Confessions from the Kids Yoga Booth at the Toronto Yoga Show

The whirlwind in my life, better known as the Toronto Yoga Show has finally subsided.  The confessions, off hand remarks and jokes I heard at the booth are an important part of keeping my yoga business healthy.  Whether you teach kids classes, retreats, camps, or do any other ventures, it is always important to listen to your customers.  Just like you listen to your body when you do a yoga pose, you listen to others when you are planning a business.

What people tell me about are opportunities to see if I’m hitting the mark and also to determine new directions.

When we talk about business in our Kids Yoga Teacher Training, everyone is encouraged to spend some time just listening to their existing and potential customers to see what they want.

When you appreciate the value of listening to your customer, you’ll appreciate what I discovered this year at the booth.

This is the third year I’ve shared a booth with my dear friend Janet Williams of Children’s Yoga Books.  Each year we have more and more kids tools for our 5 ft x 10 ft booth. The crowd at the show also seems to be getting bigger too. There is often a pack of yogis at our table because the items there attract attention.  We know that working with children, attention-getters are what you want.

Janet with a happy customer and The Breathing Ball which was a Big Hit - whether it was big or small : )

On the main stage we taught a 60 minute class that flew by called “Teach Yoga Kids Love” and a “Kids Mandala Workshop” on the side stage.

 

The community made Mandalas at our Mandala workshop turned out so nice. Everyone got a chance to do some stamping.

This was also the first year we presented ourselves as a Registered Children’s Yoga School (RCYS)!

It was cathartic to recognize what a big change we had made in less than a year.  We had our Registered Children’s Yoga School (RCYS) seal proudly on display.  I was happy with that accomplishment and we got feedback that others wanted to see it too.

Now I have to confess I was also a little anxious before the show because we had five new products on the table. But it was nothing to worry about in the end because people loved the new items like the breathing balls, Yoga Alphabet Cards and the new Eco Mat with kids yoga poses on it and absolutely no PVC in it.

Eco Mats - see the open mat hanging on the wall in the background? People wanted these mats for the yoga poses on them and for those with sensitivities. With no PVC they are better for the environment and our health.

We divided the booth into two sections, one with kids yoga tools that were flying off the table. The other section was teacher training. We had longer conversations in this area. Conversations that revealed quite a few confessions from kids yoga teachers. This is what our visitors shared:

Confessions from the Kids Yoga Booth:

  • Who can teach kids?  A lot of people were surprised to hear that you don’t legally need a license to teach kids yoga, at least not in Canada. It may be different where you live.
  • Yoga Alliance Designations: Then surprise turned to contemplation to discover the industry standard of 95 hours of kids’ yoga training and 200 hours of adult yoga teacher training. I confirmed with Yoga Alliance that trainings may be taken in any order.  Anyone who has taught yoga to children knows that one way or another it really does take a lot of hours to get good at teaching kids yoga

    It was amazing how many kids did some yoga right in the middle of our booth. We loved it because they demonstrated how much kids get inspired by the right tools.

  • Some people divulged they were already teaching kids yoga with no training and it wasn’t always going so well.
  • Quite a few admitted that they were certified kids’ yoga teachers but had never actually taught a child. As a RCYS,  18 hours of the training must be with children. This practicum is one of my favorite parts of the Certification process because it gives student’s such confidence to have actually taught kids classes.
  • One of the most interesting confessions was from one of the volunteers at the Show.  She confessed to agreeing to volunteer to see if there really was interest in kids’ yoga.  She worked so hard at the show, she’s now certain that it is popular.

    Here are Janet and I with a happy teacher who asked us to autograph our books. That was a first for me. Both these resources come with the training.

  • A lot of people just wanted to see what they got in the Teacher Training before they signed up.  They got to look through the manuals and see the books, cards, and all the resources they get.
  • One of my favorite bits of sleuth work was around the Summer Training Intensive.  I got asked a lot: How can the Summer Intensive be $200 less than the weekend certification when it includes lodging and meals?  We cover examples of pricing strategies in the Branching Out Certificate of our RCYS. In this case, I’m offering this big discount only till April 15 because on April 16 I have to either pay a deposit or cancel the booking at the retreat centre. That means committing to a minimum of 10 people.  Many yoga teachers have lost money when no students show up.  So the early discount is a strategy I use and recommend to gauge interest to decide whether to book or not to book.

    Thanks to all the volunteers at our booth. It was wonderful to have these young men representing yoga.

I’ve mentioned before that one big reason I love the yoga show is that it gets me face to face with my people.  It’s an opportunity  to have conversations and listen to what people are looking for in Kids Yoga. It also helps me decide what direction to take for next year.

So thank you to everyone who came by.

If you are a yoga teacher, consider looking for opportunities for you to listen to confessions from your clients. Can you name the confessions your customers make?  I invite you to  share them in the comments as I have shared them above.

And for those who are interested in becoming a Certified Kids Yoga Teacher, now you know why you still have a few days to get a deal on the Summer Intensive.

 

Aruna

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