Before you start practising with your yogis you need to make sure you do a risk assessment for your yoga class!

Knowing how thorough to be, and what things to look out for, can be a mine field. Our step-by-step guide will walk you through a yoga risk assessment checklist so you’re ready to complete your own!

In this article we’ll discuss:

Before we start, if you’re not yet qualified, check out OriGym’s Level 3 yoga qualification to provide you with all of the practical and philosophical skills needed to start teaching!

You find out more about this and all of our yoga teacher training courses if you download and browse our free course prospectus!

Why a Risk Assessment for Your Yoga Class is Essential

warning risk assessment for yoga class graphic

Before you complete one, you might be wondering what exactly it is, and why it’s so important you complete a risk assessment before a yoga class!

A risk assessment is essentially a checklist of health and safety for your yoga business, looking at potential risks and making sure they’re either fixed or sufficiently avoided before you invite students into the space.

You’ll have to go round the space and see what is, or could be, a risk to students or anybody else who’ll be in the studio.

The main reason completing a risk assessment for a yoga studio is so important is to protect yourself, your students, and any employees from illness or injury as best you can.

For example, if you’ve not done your annual risk assessment for a yoga class and there’s a crack in one of the mirrors, it could break and seriously injure a class member.

Looking over the equipment and space would’ve alerted you to this risk and prevented any injury or illness because you’d have a chance to fix the mirror before hosting a class. 

This is all part of running a successful yoga studio because ensuring these things are managed will make you feel more in control of your space, and relaxed whilst teaching. 

Another one of the most important reasons you should check the health and safety of your yoga studio or class space is insurance.

stop sign risk assessment for yoga class graphic

If somebody makes a liability claim against you, you’re in a much better legal position when you’ve completed a yoga risk assessment.

For example, if somebody makes a claim against you for an injury sustained from something that was preventable, and you haven’t completed an assessment, this will hurt your case by making you look negligent.

You’re also much less likely to have a claim made against you if you’ve completed a regular risk assessment for your yoga class.

Completing these regularly will also make you more aware of risks in general and help you to stay alert and on the lookout for any breakages or other safety concerns. 

The kind of risk assessment you perform will depend on what kind of yoga business you have. If you want to start an online yoga business, how you do this might be slightly different. 

We’ll look into this in our next section, the first step on our yoga risk assessment checklist.

The Health and Safety Executive recommend that the risk assessment process be:

  • Identify hazards
  • Assess the risks associated
  • Control the risks
  • Record what you find
  • Review how you’ve controlled the risks

We’ll run through each of these steps individually, so you know exactly how to conduct a risk assessment for your yoga class!

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Step 1: Start Your Yoga Risk Assessment with a Full Run Down of Potential Risks

checklist risk assessment for yoga class graphic

So, now you know how important it is to be aware of health and safety when doing yoga and why you should complete a risk assessment.

But how exactly do you do that? 

The first step for our yoga risk assessment checklist is to do a full run down of all of the potential risks in your yoga studio or other space you use for your practice. 

This will mean doing a full inventory as you go around your space and look at everything that could be a risk including, but not limited to:

  • Electrical wires – check they’re tidied away and not a trip hazard
  • Safety of yoga equipment such as mats and straps that could slip or trip
  • Any shelves or fastening to check they’re safely secured
  • Check all flooring is secured down and free of spillages or slippy areas. You should also have a wet floor sign for cleaning if appropriate 

A risk could be anything that can potentially cause harm or injury to your class members or employees. 

If you’ve done a full assessment you’ve got something to refer to in order to do inspections before every session you do.

That way your annual yoga risk assessment can become a checklist you use to ensure every class you teach is as safe as possible!

As we mentioned earlier, the kind of risk assessment you have for your yoga class will depend on where you’re teaching it.

We’ll run through each of these briefly now!

Risks to Look Out For When Completing Your Yoga Risk Assessment

yoga studio 2 risk assessment for yoga class image

As we’ve already mentioned, you’ll need to go around all areas of the studio that class members and members of the studio will be!

This will include:

  • Reception
  • Changing rooms
  • Studio rooms and classrooms 
  • Bathrooms or toilet spaces
  • Any other communal areas

Risks can roughly be grouped into the following three categories:

  • Environment
  • Equipment
  • People

You need to check the environment in terms of things that could cause harm by slipping, tripping, or anything falling off the walls.

This means one of the more important things for you to do is check anything that’s fixed to the wall to ensure it’s solid.

This might be:

  • Doors
  • Desks in reception
  • Light fixtures
  • Shelves 

The equipment, as we mentioned earlier, will need to be checked for any breakages or anything that could put your students at risk.

yoga studio risk assessment for yoga class graphic

For example, you’ll need to make sure the grip is intact on mats and they’re not going to slip when your students are in the middle of a class.

