Funny How Things Go...

Funny how things go... Envision Yoga Festival was the first plan I made post decision to sell everything I own after a Clarity Breathwork Session. Kylie Judge & Leah Barsher ran a special session for my clients and invited me to join them at Envision & Forest Dance here in Costa Rica.... without really knowing what they were, I was quick to say yes. They invited me to stay with them in a hostel, my first hostel and I was a bit apprehensive about it, so Kylie introduced me to Denise. Funny enough, Denise MacDonald and I chose to hang out prior to the festival, without ever considering we wouldn't get along.

Today (Feb.25) I was sitting with Denise at my fave little spot in Dominical, where I was breathed back to life. Denise coached me back to reality, thank God. She gave me 2 different analogies that I will share:

#1 was what happened to me. She said it was like the loonie tunes moment when the coyote runs off the cliff and the Road Runner makes him aware that he can't fly... then he looks down and falls hard. From that experience breeds fear and moving forward is halted. WOW!!! That is exactly what happened!!!

#2 was her bungee jumping story. We are so alike. So she tells me about how she was with a group and they decide to get avideo of them jumping. She was afraid, so she went first. She jumped and kind of jumped in a way that when she hit the bottom of the rope it kind of whiplashed her and it didn't feel super great, but she had gone and was all good. At the end, after everyone had jumped, they said, well only one more to go - Denise, it is your turn. Denise was like, no I went first. They apologized, said they didn't get her jump on video and that she needed to jump again (free jump). Because she didn't jump head first, her experience had been jarring and she didn't want to do it again. The second time knowing what to expect... She got all hooked up and then refused to jump, said it was too scary. It became a thing, the line up was getting long and she didn't want to jump, so they called in the calvary. A guy came and sat on theplatform with her and explained that the longer she sat there the stronger the fear in the pit of her stomach would grow and that it would just get worse and that her only option was to jump. So she did. She said the second time was 10x harder to jump than the first time, BUT if she didn't jump, she would be letting fear win & that would seep into her life.

The next lesson that fit in here at this moment was my roommate in the sacred valley. She had been left with debt and worked her ass off for 2 years, working 2 jobs until she paid it off and got to zero.

Denise said usually what gets in people's way are 2 things, #1 not knowing how to start & #2 nerves around going live, being seen, etc. And neither of those are issues for me, so... on top   of that I have more ideas and material, so time to go for it.

What came to me in that moment was not leaving Costa Rica, not going back to the jungle and staying here and getting to work. This for me took the focus off of finding a connection with someone and gave me a goal. Work, pay cheap bills, and get that student loan gone. And now I am pumped.

The connection must wait. The connection is just a distraction, I need to be me. To find me. To clean up my biz. To dedicate my time to a consistent routine. To get a schedule. To stop having excuses and yet stop being so hard on myself.

Do You Practice What You Preach?

Do you practice what you preach? It is a good question! So do you?

Integrity is defined by Webster's Dictionary as the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness. Integrity is defined by me as the quality of practicing what you preach!

Me after night shift!

I have worked in profession after profession in which I have given advice to people on how to take care of themselves. I started my nursing career as an un-certified home support worker - going from home to home to take care of those that needed a bit of help. I moved into the hospital to take care of those that needed more help and worked as a Patient Care Aide. From there, I was a LPN & eventually a RN, most of those years in the ER. A lot of what I did was give advice, I mean prevention is the best medicine. AND... I was not living that advice. I was working straight night shifts, I was not eating well, not sleeping well, not exercising consistently and I was stressed out and tired. I didn't even know that I was existing like such a zombie, until the time that I wasn't.

