Can I really make a living from being a yoga teacher? (Don’t listen to the “nay-sayers” to get your answer!)

Depending on who you speak to or what you read, you’ll find there are many competing stories about the answer to the question: Is it possible to make a reasonable living from teaching yoga?

As in everything – there are what I call the “nay-sayers”! The ones who roll their eyes and tell you with utmost conviction that:

  • It’s hard
  • There’s too much competition out there these days – every man and his dog is going on a yoga teacher training course!
  • Only the celebrities in the yoga world can make it pay.
  • You’re FAR better off staying where you are – after all, you’ve got a good job. Why don’t you just keep it as a hobby?

Don’t you just love “nay sayers”?!!

Personally I have spent most of my life avoiding them! And some of them have been those closest to me! Partners, spouses, friends or colleagues who talk as if they know; are quick to give their advice, but who have spent many years building a comfort zone (which may not be comfortable, but it’s familiar – and they like familiarity) and who rarely take anything which remotely resembles a risk in their lives.

The truth is, these people are the ones Brene Brown tells us are too afraid to move out of their own comfort zones into the arena of growth: too afraid of the “risks” that would entail to their “comfortable” if uninspiring lives! Yet these people are extremely quick to criticise those who do put themselves out there: who are willing to venture into the arena, to risk failure or set-backs in the pursuit of something their heart is telling them they’d love to do.

Brene Brown says NEVER take criticism OR advice from ANYONE who isn’t in the arena with you – who doesn’t know what’s in your heart or who has never taken a chance in the pursuit of something that matters to them!

I love that!

If they’re in there with you, taking risks, falling down, getting bloodied, making themselves vulnerable – all  in the pursuit of growth and personal development – then absolutely! Those guys know a thing or two about what you’re going through – they’ll support and encourage you; they’ll believe in you; they’ll kick you up the butt when you need it telling you the prize is worth going for…..but they’ll NEVER tell you to abandon your growth or your dream.

(Not heard of Brene Brown? Watch her on TED talks and Netflix if you haven’t seen this lady – she’s worth watching!)

The truth is, there are yoga teachers (including me!) out there who are quietly building successful careers and maintaining balance in their lives – which means it IS possible.

It’s like the Richard Bannister 4 minute mile story: up to the point Bannister ran a 4 minute mile scientists, doctors and all other experts believed the human body was incapable of this feat, and actually argued it was dangerous to attempt – but when Bannister broke that barrier, within weeks, others began to do the same.

When you can see that others are doing what you’d like to do – you KNOW it’s possible; then it’s just a matter of understanding the steps you need to take to make that happen.

Becoming a yoga teacher is like any other career: you start with enthusiasm, a desire to learn, and then you get out there and begin to learn your craft in the role.  

Don’t be intimidated by seeing other yoga teachers who seem to have it all figured out and are doing well. 

Even the yoga celebrity gurus had to start somewhere – and they have been where you are now!

Instead of listening to the nay-sayers, seek out people who will encourage, inspire and support you.

Instead of being intimidated by what you see as the “competition” out there – be inspired.

Remember, they started knowing nothing about being a yoga teacher – it didn’t happen overnight. There’s a well-known phrase I’ve heard SO many successful people use when they are asked what it feels like to become what appears to be an “overnight success”…..their answer is usually, “It has taken me 5, 10, 20 years” to become an overnight success”!!

Years of focus; of NOT listening to the nay-sayers! Of keeping their dream alive – but not just talking about it: of rolling up their sleeves on a daily basis, taking small steps consistently to move toward honing their skills and making that dream happen.

Instead of thinking “I can’t” think “How can I?”

Instead of dreaming about what you’d like to do – develop a plan and take action towards making that plan a reality!

That’s all those you see who are “successful” have done: they just kept on putting one step in front of the other, tweaked things when they didn’t work, and kept going.

Quitters NEVER win.


Who are the nay-sayers in YOUR life?

Recognise them. If you can, eliminate them from your life, and if you can’t, avoid them! Reduce contact. Don’t talk with them about your dreams, because they don’t understand. A part of them wants you to stay where you are – because if you succeed it threatens what they believe in and makes them feel inadequate. Your staying where you are helps validate their own inaction.

You can’t live your life being afraid to outshine others.

Go shine!

Go do your thing!

Go take your yoga to the students you were meant to serve! 



Actions you can take:

  • Tell us what your experience has been in terms of nay-sayers in your life. Leave a comment below! Would love to hear from you.
  • Join our FB group; share your thoughts on this article and your own experience and get additional tips and answers to any questions you have on this or any topic  around building your yoga business and developing your yoga career.
  • This is all about having the right mind-set – which I believe is the first and foremost critical piece you need to have in place to be a successful yoga teacher – heck, to be anything which challenges you!lCheck out these other articles on my blog which might be helpful around this whole topic of developing the right mind-set to be successful as a yoga teacher: Mind-set of a successful yoga teacher

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