4 Things You Absolutely Need on a Yoga Website Homepage

You’ve just finished your yoga teacher training and are eager to get your name out there! You know you need an online presence, but creating a website can be daunting. It doesn't have to be scary!

start small: Make sure to include these 4 ultra-important items on your homepage before you publish.

After mastering these 4, you should keep adding to your site over time. Let’s get to it:

1. About You / Your Education

When someone comes to your website for the first time, they should know your name immediately.

  • This can be done by using your name in your logo (which should be at the top of each page), and also perhaps in your main H1 (header) on your homepage. 
     
  • Consider using your full name for your URL (like KimberlyStabenow.com). Even better, use your name + yoga (like KimberlyStabenowYoga.com). This provides clear insight to where users landed and what the site is about.  

Once visitors know who’s site they’re on, let them know a little bit about you. I’ll be clear - please do not write 3 paragraphs about you at the top of your homepage. Save that for the ‘About Me’ page.

  • Instead, carefully craft 1-2 sentences that sum you up as a person (not just as a yogi).
     
  • Examples: “Hi, I’m Kim! I love days at the beach, running with my golden retriever, and anything yoga. Catch me on the mat (link to schedule)”.
     
  • “Welcome! I’m Kim - a yoga teacher, student, and foodie. If you want to talk arm-balances, yoga playlists, or local restuarants, reach out! (link to contact)” 

Now that you’ve briefly introduced yourself, state your yoga education. How are you supposed to get new yoga teaching jobs if website visitors don’t know you’re qualified?

  • I would suggest adding a button directly under your 1-2 about me sentences on your homepage that reads, “MORE ABOUT KIM” in a bright color. This will link to your “about me” page, which at the top will list your credentials.
     
  • Extra credit: work your credentials right into those 1-2 sentences, “Hello! I’m Kim - I’m an Ashtanga enthusiast with 200 hours of yoga school under my belt.” Or something like that. Be creative!

2. Call-to-action

This is probably the most important part of your homepage: give users something to do, like clicking a button or filling out a form.

Think about your main goal of the site:

  • Do you want to inform people more about you?
  • Do you want to direct potential students to your schedule?
  • Do you want studio owners to see your credentials and hire you?
  • Do you want to attract attention to your blog?
  • Whatever you do, pick one.

Make this your sole purpose of the top half of your homepage. Direct user’s eyes to this call-to-action, like a bright pink button with CONTACT ME or LEARN MORE or something...

If you’re using a form as your main action point, be clear what the form is for. Write a sentence above the form, like “if you’d like to speak to me about private lessons or teaching opportunities, please fill out my form!” Again, make the “submit” button a bright contrasting color.

To sum it up: give people a reason to be on your site and a reason to click through to (at least) 1 more page.
 

3. Contact Information

How are potential students and employers supposed to reach out to you if you don’t have a super duper easy way to contact you?

Clear this up right away.

  • Put “Contact Me” in your main navigation. Just do it. It’s where people will look for contact information. Trust me. :)
  • I would also suggest adding a permanent contact form to your footer. This means it would be on every single page.
    • It could simply be “Contact Me” with “Name” “Email” “Message” and “Submit”. You can link the form directly to your email. Viola.

In the end: put your contact information on it’s own page (linked in the navigation) and also in a form. Don’t let an opportunity pass with this simple mistake.

4. Personality → branding, photos, blog, etc.

My personal favorite part of building websites: branding and personality!

Why this is important: your website is a reflection of you and your business. Yes, it should be professional, but it should also visibly show a little bit about who you are as a yoga instructor and as a human.

Decide what you want your overall look and feel to involve:

  • Are you funky, upbeat, and outgoing? Maybe opt for a bright color palette with a clean white background.
  • Are you earthy, calm, and genuine? Perhaps you’d like to use one brighter color paired with colors found in nature.
  • Do some searching on Pinterest for “blue color palette” or "bright color palette" or "earthy color palette", etc. and see what you find.

Come up with a logo. Or let me help you create one! Either way, establish an emblem or symbol for yourself and use it wherever appropriate - on your site, social media posts, business cards, and more.

The more people see your logo, the more they will identify it with you. It should match your color palette and overall look and feel.