Check out those bags 🙂

Part of my yoga teaching BIO includes my love for yoga. I found that yoga saved me from total burn out for all of those years. I found yoga in 2000 when I started homemaking & I found my yoga teacher training 14 years later when I started going to Med School. (More on divine timing). I then left the unhealthy medical field to become a yoga teacher. I had to be healthier, right? Moving into teaching full time, I needed to replace my nursing income as well as my potential MD income. AND... I did. BUT, I did it by working even harder that 12+hours a day. I was bringing in $20,000/month (yup, for real), but I was also working 7 days a week, sometimes 20 hours a day. I can tell you I wasn't fully practicing what I was telling others. My own yoga practice was teaching, my meditation practice was null and void, food was non-existent & I was literally travelling for a better part of my day from studio to studio. I saw less of my family when I was teaching than when I was nursing. I was killing it & killing myself... but I can tell you: I loved it!!! I started running retreats & my following was increasing. People were loving my classes & I was loving teaching yoga way more than nursing. So many students would ask for advice around injuries and personal problems & my first question was always - what are you doing for yourself? Meanwhile, I wasn't doing anything for me. I even developed a shoulder injury at some point and had to stop practicing yoga while I taught. Something was always off balance.

My coach - Jesse Johnson

In the shift from nursing to teaching yoga, I hired a Spiritual Business Coach. We had a session the other day and she mentioned, "You know Colynn, we have worked together now for almost 2 years and I have witnessed immense growth with and in you, but one thing has not changed throughout our time together and that is your work habits. You continue to work really hard." As a descendant of entrepreneurial type parents and a grandmother that is still running her store at 82 after have 5 heart attacks, I think it is something that is ingrained. AND... I noticed that it doesn't help. It just makes me think I am doing the things I need to do to attain my goal. What I have learned is that this can be easy. BUT I am going in a different direction here and I want to get back on track!!! What I have learned through this is to practice what I preach. My growth edge DOES lie in not working so hard, yet I have done more for myself in the last two years than I ever have before. I regularly go on retreat, not take people on retreat (I DO LOVE THAT), but go on my own retreats! I now practice yoga - not everyday, but more and more. I even hired a personal trainer... making the shift from teaching over 40 hours a week to sitting in front of a computer with my already fluffy-skinned and beautifully big-boned body was adding up and I was losing confidence with what I consistently told people didn't define them (the number on the scale).

AND... NOW it is time. To do less work. I am no longer chasing people to be my clients. I am no longer spending so much time doing the work for them. I no longer need to convince people to do the work. I only want to work with those ready to take the next step... the leap & are dedicated... AND want to work with ME. And Tuesday was like the last straw of being out of integrity - I saw where I was starting to lean towards smallness, towards comfort, towards safety. As a coach, a leader & a friend, how can I do that? I had a big choice - step forward into growth OR step back into fear (Bob Proctor). I jumped. I did all the things that freaked me out, I took all the advice I constantly give to my clients, I went out on a limb, I did the uncomfortable & I said yes to me. to FAITH. to the next level. I felt the FEAR and I did it anyway. I practiced what I preach on such an intense level, I am still feeling the repercussions. AND I wanted to share. I don't know what is to come. I don't know what the journey looks like. AND I for sure do not know the how, but I surrender.

My question to you, is are you doing the same? The one phrase that really got me to say yes to coaching initially was this - if you keep doing more of the same, you will get more of the same. In order to get different results, you need to do something drastically different. AND... that is scary. I get it. Look at your life. What are you telling others? About their relationships, their confidence, their personal problems? Did you know the world is a mirror and that the universe literally  puts a person in front of you so that you can give them the advice that you need to take?








How to Use YouTube as a Yoga Business

If you’ve been following along with our social media for yoga teachers series, then you already know the importance of Facebook and Instagram for yoga businesses (and most importantly, how to use them!).

But why use YouTube?

It’s no secret that YouTube has become an incredible free resource for students to take yoga classes, meditate, and learn about pretty much any topic they’d like to know about.

And don’t you want them to learn that from you?

This platform is another great way to craft your brand, engage your audience, and offer tons of value that turns viewers into clients, customers, and students.

In fact, 1 billion people visit YouTube each month and it’s the second largest search engine in the world (Source).

