The Business of Teaching: Jennifer Davis

Oct 10, 2016

Over the coming months I will be sitting down with yoga teachers, meditation leaders, personal trainers and other wellness professionals to see what they have to say about why they do what they do and how they manage the business side of things. If there is a teacher or trainer you think we should talk to, let me know!

As a self-confessed yoga geek and perpetual student of yoga, Jennifer Davis is a great teacher to kick off our teacher series of blog posts. (Disclaimer: Jennifer led my 230-hour teacher training at the Yoga Center of Minneapolis which is how we know each other.) Jennifer and I sat down on a sunny, warm fall morning following her Yoga for Flexibility class at Yoga Center of Minneapolis. We talked about what she has learned about yoga teaching as a profession over the past nearly 15 years.

Jennifer started teaching after a decade of self-study. She completed her advanced teacher training with Noah Mazé. Currently she leads group classes, workshops and teacher trainings at Yoga Center of Minneapolis and she also teaches corporate classes and private sessions as part of her practice. After 15 years of teaching, I was wondering how she keeps things fresh – both for herself and for her students. Knowing her student mindset, it wasn’t surprising that she came back to her lifelong pursuit of learning. Right now, she is focused on deepening her understanding of anatomy. But in addition to following her own curiosity, she also learns from her students: the questions they ask about yoga and the challenges they face in their practices.

On the business side of teaching, Jennifer shared a few observations. Even after many years of teaching and with reliable processes in place, she spends about the same amount of time on administration as she does on teaching. Administration, in Jennifer’s case, ranges from emailing with students to marketing classes and planning sequences. She also puts time and effort into maintaining an active and informative Instagram account (@jenniferdavisyoga) which features both advanced postures from Jennifer’s personal practice and short video tutorials on alignment and pose modification that are more similar to her classes. She admits that it helps that she loves photography, and her background in graphic design doesn’t hurt either.

I asked Jennifer what tips she has for people who are thinking about becoming teachers. She recommends having a consistent home practice and finding a teacher to study with. For those who have finished training and are starting to teach, Jennifer’s top piece of advice is “Don’t quit your day job. Give yourself ample time to build your classes and experience, this will give you the freedom to focus on your teaching without the added stress of worrying about money.” In addition to that, she suggests trying to sub as often as possible. Spend time planning the classes and connecting with students. And finally, don’t forget to spend time marketing classes. She has found a professional Facebook page, flyers, website and business cards are all essential tools for getting the word out.

Thanks for sharing your approach, Jennifer. See you on the mat soon.

Learn more about Jennifer on her website:

photo credit: Jennifer Davis

blog post: Katy Sullivan at OfferingTree

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