Don’t forget about your verbiage. Yes, you can have personality in your writing too. While I’m all for a professional website, please write as if you’re speaking to someone in person. No one wants to hire a robotic yoga teacher ;)

Extra credit: start a blog. Choose a topic you are deeply interested in and start writing.

 

My biggest tips for your yoga teacher website homepage? 1) make it easy to use and 2) make it yours. Own it, just like you’d own your classes and your own practice.

 

Any questions or feedback? Let me know in the comments below!

 

The best yoga clothing brands you haven’t heard of (yet)

Yoga Clothing Brands for Yoga Teachers and Students That Aren't Lululemon:

If you’re like me, you’re hitting your mat at least 3-4 times a week. Maybe you’re teaching on top of that, making it safe to assume you’re wearing yoga clothing a lot of the time. And unless you have a generous disposable income, it’s not easy to spend $100 on yoga pants when you need several pairs!

I have done a lot of research on yoga clothing brands that offer affordable, durable, and ethical clothing for yoga teachers and students.

My favorite brands are made in the USA, offer wonderful customer service, have occasional discounts, and last a long time.

GTS Clothing (Greater Than Sports)

I have only amazing things to say about Greater Than Sports. Their customer service is so great that I feel like I know all of them personally (which I don’t, of course). I love their positive vibes on social media and all of the exclusive discounts given.

Products: GTS offers tanks, tees, long-sleeves, leggings, and men’s clothing. Their selection isn’t huge but it is constantly expanding. I have personally ordered several of the leggings and one tank top. The leggings are a staple in my yoga wardrobe, while the tank top is a durable, basic black tank top. I can wear all of them over and over and over and over… you get the picture.

GTSClothingLeggings

Pricing: This is one reason why I love GTS. The pricing isn’t necessarily cheap, but it’s definitely affordable yoga clothing. Keep an eye out for discounts by signing up for emails and following them on social media.

My rating: 5/5! Not only are the styles on-trend, easy to move in, durable, and affordable, everything is made right at their store in the USA. Now that’s a business I can get behind!

Montiel

What’s not to love about Montiel? The minute you enter their site you absorb their brand personality: beautiful, carefully-made, and exclusive clothing. Like GTS, they don’t offer a huge selection of clothing, but rather offer yogis a few killer styles.

Products: I’ve ordered 2 tank-tops from Montiel and continue to wear them over and over again. I get compliments on them both - not only is the tank design gorgeous (those straps!), but I have one in pink and people love it! I never have to worry about adjusting the top while I teach or attend class. These are quality tank-tops, people.

I have yet to try the leggings but want to very, very soon. More to come!

Pricing: I think Montiel’s pricing is extremely reasonable. Everything is made right in California, so you’re guaranteed quality products without having to worry about unethical work conditions in factories overseas. Watch for sales and promotions. Occasionally you’ll find a great deal!

My rating: 5/5. Quality garments, eye-catching designs, and USA-made. It’s a win-win.

Beyond Yoga

You might’ve already heard of this brand, but I want to feature it anyway. I ordered some Spacedye leggings from Beyond Yoga and I can’t bring myself to take them off.

These leggings are the SOFTEST and most comfortable leggings I have ever, ever worn. Seriously.

I want to wear them to work, to yoga class, while I teach, and to sleep. Looks like I'll be buying another pair soon.

Products: I have the Spacedye leggings. Amazing.

Pricing: High. With this brand, you pay for what you get. The higher price = amazing quality. Look for promo codes and sales!

Rating: 5/5. Wait, 6/5.

Liv & Lola

Okay, I know Liv & Lola doesn’t sell only clothing, but I wanted to include it here because of ethical reasons. Liv & Lola is an absolutely amazing company! Out of Vancouver and Nicaragua, the ladies at Liv & Lola decided to make beautiful products at an ethical rate. Best summed up on their website:

we wanted to do meaningful work; to start a sustainable business where ethics ruled and aesthetics was not sacrificed.”

All of their products are produced with artists they know at factories with fair working conditions. I bought a tank top through them around the time of the Orlando nightclub shooting, and all of the profits went toward the victims and families. I was truly moved by their effort. This feeling was amplified when I found they also included a handwritten note in my package. Talk about people that actually care!

Products: I have one tank top (it says “Fear Less Love More”) and I adore it. I probably wear it once a week. I get compliments on it every single time and I take pride in letting people know where it came from.

