The Connected Yoga Teacher Podcast

104: Legal Answers for Your Yoga Business with Saerin Ally Cho


Should your yoga business be an LLC? Do you need to trademark your business name? What kind of permits and licenses do you need to legally run your yoga business? Saerin Ally Cho, founder of Love Light Law joins Shannon in the fourth episode of the 5-part mini-series, Yoga Studio Business 101, to talk about all things legal.

Saerin is a lawyer and yoga teacher, who combined her love for the two disciplines into her company, Love Light Law. Her mission is to help yoga teachers and wellness entrepreneurs do what they love and share their light by protecting their businesses with the law on their side.

On this episode, Saerin and Shannon tackle some of the confusing and complicated (but extremely important!) legal aspects of running a yoga business. From the type of business entity you should have, to legal responsibility for your students – they discuss it all.

If you’ve ever struggled with figuring out taxes or wondered about your liability as a yoga instructor, or even just needed help with the practical aspects of legally establishing and managing your business, this is a must listen.

Key Takeaways:

[2:15] Shannon introduces her guest for this episode – Saerin Ally Cho.

[5:00] Saerin is a lawyer and a yoga teacher. Which came first in her journey? How did motherhood lead her to become a yoga teacher?

[7:00] Should yoga teachers have an LLC? Saerin explains more about what that means, and the different business entities that are available as options for yoga teachers.

[11:52] Shannon’s business is a sole proprietorship. Saerin explains what that means from a tax and legal standpoint.

[13:51] How does Saerin determine if someone should start an LLC? She illustrates with a few examples of people at different points in their lives and careers.

[16:56] What are some tips and tricks for determining what your business name should be? What are some of the considerations when it comes to choosing a name for your business?

[20:21] Shannon and Saerin discuss some of the trademarking issues that come up in the yoga space.

[21:08] If you’re in the US, you can “obtain an EIN from the IRS”. Saerin explains what that means.

[24:34] Getting legit with required licenses and permits. Saerin talks through some of the paperwork you may need to run your yoga business – be careful, this varies according to local laws!

[26:41] Shannon and Saerin delve a little deeper into what legal requirements there are when it comes to teaching in a public space or in your home.

[29:56] Hands-on assists can be a bit of a tricky situation in yoga classes. Find out what’s allowed in your jurisdiction, as this may differ!

[31:47] If a student openly disregards the teacher’s instructions and then suffers some sort of injury, whose legal responsibility is it?

[33:03] What is an example of gross negligence?

[34:34] How much information should you get about the student on your intake and waiver forms?

[38:22] Do get your free download of Saerin’s checklist to ensure that the different aspects of your yoga business are considered.

[40:43] Get in touch with Saerin via her website.

[42:00] Shannon shares her biggest takeaways from her interview with Saerin. Do you have any other legal questions? Leave a comment!


Gratitude to our Sponsor Schedulicity

Quotes from this episode:

“I took a good look at what I enjoyed doing before I became a mother, and decided to dive deep into that, and that was yoga.”

“Coming into a business, and yoga is definitely a business even if you’re teaching part-time or full-time, you’re going to think about what is the right legal entity structure best for me.”

“The legal entity structure, in general, creates a wall between your personal assets and liabilities on one side, and professional assets and liabilities on the other.”

“A yoga teacher coming out of a yoga teacher training 200 might not have legally the same level of standard duty of care that’s the same as someone who’s been teaching for 20 years and is a yoga therapist.”

“When you look at it from a legal standpoint, you look at all the facts. Who are these people, and what should they have known?”