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What to Do When No Students Show Up at Your Class

Our best advice for handling the inevitable.

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You spent hours creating and refining a new sequence, practicing it over and over again, and carefully incorporating the new variations you learned at a recent workshop. You even recorded yourself teaching to improve your cueing and made a terrific new playlist.

But when you showed up to teach, you were the only one there. Sound familiar?

I’ve been teaching yoga for 15 years, and I’ve lost count of how many times this has happened. When I first started, I was devastated each time it happened. “I must be a terrible teacher,” I’d tell myself. And I would let it ruin my entire day, if not week.

Over time, I came to understand that no-show classes happen. (There are even days when I wish no one would show up to class so that I could go home and sleep.) Attendance is usually not a reflection on you or your teaching. It happens for reasons you can’t possibly know and, unless it’s a chronic problem, there’s little use trying to figure it out.

A no-show class can actually be a gift when you turn it into a chance to create something out of nothing. Here are 5 things you can do the next time no one comes to class.

1. Work or play

If you spend a lot of your day running from one class or training to the next, it may be rare that you get a dedicated hour or more to yourself. Use this found time to respond to messages, read up on that anatomy-related question you’d been meaning to explore, or consider themes and sequences for upcoming classes. Or simply call an old friend or take yourself to that tea place or boutique you’ve been wanting to try.

2. Rest

Similarly, yoga teachers have little time to devote to resting. In my early teaching days, I would sometimes leave the house at five in the morning and not return until nine at night! Use that extra time to settle into a restorative practice or even a really long Savasana.

3. Practice

Take advantage of the studio space and use the time for your own yoga practice. Time alone with your body and breath is precious and different than how you “practice” with your students or follow along to classes led by other teachers.

4. Market yourself

Spend the quiet time creating marketing materials or social media posts for your next class. Do a mini photo shoot. Film yourself giving a tour of the studio. Create a reel explaining why you love teaching at that studio or at that time slot. You don’t need a full production crew when you can balance your phone on some blocks.

5. Reassess

While every teacher has the occasional no show, if this becomes a recurring theme, it may be time to assess the problem. Perhaps the studio is new and simply hasn’t been drawing students. Or maybe the time slot is inaccessible to students. That can mean you need to promote your class—and talk to the studio manager about doing so as well.

It is possible that your style isn’t what students are expecting from that class. But if you find that you’re literally wasting time and losing money, you might decide to let the class go. Dropping a class is not a failure. It can be a bold statement to yourself that you are worth more. Trust that the right opportunity will take its place…or maybe that hour is time that you need for yourself.

About our contributor

Sarah Ezrin is an author, world-renowned yoga educator, popular Instagram influencer, and mama based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her willingness to be unabashedly honest and vulnerable along with her innate wisdom make her writing, yoga classes, and social media great sources of healing and inner peace for many people. Sarah is changing the world, teaching self-love one person at a time. You can follow her on Instagram at @sarahezrinyoga and TikTok at @sarahezrin.