LivandLolaTankTop

Pricing: Extremely fair.

Rating: 5/5. These are women you can trust!

So, there you have it: 4 yoga clothing companies I have discovered in the last year that have made an impression on me.

I know there are thousands of yoga clothing companies out there (that aren’t Lululemon). What companies are your favorites? Let me know in the comments below!

Love + Light

 

 

Why I'm Unplugging for Thanksgiving

Unplug For The Holidays

Can you believe Thanksgiving is right around the corner? Minneapolis is covered with a fresh blanket of snow, the Christmas tree lots are busy, and I have started buying gifts for loved ones. The holidays are coming whether we like it or not.

For me, that means spending a lot of time with my family and Alex's family, eating so much amazing food, and getting adequate rest (hooray!).

However, it also means being oversaturated with Facebook posts, Instagram photos, and Snapchat stories. It seems everyone wants/needs to post something about how they love their family, how lucky they are with their significant other, and so on during the holiday season. I get it, I do it too. It's nice to show a little gratitude via social platforms.

However, there comes a point where I wonder if posting about gratitude on social media is actually authentic?

I know when I post a picture of myself and my boyfriend, I'm a little picky with the photo. We usually end up taking many, many photos. Then I select one, edit it meticulously, and finally post it with some cheesy caption about how he's the best. 

Sound familiar? 

This process is normal, I promise. 

I have created a challenge for myself for the holiday season and you're welcome to come along with me! The jist:

  • spend less time mindlessly scrolling through social channels on my phone
  • post photos that are organic instead of creating a forced photo
  • write captions that are authentic and come from the heart
  • spend most of the holidays with my phone off

Why I want to (semi) unplug for the holidays:

I want to be able to open my eyes in the morning, look out the window, and enjoy the snowy morning ahead of me. I want to reach over, wrap my arms around Alex, and say "good morning." I want to take that first sip of coffee and completely enjoy it. 

On Thanksgiving day I want to see my family (who I only see a few times a year) and engage in actual, real conversations. I want to help prepare a beautiful Thanksgiving feast. I want to smell the turkey as it's cooking, taste every dish on the table, and feel how my belly is full and satisfied after eating. I want to feel content.

I could go on and on about all of the senses and emotions I want to feel, but you get the picture. Without a phone attached to my hand, I can be 100% engaged in the task at hand. 

Do you ever eat dinner while watching TV and scrolling through your phone? I do. I notice that the more distractions I have while eating, the less I actually taste the food. And food is amazing! Why would I want to do that?

The more distractions you have, the less you can actually be present for what's happening in the current moment (and don't get me started on cell phones in the yoga studio during class!). 

What to do when you feel restless and want to reach for your phone:

  1. Take a deep breath. Take it from a yogi: breathing can help you in most situations. If you find yourself reaching for your phone or perhaps you're already scrolling, stop, and take a breath. Close your eyes and inhale. Exhale.
     
  2. Move around. Get up off the couch and find something else to do with your time. Clean the house, cook something, make some tea. Call up your grandma or finish a project.
     
  3. Eat and drink. Do I really have to encourage this during the holidays? Obviously, you don't want to use eating as a way to keep you off your phone, but grabbing a cup of coffee to sip on might help you stay away from mindless scrolling.
     
  4. Make plans to meet a friend. Engage in conversation and leave your phone in your purse.
     
  5. Go outside (yes, even here in Minnesota). Get a little fresh air, enjoy nature, and do something outside. Go for a walk or build a snowman.
     
  6. Meditate and practice yoga. I've heard it's good for you ;)
     
  7. Sleep. Seriously, get some rest.

So there you have it: I plan to unplug (for the most part) during the holiday season, spend as much time away from technology as possible, and only post when I have something authentic and meaningful to say. Instead, I want to enjoy time with loved ones, make some yummy food, and practice yoga often!

Thanksgiving.jpg

Do you have plans to unplug for Thanksgiving? Any tips to share? Comment below!

Love + Light

4 Easy Ways to Become a Morning Person

Want to get out of bed earlier?  With these 4 easy steps to becoming a morning person, you can make it to your yoga mat in the AM.

