Ep. 52: Corporate Yoga Tips with Journey Meditation Founder, Stephen Sokoler



“The way we position the program was that of a stress management and wellbeing program, which is how we continue to market it today.” - Stephen Sokoler


Have you ever thought about working with businesses in your local area? If you have then you’ve probably wondered how to get connected with that business and really start the conversation. And in this podcast episode, I’m joined by the Founder and CEO of Journey Meditation, Stephen Sokoler.


Stephen founded Journey Meditation to share meditation and with others and it started with corporations so he’s sharing lots of tips on how to connect with businesses so you can share yoga with them as well.


“We [Journey Meditation] are building the world’s most supportive, inclusive community for mental well being both on and offline.” - Stephen Sokoler


Want to teach yoga or meditation in the corporate world? Grab the marketing tips guide that includes the step-by-step process, tips for keeping the job once you have and scripts you can use to get the job!




How to Get Connected


When it comes to working with businesses, whether they are small or large corporations, there is one way that beats every other way to get connected. And that way is through your network. If you know someone who knows someone, this is the best way to get connected to the right person in that business. Use your resources.


Stephen used his resources when he started his company just 5 years ago and his first client was Warby Parker! Yes, Warby Parker and he landed a 4 meditation class gig with them. That’s huge and it happened because he asked a friend who worked there to connect him to the HR department.


You know that saying “it’s all about who you know, not what you know”? Well, whether you like it or not, it’s true and you can use this to your advantage!


“I was always very surprised that the people who I thought would be super helpful wouldn’t be helpful at all and the people who I wouldn’t think would be even the slightest bit helpful, like a contact that I reconnected with to ask a question turned out to be incredibly helpful. So, I’m always a believer that it doesn’t hurt to ask.” - Stephen Sokoler


Here are some ways you can use your connections:


  • Make a list of the companies you want to work with in your local area. Once you have the list, figure out who you know at those companies

  • Use LinkedIn as a tool to find out who you know that’s connected to those companies. You never know who’s mom or sister works at a company that you want to work with.

  • Start talking about it. If you know the top 3 to 5 companies you want to work with in your local area, start talking about it in conversation when you meet people. Seize the opportunity by asking for a connection when the opportunity presents itself.

  • Attend events that will help you get connected. If there are HR events or the local Chamber of Commerce, look at local events

  • If there are any yoga companies or non profits in your local area that provide yoga to businesses in your area, consider working with them as you gain experience.


How to Market A Meditation (or Yoga) Program to A Business



You need to focus on what’s in it for the business and their employees. If you meet with someone from a company and lead with “yoga will transform your life” that doesn’t sell your yoga offering to the business. But if you focus on the benefits for the employee, you’re more likely to get their attention.


“The way we position the program was that of a stress management and wellbeing program, which is how we continue to market it today.” - Stephen Sokoler


For example, you might share some statistics that show that the more active an employee is, the less likely they are to get sick and miss work. This will certainly get the attention of someone in the HR department because they are often concerned with absent employees.


Or focusing on the happiness of an employee and how that can keep them in a job longer instead of moving to another company. Employee retention is a big deal for a company because as you can imagine it takes time, energy and money to hire and train new employees.


Here are some resources to help you with these statistics:



Finding The “Right” Words


When Stephen decided to start working with businesses, he knew that he needed to speak their language and you can follow his lead when it comes to this too. He know that leading with “meditation” might not get attention but if he showed statistics and how the HR department could improve specific things with their employees by using his program, that he would get attention.


“Similar to starting where you are, you want to meet people where they are too and that’s emotionally, spiritually, financially, even physically.” - Stephen Sokoler


The critical piece is knowing you will be working with but if they are the decision maker or if they have a boss to convince as well. For example, if you meet with the HR program director, they have a boss (most likely a VP in the company) that they will need to share your idea with to get approval before you can work with the company.


When you know who the people are in the equation, you can identify the best words for your marketing.


How To Help The HR Department



As part of the Journey Meditation process, Stephen’s team provides a Communication Strategy to all the HR departments that they work with. They realized that these HR employees have so much on their plate that adding “marketing a meditation class to employees” could be a lot for them so they found a way to make it easier on them with a communication plan.


You can do this too! As a yoga teacher working with a business, think of ways that you can help the business promote your yoga class to their employees. Because I guarantee that if employees love your class, that it will most likely stay a part of the wellness program but if no one is attending the class or it has low attendance, your yoga class might be cut from the plan. They have to do what the employees will utilize.


