Teachers stealing students?

“Teachers stealing students”: is this a problem for yoga studio owners? 

I am on a newsletter list for a free marketing course. I will keep their name anonymous as I am not interested to point the finger at one business, but rather, open up a constructive discussion. This marketing business has suggested that many yoga studios are concerned about teachers “stealing” students. Because students get attached to teachers, when the teacher leaves they make take some or a lot of students with them.

The marketer suggests there are two ways to fix the problem. The first is to regularly shuffle teachers’ schedules so students won’t have the same teacher regularly. This apparently is “worth a try” and has worked for a couple of studios the marketer knows. However it is difficult to manage and you “may get a high teacher turnover as a result, as well as less committed students.”

The other solution: I do not know, as this will be revealed in the free upcoming marketing course.

I hope, as yoga teachers and as yoga studio owners, you are feeling at this point, concerned.

I wrote to this marketer and let them know that I find the idea that "teachers steal students" as a problem offensive to the unique and special relationship between teachers and students. That the solution of 'shuffling teachers around' so students don't get attached to teachers, could even be suggested, I find deeply disrespectful to one of the cornerstones of yoga: the relationship between yoga teacher and student.

I am a studio owner. I encourage teachers to build their relationship with the students, as this is the sacred foundation of the yoga journey. In a survey of our students that I recently undertook, the number one reason our students come to our studio is because of their teacher. We are not a 'mass produced' style of yoga, where any teacher will do. I encourage teachers to: have their own emailing lists, advertise all their own events, connect with their students in the way they find best. If teachers want to leave, that is their choice and they are free to 'take' students with them. It is their right as a teacher. And of course it is not that they 'take' or ‘steal’ students: students choose the teacher and it is most fundamentally the right of students to choose the teacher that feels right for them.

I think this suggestion that teachers steal students smacks of commercialisation at the cost of the very essence of yoga: the student-teacher relationship.

What do you think?

Anahata Giri