Read on to find out exactly what you need to get started, how to set up you channel, the types of content you might like to create, and how to get your videos seen.

Setting Up Your Channel

First, the logistics. The first step to setting up your YouTube channel is to sign into YouTube with the Google email address you’d like your page to be associated with. You can create a business of personal page, but I recommend creating a business page. It gives you more options for branding.

Then, select the appropriate category for your page and you’re ready for design.

YouTube allows you to have cover art similar to Facebook, which is great branding real estate space. Here are some recommendations:

You’ll also want to focus on choosing a great title for your channel. It should clearly state what the channel is about and be keyword rich.

For help with choosing your keywords, do some research by searching for keywords in your niche on Google. Note down which keywords give you video results, then check out the free Google Keyword Planner to decide which keywords will work best for you.

Creating Content

You don’t have to make a huge investment to get started. You can start with a simple video camera or the camera on your laptop as you dip your toe into YouTube.

If you decide to take it to the next level, you might like to invest in a nice video camera, simple 2-point lighting kit, and a microphone.

Once you decide how you’ll film your video, you need to decide what to film! As with all your content, it should be aligned with your overall business strategy. What are your business goals and how does your social presence contribute to them? If you haven’t defined your social goals yet, visit this post to learn more about crafting a strategy.

Do you want to educate, inspire, entertain, or all of the above?

Once you decide your strategy, brainstorm types of content you can create that align with those goals. Here are some ideas:

Some successful channels you might want to look to for inspiration are:

What do these channels do well? They….

Driving Traffic

This is where your Facebook and Instagram expertise will come in handy. Promote your videos on your social media platforms through graphics and photos in your feed and on your stories, and share video clips to entice viewers to watch the whole video.

The other key way to drive traffic is by using keywords. What would your ideal viewer be searching in order to find your video? Use those words in your title, caption, and tags. For example, if your video is a yin yoga class and your ideal viewer is a beginner student who would likely search “relaxing yoga,” use that keyword phrase in addition to yin yoga!

What other questions do you have about YouTube for your yoga business? Drop them below!

How to Use Instagram for Your Yoga Business

Welcome to the second post in my social media for yoga teachers series.

Does it seem like every yoga teacher on Instagram seems to have cracked the code for social media success except for you?

I promise, there are no secret codes for growing your Instagram following full of the exact students and clients you want to attract. There are just some simple principles and the hard work that follows them up!

But first…why use Instagram for your yoga business at all?

A few key reasons:

  1. Your target clients and students are most likely there.
  2. It’s a great platform for conversations: real engagement with real people!
  3. Yoga content lends itself beautifully to this visual platform.
  4. It's a platform that's still getting great organic (unpaid) reach.
  5. And of course, Instagram is key to helping you brand your business.

Just like with Facebook, the first thing you need to do to get started with Instagram is define your goals.

A few options are:

Clearly defining your goals will help you create an effective strategy.

Your strategy will define your content. For example, if one of your goals is to engage your current clients and students, you’ll probably want to ask them a lot of questions in your posts. If one of your goals is to increase class or workshop attendance, posting photo or video stories of current classes can help you do that.

Your bio is key. Your bio is one of the first things people see when they click on your page and are deciding whether or not to follow you— so make it good! Clearly share who you or your business is, what you do, and why they should follow you or what your mission is (Some accounts that do this well are Yoga With Adriene, Brittney Carmichael, and Cassandra Bodzak).

Choose your content. There are two formats for content on Instagram: posts that go in your feed on your page, visible forever (unless you delete them) and stories, which disappear after 24 hours.

Your feed is a great place to cultivate your aesthetic. When people visit your profile, you want it to be really easy for them to figure out what you and your brand are all about.

Stories are a great place for more casual, less staged photos and videos. Maybe your feed is all about minimalist yoga photos, but you want to incorporate some more lifestyle elements, too. Your Instagram story is the perfect place for that.

I recommend using stories often! You can also use them to direct people to your latest post with calls-to-action like "Check out my last post for X."

