The Reality of Becoming a Yoga Instructor

I practiced yoga steadily for two years before becoming a yoga instructor.  Was I ready?  Probably not looking back at it but I had a well-paying corporate job to subsidize the training.  Teacher training in my area was going for $3000+ for 200 hours which doesn’t make it affordable to most.  Since I’ve never been one to cheap out on training or courses (I’m a student for life) I didn’t hesitate sign up at the studio I so regularly frequented.  Teaching was in my blood after all.  Both my parents were elementary school teachers as well as the majority of my extended family.  I rebelled by not becoming a classroom teacher, however, I relished at the opportunity to train and developed new hires at my corporate job.  Becoming a yoga instructor was a no-brainer.

My training consisted of Saturdays starting from the beginning of March to the end of June which was perfect for me since I worked full-time.  Finding a course that fits your life is important, however, you make sacrificed the quality of the program.  There’s always intense training in India or closer to home at Moksha for example offers a one month intense teacher training and an 11-month correspondence program.  Moksha’s studios I’ve talked to teachers who have taken the program and I can honestly say the quality of teaching is not only reflected in their class but shines through individually as a person.  As a teacher I think it’s very important to be authentic both on and off your mat.  In the western world yoga is viewed as a symbol of health and students expect this to be reflected by their teachers whether you agree with this or not.

I really enjoyed my teacher training and appreciated the fact that we were a smaller group of six.  My teacher, who I have been practicing yoga with for two years at the time, was a great choice for me to studying with.  In fact we still communicate to this day.  The downside is that this was the inaugural teaching the studio offered and I don’t think it was organized properly.  I’m so thankful that the quality of teacher counter balanced this.  It’s no surprise to me that this studio closed down shortly after.

If you are strongly considering becoming a yoga instructor in the near future I’ll be blunt with you: choose your teacher training wisely.  With the increase of teaching training courses being offered out there means there’s more choices but I do believe that some studios put out sub-par training because the quick cash will keep the studio afloat.  Right?  Who can resist the $3000 per head profit?  My advice to you is to research the program, studio and connect with former students.  I’ve heard of a studio close down in the middle of offering teacher training.

Click here for advice on how to land your first yoga instructor job.

The reality of becoming a yoga instructor is the 80/20 rule.  That is that 20% of teachers get 80% of the work.  It is a competitive market and very difficult for the majority of teachers to make a full-time living off of it.  I knew that going in but it didn’t stop me from committing to the training.  I got lucky at the beginning because I found a new studio near my place looking for teachers via a kijiji ad.  The owner and I really got along so she ended up giving me a lot of classes.  I although I like to think I was a good teacher I think it was because I was reliable.  I never called in sick and I was willing to pick up classes.  I pretty much had the same work ethic as my “real” job.

I thought I was on track to becoming a successful yoga teacher until the studio closed suddenly.  It wasn’t really shocking because there seemed to be too many studios in my area so competition was tight.  Studios were either changing hands or closed down.  I am forever grateful for the opportunity.

If you are planning on becoming a yoga instructor know that it doesn’t stop at the initial teacher training.  I have continued to invest in courses and workshops.  You need to find a niche and focus on it.  Don’t aim to be a “yoga to everyone” because you’ll get no one.  Never stop looking for ways to make you a better teacher and stand out from the crowd.