Claudia Padgett is a rising star in the office yoga industry. Having recently launched Las Vegas’ first office yoga company, Padgett has managed to build a profitable business in the space of a few months. Nomad Corporate Yoga is serving companies like Allegiant Air, and Padgett is leading the way in the corporate yoga space in the Southwest.
Starting an office yoga company isn’t easy. Your first challenge is arming yourself with research to help employers understand the financial and health benefits of office yoga. “It was and continues to be a challenge to get companies to understand office yoga,” says Padgett. Even though she says that 99% of the time she is met with excitement, some companies are hesitant, no matter how well you present the research and testimonials. Thankfully, Padgett is well versed in the benefits of office yoga, and can easily point to a medical study to back up her pitch to the right potential clients.
It’s important for office yoga teachers to be well versed in working with beginners. “I have spoken with CEOs who tell me they are avid yogis, but aren’t convinced it would work for their offices,” says Padgett. It is unlikely that you will walk into an empty conference room filled with experienced yogis, like you would find at a studio. Beginners are the usual population for office yoga classes. Often, you will be someone’s first yoga teacher! I’m not surprised Padgett is having such a positive experience working with beginners.
“I cannot begin to tell you how thrilling it is to see people who have never done yoga develop along their journey. I have students tell me they can sit comfortably at their desks for the first time in years. I have students tell me they can now bend over to put on their shoes without losing their balance. I have students losing weight after only a few classes.”
According to research, these are expected results from a regular yoga practice in the workplace. But that doesn’t make it any less exciting! Keep up the momentum in your office yoga community by celebrating small victories with your students.
”Seeing the happiness that my classes bring makes every challenge worthwhile. It really is a special relationship when you get to introduce someone to yoga,” says Padgett.
In today’s yoga studios, there isn’t always opportunity to build relationships with your students, and watch their growth. The teacher-student relationship is something that is special in office yoga. If offers people the opportunity to have regular access to an educator who specializes in ways to stretch out in the office! Get to know your students, and help them become the best versions of themselves, if only for a class or two a week.
Learn proper teaching technique. It is essential to be a successful office yoga teacher. “I would say the scariest thing about starting my company was when I first had to bring in another instructor. After all, your company is your baby and it is really hard to trust someone to step in with the hopes they teach to your standards and expectations.” Sometimes at studios, inexperienced yoga teachers can often lead beginning yogis to injury. It’s very important that you fully understand the training and techniques of anyone you hire to represent your company! Make sure you are on top of your game, too. Office yoga teacher training is one way to become more familiar working with this specialized population.
Be adaptable. “Don't set anything in stone. Whether it be pricing, the content of your classes, your sales process - you have to play around with everything until you find what works. Give the companies what they want - don't try to force what you want on them.”
She provides us with some sound advice. Every city’s needs are different. Office yoga, or corporate yoga in her case, needs to adapt to its market. What works in New York or San Francisco may not work in Las Vegas, and it can be scary to start a business. But Padgett is glad she did!
“It is by far the most fulfilling and exciting thing I have ever done. I am so excited to be a part of this industry and I cannot wait to see office yoga become a staple in businesses all across the United States.”
Lauren Coles is the creator of Office Yoga Teacher Training. Founder and Lead Educator at Daisy Yoga, Lauren holds a Master’s Degree in Education, and works with specialized population, including office workers, urban adolescents, and people with disabilities. She was first certified to teach yoga in 2007, and spent five years working as a special education and yoga teacher at a public high school in New York City. Previously, she was a work-life balance counselor at a benefits company on Wall Street.