The Truth About Being a Yoga Instructor
Is being a yoga instructor a good fit for you? Are you a good fit for the yoga instructor lifestyle? That depends on your answer to this one question:
What do you value?
- what’s to love/know about being a yoga instructor
- a snapshot of the yoga instructor lifestyle
- how you can make money
- how much money yoga instructors make
- designing the best yoga instructor lifestyle
My Life as a Yoga Instructor
I can’t tell you if the yoga instructor lifestyle would be for you. But as a full-time yoga teacher for over a decade now, I can tell you my experience: I love my abundant independence. I get to travel pretty much whenever I want, for as long as I want. I’m constantly learning. I can design and steer my career, explore the adventure of being an entrepreneur, and have two-hour long lunches with friends almost anytime. I get to build new courses, classes, workshops and whatever other creative venture I dream up. I love being a part of a community of teachers who want to be better people, and help others do the same. Being a yoga instructor means my life is full of laughter, growth, fitness, stress-relief, and helping people be healthier and freer.
But it’s a particular lifestyle. For example, I really couldn’t care less about having a huge house or $800 shoes (though I have been known to indulge in the occasional coat). The Joneses’ Chasers and I don’t have much to talk about at any cocktail party where we might find ourselves thrown together. I haven’t invested in a lot of the things that tend to require a steep financial commitment and long-term consistency (marriages + mortgages + kids + brick-and-mortal businesses + etc.). Because of that, I’m able to stay light and mobile, prepare for the rough times and enjoy the good times.
I also have a high tolerance for taking on the risks of running my own business: not having a paycheque show up every two weeks or a Project Manager to set out what I’m working on now and next. I don’t crave or need a regular routine (though I can design my life to have that if I wanted it). I work well without a boss to make sure I’m on track (when I need an ass-kicking, I hire it or create something that forces me to deliver). I also have a partner who supports and enjoys the benefits of my choices without needing anything different from me.
Your Life as a Yoga Instructor
What about you?
My description of my life might delight or deter you, and that’s based on what you value. Mine is also only one example of how you can design your own yoga instructor lifestyle. Whatever your goals, you’ve got to get clear on what you value before choosing this – or any – career because it’s going to be how you spend a lot of your time and make your money. Better to go into it with eyes wide open. So, let’s get real.
As a Certified Yoga Instructor, you’ll be paid in (at least) three key ways:
- In money. Presuming that you follow a more traditional career initially, expect within your first few years to make about $25-60/class x however many classes you teach, and assume you’l take 2-6 weeks off/year (most yogis do). So,
- If you teach 8 classes/week at $25/class, you’ll make ~ $10,000/year (and work ~ 10-15 hours/week).
- If you teach 12 classes/week at $60/class, you’ll make ~ $34,500/year (and work ~ 15-25 hours/week).
- If you add corporate/private clients at $80-$160/class, you’ll make ~ $50,000/year (and work ~ 25-35 hours/week)
It’s not exactly you rolling up to the curb in your new Ferrari but it ain’t too shabby, and in terms of money earned per time unit ($/hr), you can do pretty well. You can also earn back your teacher training investment within your first year (many of us can’t say the same of our university or college training!). Beyond weekly classes, you can earn income through myriad means like selling products, being an expert in fitness sectors, or creating courses/workshops/retreats/events. If you approach this career as a full-time gig, you can break into six figures. It’s not common, but it’s doable if you’ve got the gusto and discipline.
2. In time. Here’s where this career can really pay off. Time is a non-renewable resource. Being a yoga teacher gives you the ability to control so much more of how you spend the hours of your days. Even if you’re teaching 12 classes a week, you’re likely working less than 30 hours/week total between marketing, admin, prepping, teaching, biz growth and client management. It’s fairly easy to integrate teaching yoga with other part-time work, take time off when you need/want it, and enjoy a leisurely weekly schedule that affords you more hours to spend doing things you enjoy with people you love.
3. In experiences. Getting to enjoy your time and money is the difference between imagining the life you want and actually living it. As a yoga instructor, you may not be making the six figures of Bay Street (though you could), but you also won’t be working their hours or harbouring their stress. YOU determine where you work, and with whom. In my decade+ of teaching, I’ve rarely worked with people I didn’t enjoy knowing – and when I did, I simply ended the contract. I’m in a small market and I’ve thrived; you can, too. Imagine being able to spend your working time with people who inspire you, value you, and give you opportunities to share your gifts. You’ll also have a flexible schedule to write that book, take that trip, hang out with your kids, or hell, just get couch-shaped and watch a boatload of Netflix if you like. It’s up to you – and that’s the point.
The Yoga Instructor Lifestyle
Teaching yoga as a career is a lifestyle choice that offers you simplicity, time and freedom. If you like the idea of having a lot of flexibility and the ability to control your work schedule, to hustle and chill when you want/need it, to travel/study/get the time you want with people you love, and to turn yoga surfing retreats into your new “conventions”, then you’re gonna love this gig.
You’re also gonna need to be self-driven, be able to handle the ups and downs of solo-/entrepreneurship, and know how to get what you want. With Pranalife Yoga, you have a support structure built in and our community of graduated, certified teachers is second to none. Still, that push to get’r done has got to come from you. If the mantra, “If it’s to be, it’s up to me” resonates with you, you’re very likely exactly where you should be right now. Keep reading.
With Pranalife Yoga training in particular, you’re able to design your lifestyle to include creativity, evolution, and independence. You won’t be confined to a static set of postures, or to teaching only one style of yoga in one kind of studio. With our training, you’ll get the tools for lifelong growth – on your mat, in your classes, tailored to your style, and supporting your career.
Is it for You?
Now that you’ve got an idea what being a yoga instructor looks like, you can decide whether it’s for you (because not everyone wants this kind of life – seems whack, I know, but it’s true). Whether it’s a part-time supplement or a full-time passion fulfillment, Pranalife Yoga will help you turn your vision into reality.