This is what you’d have to do if you were renting a private space or own your own yoga studio!

We’ll look at the risk factors associated with class members themselves, in ‘Step 2’.

Completing a Risk Assessment for Yoga Classes Outdoors

outdoor yoga risk assessment for yoga class image

If you find a yoga teacher job in a fitness facility or studio isn’t for you, you may want to run your own classes in the park or other public areas.

Completing an assessment for outdoor classes is a little more complicated because obviously there’s a number of factors which are beyond your control.

You’ll have to assess the immediate area you’ll be performing the class on and check that the ground is stable and it’s not directly under a tree or somewhere where something could fall on class members. 

Other factors will be more difficult to measure and subject to change on a daily basis and this is something you should be aware of, and have as part of every inspection.

For instance, you’ll have to check the ground and the condition of the space you’re working in on the day to make sure there’s enough room for people to practice safety.

You’ll also have to ensure that there’s no adverse weather conditions that would affect the health and safety of your yoga class.

weather forecast risk assessment for yoga class graphic

This will also include noting the temperature to make sure people can take part in the class without overheating or risking getting sunburnt or other heat related illness and injury.

If so, you’ll have to announce that the class is cancelled or move it indoors if you have access to another, safer space.

Remember that any alternative space will need a yoga risk assessment too!

Some other considerations could be:

  • Animals (allergies, possible attacks or interference)
  • Plants around (for example, are there any nettles or thorns?)
  • Any of the equipment or electric goods not working outdoors
  • Light quality
  • Noise – will people be able to hear your instructions clearly enough?

A Yoga Risk Assessment for a Yoga Class Online

online risk assessment for yoga class graphic

If you’re teaching online and you’ve created your own home yoga studio then the risk assessment can be difficult too.

This is because you’ve only got control over the safety of your own space. If you’re teaching yoga over zoom you can’t do a risk assessment of each class members’ homes who are taking part!

However, you can advise them on how to make their spaces safe by running through some of the key factors of health and safety when doing yoga.

Doing this will protect you as well as your class members. Chances are there’ll be something they haven’t thought of and this will inform where they decide to do the class in their homes!

You should therefore send information or a form out to prospective class members detailing what they should have, and what their space should be like to practice the class safely.

This might include:

  • Advice on yoga mats
  • Allowing themselves enough room to move around freely
  • Making sure they have water and a towel to hand
  • Finding somewhere quiet so they can hear instructions clearly

To instruct the best yoga class online, you’ll need to make sure you advise your class members on some basic health and safety for when they’re doing yoga.

You can only advise your class members though and as long as you do this fully, and accurately, you’ll protect your students and ensure everybody gets the most out of the class!

Risk Assessment for Other Yoga Spaces

The main thing to remember is that you’re responsible for completing a risk assessment if your yoga class is hosted by you alone, in a space you’re renting, or you’re the owner of the space.

If you’re a yoga teacher for someone else’s studio then it’s up to the proprietor to complete a risk assessment for the studio spaces regularly, rather than you personally.

You may still be expected to use the assessment to do regular inspections before starting your class, but you won’t be responsible legally for completing the assessment itself.

Step 2: Identify the Students That Are Most at Risk

lower back risk assessment for yoga class graphic

Once you’ve looked around the entire space and checked all the different risks significant to your yoga risk assessment, you need to think specifically about your class members.

This means identifying any students that are especially vulnerable or at risk during class or in the space.

This could be in light of some of the discoveries in the inventory you’ve done of the space. For example, if you’re completing an outdoor class you will need to check if anybody has any allergies to certain plants or animals.

You will also have to check whether any of your class members have a disability or long term health condition that might put them at risk.

This is especially important for certain styles of yoga. For example, if you’re a hot yoga instructor, some people will be unsafe practising this style due to health conditions.

People with MS (Multiple Sclerosis) shouldn’t practice hot yoga, for example, because symptoms of the disease can become intensified in heat.

You may then use your risk assessment to refer back to when you structure your classes. For example, you need to ensure that you always check if there’s any injuries in your classes you should know about.

You should also have a method of checking for any long term health conditions from class members. 

If people have conditions such as arthritis or a herniated disc, you’ll have to advise these students to avoid certain postures or offer modifications.

Gathering health information about class members has to be done sensitively and legally. Check out our article on GDPR for yoga teachers for more information!

Step 3: Record & Evaluate the Findings of the Risk Assessment for Your Yoga Class

writing risk assessment for yoga class image

It’s all well and good going round your studio, the outdoors, or the space you’re renting to identify risks but you need to record what they are, and how you deal with them!

