So you wanna be a Yoga Teacher? What it’s Really Like

So thanks to this blog, I’ve had a lot of people reaching out to me about yoga, yoga teaching, and yoga teacher training ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s so wonderful to hear from people… and to know that the love of yoga abounds.

Given the many people seeking answers to help them on their own journey, I’ve decided to write about what the journey has been like for me – in the practical sense. I often talk about my emotional, mental, and spiritual journey but not really about my career – so here it is. (READ: The Journey So Far)

Just a few things before I start though — these are my opinions and experiences and I can’t speak for all yoga teachers. I haven’t been teaching thatย long either so to be honest, I feel a little shy about sharing but hey – whatever helps ๐Ÿ™‚ If you want a comprehensive view, maybe ask other teachers too. Maybe try the Yoga Teachers of Manila.

I’m also speaking as someone in the Philippine setting, Manila to be exact. Although I’m sure we yoga teachers share a lot of common experiences ๐Ÿ™‚ The questions I will answer are just the few frequently asked ones so if you have more, do leave one in the comments.

Here goes…

โ™ฅ Teacher training is so expensive! Is it worth it? Will I get a return on my investment?

Yes, it is. And after your first 200 or 300hour training, it will probably keep on getting more expensive. I say this because recently, I’ve also been looking at getting further training in yoga therapy and the fees have caused me anxiety. Haha!

If you’re strapped for cash, talk to the teacher or the studio and ask if an installment plan is available. Atย White Space Mind and Body Wellness where I took my 200Hr Vinyasa Yoga teacher training, there are a number of plans available and they’re very kind. Wherever you go, it’s probable that they will understand you being financially unready and help you make a way.

As for the question, is it worth it?ย YES. A RESOUNDING, LOUD, SHOUTED YES.

Even without having becoming a yoga teacher, it would be worth it. My life has taken a complete turn for the better… and it keeps on getting better. That first investment in teacher training is an investment that just keeps on giving. It’s transformational and it shows. A lot of people have told me I’m almost unrecognizable from the person I was before and believe me, I take it as one of the greatest compliments.

Career-wise, from working in the media, I am now a full-time yoga teacher, a life coach, and I write when I want to. I’m very, very happy where I’m at. More than that, I’ve changed as a person and I don’t even know where to start with that one ๐Ÿ™‚ For that, maybe let’s have a real sit-down chat. Haha!

Practical-wise, I got a return on my investment back around 6-7 months into teaching ๐Ÿ™‚

โ™ฅ Do I have to be super good / strong / flexible to join a teacher training and become a yoga teacher?

It would help if you were but the answer to this is no ๐Ÿ™‚

When I started out, I had only been practicing very seriously for a year and I had a looooong way to go in all aspects of my practice. But, I survived! Haha. And I flourished ๐Ÿ™‚

In a way, I’m happy that I joined teacher training at the level of practice I was in because it prevented me from developing any more bad habits, and allowed me to move forward more consciously into my physical practice. During the module on inversions and arm balances I could do like, 1 out of 10 of the things that were taught to us but that was alright. With time and practice I could do most of the things I couldn’t do, and I can even teach them ๐Ÿ™‚ And there are those who started at a much more beginner level than I did.

The practical side here is, if you do start your training at a beginner to beginner/intermediate level, you will have to practiceย A LOTย to catch up. But that’s okay ๐Ÿ™‚

What’s most important in any training though is openness, commitment and readiness.

โ™ฅ Is it easy getting a yoga teaching spot in a studio? ย 

So real talk, I wouldn’t say it’sย that easy ๐Ÿ™‚

Yes, there are a lot of yoga studios around but there are also a lot of yoga teachers. Unless it’s a completely new studio or an expanding one, studios will usually already have a regular roster of teachers and openings would only come up if they have a new time slot, a teacher has left, or if they’re looking for teachers for their substitute pool. Your initial search might take you teaching in placesย far away from your home and if you’re a new teacher and you truly want to teach in a public setting, you’ll probably say yes.

Though there are many many places to teach, it’s true that teaching in a good yoga studio lends you a lot of credibility as a teacher and so, if you’re beginning in your teaching practice – it makes sense to look for a teaching spot in at least one. Teaching public classes period lends you credibility, especially to people who are trying yoga for the first time. That being said, you can also look for spots teaching in gyms and fitness centers though, in my experience, they don’t always pay as much.

Another consideration is your own style and energy. Certain studios have certain values and styles that they stand for and so, getting in a studio or not getting in a studio won’t always mean you’re not a good teacher. It might mean you just don’t fit in to the energy of their space and their community – and that’sย OKAY.

