yin yoga certification courseBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

The question about how much Yoga instructors make is a common one; Yoga teachers, and people, in general, have different opinions about material compensation. Some people claim that teachers of Yoga should not be paid at all. This is interesting, when some teachers have paid nearly $15,000.00 for their “high flying” tuition and extra fees in an onsite Yoga instructor certification program – not to mention how many years they paid for classes, workshops, intensives, study materials, liability insurance, and memberships to any associations. If you listen to the wrong advice, you may as well “give away the store.” The average community government does not contribute anything in the way of grants or funds toward the income of Yoga instructors. Grants do exist, but you may want to hire a grant writer, and that is no guarantee that you will receive one. Therefore, most Yoga schools, studios, and fitness centers, depend on tuition fees for classes, to keep their doors open.  

Other people claim that you will never be paid enough to teach full time. In truth, business and marketing are a mystery to most Yoga instructors because they do not see it as important. Some business managers operate successful Yoga schools and employ teachers to keep the operation running. Business and Yoga are strange bed fellows, but a teacher who really knows the business is more likely to have a 401k, make a good salary, and sleep at night. If you think it is wrong to take payment for teaching classes, that is fine with me. However, in this global economy, most people are not independently wealthy. Below is a question and answer session related to the question: “How much do Yoga teachers get paid?”

Q: I am going to be meeting with a local gym in the next week to begin teaching a few classes there, and I wanted to ask you for some advice on what might be the best options of how I should arrange something with them. Meaning: I’m curious about getting paid per student, per class? I’m just not sure how to approach it.

A: There are many ways to be compensated for teaching Yoga classes. However, I will list the top three methods and some variations of each.

1. Being paid on a per student basis usually works like this. Whatever the health club receives for students, you are paid 50% of what the fitness center takes. Here is an example: The fitness center charges $10 per Yoga class to each student. You receive $5 per student. Some Yoga instructors love this and some hate it. Here’s why: If you are really ambitious and market yourself locally by using flyers, brochures, Facebook, and a blog, you can raise your numbers exponentially. On the other hand, some teachers have difficulty with marketing themselves and going public. This is like the author who writes books and doesn’t want to go to book signings. Ultimately, this method is great for Yoga teachers who don’t mind self-promotion. It is not a good method for someone who is “marketing shy.”

2. Being paid on a per class basis is also called a “flat rate.” The pay scale for a Yoga instructor is usually similar to the same pay rate personal trainers receive for their time; the variables in pay rate depend on the community where the health club is located. In other words, Beverly Hills health clubs charge steep prices, but a rural fitness center surrounded by farmland, will be much less expensive. The best way to find out the average rate is to investigate what Yoga instructors and personal trainers are being paid for a private session. This is usually around the same rate one is paid for teaching a class.

3. Being paid by percentage is similar to Option One, but the teacher is paid anywhere from 50 to 80 percent of the income for Yoga training sessions. Here’s why the rates differ: New teachers usually take what they can get, but experienced Yoga teachers, with an established following, can bring in 100 or more students into a health club, that might be starving for revenue. There have been cases where established Yoga instructors brought in hundreds of students into gyms that were sinking financially. The results are successful for teachers and health clubs; but, once again, this requires marketing and business savvy.

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