To learn more about the purposes of different content, click here.

Growing your Instagram. Now we’re getting to the good stuff! Read below to discover a few key ways to grow your Instagram as a yoga business.

1. It starts with good content. No matter how many growth strategies you use, if you don’t have quality content, your following won’t grow. Make that your priority, and then use the tips below to continue to reach more and more of your ideal students and clients!

2. Hashtag every post. There are different schools of thought on this, and it’s even thought that Instagram might do away with hashtags at some point. But for now, hashtags can still be a great part of your strategy! The key is to use the right hashtags.

When you search for hashtags, you want to hit the sweet spot of more than 100,000 but less than 1,000,000. This means that there are enough people using it that your posts will get seen, but not so many people using it that your posts get buried.

The other things to remember with hashtags? Switch them up, and use any trending hashtags to join a relevant conversation!

3. Engage. There are three audiences you want to engage with (and by engage I mean like, comment, and follow):

  1. Your followers. First and foremost, engage with the people who already follow you to cultivate a strong community.
  2. Relevant hashtags. Go through relevant hashtags regularly and engage with the users who post there. Remember to switch these up, too! There are so many yoga and spirituality-related hashtags that you’ll never run out.
  3. Likers and commenters of accounts that have your target audience. This is one of the best ways I’ve found to engage with my ideal clients. It starts with getting clear about who your ideal clients actually are. Then ask yourself, who do they follow online? Maybe it’s a yoga-based subscription box, an inspiring author, or a public figure. Visit those pages, and engage with the people who have liked their posts.

4. Use call-to-actions in your posts. Want people to comment with an emoji, click the link in your bio, or tag a friend? Let them know! “Tag a friend who needs this mala,” “Tag a friend you want to bring to this retreat,” or “Tag a friend to try this pose with” are all great examples of call to actions that both get engagement and help other people discover your account.

5. Ask your other followers to follow you. Already have a following on another platform like your email list, Twitter, or Facebook? Invite them to follow you on Instagram, too. Chances are, they will!

6. Geotag your photos. This is a simple but great way to share your photo with other people who’ve used the same geotag! Get specific, like a restaurant or neighborhood, or go general with a city.

7. Collaborate with other users. How can you collaborate with other users with similar audiences to benefit you both? Can you host a contest or start an Instagram challenge? Can you take over each other’s stories for the day as guest contributors? Can you start a group where you all like and share each other’s posts? Get creative!

What other questions do you have about using social media for your yoga business? Comment below and let me know— I would love to help!

How to Use Facebook as a Yoga Business

Last week, I covered why it’s critical for you to use social media for your yoga business (if you missed that blog, check it out here). This week, I’m sharing exactly how to use Facebook as a yoga business.

Why Facebook?

Having an active Facebook profile helps with brand awareness, SEO, and more than likely your target audience is on Facebook. Plus, if you ever want to run any ads on Facebook or Instagram, you’ll need a page!

There are 3 different ways to use Facebook: profile, page, or group.

Your profile is something you likely already have— a personal profile where you are friends with the people you care about in real life.

A page is something you’ll want to create as a yoga teacher, studio, or any other type of yoga business. Pages represent brands and public figures, and having a page allows people to “like” you in order to see your content in their feed.

A group is something you may want to create, but I always recommend starting with a page. Groups are usually created to discuss topics of mutual interest (like yoga) with other like-minded people. They can be a great way to create community and engagement with your students and potential students, but shouldn’t take the place of your Facebook page.

So once you create your page (click here to create it), how do you use Facebook effectively?

Define your goals. What are your goals for Facebook? They could be any of these goals, or maybe something completely different:

Whatever your goals are (and you don’t have to pick just one), your strategy should be created with those goals in mind.

Create a strategy. Once you have your goals, ask yourself how you will use Facebook to achieve them.

For example, a strategy for growing your email list could include creating a free yoga video or other resource and creating a mix of organic and paid content to drive traffic to a landing page where people will enter their email address to receive your free resource.