It can be very easy to take not getting in a studio personally since your teaching is something that comes from the heart and it’s a hugely personal thing — but it helps to understand that sometimes energies just don’t match and that in yoga, any missed mark is always a call to practice more.ย Practice and all is coming.ย Be prepared to continually be called to practice and practice again. And who says you can’t audition more than once? You definitely can ๐Ÿ™‚

Beyond the pay and the investment you’ll have to put in though (transportation costs and time), teaching in public settings is a great great practice ground for teaching to all levels, all class sizes, all different kinds of energy, all different kinds of people, and also, dealing with different kinds of studio owners. (Try as we might, teachers and studio owners alike aren’t always yogi-like either ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

If you’re gonna teach, audition in at least one yoga studio. Take the time you need but also, there’s something to be said about just doing it ๐Ÿ™‚

โ™ฅ Is it easy getting private clients? ย What’s the benefit of having private classes?

Doing private classes is something very close to my heart and I’m learning that I actually prefer it. I like it so much that I wrote about it extensively here:ย WHY PRIVATE YOGA CLASSES ARE A CHALLENGE, A JOY FOR TEACHER AND STUDENT

To know more about what it’s like to hold private classes, read it ๐Ÿ™‚

Practical-wise, private classes have their own set of challenges. First and foremost is location. Most of the time private classes will be set in the students’ homes and that means a lot of traveling. And just like public classes, if you really want to try out this yoga teaching thing, at first that will mean going far away from home.

Once you’ve gotten more confident in teaching and more stable in your finances, it’s definitely a must to set your boundaries: where you are willing to teach, what days and times, how many people, what happens if they cancel on you within the day and so on. Be clear from the start what your fees are and in what circumstances you’re willing to lower it — many people will try to bargain with you ๐Ÿ™‚

Another consideration is the fact that, if your students find that they no longer want to do yoga, then you’ve just lost a client. I’ve had clients who have stayed with me for months, clients I’ve had to transfer to other teachers for geographic reasons, and also clients who I’ve been teaching for more than a year now and I’m still with them ๐Ÿ™‚ There are many ways it could go and again, you just have to be prepared to practice, be resourceful, be patient, and trusting.

Recently, I’ve decided that I will only take public classes in the city I live in because I am very traffic averse, haha! And thankfully the universe provides well ๐Ÿ™‚ Part of the reason it provides well is because I do my own work – when it comes to private classes that means doing a little bit of marketing and networking.ย I make it known to friends and people online that I am open to taking private classes simply through this blog and through this Facebook. So far these two channels have worked beautifully for me ๐Ÿ™‚

Safety is also a very important consideration. If you ever feel unsure about the person who’s contacted you, trust your gut. It’s definitely not worth it.

Financial-wise, private classes pay much more than public classes ๐Ÿ™‚ But that’s because you give them more service, care, and attention. Again, you can read about that in my blog ๐Ÿ™‚

โ™ฅ Does a yoga teacher make money? Is it something I can do full-time?

Lol. Yes, a yoga teacher makes money. But I completely understand the question.

Teaching yoga, especially teaching yoga full-time, can be an unstable situation. If you aren’t ready to be unstable financially, maybe take it step-by-step before you consider doing it full-time.

Personally, I can say that after a couple of months of figuring out and working my butt off as a new teacher, I’ve consistently done well. On average, I earn double what I earned when I was in a corporate job. (Not that that was super high though, haha). This though is from a combination of teaching yoga publicly and privately, life coaching, and freelance writingย ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m now blessed enough to say that if I wanted to earn just the same amount as what I was earning in my corporate job, I could probably do it by teaching alone. I live with my family by choice though I’ve calculated it a few times and I figured out that with what I’m earning monthly, I could also live alone, but perhaps with not much savings ๐Ÿ™‚

But what’s great about teaching is that it gives you the time to explore other things you want to do.

There are many teachers out there who combine their teaching with other things they’re passionate about. We are yoga teachers AND entrepreneurs, writers, graphic designers, healers, chefs, teachers, doctors, real estate agents, freelancers, artists, makers of balms and soaps… the list goes on.

Now, if you want toย justย teach yoga – as in that’s your only profession – that’s also possible. Know though that this means you’ll have to be teaching a lot of classes, probably around 12-20 classes a week or 3-4 times a day. This can be tiring and can easily burn you out, at least in my experience. There are some teachers who can do this without breaking too much of a sweat and I believe that again, it boils down to energy. If you’ve got it, then go for it! ๐Ÿ™‚ I fully admire and even slightly envy the teachers who have the energy to do this full-time in the true sense of the word

 

And that’s it, the answers to the most frequently asked questions I’ve received about training ๐Ÿ™‚

I hope this helps. If you have more, let me know!

โ™ฅ,ย Dindin

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