With the recession taking a toll on jobs, many Americans are turning to alternate sources of income. Yogis who had been thinking about becoming a teacher have given it more serious consideration. Thousands of yogis have enrolled in teacher training programs with the hopes of graduating and teaching yoga. Like any teaching profession being a yoga instructor can be extremely rewarding, however, there are a number of costs associated with it (please click the image below for a bigger version).
The Cost of Being a Teacher
There is of course the initial teacher training fees which range from several thousands of dollars to potentially tens of thousands depending on the style and program, not to mention the hours you need to put in. Then there’s the harsh reality that pursuing a career as a yoga instructor may not be a good source of primary income. Most studios hire instructors as contractors not salaried employees with benefits. However, the general trend of employment in America seems to be moving towards contracting so the freedom to pursue one’s passion for yoga maybe worth the pay cut. In addition, there is the lifestyle of having to teach at multiple studios, commuting across town, and keeping up with clients.
Making it Work
Teaching as a second source of income or a supplement gives yogis the satisfaction of teaching while keeping their day jobs. This is especially important for those new to teaching, because teaching in and of itself can be a challenge. A first year teacher spends most of her time improving her communication skills: every class she teaches she’s shaping her dialogue and learning to connect with students.
There are yoga instructors who have built successful businesses by building a steady base of private clients, partnerships with large corporations that have yoga in the workplace, and teaching at retreats. However, the vast majority of successful teachers have successful businesses because they have honed their craft over time, much like as a yogi you deepen your practice over time.
Are you a teacher or a business person?
For those who are approach the profession from a passion standpoint treating teaching as a source of secondary income is a good place to start. Too many instructors jump into owning a studio before they understand the basics of running a business, and are often times upset that they have to give up their passion for teaching to run the business.
Where to Begin?
Passion is necessary in any professional endeavor, but practicality is another ingredient. If you’re considering pursuing a career as a yoga instructor and want to sign up for a teacher training program think about how it will affect your lifestyle, factor in the costs associated with attending teacher training, setting up a business or teaching at a studio, attracting clients, and weigh it against what your goals are. Ask yourself the following questions: Do you want to teach? Run a business? Or just to advance your personal practice?
Poornima Vijayashanker graduated from Duke University with a double degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science. After graduating she headed out to Silicon Valley, where she first worked for Synopsys as an R&D Engineer, and started working towards a Masters in CS at Stanford. She left her Masters to join Mint.com in 2006 as the third employee, and stayed until its Intuit Acquisition in late 2009. In January 2010 she left Mint.com to start BizeeBee.com, and is currently its CEO and Founder. Aside from being a coder, entrepreneur, speaker, and mentor to junior engineers, Poornima blogs on Femgineer.com, is an avid traveler, foodie, and a competitive Bikram yogini.