I was asked this question on a Yoga Studio application. It is the first time I have been asked this question. I have applied at a larger studio and a few gyms and no one asked “What do you love about teaching yoga”?
There was ample space to write in the answer. I wrote:
“I teach because I love connecting with people. Watching people change and grow with their practice. I have had the opportunity to have a few students attend my classes regularly for almost a year and I could see the change. Not just on a physical level, but feel it when I spoke with them on an emotional level. Finally, I love teaching because it makes me accountable. Accountable for how I live and how I show up to teach. As a teacher of yoga, I am a constant student of my students. I continually read, learn, write and study yoga”.
It’s interesting that the studio wrote Love on their application. Interesting because you have to love yoga in order to invest time, money and energy into the practice of teaching. Yoga school is around $3,000. Weekend workshops are up to $300 if it’s a well known yoga instructor over $500. Also, there is your annual liability insurance and Yoga Alliance registration fee. If you work for yourself add your marketing costs.
I wonder if there is anyone out there who would say “I love teaching yoga so I can become a rock star yoga teacher and make tons of money :).”
Yes, there are people out there that make tons of money teaching yoga (or a living wage), I don’t know any of them on a personal level, but I have paid to attend there workshops.
The people I know, myself included, teach yoga on the side or teaching is not their primary source of income. One to three classes a week, sometimes a free class here and there. Teaching a small number of classes because they love the practice of yoga and also know that being a yoga teacher is a practice in and of itself. We are teaching others how to be present, how to move, how to practice asana and we are no different. We are constantly learning what we are teaching. As a yoga teacher I’m no different than the students I’m teaching. “In teaching we learn and in learning we teach” (I don’t remember who said that)
There is lots of love for those who try to piece together a full time income teaching yoga. For me, it would feel like living on the edge. No health insurance, vacation pay, sick leave. When you leave your corporate job, you are leaving your corporate benefits.
I read once that in the Austin Area there are more yoga schools and yoga teachers than anywhere else in the country. This is where I think things get crazy.
Here is an example and it is not unusual, I know people who have experienced this:
When you quit your day job trying to make full time income as a yoga teacher you may forget why you wanted to teach in the first place. Needing to make a living while traveling to different studios is stressful. Your teaching class and counting heads figuring out if you are going to make rent, eat, pay for gas to get to and from the studio (s).
Then here comes that new teacher and you now see them, not as a colleague, but as dare I say it, competition. You may begin to lose yourself in an attempt to make yourself stand out. All of the sudden you are not teaching Yoga simply because you love teaching you are teaching because you (insert reason here…..) Maybe you’ll keep going until your credit limit maxes out. Who knows.
I don’t believe everyone who graduates from Yoga Teacher Training is meant to teach yoga full time,( sometimes I’m not sure what that means). Enjoy the practice of teaching yoga. Know that when the teacher is ready the student and financial opportunities appear. When someone asks what you Love about teaching yoga, it won’t feel like a distant memory.
“If you want to understand something, write about it, if you want to master something teach it”. Yogi Bhajan