Taking the leap: how finding a mentor can help you transition from a full time job to become a yoga teacher.

To leap or not to leap?

That is the question!

I’m talking here about that anxst-ridden decision we can sometimes face: do I stay in this job I don’t really like (or even hate), but it pays the bills, or do I find a way out and do something I’d love to do – and in this case – that’s teaching yoga.

It’s a scary place to be: a lot of major decisions are.

Some people never make the leap. Fear gets in the way and keeps them stuck. The pain of their current job is not as great as the fear they have about what it will take to make the leap, so they stay in that job – and “put up” with what they feel they have no alternative to accept.

Sometimes it’s not just the fear of the unknown, it’s a feeling of overwhelm and not knowing where to start.

The obvious place to begin is with what I call the “safe” actions:

So, for aspiring yoga teachers - you invest in a yoga teacher training course: it’s a significant amount of money, but you figure it’s a logical first step – and it’s not particularly scary. You’re still being paid. You can still pay the bills. You might feel a little nervous about the course, and the examination but it’s exciting to be learning some new skills and deepening the yoga practice you’ve grown to love.

And so you go on that yoga course with no further thought about what comes next!

You come home all fired up – excited at the prospect of bringing your teaching to your own students, and getting out of that rut of a job…………………………..

And months later, nothing’s changed.

Maybe you’ve taught a class or two for a local studio or gym – but that’s for pin money, and how the heck you transition from that comfortable pay check to earning enough to live on from teaching yoga at the end of the month is about as clear as mud.

Maybe you’ve tried to set up classes of your own in local spaces, but at best it’s erratic numbers; there’s no way you can see there’s going to be a steady, reliable income coming from those classes, and at worst, you struggle to get enough students to even pay you as much as a gym or studio would – and you’ve got all the “hassle” of marketing. Disheartened, you begin to tell yourself it’s too hard; it’s not realistic; that making a decent living from teaching yoga is not really possible, except for a tiny majority.

And you give up.
I want to let you know it IS possible to make the leap from even a well-paid career position to become a professional yoga teacher –  I’ve made two major transitions in my life so I know it’s possible!
But you MUST have a plan and you MUST get business savvy!

I know – because at 50 I leapt from a high paid industry job to become a coach, building a business which almost hit 6 figures, and then, at 62 I transitioned from that very successful coaching and training business I had grown, to generating over £30k a year from teaching no more than 9 yoga classes a week – for 15 weeks only 4 classes a week.

My key goal was to reduce my hours, to increase a sense of balance in my life, and to transition from something which had become a little too pressured to something I felt would give me more pleasure.

And this was at 62 years old! I’m darned sure if I can do it – so can you!


TRUTH BOMB: Any career you want to develop requires having some idea of where you want to go in that career, learning new skills, gaining experience and taking consistent action to make the plan become reality.
Your yoga teaching career is no different.

And that’s where mentoring comes in.

Mentoring is where you find someone who has already been there, done that, got the T-shirt! Someone who knows what you don’t!

Someone who can guide you; help you avoid “rookie” mistakes (which in business can be costly let me tell you).

My first business would never have grown if it were not for my investing in a mentor who could help with the marketing. The first course I took with her cost me £600 I didn’t have – but what I learned from her meant within 6 months I had made that money back with interest, from gaining new contracts, and over the next few years, some of the techniques I’d learned from her meant literally thousands of pounds to me in income.

So here’s 3 tips I’d give to ANYONE wanting to transition from a current role to becoming a professional yoga teacher:

1. Understand you don’t get to CEO position off the bat!

You start from a base of knowledge and skills which you need to develop and from which you start to gain experience in your field.

Your yoga teacher training taught you how to teach – my guess is it taught you little about how to then make a living from that skill! And yet – without that skill, you can never really build a sustainable career from your teaching. It will always be “pin money” or even an “expensive hobby.”

There are rarely any shortcuts to gaining experience!! You have to go out there and do what you can and sharpen those skills and your experience along the way.

2. Don’t make the leap from a place psychologists call “irrational ebullience!

What do we mean by that? We mean when someone’s enthusiasm blinds them to the realities of what is going to be required.

I did that when I left my very well paid industry job to jump into being a coach…..and I can tell you it was a truly uncomfortable ride! I was naïve – I thought it would be easy to get clients and paid work.

It wasn’t!

I didn’t have ANY understanding of marketing or business skills.

I might have been a good coach – but without any clients, I was the best kept coaching secret in the world!

If you aspire to build your own yoga teaching business and career, you HAVE to embrace the concept that you’ll need to get good at marketing.

And if that makes you want to run for the hills – then stay in your job – and treat yoga as a hobby!

3. If you’re willing to accept points 1 and 2, and you know you just don’t have the skills or a clear understanding of how to make a plan that is right for you then find a mentor.

Yes, it will require some investment BUT it will ensure you get through that transition more easily, more quickly and will help establish your new career so you can move forward with confidence. 

 Don’t see mentoring as a “cost”
See it as an investment.
If there’s one thing I can tell you – making the leap was the best thing I ever did. I’m proud of how I’ve grown as a person and what I’ve achieved – and I’m still growing. I can’t even begin to imagine how frustrated I would have been to look back and think I’d spent the last 17 years in a job which was sucking the life out of me.

So if any of this resonates for you – use your next yoga Nidra session to make your Sankalpa – and then get out there, and make that plan to take the leap!

Good luck!

Actions you can take:
  • Check out these other articles on my blog which might be helpful around this topic: Am I cut out to be a yoga teacher
  • Tell us what your experience has been in terms of whether your learning has helped you generate income or not.  

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. 

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sharmila - June 13, 2019

How do I find a mentor? how to approach them the best without them feeling threatened by my experience or knowledge base?

    wpadmin - June 13, 2019

    Sharmila hi and thank you for your comment.
    There are a a couple of fairly obvious ways to find mentors – through searching online (perhaps my least favourite method) and through recommendation. (My preferred method!)
    I found the two mentors I have invested the most in through my networking circle – people who already used these mentors and suggested I check them out.I then did my own research into them – and made a decision.
    Not sure what you mean by them feeling threatened with your experience?
    If you’re choosing the right mentor, then for me, the first criteria they need to fit is they are already out there, doing what I want to do – but are a long way ahead of me – with experience I don’t have already under their belt.
    After all, you wouldn’t improve your game of tennis by playing a coach from the local tennis group…

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