Here are some ideas of how you could help the business HR department and increase your class size or retention:


  • Send your monthly theme to your HR contact so they can spread the word about your yoga class theme that month.

  • Send them words that they can copy and paste into an email to their employees. Remember to keep it easy on them!

  • Share testimonials that you receive from their employees. If someone says “I loved class today”, then follow up with an email later that day to your HR contact and tell them that Sally said they enjoyed class. (or whatever their real name is, make sure to mention the specific name)

  • Share a yoga video with them and encourage them to send it to their employees or include it in their monthly employee newsletter.


Start Where You Are And Take Action


Just like you meet your students where they are on their mat, I want you to start where you are in this process. If you have a desire to work with businesses, then know that it will take some work to make these connections happen but you can do this if you start today.


Taking action is what’s needed. You can think about this and plan to work with businesses for months if you allow yourself but the only thing that will make your dream a reality is actually taking action.


“A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week.” - General Patton


“A good solution applied with vigor now is better than a perfect solution applied ten minutes later.” - General Patton


Don’t Undervalue The Service You’re Providing


While one option to get your foot in the door with a business is to work for free, this isn’t the method that Stephen suggests. He found that offering something for free often doesn’t turn into a paying client later. But instead he suggests taking whatever you can get as a paid job with a business so that you can then use that as experience to get the next one.


“Don’t underprice yourself. You’re doing yourself a disservice and not just because you’re making less money but people actually value it less too. If you do a class for $50 instead of $200, people will think of it as a $50 class instead of a $200 class” - Stephen Sokoler


One way that Stephen ensured that Journey Meditation could help all different types of business and nonprofits is that they have tiers of pricing. So if you’re looking to work with different types of businesses and are worried about the price of your offering, remember that you can have this too.


But the key is that you share the value of the class with the business. So let’s say you want to work with a non profit and are willing to offer them a special rate of 30% off. When you talk with them and show send the invoice to them, what you would do is share the total rate but then apply the discount. It’s critical to show the true total of your services when you offer these types of rates and discounts.


Working with Journey Meditation


If you’re a meditation teacher and you’re interested in working with Journey Meditation, it’s a fantastic opportunity! Stephen shared some insights as to how they work with teachers and place them with businesses:


  • There are 4 components to the Journey Meditation process: 30 minute weekly classes; Journey Live app, Metrics of the classes, and a Communication Strategy

  • They are currently in 20 cities - most in the US but some outside the US including London and Toronto

  • Teachers are trained in the Journey Meditation process so that the experience is consistent

  • Teachers are matched with a business and they teach all the classes with exceptions of vacation, etc.

  • There are contracts with the businesses for either 13, 26 or 52 weeks so it’s consistent income for teachers

  • There is a pay scale for teachers, your starting pay is determined by experience and then is increased based on experience with Journey Meditation


“Our mission of helping people live better lives, the teachers are the ones that are going to be doing that so it’s important to treat them well and make them feel really loved and cared for and supported.” - Stephen Sokoler


If you’re interested in working with Journey Meditation, please contact Stephen’s colleague, Deena by email at deena@journeymeditation.com. Let her know that you heard Stephen on this podcast and you’re interested in learning more about working with them.


Your next step


If you’re thinking of working with businesses in your local area, I’ve got a special gift for you! I’ve created a cheat sheet for you so you can take action on this dream of yours right away. In this FREE Cheat Sheet you will get the top tips that are outlined in this article but also all the words to help you too. From the email to reach out to the HR contact once you have it to the marketing help you can provide the HR contact once you have the job - I’ve got you covered!


Use the form below to get the PDF in your inbox immediately!



Until next time, give yourself permission to think about marketing in a broader way and grace along the way. Talk to you soon.


About Stephen Sokoler

Born and raised in New York City, Stephen is a serial entrepreneur who works hard to make a difference. Stephen is the Founder & CEO of Journey Meditation. Journey is on a mission to help all people live happier, healthier, less stressed lives. Journey is building the world’s largest meditation community, both online and off, and currently operates in 15 cities around the world. They work with organizations ranging from Facebook, Disney, and Nike, to charter schools, hospitals, and non-profits. Journey recently launched Journey LIVE, the world’s first live group meditation app – think Peloton for Meditation.


Journey Meditation Links:


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Free Corporate Yoga Cheatsheet!


- Scripts to reach out to the business about your yoga offering

- Follow up techniques and timeline

- Marketing information to send to the HR department so they can market your class to employees




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