How to teach Yoga to Boomers

How to teach Yoga to Boomers

How to teach Yoga to Boomers 1800 1200 Nate Guadagni

The Yoga Alliance / Yoga Journal Study in 2016 showed that:

  • There are over 40 Million yoga practitioners (up from 20 million in 2012) Double in four years!
  • 4 Million were 50+ in 2012 – 14 Million are 50+ in 2016 – Boomers are the fastest growing segment!
  • 74% of students have been practicing for 5 years or less – there are still lots of beginners.
  • 50% of practitioners are health conscious – they are open to other health related products or services.

There were several objections from those who don’t start yoga:

  • Perceptions of exclusivity
  • Yoga is for young people
  • Yoga is for flexible people
  • Yoga is for women

We’ve got to change that!

I want to show you why serving the older adult popular can be the BEST niche for your yoga business.

Fun facts about Boomers

  • Between the ages of 57 – 75 (in 2021)
  • They are the largest population in America (Millennials are close behind)
  • They are the wealthiest, and most active
  • They hold 70% of all disposable income in US (Nielson)
  • They do 80% of all luxury travel spending (retreats abroad anyone?)
  • They have the largest amount of health issues and problems (They NEED yoga!)

By 2030, there will be three times as many people over the age of 65 than there were in 1980 (this age group will continue to grow)

Here are a few of their top health issues:

Diabetes – Heart Disease – Cancer – Depression – Arthritis – Stress – Obesity

Yoga has been shown to help manage symptoms of all of these and perhaps prevent them.


Benefits to yoga teachers who teach Boomers

  • They are a large, underserved market
  • They are more loyal
  • More stable in income, relationships and location
  • They don’t change their lives as much, find something and stick to it
  • They are more tech savvy than you think:
    • 96% of baby boomers use search engines,
    • 95% use email
    • 92% shop for products and services online rather than shopping in stores
    • 60% of baby boomers spend time reading blogs and online articles
    • 82.3% of baby boomers belong to at least one social media site. (Source DMN3)

Facebook is by far the most popular social media site for baby boomers. (Source Colorado University)

Ok I’ve convinced you WHY you should teach them, now HOW to teach Boomers?

Modification, modification, modification

  • Find ways to modify poses and offer alternatives
  • Demonstrate the easiest version first, then work your way to more challenging (Not the other way around)
  • Think about what is the essence of the pose? How can they gain the benefit in a different way?

Use Props!

  • Using props is the default setting, not the extra option.
  • They need to Opt out of the prop, instead of Opt in.
  • People follow the teacher and they follow the crowd, take the pressure off them.
  • Make props normal not remedial.

Slow your roll!

  • One breath one movement is probably too fast (I’m talking to you Vinyasa!)
  • Up and down from the floor is challenging
  • Use Perceived Effort Scale not “as far as you can”. (Hold until you reach 80% fatigue)
  • You can still challenge students without straining them
  • Let students measure perceived effort rather than pose performance

Goals and motivation

  • They are less motivated to do the pose for the pose’s sake
  • They have more realistic and practical goals

Private Sessions

Boomers are perfect private session candidates.

  • They can generally afford it
  • They need it more than other students
  • They want it and appreciate the relationship more than you may realize

How to market to Boomers

The platform you choose is key.

Instead of making hilarious TikTok videos, meet them where they are!

  1. Email is still #1. Build your email list and keep in touch regularly. Don’t always sell, add value in each email.
  2. Referral from a friend. Make it easy to refer to you. Offer first-class-free-for-friends. They will bring them!
  3. Facebook: create engaging content, groups and events. Make a presence there for inbound inquiries.
  4. Community events (in person) Go to the local AARP meeting. Go to the Alzheimers Walk. Get involved!

Consider your message:

  • Do the models and images you show reflect their lives and concerns?
  • You may not be your target market, put yourself in their shoes.
  • Your sexy Instagram post may look great to others like you, but repel Boomers

Can you find older models and more diverse body types, ethnicities?

Let them tell the story!

Share stories from other Boomers who have benefitted (Testimonials with pictures)

Understand their needs and desires and challenges

Design classes, themes and sequences that can help them with practical issues like balance, lifting and carrying and hiking.

  • Build real relationships, find out about their family, travels or history.
  • Talk with them before and after class
  • Find out what they are struggling with and help them with it

I hope this helps you better serve this wonderful population.

What did I miss?

Let me know what you think in the comments!