How to make a living as a yoga teacher

I really wish I knew. I haven’t even gotten my Yoga Alliance certificate yet. Heck, I haven’t even gotten my certificate from my Yoga Alliance-certified 200-hour teacher training program yet, but I am already thinking about how I can transition to making a living doing what I love. I love yoga. I love many things, but I really love yoga. And more than loving yoga, I believe in yoga and what it can do for human being. This is the biggest impetus behind me wanting to devote my life to yoga: because humanity NEEDS yoga, and I want to share it.

I want to teach yoga, and eventually, I would like to work full-time for myself teaching yoga, writing about yoga, blogging about yoga, doing thai massage, offering web services for yoga and wellness related businesses. I think it’s a viable idea, but the little bit of searching I have done on “how to survive as a yoga teacher” or something like that have turned up one of two answers.

Let’s call answer 1 the yogic answer, and answer 2 the marketing answer. The yogic answer is something along the lines of “you’ll never make a living teaching yoga, so get right with that first and understand this is something you are doing out of love.” The yamas are quoted. Ideas about how much money is really needed to live are debated. The dedicated say the make just enough to pay their bills and attend some continuing education classes and that’s enough!

Answer #2, the marketing one, is totally different. You know these studios and these teachers. They take on marketing almost as another branch of yoga, the mysterious 9th branch of yoga, that says something along the lines of “marketing is necessary to continue to provide yoga to those who need it. And now, the marketing of yoga.” These websites are slick and full of search-engine optimized keywords. There is a sales funnel. There’s a form on every page! These teachers are so buff. They are beyond fit. Their bodies are as hard as their bank accounts. I’m generalizing, but just sayin’.

So where does the truth lie? How DO we make a living teaching yoga and not become the very thing we came to yoga to escape, namely stress, conventional thinking, shoulds, to-dos, and oughts?

I wanted to share this nice thread I found entitled “The Care and Feeding of Yoga Teachers.” I will add more to this overall topic, how to earn a living contributing to society in a positive and transformative manner, as I gather more information and learn more via experience. If you have any insight to the topic, please comment!


~ by Lola on June 14, 2010.

5 Responses to “How to make a living as a yoga teacher”

  1. Lola, you would be an amazing yoga teacher because you do it for all the right reasons. You love it and believe in it. You could open your own studio and incorporate all of the things you’ve mentioned here. It would be a full time job for you but you already possess all of the marketing and branding skills necessary. Brand your studio with a blog that shares your unique insight into health and wellness. Teach private one on one classes in addition to group classes. Get certified in massage at some point and offer that as well. Hold group classes and workshops for nutrition. You could do so much with this and you would absolutely rock it.

  2. Have you considered giving private lessons in students’ homes? This would reduce your overhead costs and also provide a valuable service to people who are shut-ins.

    It wasn’t until a friend asked me to teach in her home that I realized there was a market for this type of instruction. Although I teach art, not yoga, it is also therapeutic and a huge benefit for people whose health is compromised in any way.

  3. You ll never be rich as a yoga teacher but I think with time you ll be able to carve out a comfotable existence. You are passionate abt it-thats the perfect motive to be an instructor. follow your dreams. start working for a slick studio and promote urself. finally move on to your own practise. I do agree that home classes have a huge market-explore the niche.

  4. Hi Hope this finds you with all that you wished for and your happy in your space, did your ideas come to bloom, I enjoyed reading your article and shared in my own experience for your reasons behind teaching this wonderful gift. Please send my a line or two if you get a chance. thank you, kind regards.

  5. […] Cross-posted from Metropolitan Observer […]

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