Keeping a good record of all of your findings will mean the risk assessment for your yoga class is as thorough as possible.

This will also give you a record to refer back to when you do your evaluations before each class and between sessions. 

This is also a record that you’ve completed a yoga risk assessment should you need to show, or prove, that you’ve reviewed the health and safety for your yoga class.

You can get a risk assessment template for your yoga class from a number of government sources, with some yoga organisations offering their own to use!

This yoga risk assessment template from Health and Safety Executive is the official recommended framework for you to use:

HSE form risk assessment for yoga class image

As you can see, this is a thorough record of each stage of the risk assessment. Your yoga class should only take place once you’ve completed all of these checks!

This one, from The Society of Yoga Practitioners, shows how you might populate the form when assessing health and safety related to class members’ health conditions:

society of yoga practitioners risk assessment for yoga class image

Having forms like this will help to compartmentalise everything and help you to organise everything on your yoga risk assessment checklist.

You could also use software to streamline this process too if the yoga studio software you use has a notes option.

Striive is a great example of this, where you can do things like booking and monitoring your yoga business whilst tracking health and safety:

striive risk assessment for yoga class image

You can add notes for the safety inspection prior, and between, each session.

Some software also has a form building feature where you could potentially build your own form, like HSE’s, to complete the risk assessment for your yoga class.

This can be more convenient because you’ll have everything you need for your classes in one place!

If you’re finding this to be a helpful read, check out our other articles on developing your yoga career:

Step 4: Implement Safety Precautions Following the Risk Assessment for Your Yoga Class

The next step in the risk assessment for your yoga class is to take control of the risk and make appropriate health and safety adjustments.

As you can see from HSE’s yoga risk assessment template, this is one of the things you should record:

template risk assessment for yoga class image

Having a full record of how you’ve acted on the results of your risk assessment will benefit you as well as your students.

You’ll be able to track what you’ve already done so that you can be improving in future, looking at what has been most effective at controlling risk and preventing injury and illness!

The reason this will benefit your class members is that this shows how you’ve put the information they’ve provided into action.

For example, you should explain when you ask for health information from your class members that you will be using it for a risk assessment for your yoga class.

Seeing how you’ve made adjustments in light of this information will make class members feel safer and help you to become a successful yoga teacher!

This could be something as tangible as controlling immediate things such as securing fixtures or decluttering spaces.

It could also look like doing longer term solutions, such as controlling any mould, damp, and the security of the foundations or structure of the space.

On a regular basis this may look like adjusting your teaching style to provide different yoga cues for people with health conditions.

Being alert to small things that need changing or protecting will help keep your class members safe, protect you from liability claims, and help you stay on top of your studio or rented space!

Step 5: Review the Risk Assessment for Your Yoga Class

tick risk assessment for yoga class graphic

Last but not least, the risk assessment for your yoga class should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis.

As we’ve mentioned already, you should complete a full risk assessment at least once a year but often it should be done more than this.

You should complete a risk assessment for any yoga class you start to offer or any changes made to the studio.

This might include:

  • Changes to your class timetable
  • When you’ve done studio renovations
  • When you have new members sign up for the studio depending on the information they provide
  • If you offer a completely new service

All of these mean that your yoga business will look different and any time you offer a new class, service, or have new class members, there’s new risks associated.

This is especially important if you’ve started to do a questionnaire or asked for information from prospective class members about their health.

As we mentioned earlier, using this information to make health and safety adjustments will protect your students and make them feel like valued members of the studio!

You should review the existing information, as well as potentially completing a new assessment in light of any new classes or services you offer so you’re aware of anybody at risk in the new class.

calendar risk assessment for yoga class graphic

For example, if you have become a kids yoga teacher you’ll need to do an additional, focused risk assessment and ensure all teachers have a full DBS check before you start.

If in doubt, review or complete a new risk assessment for your yoga class any time there’s a change.

Each change will have associated risks and you’re always better to be safe than sorry to protect yourself legally and protect your reputation!

Before You Go!

Hopefully now you know exactly what you need to do to complete a risk assessment for your yoga class or business!

Don’t forget you can specialise in a particular yoga style and boost your yoga class timetable with our Level 4 yoga diploma.

You can find out more by downloading our free course prospectus!

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About the Author: Jessie Florence Jones

Jessie OriGym Author
Jessie has a 1st class honours degree in English Literature from University of Leeds and an MA in English Literature from Durham University. Naturally Jessie has a real passion for writing especially about film, culture and wellbeing. Outside of writing she loves hiking, country walks and yoga, which she has done religiously since lockdown.

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