Content. The content you share should depend on your strategy, but it will likely include some combination of blog posts, videos, and images designed to educate, inspire, entertain, and engage.

Build relationships. Social media should never be a one-way street, and Facebook is no exception. It’s meant to be a conversation between you and your audience.

When they comment on your posts, respond thoughtfully. Ask them questions regularly about what matters to them most, what they struggle with, and what excites them. As you continue to have a conversation with them, you can get to know each other— and that is when your audience starts to want to attend your classes and buy your products.

Run ads. You may have heard that “organic reach is dead” on Facebook. That’s certainly not true— and when you follow the outline above, you’ll see that for yourself! But organic reach has fallen in the past few years, so you may find that once you start to work on your Facebook page you’d like to run some ads.

Running Facebook ads could be a whole blog series in itself (comment below if you’d be interested in learning more, and maybe I’ll write some blogs specifically about ads!), but here are a few key things to keep in mind:

What other questions about Facebook marketing for your yoga business do you have? Comment below and ask away!

Why You Need to Use Social Media for Your Yoga Business

I know “promoting” yourself can feel a little icky. Yoga is supposed to be about love and light and union, not gimmicky marketing.

This is a mindset I see in my clients All. The. Time. And as a yoga teacher myself, I’ve definitely been there! 

But in 2017, social media is non-negotiable for your yoga business. It’s not a good-to-have, it’s a must-have if you want to get yourself in front of more people, fill your classes, and sell out your workshops and retreats.

This photo of me was taken courtesy of Studio B Yoga & More by the amazing Sharalee Prang!

Think of it this way: you have a unique message that the world needs to hear. It’s not gross, or gimmicky, or “salesy” to want to share that message with as many people as possible, for the greater healing good of the world. In fact, it’s critical that you share that message with every single person who needs to hear it.

That is what social media can help you do. 

Below are 3 key purposes of using social media for your yoga business. Next week, we’ll delve into exactly how to use different social media platforms, starting with Facebook.

1. Personal branding. There are so many yoga teachers, yoga businesses, and styles of yoga. Why would som

eone choose your class, video, workshop, retreat, or product over someone else’s?

The answer? Personal branding! Personal branding is how you differentiate yourself from everyone else. You are never going to be the only person doing what you do. But there are going to be people out there who love your unique style and your approach, and they will want to consume your content, take your classes, and buy your programs.

But they will never know how much your style resonates with them unless you share your style with them!

You can do personal branding in so many different ways on social media. A few great ways to do this are live video meditations and short yoga classes on YouTube and Facebook, snapshots of your life on Instagram, and blogging and sharing those blogs on social media.

2. Education and inspiration. You know that yoga doesn’t stop when you get off your mat…but not all of your students do. Similarly, teaching yoga doesn’t stop when you step out of the studio.

With social media, you can teach as often as you like and you can meet your students where they already are: online.

I don’t just mean teach asana, either! You can teach them meditations and Ayurvedic tips. You can teach them about the limbs of yoga and you can inspire them to live the yamas by the way you live. You can teach them what mala beads are and why they’re powerful tools for meditation.

The opportunities to spread your message far and wide are infinite.

3. Community. Sharing your message on social media can create a global community you may have never thought possible. Your message will attract the people who need to hear it, and those people will continue to follow you, interact with you, and likely engage with others who feel the same.

You can create communities in a more traditional sense of the word in many ways online: free Facebook groups, paid memberships, and paid Facebook groups. But you can do this on your regular pages, too, because you know the saying: your vibe attracts your tribe.

Community is everywhere online, and social media can help you create yours.

If you’re reading this and thinking “That’s great, but I have no time to do any of that,” then outsourcing might be the answer you need. I highly recommend checking out Edgepoint Social for your social media needs!

Have more questions about social media? Drop them below, and keep checking back each week for more in-depth blogs about social media, mindset, and all things yoga!