Erin's passion for yoga is electric and contagious. The success of her entrepreneurship is inspiring. And her desire to help others discover their healthier selves is beautiful. She is definitely a woman who is About Her Business. Learn more about Erin and be inspired.
Hi Erin! Tell us about Erin Haynes Yoga.
I'm a yoga instructor in Los Angeles and specialize in Prenatal Yoga. I teach all over town in yoga studios and gyms for group classes, as well as in people's homes for private sessions. I teach anywhere from 13 to 18 classes a week and [currently] have five private clients. When I had my corporate job, I only taught 3 to 5 classes a week, and they would be before work, after work and on the weekends, it was certainly a side hustle.
I've been certified in pre and post natal yoga for the past 2 1/2 years and love every moment of it! It is certainly my favorite type of yoga to teach, I love helping these women feel stronger and more confident in their ever-changing bodies. I joke in telling the truth that I do know way more about the pregnant body than any single (marital status) woman should know! I also have quite a lot of training in injuries, as I trained at Loyola Marymount for Yoga Therapy. I was tired of not having answers for my students questions regarding their injuries. The standard teacher response is "if it hurts don't do it" or "let me know and we can do something else." So I got the education I needed to help improve their mobility and at least give them some answers on how to relieve pain. I received my 200-Hour Yoga Certification from Christy Marsden in 2012 at Yoga Blend and obtained my Prenatal Certification from Silverlake Yoga in 2014. I've trained with Schyuler Grant, Noah Mazé and Chad Dennis.
Can you share more about your story, how you started yoga, and the inspiration behind it?
After meeting a 75-year-old yogi and seeing how joyous and full of life she was after a life full of yoga, I was led to leave my super stressful career in the TV entertainment world and make the huge life change I needed to truly improve my health and quality of life. This incredible journey of taking classes, researching yoga philosophy, training and teaching has blossomed into a satisfying and delightfully rewarding life. I wasn't able to leave corporate entertainment as soon as I hoped, it was five years before I was able to make the leap.
What did you do before you started your yoga business and is it what you've always wanted to do?
I was in the entertainment industry. I moved to Los Angeles seven years ago to be a TV talk show producer. Just after four months of living in Los Angeles, I scored what I thought was my dream job at a popular daytime talkshow. There were certainly exciting times working on the show, but the low times overshadowed anything positive about that experience. After that show, I assisted two producers to help develop reality TV shows, then associate produced at another show. That was followed by another opportunity at a television cable network. All of the jobs that I held down were assistant jobs, I couldn't find a way to climb the ladder. My quality-of-life had been limited and I was tired of serving people that didn't respect or appreciate me. So really I only got a taste of the industry and never accomplished my original goal, but thankfully my goals changed.
What is your highest accomplishment, so far, as a business owner and what did it mean for you or your business?
I started teaching yoga to an 85-year-old woman in January. Her name is Doris and before she started seeing me, she hadn't sat on the floor in 20 years since her hip replacement surgery. Doris feared falling and breaking her other hip. Her daughter is battling cancer and Doris' fitness goal is to feel more confident walking so she can take care of her daughter. Doris is my highest accomplishment and it makes me emotional as she is now so confident in her walking and balancing that she just went on a ten day cruise. She can do tasks around her home without using a grabber stick, she can confidently walk her dog several times a day, can sit on the floor and get herself up from the floor on her own and she can even balance and do tree pose! All the things she thought were long gone are accessible to her again and that's largely because of the work that we've done together.
When was a low point in your business and what did you learn from it?
The biggest low points are monetary benefits! if I'm not teaching, I don't get paid... If I get sick, I don't get paid sick days. If there's a holiday, my classes will most likely get canceled and I don't get paid. If I want to take a week off, I don't have vacation days. Private clients are where I make the most money per hour and if they take a week off or if they go on vacation, I don't get paid.
How did you fund your business as you were just starting?
There were several financial roadblocks that were in my way; living in Los Angeles isn't exactly the easiest place to save money. So even though I had a regular full-time job and taught yoga on the side, I was basically living paycheck to paycheck, however, after a fortunate layoff complete with severance package and unemployment benefits, I was able to start teaching full time! I went from teaching 3 to 5 yoga classes a week to 10 classes and two privates within three weeks of being laid off. I had been subbing at studios all over town and had great relationships with studio owners, so once I told them I was available during the regular workweek they gave me regular classes! It took me just one year to start making the same amount that I made at my corporate job. I know I'm very fortunate.
Describe what success looks like for you? Do you consider yourself successful, yet?
I do consider myself successful. For the financial side of it, I'm paying all of my bills on time, I can afford to go out and have a social life, I can get one day off a week and I make as much if not more than what I made at my last corporate job. My quality-of-life is certainly thriving as this year I'm taking a vacation, I can afford to visit my family, and I can take naps every day!! What is so important though, is that I can help to improve my clients lives, I make a difference, I can help my clients feel stronger, more confident and happier everyday.
How did/are people finding out about your business? How are you gaining customers/partners?
A lot of it is word-of-mouth, the clients I have from my group classes sometimes want more of a one-on-one experience to advance their practice. Doris was referred to me by her son-in-law. I also use apps called Thumbtack and Handstand to get private clients.
What's next for you and your business?
I want to become a certified Doula, that will certainly help with my prenatal business. Also, I want to start teaching yoga teachers how to teach prenatal yoga, it's an untapped market and a great way to make money. I'd like to travel around the country and teach prenatal workshops, that would be a great way to see my friends and family and get paid for it.
What is the best advice someone has ever given you?
The best advice would be to not try to teach like any other teacher, you have your own style and people like you for who you are and how you teach.
Introvert or extrovert?
I'm an introvert in a group of loud people, and an extrovert in a group of quiet people.
Currently reading (or it's on the list)?
I am currently reading and just re-read it every week How to be a Badass by Jen Sincero
One thing you can't leave the house without (not including wallet, keys, or phone)?
Yoga pants? Haha
Can't start the day without?
Bulletproof coffee!! I've changed my diet so there's way more fat. And that just keeps me going, it's a lot more affordable than needing to eat all the time. Now I supplement my meals with adding BUTTER!! Grass fed Butter!
"In order to kick ass, you must first pick up your foot!" - Jen Sincero
Always inspired by?
I love knowing what's going on with the moon and planets… It might sound strange and hippie, but if I can blame my crazy on the Universe, it's a good day.
What's a favorite memory of yours that you wish you had someone there to photograph?
I wish I had Doris' "before" photos, we didn't take them but man I wish we did! She's changed so much, it's quite inspiring. The look on her face when she first tried tree pose, she lit up my life.
Shout out to another girl boss doing her thing and what you admire about her!
All yoga instructors out there! It used to be that all out of work actors were waiters, but now it seems all out of work actors are fitness professionals! There is a yoga studio on every corner and the only way they can make more money is to churn out more yoga instructors by offering teacher trainings. It's so hard not to be competitive in the world of yoga, as the whole point is to let go of the ego, however what is Los Angeles without ego? The real challenge is if you can congratulate your cohorts and lift each other up.
Yoga studio: Kinship Yoga