Yoga is one of these things where people often say, “This can help anybody with anything.” I’m not actually going to argue that. What I am going to say is that if in your marketing you say, “This can help anyone with anything,” that will not be compelling. That’s not a niche.
So what do you do with something like yoga, which legitimately does have some broad applications? I would submit that the fact it has such broad appeal and usefulness means there’s a lot of room for different niches. And this is what you see when you look out into the world of yoga – an incredible amount of creativity of people combining yoga with other modalities, focusing it on particular issues or towards particular groups of people.
What follows is not an exhaustive list but, rather, the few I have heard of on my travels.
Not Yoga Classes But in the Yoga World:
Angry Yoga isn’t a real thing, but I bet it could be.
Decolonizing Yoga isn’t a particular class but it’s taking the role in the yoga world of challenging some of the ways yoga is perceived, used and practiced.
Jackie Dumaine in Calgary has a business called the Yoga Code where she does workshops about the Yamas and the Niyamas, the ten ethical codes of yoga.
MC Yogi – a rapper who raps about yoga and consciousness.
Wanderlust – a multi day yoga festival.
Bloom – an annual event in Edmonton that brings together the yoga community.
Abundant Yogi – Kris Ward with AbundantYogi.com was a yoga teacher. She was sick of seeing her yoga teacher friends be financially broke and have this nobility of, “I’m broke but that’s just the dharma.” They couldn’t sustain themselves. She had the provocative notion that you could be a yogi but also abundant. This case study is interesting because it’s actually broadened a bit. It started with yoga, but it’s now broadened to holistic practitioners in general.
The Social Yogi – a project I founded in Edmonton that creates a monthly social event for local yogis.
The Connected Yoga Teacher – helping yoga teachers stay inspired and connected after their teacher training.
Yoga to Address Particular Issues:
- Yoga for weight loss
- Yoga for grief
- Yoga for weight-gain (us skinny people!)
- Yoga for java heads (calm down yoga)
- Yoga for Fertility
- Healing yoga for traumatic stress
- Yoga for Hangovers: There’s a yoga studio by a college, and every Sunday they have a hangover recovery class, where it’s restorative yoga specifically working for the people who partied really hard. It’s brilliant.
Yoga + Other Interests:
- Foodie Yoga – “David Romanelli has found a way to tickle the senses of the food-loving-yogi by designing a class that incorporates — yup, you guessed it — food and yoga. Romanelli calls his mission “yoga for the Everyman,” working to make the ancient practice accessible for everyone. “The world is a better place if people do yoga. And if they come because chocolate or wine is involved, I’m fine with it,” he recently told The New York Times. After the yoga class, the participants are taught to enjoy and appreciate a delicious meal of “slow food” with the same awareness they used on the mat just minutes before.”
- Yoga plus aroma therapy
- Yoga plus horse riding
- Yoga plus chocolate, where they do a little cocoa ceremony and talk about the mystical properties of cacao.
- What about yoga plus music? Bringing in African drumming? Or Yoga plus cello where it’s classical music brought into yoga.
- Yoga plus wine, where they’ll drink a little bit of wine before and after class. (Not much, otherwise it would be drunk yoga!) They do a toast to the spirit and talk about how wine gets better as it ages just like we do.
- Dubstep yoga.
- Ganja Yoga
- Indo Board Yoga – yoga on a paddle board in the water
- My friend Sophie Fairweather has been working to combine yoga + music + permaculture.
Yoga for Particular Groups of People:
- Yoga for Round Bodies – I love talking about this one. Tina Veer is a beautiful woman in Toronto. She would go to yoga classes and find them really unsatisfying because she had a rounder body and most of the teachers and classes didn’t really know how to deal with that. First off, she had the social awkwardness of everyone looking like a Barbie Doll and feeling like she didn’t fit in. Secondly, the teachers didn’t know how to adjust any of the poses using straps, chairs or blocks, which would have been really easy if they’d known how. She physically didn’t have a very satisfying yoga experience, so she created Yoga for Round Bodies to address the two main issues she experienced. One, her clients don’t have to feel socially awkward because everyone in the class looks just like them, and two, all the postures are adapted for those kinds of people so they get a really physically satisfying yoga experience. Brilliant, really clear, and easy to understand.
- Yoga for activists
- Yoga for writers
- Yoga for rednecks where they would have classes where they would play country music. They would pull out the Christian lyrics from the country music, tie that back to the mystical Christian implications of those lyrics, and then tie that back to yogic philosophy.
- What about something about how to develop your home practice?
- Yoga for women in the Jewish community, tying it into scripture
- Yoga for bullied youth
- Yoga for abuse survivors and those they love
- Yoga for cancer survivors and those they love
- Yoga for depression
- Yoga for scoliosis
- Yoga for the unfit
- Yoga modified for those with injuries. (e.g. back injuries or broken legs)
- Doga: yoga with your dog. It’s a real thing
- Yoga for emergency workers
- Yoga for runners
- Yoga for Golfers
- Yoga for gardeners
- Yoga for artists
- Yoga for equestrians and horse athletes
- Yoga for Office Workers – Chair yoga
- Broga: yoga for men
- Yoga for those with breast cancer in Saskatoon
- Yoga for older women with an inner child
- Yoga for those with mental illness
- Yoga for those with heart disease
- Yoga for pain syndrome sufferers
- Yoga for the LGBTQ community
- Yoga for round bodies (as mentioned earlier)
- Beth Martens in Winnipeg: She is a single mom who experienced the stress of the utter exhaustion of being a caregiver. She created this day-long retreat called Yoga Cream Pie, a day of taking care of the caregivers. People who never get a chance to take care of themselves because they are taking care of kids or the elderly or their parents. They get a chance to just be rejuvenated through yoga, plus they get a massage. It’s incredible.
- Kids’ yoga.
- Yoga for seniors
- Yoga for people in 12 steps programs
- Weeping yoga for men and boys
Different Styles of Yoga:
And all of that hasn’t even touched on the different styles of yoga (which have their own implied niches, in a way, as people are going to be attracted to different styles and philosophies): Bikram, Hatha, Moksha, Mysore, Hot, Kundalini, vinyasa, ashtanga, anusara, iyengar, flow, restorative, yin, integral, acro, core, power, yoga nidra, vinniyoga, forest yoga, akhanda, bhakti, raja, Jnana, shadow, jungle, laughter, gratitude, somatic, vijnana, sattva, ananda, ishta, jivamukti, kaliray triyoga, kripalu, sivananda, svaroopa, white lotus, ishta, Kali Ray Tri Yoga, kripalu, sivananda, etc.
One modality: yoga.
And so many different niches.