Want to Quit your Current Job and Teach Yoga? 3 Things you Need to Know About being a Full Time Yoga Teacher
Picture the scene:
You’re in a job you are becoming increasingly fed up with. If you had to keep doing this until retirement you think you’d go stir crazy!
You’ve been going to yoga classes for a couple of years now and you just love it. It has got you fitter, and somehow it seems to have helped you stay sane when things have been tough….
You look at your yoga teacher and think how nice it must be to teach others. You wonder if this might be an “escape route” and imagine yourself totally transforming your life and becoming a full time, professional yoga teacher………And so you start investigating yoga teacher training courses.
But becoming a full time yoga teacher is nowhere near as straight forward as booking on and completing a yoga teacher training course!
Believe me, there are literally thousands of yoga teacher training courses out there – all vying for your money, and with little regard for whether it’s the right thing for you to do or not. They just need to fill their spaces – because it’s probably one of the most lucrative ways of generating income in the yoga field. So they will do everything they can to entice you to take their course, and it’s sooooo easy to get swept up in the excitement of imagining your life transformed by this training. Before you know it, you’re investing thousands of pounds or dollars into a training, sorting out time off work if needed, and planning your travel.
A whole lot of energy can go into all this planning for the yoga teacher training – with little regard for thinking through just what exactly you want to do with it once you’ve got the certificate or whether becoming a full time yoga teacher is actually viable for you in your situation.
I don’t want to burst your bubble – I’m a 66 year old yoga teacher, generating almost £40,000 a year from teaching no more than 9 classes a week….but you need to know the reason I do that is because I know a thing or two about building a business! And unless you do too, your dream of escaping that grinding job of yours could just turn into a nightmare – unless you take some time to think through and plan your exit.
So here are 3 things you need to know about being a full time yoga teacher
- Once you qualify, you either have a choice of being employed by someone else (like a yoga studio or gym) or you strike out on your own, trying to build your own classes (or maybe a mix of both).
The truth is, you’re unlikely to find enough work from studios or gyms to bring in even a modest salary per year of £20,000. If all you want is pocket money, and to earn a “bit on the side”, then fine – but if you need to replace a current salary, this is unlikely to be a good route for you.
And whilst building your own classes CAN earn you a good salary (see below – point 3) you’re unlikely to be making enough money in the early months, so you need to be prepared for that, and have some contingency, a nest egg to fall back on whilst you build your following.
- A review I found of yoga teacher salaries, which came out in February 2019 in the UK, put it between £15 and £28 per hour!
This is clearly anticipating that you will do what most teachers do – and work for a studio or gym. I hope, from point 1, I’m already provoking some thought to realise this is not the best route to take if you seriously want to quit your current job! But let’s just run with this for a moment and see if it’s possible for you to earn that modest salary of £20,000 based on that income.
So let’s say you are willing to teach 48 weeks of the year. (I assume you’d like some holiday!) And let’s assume you average a mid figure of £20 per hour for your teaching.
This means, to generate even that modest salary of just £20,000 per year, you would have to teach 1000 classes per year!
No –one ever tells you that when you make enquiries for yoga teacher training – do they?
So over 48 weeks you would have to teach 21 classes per week!
Which is an average of 3 to 4 classes per day – 6 days a week.
Even at the higher figure of £28 per hour you would have to teach 714 classes over 48 weeks, which is 15 classes a week – and between 2 to 3 classes per day, 6 days a week!
NO sick pay. Doesn’t cover cost of travel, insurance or any other costs. If you don’t work – you don’t earn.
And that’s assuming you can actually find that much work, or run that many classes!Not to mention, is that going to burn you out?
The truth is, these numbers are unsustainable.
And that doesn’t make for good yoga teaching!
3. You CAN earn a decent living from teaching yoga – BUT you need to know what you’re doing, and you need to be prepared to learn some basic marketing skills.
As I alluded to earlier, it IS possible to generate a sustainable, and reasonable living from teaching yoga. I’m 66 years old – have been teaching for just over 4 years, and from year 2, consistently made over £30,000 from teaching no more than 9 classes per week. Last year I generated almost £40,000 still teaching no more than 9 classes a week.
So it IS possible.
But I urge you to take off any rose coloured spectacles and understand that, if you choose to be a yoga teacher, you must also choose the path you want to take; you must understand what you’re getting yourself into; and you must be prepared to roll up your sleeves and learn – like you would in any other career!
So, before you go rushing to hand in your resignation, or to part with thousands of dollars or pounds for a yoga teacher training course, take time to think a little more clearly about just how you might make enough money; if you can afford to go with little or no money for a while – whilst you build your yoga business, and to get some help with marketing – because seriously – if you want to make a sustainable income from yoga, in my experience, you cannot do it unless you develop some business sense!
And not all yogis are prepared for that.
Isn’t it better you know that now – instead of finding out AFTER you’ve spent hours and invested thousands in a yoga teacher training course?
- Consider how much you really need to earn from teaching yoga, if you want to pay your bills.
- Do the math! How many classes would you need to be teaching to make that happen?
- Is that sustainable? If not, then what do you need to consider changing?
- If you do want to give it your best shot, LEARN SOME BASIC MARKETING SKILLS, if this is an area you’re not good at!
The truth is, you could be the most qualified, best teacher in the world – but if no-one knows you exist – then you won’t have students and you won’t survive. You simply HAVE to, at least, learn some simple basic marketing skills.
I’m all for having dreams. Seriously. I don’t want to knock your enthusiasm for becoming a yoga teacher.
I just want you to have your eyes open, and a good head on your shoulders, whilst you make the transition!
Actions you can take: