Beyond the studio: How to make money as a yoga teacher
It’s all about the money, money, money…
Ummm, no, scratch that!
It’s all about the yoga, yoga, yoga!
You see, I’m yet to meet a yoga teacher who signed up for teacher training to make buckets of money. Rather, the yoga teachers I’ve meet were simply so inspired by the way yoga makes them feel - on a physical, emotional and spiritual level - that they felt compelled to learn more and share that amazing feeling with the world.And so began their path to becoming a qualified teacher.
Let’s get back to the money.
The truth is, no matter your chosen vocation, we all need money to pay the bills. Ideally, in the form of a secure, regular income. This ideal scenario can prove tricky for yoga instructors, particularly when you’re starting out.
For most yoga teachers, the first step toward earning money is leading group classes in a yoga studio setting. Yoga Australia’s Yoga Instructor 2018 Salary Guidelines show teachers receiving a median base salary of $50 an hour for group classes in a studio or gym, and $70 per hour for one-on-one instruction.
Do the maths and you’ll soon realise relying on group classes alone looks unsustainable, not to mention exhausting! *Of course, ‘reasonable income’ will differ between individuals depending on their needs, expectations and circumstances. A 2019 report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics offers the average full-time earnings for Australian as $1,634 per week.
So, what’s a yoga teacher, keen to make her living doing what she loves, to do?
Think outside the square
Really, when it comes to creating income from sharing your yoga passion, there are as many options as there are asana. It’s time to put your thinking cap on! Are you ready to get clever and creative about the different ways, formats and audiences you can present with yoga?
To kick-start your brainstorm, here are our top 11 ideas for making money as a yoga teacher.
Get your group on
As mentioned, the obvious avenue here is teaching for a studio. But think about it - there are many other ways to gather a class-worth of students together for practice, and offering your services to a ‘ready-made’ group is an ideal start.
Bring balance to the boardroom
For example, how about teaching yoga in a corporate setting? Yoga at work is becoming increasingly popular, with employees keen to fit exercise into their working day, and many employers happy to offer a pre-work or lunchtime class as a healthy perk. (And besides, what employee wouldn’t feel more energised and productive after a session on the mat!)
While you might like to begin by contacting large employers like banks, government departments and insurance companies, don’t discount small businesses - you never know until you ask. Your best bet is a conversation with the Human Resources department or coordinator.
Check out your local TAFE, University or other adult education provider. Many offer recreational courses for students and you may be just the person they’re looking for to lead classes.If you enjoy teaching kids, head to the primary and high schools near you. You may be able to secure paid work teaching a weekly yoga class as part of the school sports programme.
Wow ‘em with workshops
A workshop (or 2) offers students an opportunity to dive deeper into a particular aspect of yoga that otherwise wouldn’t get much airtime. And for you, it’s a chance to exchange your passion and knowledge for payment.
For a workshop that really shines (and attracts paying participants) choose a topic aligned with your own interests and expertise.
Love yoga philosophy?
How about a workshop on applying the yamas and niyamas in everyday life.
Good at handstands?
Give beginners the dedicated time and tuition on getting upside-down easily and safely.
Get creative. What other skills and qualifications do you have that gel well with yoga? The right pairing can create a unique and appealing workshop experience. I’ve spotted workshops for restorative yoga and reiki, yoga and journaling, and yoga and art, for example. What can you think of?
Run your own retreat
Ahhhh, who doesn’t enjoy getting away from the hum-drum of everyday life for a few days? Hire out a gorgeous venue (get inspired at Airbnb) and entice participants more fully into yoga and out of their usual surroundings. Run your retreat for an afternoon, day, weekend or longer - it’s up to you!
Host with the most
Not only do wellness retreat businesses require qualified health professions to deliver classes, but they often need staff to facilitate and welcome guests. If you are organised and love people, a role as a retreat host could be a winning combination for you, and your wallet.
Educate fellow teachers
Perhaps your enjoyment for yoga extends beyond teaching from the mat. Diversify your earnings by leading a teacher training program yourself, or become part of the teaching faculty for an existing education provider.
Sell, sell, sell
The list of yoga-related products you could put up for sale is limitless! For the tech-savvy, go digital. Create a video of yourself teaching a class or record a meditation, then make it available for download after purchase.
You can also buy wholesale and sell retail. For example, Stretch Now offers wholesale pricing for yoga studios and yoga teachers. You can augment your income by buying yoga props at wholesale prices and selling them in your studio at retail prices.
Teach private classes
Typically, students who want private tuition are happy to pay extra for the 1-2-1 attention and convenience of private lessons. If you enjoy teaching yoga in this format, adding a few regular private clients to your teaching schedule may pay off.
Got a yoga-related product you can’t stop raving about? Some companies offer affiliate arrangements where you receive a ‘kickback’ payment for any sales traceable to your recommendation. Drop your favourite product a line and ask if they have a affiliate programme in place. If they do, start spreading the word about the products you love! Stretch Now offers an affiliate program.
Feel free in nature
Of course, check with your local council, but it may be possible to save on room hire fees by organising group or private yoga tuition in a park, your backyard or the beach.
The advantage of teaching outdoors is the abundance of fresh air and sense of earthy connection. On the flipside, you’re at the mercy of inclement or extreme weather, creepy crawlies and potential onlookers! Oh, and in the great outdoors, you can cross ‘legs up the wall’ off your class plan!
Do it write
Are you are you good with words? Approach your favourite yoga studio, props or clothing supplier to see if they need a hand with creating blog posts, website copy or social media content. If you can translate your yoga expertise into words well, this could be a winning way forward.
The numbers game
When looking for that sweet spot where your ideal offerings and weekly take-home earnings intersect, don’t forget your outgoings. Take into consideration your insurance costs, industry body membership fees, transport, clothing and equipment etc. Seek out a financial advisor, or even a money-savvy friend, to help you crunch the numbers.
Let abundance flow
For dedicated yoga teachers, the rewards of sharing yoga with the world can be sweet and deeply satisfying. And that’s without receiving a cent! Making real and reliable money from teaching yoga is absolutely possible. By leveraging your strengths and getting smart about the ways you offer yoga and the audiences you offer yoga to, you’ll be well on your way to being a truly abundant yoga teacher.
Photo: Riksha Yoga Studio, Scoresby, Melbourne