By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
Within teacher circles, most instructors of Yoga never discuss their annual income. Salaries can be a “touchy subject;” particularly when one has a vocation in the arts or embracing the spiritual aspects. All of the Yogic aspects are viewed as enjoyable “hobbies,” but can also have a professional aspect. Many imagine that they would love to get paid to teach Yoga training sessions, and some of us have this reality. Yet, what kind of salary expectation is reasonable, and how can a teacher support a family in an uncertain economy?
According to payscale.com, hourly wages for teachers of Yoga range from $10.33 to $54.25 an hour. If we do the math, this leads one to think an annual salary of between $23,000 – $113,000 is about right. This range, however, is wide enough to render the statistics meaningless. On the lower end, the salary is approximately poverty level for a family of four. On the upper end, it is an extraordinary salary, on which living comfortably would be very easy. To make sense of the numbers, it is necessary to delve deeper.
The High Salary End of Teaching
First, the overall job market for Yoga instructors should be considered. If you are at the lower end of the pay scale, it is not worth much to know that someone is paid over $100 an hour, but those jobs are rare. Bikram lives well, but some of his students are actresses, actors, and professionals, in the Beverly Hills area. Some teachers work with professional athletes and executives in Fortune 500 companies. To know that these positions exist is not enough. Reaching out to students or clients, who pay handsomely for your services, is a marketing strategy that most Yoga teachers do not want to indulge in.
The Internal Conflict of Getting Paid for Yoga Sessions
To some teachers, taking any payment is awkward and might be viewed as greedy or wrong. Students, who want free sessions, often take the position of refusing to compensate one’s teacher. Some teachers try the donation approach only to find out that students do not bother to donate. Some people sincerely feel that all Yoga teachers should live an ascetic or monastic lifestyle and take a vow of poverty. As Yogic methodology continues to expand in popularity, many contemporary forms exist, and most modern instructors have not taken a vow of poverty. Anecdotally, it is well known that most Yoga instructors are paid hourly, rather than by salary. Most instructors, who have discussed their salaries in personal blogs or magazine articles, offer a standard income of $29,000- $35,000 annually.
Common earning scenarios, for teaching classes, include five different options – although there are many more.
1) The teacher pays a rental fee to the studio, and keeps any fees paid by students, who pay the teacher directly.
2) The teacher is paid a portion of the class fees, which are typically 50-75%, and the students pay the studio.
3) The instructor is paid a flat fee for teaching, by the studio, regardless of the number of students.
4) A combination of the above – often a flat fee plus a premium for every student beyond a certain threshold.
5) Private, individual classes taught outside a studio, to an individual student, for which the student pays the teacher directly.
Private classes can be considered the most effective for students, and the most lucrative for teachers, but are by their nature limited in quantity. Other earning opportunities depend on the teaching scenario and the market for Yoga training in the teacher’s geographic area. Taking all of these factors into account, it is easy to see that while a “dream job” as a Yoga teacher exists, it must be diligently pursued, marketed, while careful business planning is necessary. To teach Yoga, without any compensation, is not financially possible for the vast majority of teachers.
© Copyright 2011 – Paul Jerard / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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