The Truth About Being a Yoga Instructor

Is being a yoga instructor a good fit for you? Well, that depends on how you answer this one question:

What do you value?

Pranalife Yoga Teacher Training with Asia Nelson

Let’s Start Here: My life as a yoga instructor

There isn’t just ONE way to live the yoga instructor life. Some people happily teach a few classes to friends and family. Others spend years in the grind building online empires. I’ve run Pranalife Yoga Teacher Training since 2009 and I’ve seen many of my grads create lives they love by becoming yoga instructors. It’s a good gig!

But is it the gig for you? Well, I can’t tell you that – no one can. But as a full-time yoga teacher for over a decade now, I can tell you why it’s been the absolute right gig for me. Maybe you’ll see yourself and your values in some of my experiences.


I love my abundant independence as a yoga teacher. I travel when and where I want (when the world isn’t in lockdown). I’m always learning. I design and steer my career, explore the adventure of being an entrepreneur, and have two-hour lunches with friends without guilt.

I can build new courses, classes, workshops – almost any creative venture I dream up. When I wanted to go to Italy, I created a Yoga & Cooking Retreat, which paid my way while having the perfect adventure with people I loved.

Also, being a Pranalife Yoga teacher means being a part of a community of Pranalife Yoga teachers who want to be better people, and who help others do the same. My life is full of laughter, growth, fitness, stress-relief, and helping people be healthier and freer.

Being Bohemian

Being a yoga instructor is a particular kind of lifestyle. I couldn’t care less about having a huge house or $400 shoes. The Joneses’ Chasers and I don’t have much to talk about at any cocktail party where we might find ourselves thrown together. For the most part, I haven’t invested in a lot of the things that require steep financial commitment and long-term consistency (mortgages + kids + brick-and-mortal businesses + etc.). Because of that, I’m able to stay lean and mobile.

It’s not a requirement to live a more bohemian lifestyle as a yoga teacher, but it’s definitely conducive to it.

I also have a high tolerance for the challenges of running my own business:

  • not having a paycheque every two weeks or a project manager to set out what I’m working on
  • having to enforce my own a regular routine, systems, and structure
  • working without a boss to make sure I’m on track and kick my ass

And I’m grateful to have a partner who supports and enjoys the benefits of my lifestyle 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. But, mine is also just one example of how you can design your own yoga instructor lifestyle. And that’s the point: You design it. So, you’ll need to get 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. 

How Yoga Teachers Make Money

As a Certified Yoga Instructor, you’ll be paid in (at least) three key ways:

  1. Money. If you follow a more traditional career, within your first few years you’ll make $50-80/class x however many classes you teach. Also, assume you’ll take 6-12 weeks off/year (most yogis do).

Assume you’ll take 6 weeks off each year. If you:

  • teach 8 classes/week at $50/class: you’ll make ~ $18,000/year (and work ~ 12-15 hours/week).
  • teach 12 classes/week at $80/class: you’ll make ~ $44,000/year (and work ~ 20-30 hours/week).
  • had, say, 10 corporate/private clients at $150-200/class: you could make $90,000/year+ (and work ~ 20-35 hours/week)

In terms of $$/hr, you can do pretty well. You also earn back your teacher training investment within your first year (many of us can’t say the same of our university or college degree).

Beyond weekly classes, you can make money 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 doable if you’ve got the gusto and discipline.

Where Being a Yoga Teacher Really Pays Off: TIME

2. 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.

New moms love this flexibility, a job that can adjust to an ever-changing schedule. Kids just leave home? You’ve got newfound time you can use to teach, without having to make a bigger commitment to a company. It’s all up to you: It’s YOUR time!

The Yoga Teacher Life Bonus: Experiences

3. Experiences. Getting to enjoy your life 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, how, how hard, and with whom you work.

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.


Pranalife Yoga Teacher Training with Asia Nelson

Me in Ronda, Spain where I lived in 2008 for the winter.

The Yoga Instructor Lifestyle

Teaching yoga offers you simplicity, time and freedom. You have the flexibility and ability to control your work schedule. Plus, you can hustle and chill when you want, travel/study/get the time you want with people you love, and turn yoga surfing retreats into your new “conventions”.

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: 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 exactly where you should be right now.

With Pranalife Yoga training, you can 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.

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