Which Styles or Types of Yoga Should You Teach?

When making any business decision, it helps to do some research first and base your decision on research – both quantitative and qualitative.

As a yoga studio owner, perhaps you struggle with which types of yoga your yoga studio should offer.

Choosing yoga styles to teach can be a tough decision, but a STARTING point for deciding which styles of yoga to teach is to look at the demand for the different types of yoga.

One very easy way to determine the demand for the different types of yoga is to look at the volume of Google searches for the various types of yoga.

I’ll save you some research time by setting out the search volume for several yoga styles below.  I obtained this data on March 20, 2011.

Search data is the approximate MONTHLY search volume
Type of Yoga (search terms used) Exact Searches Phrase Searches Broad Searches
Bikram Yoga 3,616 22,126 22,126
Hatha Yoga 1,627 3,616 4,438
Ashtanga Yoga 1,332 3,616 4,438
Hot Yoga 1,332 9,896 12,099
Kundalini Yoga 1,088 3,616 4,438
Power Yoga 891 5,425 6,608
Iyengar Yoga 595 1,989 2,433
Vinyasa Yoga 1,627 1,332 1,627
Prenatal Yoga 325 1,989 2,433
Anusara Yoga 266 595 595
Yin Yoga 217 595 595
Jivamukti Yoga 145 266 325
Sivananda Yoga 145 487 730
Integral Yoga 118 325 487
Kripalu Yoga 118 266 325
Astanga Yoga 95 266 4,438
Restorative Yoga 95 325 325
Viniyoga 95 266 266
Ananda Yoga 79 178 325
Ishta Yoga 53 79 79
Strala Yoga 53 79 79
Svaroopa Yoga 43 79 79
White Lotus Yoga 13 24 29
Kali Ray Triyoga 6 9 11

A few notes about this chart:

  • A broad search means the words in the search phrase appear in any order.  For example, a search phrase such as “Yoga Chicago Iyengar” is a broad search phrase for “Iyengar Yoga”.
  • A phrase search means the words in the search phrase appear in that order, but additional words may surround the search phrase.  For example,  a search such as “Chicago Iyengar Yoga” is a phrase search term for “Iyengar Yoga”.
  • An exact search means the entire search is exactly the search terms listed.  For example, the search “Iyengar Yoga” is the exact search for “Iyengar Yoga”.
  • I know some of the yoga styles set out are the same (i.e. ashtanga and astanga).  I included both variations because the data is useful in deciding which spelling to target on your website as a keyword.
  • The data is from the Google Keyword Tool which is likely not 100% accurate.  The fact several entries list the exact same search volume tells me the data isn’t perfect … use it as a guide.
  • The data is for searches performed globally.

Using this yoga search data

I do not suggest you radically revamp your class offerings based on this data.  Instead, if you’re thinking about offering new classes, are starting up a studio, or you have classes that are not well attended, then this data is a starting point in choosing yoga styles to teach.

If you wish to take this type of research further (which I recommend), customize the searches to your location.  It may well be that there may be higher demand for a particular yoga style in your geographic location.  You could easily customize the search to your location in the Google Keyword Tool by adding your location to the yoga style.  For example, if you’re in Chicago, search “Chicago Iyengar Yoga”.

The fact is, unless you’re prepared to do a great deal of SEO and invest a lot time and resources, you’re likely not going to rank on page 1 for the above yoga terms as they are.  However, with a little SEO, you could rank on page 1 adding your geographic location to the styles of yoga set out above.  Obviously the larger the city in which you have your studio, the more difficult it will be to rank on page 1 of Google.

This type of data is also helpful in choosing keywords to target on your website.  For example, hatha yoga contains several sub-styles of yoga, yet it’s a highly searched term.  Therefore, you’ll probably want to target “hatha yoga” with your geographic location on your website.

You may decide to take a different approach in choosing yoga styles to teach by offering styles other local yoga studios do NOT offer.  You’ll want to check out the other yoga studios in your area to determine which yoga styles are not being taught.  Then do the above search volume analysis with your geographic location included to determine if there is demand.  This is a way to distinguish your yoga studio.

Other research techniques in choosing a style of yoga to teach

  • You can test new yoga styles by holding workshops for different yoga styles.  If your workshop is well-attended and the feedback is positive, then likely there’s demand.
  • Determine the types of yoga other yoga studios in your area teach.  This form of analysis is a double-edged sword.  If many studios teach a similar style, there’s more competition for that particular style.  However, on the flip side there’s likely demand in your area for that style of yoga.
  • Check out the websites of other yoga studios in other areas and see what they’re offering.  You might check out yoga studios that are franchised and are larger operations because they have a larger student-base.  Contact them and ask how well-attended particular styles are attended.
  • Take a look at what some of the larger yoga teacher training institutions are teaching.  Are there any new styles being taught?
  • Ask your existing students what type of yoga styles they are interested in doing.
  • Use Google Alerts (it’s free) to monitor various yoga styles.  You might pick up on a lot of attention online being paid to particular types of yoga.
  • Check out the latest bestselling yoga books on Amazon to see which yoga styles people are interested in doing.

What not to do?

This is a judgment call, but avoid changing the styles of yoga you teach too often.  Your students become accustomed to the yoga you teach and if you’re frequently replacing styles, you may alienate your existing students.  That said, it’s fine, and in fact a good practice, to test new styles as an ADDITIONAL offering.  Simply avoid replacing existing yoga styles unless that style is extremely poorly attended.

If you do replace a yoga style for whatever reason, communicate it with your students.  They’ll appreciate being kept in the loop.  Moreover, they may provide feedback about your decision.

Although I don’t advocate replacing yoga styles frequently, I do recommend varying your yoga classes.  Don’t do the same routine every class.  For example, don’t do the same routine for your Tuesday 7pm class.  Do the same type of yoga, but mix it up and keep it interesting.

 

 
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