot, and sweaty. I never really felt like I had a good workout in other classes.”
“I like that you don’t make us chant OM… I’ve never been interested in the spiritual stuff.”
“I like that you also teach about food and nutrition.”
I was surprised no one was impressed by my inversion practice or my Eka Pada Sirsasana (one foot behind head), but I was smart enough to listen to what they were saying. And I haven’t stopped listening even all these years later.
Teaching yoga is a service. A good service offering should help people solve their problems and fulfill their needs. Some people have back pain, others are stressed out, some people are overweight, others are lonely. My yoga classes might be able to help with one or two of those, but no one class or one teacher can help with all of those.
It’s your job to get clear on who your ideal students are, and how you can best help them. You can’t help everyone – I’m sorry to break it to you – but you can be extremely helpful to a select group of people.
Over the years, I’ve expanded my teaching to more and more people; and yet still, almost none of my best students are people who live like me or look like me. Now, let’s get clear on your ideal client so you can best serve them.
Who is Your Ideal Client?
Gender% : ____ Male ____ Female ____ Non-Binary
Avg Age: ____ 13-19 ____ 20-24 ____ 25-35 ____ 35-45 ____ 34-55 ____ 55+
Avg Education: ____ High School ____ Some College ____ Univ Degree ____ Adv. Degree
Avg Income: ____ Working Class ____ Middle Class ____ Upper Middle ____ Wealthy
Avg Fitness: ____ Unfit / New ____ Avg Fitness ____ Healthy / Fit ____ Athlete
Avg Lifestyle: ____ Balanced ____ Somewhat Imbalanced ____ Extremely Imbalanced
When my ideal client looks in the mirror and thinks about their health, what are they most worried about?
When my client is excited about their future healthy self, what do they think about?
What are some negative experiences my client has had in the past with health and fitness?
Where does my client shop? What websites does my client visit?
Why is my client interested in yoga when there are so many other health and fitness options? What do they love or what benefits do they expect from yoga?
Writing Exercises – Your Ideal Client
Write a detailed paragraph about your ideal client. Give them a name, an age and occupation. Talk through their day, their worries, their joys and stresses. Make this person three dimensional on paper, and feel free to model this assignment on a person, or a combination of a few people.
EXAMPLE IDEAL CLIENT:
Jess is a 47-year-old mother of three. She graduated with a degree in communications and spent 10 years working in advertising in Chicago before moving to the suburbs after marriage. She planned to keep working, but three kids made that impossible, and she and her husband decided she’d take a break from office work while the kids were younger and focus on the family. Financially, things are tight with such a big family.
Jess finds family life much more challenging than work life, and she often misses talking to other adults during the day when she’s running all around town driving her kids to school and sports. Her kids bring her far more joy than her career did, but she often feels alone and isolated socially. Jess grew up going to church with her family, but neither she nor her husband really connect with the church anymore. The thing she missed most is spending time with people that share her values.
She shops online at Amazon for just about everything, and while she has a membership at the local gym, she feels bored and frustrated there. The gym is packed, but everyone wears headphones or watches the TV screens, so there is no real connection or interaction that she craves.
Jess has struggled to lose her baby weight after the third child, but she’s much less concerned about the weight as she is with the fact that she’s no longer feeling like a new mom or a young mom. She’s starting to feel her age, and when she gets excited about health and fitness, she thinks about regaining some of the energy, strength, and mobility she had before her kids.
What excites Jess about yoga is the fact that the teachers seem to know their students. Many people in the class seem about her age and in a similar place in life too. She likes the ritual of coming together, practicing the same things (unlike the gym), and focusing on holistic health not just strength or just cardio. When she gets excited about her healthier future self, she thinks about aging gracefully, spending time with a group of like-minded people, and eventually returning to the workforce but with a different focus.