So, you want to be a yoga instructor, but you also want to pay off your mortgage. Perhaps, you’re looking to buy that house or start a family finally. Somehow, balancing the practicalities of everyday living against the dream of teaching seems impossible.
If you’re unsure of turning your passion for yoga into a sustainable money-making endeavor, do not worry. You are not alone. Never forget, every teacher was once a newbie and had their insecurities before they became established.
I’m here to tell you that your fears and worries and perfectly normal, so fret not. With that said, there are a few things to know before relying entirely on yoga as a source of income.
The Stats Don’t Lie
Before jumping in the depend blindingly, here are a few things to know about the yoga industry.
- Yoga is an $88 billion industry that continues to grow every year.
- Ten percent of the North American population practice yoga (that’s around 34.4 million people)
- Yoga has grown in popularity by 63.8% between 2010 and 2021 and shows no sign of slowing.
- Around 7,000 yoga studios are in the States, and 100,000 yoga teachers are registered with the Yoga Alliance.
These stats show you there is enough room as the demand for yoga explodes. Yes, yoga is competitive. But you need not worry; there is enough work for everyone.
Not that you should rely on yoga as your sole source of revenue from day 1, but with a little dedication, you will find your way.
How Much Do Yoga Instructors Make
‘How Much Do Yoga Instructors Make’ is a difficult question. This is not always so easy to answer because there are a lot of assumptions about money and occupations.
Taking an average of a group of peoples does not really help to understand the issue, as people often have more than one revenue source. I know almost no one who makes all of there money only from teaching. With that said lets take this discussion with a big grain of salt.
The Short Answer
The earnings of yoga instructors vary widely. On average, yoga instructors can earn anywhere from $25-$75 per class. The average national yoga salary in the US ranges dramatically from $13,000 to $100,000 annually. I wonder when I read that statistic on Ziprecruiter. That feels like just some random numbers. These didn’t give any sources, so whether or not that’s true are any ones guess.
However, comparing that with the national average, where your average person makes just under $60,000, seems comporable.
It’s important to note that this range is influenced by factors such as location, experience, how big your name/brand is, and whether you consider being a yoga teacher as full-time work. I know many teachers make $100,000 a year, but they also teach yoga retreats, are well-known, have a digital course, are life coaches, and write for Yoga Journal.
Are they yoga teachers? Yes, but that’s not all they do. So you see, quantifying becomes a bit messy.
The problem with statistics is that it can hide the subtle truths.
The Long Answer
I’ve taught in places where I was given a $50 flat fee and then a percentage of every extra person that came through the door, which gave me a little extra incentive to get my name out there and bring more people to the studio.
I quite liked this arrangement as even if there was only 1 person who showed up in class, I still got paid no matter what.
The problem is that you cant make a living off of $50 a day; the reality is that most teachers will not only have to teach several classes a day but will likely also have to work several other part-time jobs to make ends meet.
While $50 a class isn’t bad, I’ve also had to work for only $20 per class, which is a totally different story.
Math Doesnt Lie
With those facts, let’s do some math here.
In all likelihood, you will probably start off making $20 a class. If that is the case, and you were going to teach 4 classes a day (which is a lot, trust me), that brings it up to $80 a day, $400 a week, $1600 a month, and $19,200 a year.
If you were making $50 a class, at 4 classes a day, that’s $200 a day, $1000 a week, $4000 a month, and $48,000 a year, which is not bad if you do not live in LA or NYC or any other big city.
Now, 48k is a liveable salary, and working 4-6 hours daily is doable. The way that you make this work is to ensure that you are getting your name out there. Because to get at least 50 bucks a class, you need at least 7 people showing up. If the studio will at least take 50% of profits, at $15 a class x 7 people means that the studio makes $105 per class and gives you 50 bucks.
With a lunchtime yoga class schedule though, it can be difficult to get 7 people in. An evening class, at a big studio in NYC, with a well-known teacher, you can get 50+ people. But to get there takes some time.
So, anywhere from $19,200 – 48,000 a year seems about right. If you are a well-known teacher bringing 50+ people per class, at $15 per class, that’s bringing in $750 an hour for the studio, then obviously that is a whole different story. The key here, though, is that these teachers are in demand.
With a median of $30,000 a year, that amount is still liveable if you are single. If you hope to raise a family, you may need to think creatively.
While starting out teaching, I was also juggling several jobs, putting up flyers, as well as working in a restaurant, and a dozen other odd jobs like lawn care and photograpy. And that worked for me at the time. I was 24 and liked working odd hours. Now, 14 years later, at 38, I would be singing a different tune, but at the time it worked.
The question is, will it work for you? If you can be flexible, then it most certainly can work; if not, you might struggle.
Factors Influencing Earnings
There are a ton of other factors that can influence how much money you earn, making any type of analysis difficult. Such as:
Location: Yoga instructors in big cities, who are in demand, will generally have more opportunities to teach and earn more, especially compared to anyone living in rural areas.
Experience: As with any profession, experience plays a big role. Well-known teachers with a loyal following can charge a lot more and supplement their class earnings by offering workshops, retreats, and teacher training in order to make ends meet.
Teaching Style and Format: Yoga instructors who offer private sessions or corporate classes can command top dollar. Usually, this type of hookup is made through connections.
Marketing: As the yoga industry is competitive, marketing yourself plays a big role. Using social media, building a website, and networking within the yoga community can help you increase your visibility and reach.
Additional Income Streams: Diversify your income by offering private sessions, workshops, teacher training programs, writing books, or creating online yoga courses. This is generally the way to really make it work.
Are we Doing It for Money Alone?
For most people, making money is not the primary motivator for teaching yoga. With that said, we all still have to live. It can be difficult to find that sweet spot.
As much as I am a believer in trust – and recognizing that everything flows only from there. I am not a fatalist.
‘Trust in God, but tether your camel.’
I take that to mean trust that you are in the right hands, but don’t be stupid. Don’t believe that God will prevent your camel from wandering off. If you leave your camel untied, it will wander off.
In other words, know that you are guided, but do what you need to get there. It’s all too easy for apathy to come in and to just do nothing at the end of the day.
If you want to be a teacher, know that you will need to work, and though it may be challenging, everything will work out. I feel like that is a mantra that should be used for anyone pursuing an alternative career path.
Expect challenges and you will not be dissapointed.
We have a tendency to be armchair philosophers. We say one thing and do another. To live as you speak is no easy task, but nothing that is worth anything comes easy. It all takes work.
Trust that it will work out, but do what needs doing – and all will be as it should be