7 Truths About Becoming a Yoga Teacher
Written by Kali Hawke.
It’s become such a vital part of your life that you’ve considered becoming a yoga instructor. Just the thought of teaching yoga for a living puts you in a Zen state of mind. Imagine getting paid to do what you love, help others experience the benefits of yoga, and wear comfy clothing all day long!
It seems like a dream, but many people are doing it. Nearly 40 million people in America practice yoga, so there’s room for more instructors. But before you take a Crescent Lunge into teaching, here are some important things to know.
You Need to Get Training
While there is no universal criteria to become a yoga instructor, there are several certification programs that are the most common route to teaching, and studios and students want to see some credentials before trusting your instruction.
Standard programs require 200 hours of hands-on learning to become certified. Some programs have intensive, month-long retreats where you complete the training quickly, or you can pace yourself with weekend workshops over a two-year period.
Make sure you research various teaching programs to determine the best fit for you. There are also virtual learning programs you can do from home. Whatever route you choose, be prepared for the time and financial investment. Most in-person programs cost around $3,000, while virtual classes can be $500.
Find the Right Yoga Style for You
As an experienced yogi, you’ve probably dabbled in various types of yoga. Consider what style you want to practice as a teacher. It’s important to choose a style you connect with before enrolling in a training program.
Whether you like the fast-paced Ashtanga, the heat of Bikram, the spirituality of Jivamukti, or the classical Hatha, selecting a specific path is vital to your mastery of the practice.
Getting a Teaching Gig isn’t Easy
You’ve coughed up the cash and put in the time to get your teaching certification, but that doesn’t mean studios will line up to hire you. There are hundreds of newly-certified yoga instructors each year on the market, so simply emailing your resume to the local gym won’t get you anywhere. Try to build a rapport with a local studio or fitness center by taking a class or two yourself, observe the types of students, and figure out how you can bring something unique to their slate of classes. Talk with the fitness director and see if you can get on the substitute list or teach a demonstration class.
Of course, you can avoid dealing with studios and take an easier route—creating your own classes. Community centers, organizations, dance studios, and retreat centers are generally open to adding yoga classes and are great places for new teachers to start their practice. You can also offer private classes at your home or a nearby park or beach.
It’s a Business
Whether you’re thinking of teaching yoga full-time or part-time, realize it’s not all Asanas and Sanskrit. It’s a business. Just like any other service-based business, you’ll have to track your hours, monthly budget, and project income and expenses. If you land a job teaching at a studio, make sure you know their payment process, whether it’s a flat rate per class or per student. Also, know when they make payments so you can factor that into your budget.
Whether you teach at a studio or on your own, marketing your classes is vital. Your classes won’t be full if no one knows about them. Using social media posts and ads are great ways to get the word out. Post instructional videos on YouTube, poses on Pinterest, or inspirational quotes on Instagram.
Don’t Overlook Insurance
Insurance isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you’re venturing into teaching, but if you’ve made the investment to get certified, secure a teaching space, and market your classes, you don’t want to lose it all in a lawsuit.
How common are yoga injuries? Quite common. There are nearly 5,000 yoga-related injuries treated in emergency rooms each year, and that number continues to grow as yoga becomes more popular. As a teacher, you can be held liable for student injuries.
Even if the studio where you teach has coverage, the policy may not cover you, and many studios require teachers to get individual yoga insurance. Remember, teaching is a business, and every business needs insurance. The good news is there are various types of affordable insurance. Make sure you research the type of coverage that’s right for you.
It’s Easy to Get Overworked
Sure, yoga teaching gives you the flexibility to make your own schedule and do what you love, but many instructors lose sight of balance and work seven days a week just to make a living.
Balance is vital to maintaining the yogic lifestyle, and you can’t have balance if you’re running from class to class, sending emails, scheduling private sessions, and promoting your classes all the time. Make sure you schedule at least one day off each week and prioritize time with family and friends so your schedule doesn’t consume you.
Don’t Forget Your Own Practice
You may teach several classes throughout the week, but your time teaching can’t substitute for your own private practice. Don’t lose sight of why you fell in love with yoga: the peace of mind, the challenging poses, the health benefits, and joy of finishing a session. Yoga is a sacred practice. You must find a sacred time to practice without leading others.
You already know practicing yoga is an extremely rewarding experience. Teaching others can be just as rewarding. If you’re considering becoming an instructor, make sure you know all that the commitment entails before embarking on your journey.
About Kali Hawke
Kali is an Assistant Digital Content Editor at beYogi.com She is an avid runner and passionate yogi, so Living a healthy and active lifestyle is something that is very important to her. She hopes to spread her passion and inspire others with her words.
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