Waking up early can improve your life drastically: you can get your workout done in the morning, make a delicious breakfast, get to the office early, or even meditate before starting your day. But if you’re struggling to drag yourself out of bed, I encourage you to start small. I have never (ever) been a morning person, but for the last year and a half my alarm has been set for 5:30AM. How?

 

How to wake up earlier

Here are my 4 easy ways to become a morning person:

1. Start with small time increments

If you’re used to getting out of bed at 8:30 and want to rise at 5:30, it’s not going to happen overnight (pun intended). Set smaller, more achievable goals, like starting to wake up at 8:00 for two weeks, then 7:30 for two weeks, and so on. Be patient with yourself.

As you continue to wake earlier, be consistent. Your body works best on a regular schedule. Go to bed around the same time each night, and rise at the same time each morning.

Changing your wake-up time usually means changing the time you hit the pillow. This is easier said than done, especially for night-owls. Take the same advice here and start small, maybe shifting your schedule back by 15- or 30-minute increments.  Decide how much sleep you need. Personally, I need between 7 and 8 hours of sleep a night. Ask anyone in my life… if I’m sleep deprived, nothing good will happen! Take note of what works for you - how many hours it takes for you to feel your best and most alive.

In addition to sleeping enough and regularly, make sure you are taking care of yourself. Eat something nutritious, drink enough water, and move your body.

2. Create a weekly yoga schedule

The easiest way to get out of bed in the morning is to commit to something beforehand. Perhaps find two AM yoga classes to attend each week with instructors you enjoy. Sign up online beforehand and enlist a workout buddy for morning classes together. If someone’s relying on you, you’ll be much more willing to get your booty out of bed and to the mat.

Helpful points for scheduling: Set clothes aside the night before (or even sleep in your workout clothes!) to make your mornings easy.

Be sure to plan out what happens after class - will you shower at the studio, are you going to stop at home before work, or are you going to change and head straight to the office? Making a game plan can help ease your morning.

3. Check out before bed

You’ve heard this time and time again, but to ensure a great night of sleep, turn off the electronics 30 minutes before bed. Not only is this best for your eyes and brain, but it can allow you to mentally wind down before sleeping.

Take note of what you did earlier in the day and summarize what’s to come the next day. Perhaps even take 5 minutes to concentrate on some long inhales & exhales, allowing yourself into meditation.

4. Coffee, tea, kombucha, and more

I have to put this on here, because in my life, coffee is a must. I know a lot of yogis have sworn off coffee, but not me! If it helps you, go for it. Everything in moderation, people.

waking up earlier

 

I have to admit: I’m not a morning person.

At all. But I do rise early these days and it’s all thanks to these helpful tips. I let myself slowly get used to rising early, I prepare the night before and always get 7-8 hours of sleep. I (usually) put my phone away before bedtime, and I look forward to my morning cup of joe.

You can do it! Any helpful tips I missed?

 

60 Minute Vinyasa Flow Playlist

Perfect songs for your yoga playlist: let your students jam out to this power yoga playlist.

How do you create an inspiring playlist for 60 minutes of vinyasa? 

Start by reviewing what you have planned for movement during your class. Chances are your flow follows an order like this:

  • Slow warm-up
  • Sun Salutation A
  • Sun Salutation B
  • Balancing sequence
  • Core work and inversions
  • Cool-down
  • Savasana

Your music should follow the same pattern. Start it off soft and slow.

Tip: consider the first 3-5 minutes without music so students can focus 100% of their energy on being present and engaging ujjayi breath.

Then, let students ease into their practice with something calming. After a few minutes, start to build songs that incorporate more of a beat or vocals. This should happen around the time you get into your Sun A's. 

Once you move onto Sun B's (maybe about 15 minutes in), find songs that have some sort of beat. Select music that helps students move and breathe as they flow from one posture to the next.

Tip: try to find songs that aren't on the radio. Sometimes popular songs can bring up memories or distract students as they flow. Music should supplement your class, rather than act as a distraction.

The middle 20 minutes of class is the time for your best, upbeat songs. This is where students become tired, frustrated, and lose focus. If you have engaging songs, they're more likely to keep up with their ujjayi pranayama.

Slow things down in the last 10-12 minutes with songs similar to how you opened class.

For savasana, pick something without words. Your savasana song is everything - it needs to be neutral, pleasant, and without surprises halfway through.

