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What's your experience of trying to earn a living from teaching yoga?
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shona

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January 25, 2017 - 10:30 am
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Hi,
I'm a 64 year old yoga teacher - passionate about helping as many older people find yoga's benefits as possible - and because I think I already had a business background, find I am building a healthy business of my own - and loving it!
However, I struggle to find other teachers in my area for collaboration/cover. I only teach 4 regular classes a week - the rest are all 6 week programmes which give me more control - so if I want to go on holiday I can! But even finding cover for these classes is almost impossible - and the teachers I've met and chatted to - all lovely people - but are having to make a living from a main job - and just doing yoga "on the side" - so they aren't free to cover.
I am noticing there are lots and lots of teacher trainings - and lots of teachers being churned out - but wondering what happens to them once they qualify? Do they start out hoping to change career then find it too hard.give up?
I do understand perhaps 50% of those who go on teacher training only want to deepen their practice - but what of the others?
Do they start out hoping to make a change of career and then become dissillusioned - working for a pittance for gyms or doing the odd private class as a bit of pin money?
My own experience at my 200 and 300 hour training was that there was very very little information or support to help students think about how they might proceed in terms of earning a living from their new found skill/certificate. In truth - there's little information for prospective students about the opportunities of using the skill once they qualify - bit like taking a course at university with no clue whether there's real potential to make a career from it! There seems to be very little support afterwards either - in terms of helping with the business side of teaching or how to develop this passion into some form of career.
As someone who would love to bring yoga to more people my age - but knowing I can't do it on my own (nor do I want to!) I find myself increasingly challenged and frustrated that we're churning out all these teachers - and they don't teach! I'd love to hear other teachers thoughts about this.
If you could spare the time to answer any of the following questions - I'd loooooove to hear from you!

1) When you did your teacher training - were you hoping you might be able to change career/earn an income from this new skill?
2) Did your teacher training help you with the business side of teaching? How useful was it?
3) What steps, if any have you taken to develop an income from yoga teaching?
4) What do you wish you could have support with in terms of setting up some kind of sustainable business from yoga teaching?
5) What burning questions do you have about how to make a career out of yoga?

If any of this resonates with you - and you could spare a few minutes to respond to any of those questions - I'd love to hear from you.
Thank you!

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April 27, 2015
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January 31, 2017 - 3:36 pm
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Hi Shona,

I would have to agree with many of your points. Many people who attend teacher trainings have no intention of teaching. My guess is less than half of graduates have a serious intention to teach. Teacher training is a quest for many students, but they don't really want to teach.

Of that less than 50% who are left to teach, most will be seriously put off by marketing, business, advertising, and sales. Yoga teachers usually have an artsy outlook on life. The real nuts and bolts of business make them nervous. They know yoga works, but they hate selling to a public that is largely ignorant about health.

Only the alphas will go into business, open a studio or become an independent contractor. Alphas are 5% of normal humans, but teachers of yoga are predominantly not built for business and very few are alphas. My guess: 1 to 2% of teacher training graduates are real alphas.

Many quit, teach from home, remain on a substitute lists, teach seasonally at parks. Some who have a little more drive are regular independent contractors.

Only one school that I know of teaches marketing and business. Yoga Alliance will not give credit for marketing and business. Most interns want to skip all of the marketing and business. The majority of interns just don't want to learn.

We can't blame this on the trainers if interns are unwilling to learn the most important aspect of staying in business. Many raise objections to learning anything about the business of yoga. 

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January 31, 2017 - 5:36 pm
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Gator, There is always an edge to your posts that is truthful but direct. I think most teachers are free spirits who don't network well and don't want to be a salesperson. Many teach to groups of all kinds. You can see yoga classes in schools of all kinds, community centers, resorts, companies, all kinds of clubs, cruises and many more places. Yoga is everywhere. As for slackers within the teaching ranks, there are many. Teachers are fired for not showing up, showing up late, leaving early and basically laziness. In health clubs, the yoga teacher is considered a space shot who must come down to earth for a class. Professionalism is completely lacking because teachers behave like hippies coming back from an LSD trip. About Alpha Personalities: There are a few and these are the good ones. They have learned how to market and the earn multiple streams of income. We know the celebs but there are others who are quietly making a killing while somebody writes an article about how tough it is to make a living. The truth is most teachers have no drive at all and i'm surprised they made it through any training program.

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January 31, 2017 - 6:56 pm
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No complaints here as a 59 year old teacher. I think there is plenty of marketing information available to those who want to know. Yoga Journal and Paul Jerard put out a fair amount of information that you can find for free on the Internet. There are business an marketing tips inside this forum. If  somebody is unmotivated, it's hard to convince them to look at marketing as a good thing.

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