The Harsh Reality of Becoming a Yoga Instructor

“Put your heart, mind, and soul into even your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.”

-Swami Sivananda

As we continue to grow more and more health conscious, yoga has become quite popular worldwide .  Yoga studios continue to open, and more and more people of all ages, shapes, sizes, and ethnicities want to practice.  There’s no doubt that yoga has many wonderful benefits, but is it a stable career path?

This may be the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about.

Teaching yoga is definitely not for everyone, and it requires patience, dedication, hard-work, and many sacrifices.  I wanted to explore in depth what this industry is really like and is it a sustainable way to live?

According to the U.S. Bureau Labor of Statistics, fitness trainers and instructors median average pay was $38,160 in May 2016.  The job outlook is expected to be a 10% increase from 2016 to 2026, with a growing number of older adults that will likely want to practice yoga for relief from arthritis and other ailments.

After doing some digging, I found that most yoga instructors don’t make very much at all, and some even choose to keep their day job and only teach on weekends.  The reality is most yoga instructors are paid on average, $25 per class, with more depending on your level of expertise and how many classes you fill.  There’s a lot more money to be made in teaching private lessons, with some instructors charging $100 an hour and up, but you definitely would have to be exceptionally good to find loyal students.  Teaching corporate yoga is also an avenue to choose that would offer better pay but is also extremely competitive.

There’s also the option to work with a non-profit organization to reach people that could really benefit from yoga, but may not be able to afford it.  This is a great way to help communities and you enter the Karma Yoga path of achieving salvation through self-less action.  Unfortunately, it’s not a path for yoga instructors that rely solely on teaching to make ends meet.

This profession can be very stressful on the body since a lot of instructors are driving from one studio to another, teaching several classes per day, and the burn-out factor is very high.

Teaching yoga also requires a level of creativity to keep coming up with sequences that are fun, interesting, and keeps your students coming back for more. No one wants a yoga instructor that does the same old boring routine.

Did I mention how expensive it is?

Potential yoga instructors are required to complete a minimum 200-hours training that is certified by Yoga Alliance to be hired at any yoga studio or fitness facility.  The cost, might I add is not cheap, with most costing around $3,500. And that’s just the bear minimum!  It’s like the high school diploma of yoga teaching.  There’s also the 300-hour, 500-hour, anatomy courses, and other certifications that will really burn a hole in your wallet.

The high demand of people that want to teach yoga has resulted in an oversupply of yoga instructors, and not necessarily good ones.  Some yoga instructors are not properly trained and finding work can be very competitive, especially when their are more qualified individuals out there.

Is it worth the risk?

Well it really depends on how dedicated, business savvy, and how willing you are to succeed. There’s nothing shameful about treating yoga as a business. Bills still have to be paid, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t earn what you deserve for your hard work. There are many different opportunities but many require you to continue your education so that you are more experienced and stand out among the pack.

So the road to becoming a successful yoga instructor is not an easy task, but with hard-work and dedication it can be done.

Namaste.

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