Creating a power yoga playlist

60-Minute Yoga Playlist:

  1. Lost Karma
    The Herd Brothers
     
  2. Follow the Sun
    Xavier Rudd
     
  3. Nectar Drop
    DJ Drez
     
  4. Something About You - Odesza Remix
    Hayden James
     
  5. Today
    ODESZA
     
  6. Finally Moving
    Pretty Lights
     
  7. Kusanagi - Instrumental
    ODESZA
     
  8. Angela
    The Lumineers
     
  9. Spirit Cold
    Tall Heights
     
  10. Green Mountain State
    Trevor Hall
     
  11. Om Namah Shivaya
    Steve Gold
     
  12. Silence is Golden
    Meditation Music

Follow my 60-minute power yoga playlist on Spotify:  https://open.spotify.com/user/kimstabenow/playlist/2Lwh3FnVeErsBCg5sZHiYD

What are your favorite songs for your perfect yoga playlist? 

Love + Light!

6 Qualities of Successful Yoga Teachers

Learn what you really need to know to succeed as a yoga teacher.

teaching yoga

Maybe you recently graduated from your 200-hour training course (congrats!) or maybe you’ve been teaching yoga for years. Regardless, you’re always able to learn and improve your teaching techniques. What makes a great yoga teacher? The ability to multi-task, connect with others, create a stellar sequence, understand anatomy, whip up an amazing playlist, demonstrate challenging postures, give off inspiring energy, and so much more. Overwhelmed? I am. Let’s break it down into just 6 achievable qualities of a good yoga teacher.

  1. Knowledgeable

    First off, a good yoga teacher should teach you something every time you take his/her class. My favorite teachers are incredibly knowledgeable in the anatomy of the body, the history of yoga, and some deep spiritual stuff. Do you have to be an expert in all of these areas? Absolutely not. Focus in on one area you want to know. Do some research. Theme your classes around these areas.

     
  2. Approachable

    Have you ever taken a killer yoga class only to find that after class your teacher was nowhere to be found, or was hiding behind the computer at the desk, or seriously intimidated you? A great yoga teacher also acts as a mentor and friend to each and every student.


    After your class, stand in an area where students have to pass you on their way out. Put a gentle smile on your face. Try to learn student’s names as they come in and out, and simply tell them to have a wonderful day!

    The more you engage with each student, the more likely they’ll come back to your class. Maybe they’ll even want to ask you specific questions or give you some (much appreciated) feedback on your class.
     
  3. Flexible

    I don’t mean physically flexible. I recently attended a vinyasa class with some incredibly challenging postures, one after another. As I glanced around the room, I could tell I wasn’t the only one physically struggling. A wonderful yoga teacher is observant of each and every student in the class. If the entire class is modifying your postures, seems super frustrated, or is continuously sitting out of parts of the class, please be flexible. Tone down the class any way possible. Throw in a child’s pose, an open-mouth exhale, or a runner’s lunge. Let them rest if they need to.


    Same goes the other way; if you have a small class and planned a relaxing flow, maybe ask the students before-hand if they have any requests. You don’t have to change your entire flow, but maybe alter a few postures to include the challenge your students are looking for.
     
  4. Joyful

    This one is pretty self-explanatory. My absolute favorite yoga teachers seem to be really, really happy to be teaching yoga. These instructors have a smile on their face most of the time, are 100% present during the class, and show that they actually care about their students. A little light from within goes a long way.


    If you’re teaching a class and your heart isn’t in it, reflect after class. Was it just this one circumstance, or does this happen often? Perhaps you can revise your sequencing, themes, music, and/or tone of voice to help you connect better with your class. Or maybe it’s as simple as connecting with one or two students. Making little changes will help boost your confidence as a yoga instructor, and getting to know others around you will make your light shine.
     
  5. Curious

    This is perhaps my favorite quality of good yoga teachers. If a teacher isn’t curious, you will never learn very much from them. Curious instructors continue to grow in their own practice, their own knowledge of yoga, and their own teaching as they help you grow. Just think: if a yoga teacher always taught the exact same sequence for years and years, what would happen? 1) their students would probably get bored and stop showing up and 2) the teacher would most likely feel very uninspired and would lose their passion for teaching.


    I can’t say this enough: keep learning, keep exploring, and KEEP PRACTICING!
     
  6. Ability to connect

    Finally, the ability to connect with others is huge. You do not (by any means) need to be an extrovert to be a successful yoga teacher. What you do need is enough confidence to approach a student, ask their name, get to know them, and give them hands-on adjustments during class.


    If you show up, barely talk to anyone, teach your class, sit behind the computer as students leave, and go home, your students will read you as not wanting to be there. Take the 2ish hours you have in the studio and truly be there. Put your phone away, come out from behind the computer, and learn student’s names. Give adjustments in class - maybe even use essential oils at the end. As they leave class, let them know your name again and that you hope to see them soon.

Being a successful yoga teacher is not an easy task. But with determination and a strong sense of curiosity, you will start to see confidence building and your class numbers rising. 

Love + Light!

 

7 Reasons You Should Try Many Yoga Studios

How to find the best yoga studio in your location

If you live in a medium or large city, chances are there are several yoga studios in town. You may be lucky enough to live in a location with hundreds of studios around. Regardless if you have 5 or 200 studios to choose from, it’s so important to find a connection with one or two studios. Find a place you can continuously visit, comfortably afford, and where you’re free from judgment (self-judgement counts, too!).

Before you decide on the first yoga studio you step foot into, take a moment. I highly suggest taking a few months (or maybe even longer) to really feel out what your city has to offer. Here are 7 reasons why I find it helpful to “shop around” in the yoga industry:

  1. You may not know what you actually want
    Sure, you may love practicing yin yoga. But before you put all your energy and effort into yin, maybe explore ashtanga, vinyasa, or even a bikram class. You’ll notice after each class your body and mind feel drastically different. Want to change it up even more? Try a sculpt or barre class too. Want it all? There are studios that offer all of these styles under one roof.

  2. Class styles and difficulty level
    Building on point #1, you may be looking for something relaxing after a long day at work. Or perhaps yoga is your means to a healthy, fit body. Nail down a few goals for making it to your mat. If fitness is important to you, find a studio that offers hot yoga, sculpt, barre, and power styles. If meditation and relaxation are must-haves, find a studio that offers a restorative option. Again, if you want it all, these places do exist. I promise.

  3. Corporate vs. Local
    Oh, the big debate in the yoga world! I have experienced both corporate chain yoga studios and local studios - and I’m torn.


    Here’s my input: corporate studios may be able to give you a little more bang for your buck in terms of studio amenities - you’ll likely see beautiful locker rooms, showers, and lobby spaces. They also may have multiple locations in your city, making yoga extremely accessible. Another plus for yoga chains is they usually have stellar teachers because competition to teach is so high. You’re guaranteed a decent class.

    A yoga chain con? Sometimes studios that are chains lack personality and can lack that home-like feel (of course this isn’t always true!).

    On to local yoga joints: what’s not to love about a local studio? You can meet the owner and find out why they opened the studio. You can build wonderful connections with the teachers and other students because chances are your local studio is smaller in size. The atmosphere in local studios is often inviting, comfortable, and home-like.

    A downside to joining a local studio is sometimes class costs are higher. Not always, but sometimes.
     

  4. Location, location, location!
    This is a serious point. If you have trouble physically getting to your yoga studio, you won’t make it to class. I know this from personal experience.
     

  5. Opportunity for growth
    No matter where you are in your personal yoga practice, chances are you want to increase your skills. Make sure your studio has either a variety of classes to challenge your mind and body, or someone you can look up to and ask for personal help. Want to grow even more? Perhaps your studio has a teacher training program. Do it.

  6. Financial investment
    This could be the deciding factor for you. Please don’t blow all of your money on a fancy yoga studio if it’s not the happiest moment of your day. Decide what you’re comfortable spending on yoga and figure out what your city’s studios average for a class. In Minneapolis, most studios offer a $20 drop-in class, a variety of class packages, and monthly rates around $80-120.

     

  7. That “homey” feeling
    Your studio should be a place of joy, hope, and safety. It should be a place where you can go when you have the best day and when you have the worst day. Whatever you do, pick a studio that makes you happy!

All in all, take your time when finding a yoga studio. If you’re going to spend your money and time on your practice, it’s worth it to find a place you can call home. Do you have any tips for finding the best studio?

 

Love & Light!