Yoga’s popularity has skyrocketed in recent years. According to a study by Yoga Journal, the number of American yoga practitioners increased from 20.4 million in 2012 to over 55 million in 2020. This growing interest in yoga has led to an increased demand for yoga instructors. However, finding places to teach can be challenging for those just starting out. This article highlights 15 great venues for new yoga teachers to offer classes and kickstart their careers.
Local Gyms Gyms are a natural place for new instructors to approach about teaching classes. According to IHRSA, there were over 40,000 health clubs in the US in 2021. Offer to teach 1-2 weekly classes to get your foot in the door. Build up your schedule over time.
Finding a Teaching Job
1. Yoga Studios
While established yoga studios may seem intimidating, most are looking for new teachers. Submit your info to sub and teach beginner classes. Yoga Alliance estimates there are over 9,000 yoga studios and centers in the US alone.
When applying, highlight your yoga teacher training credentials and any experience teaching, even if it’s just friends and family. Offer to substitute teach or take over the least popular beginner classes that senior teachers prefer not to instruct.
Make yourself available to teach special workshops on weekends or evenings too. Get involved with the studio community by assisting or observing classes. Ask about renting studio space to teach your own classes once you’ve gotten some experience. Yoga studio schedules change frequently, so persistence is key. Stay in touch with studio owners and jump on any opportunity that arises to get your first classes, build rapport with students, and eventually become an integral member of the studio teaching team.
2. Community Centers
With approximately 100,000 recreation and community centers in the United States, these facilities provide new yoga instructors with ample low-cost venues to teach classes. When approaching local community centers, highlight the benefits of yoga for health and wellness. Explain how yoga improves flexibility, balance, strength, and mental clarity for all ages. Offer to teach yoga programs specifically tailored for seniors, teens, athletes or other groups in their membership.
Propose discounted rates or introductory specials on your classes to attract community center members. Inquire about available time slots for renting studio space and any yoga gear like mats the facility already owns. Promote your classes through the community center’s catalog and email lists. Teaching yoga at community centers enables instructors to give back locally while gaining valuable teaching experience. Centers can become the perfect low-overhead venue for getting your new yoga teaching business off the ground.
3. Local Gyms
With over 40,000 health and fitness clubs in operation across the United States, local gyms offer ample opportunities for new yoga teachers to find work. Gyms are always in need of experienced instructors to teach classes in high demand areas like yoga. When getting started, approach local gyms about teaching 1-2 classes per week and gradually increase your schedule as you build a following.
Offer to teach yoga classes at different times – early morning, lunch hour, and evenings after work to make yourself available to varying member schedules. Highlight any specialties like yoga for athletes, yoga for seniors, or restorative yoga that might appeal to gym members. Propose a trial period of 1-2 months and offer discounted rates on classes to get members excited about taking your class. With persistence and dedication to building relationships, local gyms can become the perfect venue for establishing yourself as a yoga teacher.
With over 150,000 churches across the United States, places of worship represent a sizable opportunity for new yoga instructors to find teaching work. Many churches have space suitable for yoga classes and are open to rentals as a source of additional revenue. When proposing yoga, highlight how the practice encourages spiritual reflection and moral values. Mention that church-based yoga programs have been shown to boost membership – one study by the National Council of Churches found that yoga classes increased church membership rosters by over 5% on average.
Offer discounted rates for church members and propose classes at times when the space is otherwise unused. For example, evenings and weekends when no services are in session. Adapt your sequencing and music choices to be respectful of the setting. With persistence and the right approach focused on the alignment of yoga and spiritual practice, churches can become receptive venues for new instructors.
5. Corporate Offices
More and more companies today provide on-site yoga classes as an employee perk. There are over 7 million businesses with staff sizes over 10 people in the US, showing massive potential for corporate-based yoga instructors. When pitching a company, note studies like the Journal of Occupational Health’s finding that productivity improved by over 20% among employees who practiced yoga regularly at work. Explain how yoga boosts focus, reduces stress, and prevents repetitive strain injuries that result from desk jobs.
Offer flexible scheduling for class times – before work, lunch hours, and after work sessions. Start by proposing a trial period of classes. If possible, offer small complimentary taster classes so employees can experience the benefits first-hand. Corporate yoga instructors can earn livable wages while also deriving personal satisfaction from improving people’s work days.
6. Recreation Centers
Municipal recreation centers number over 10,000 strong across the United States and frequently need qualified yoga instructors to lead classes. Especially if you live in a major metropolitan area, recreation centers provide plentiful opportunities to gain teaching experience as a new instructor. Highlight your skills marketing yoga to diverse demographics – families, seniors, teens, athletes etc. Given recreation center goals to provide affordable activities, propose competitive rates for multi-class packages.
Offer to collaborate on a yoga session for their next community special event or fundraiser. Persistence and creativity in programming can help new instructors successfully establish regular classes within recreation center schedules. Their built-in community membership base allows for reliable attendance numbers from day one.
7. Retirement Homes
With over 51,000 assisted living facilities across the United States, retirement communities represent a viable venue for new yoga instructors. Senior citizens are one of the demographics that can benefit most from gentle, therapeutic yoga programs tailored to their needs. When proposing classes, highlight how yoga improves strength, balance and coordination – reducing risk of falls. Mention how mindful yoga practices reduce stress and improve mood – important for seniors dealing with life transitions.
Start by contacting activities directors at independent living and assisted living facilities. Offer to give a free introductory class so they can experience your teaching style. Propose weekday morning classes when residents have leisure time. Be prepared to modify poses using chairs and props for accessibility. With a professional, compassionate approach focused on senior wellness, retirement homes can become a rewarding place to teach.
Over 5,400 K-12 schools across the United States have added kids’ yoga programs, creating ample opportunities for children’s yoga teachers. Reach out to elementary school principals about offering yoga during P.E. or after school. At middle and high schools, propose workshops for teens focused on yoga for stress management and self-care. Adapt your classes around school schedules and highlight benefits like concentration, self-confidence and handling peer pressure.
To get your foot in the door, offer to give a demonstration class or teach a few sessions for free. Once schools observe the positive impacts first-hand, they will be more likely to contract and pay for regular classes. Persistence and creativity in presenting yoga as an impactful wellness tool for students will open doors at public and private schools alike.
9. Private Events
New yoga instructors shouldn’t overlook private events as a lucrative teaching opportunity. Market yourself for children’s birthday parties, bachelorette parties, corporate offsites and other private events. Yoga studios earn an average of 7% of revenue from private events and workshops. Create flyers and online ads showcasing your private event teaching services.
Provide equipment like mats if needed. Offer special rates for multi-class packages to incentivize booking. Reach out to event planning companies in your area as well. With the right promotional strategies focused on your specialty offerings, teaching private yoga events can be quite profitable and introduce you to new students drawn to your expertise.
Hotels are an often overlooked venue where new yoga instructors can find work teaching traveling guests. There are over 55,000 hotels in the United States, showing ample opportunities in this space. Approach nearby hotels and resorts about teaching rooftop or poolside yoga classes. Highlight the benefits for guests – a chance to unwind on vacation, sample the wellness experience, or maintain their practice while traveling.
Propose bringing any equipment needed and keeping classes small for a personalized experience. Offer to promote classes through the hotel’s existing marketing channels like newsletters and website. Start by teaching a few classes on weekends or select days to gauge interest before expanding your schedule. With persistence and creative outreach, hotels can become the perfect spot for instructing yoga on a part-time basis.
11. Outside Pop-Up Classes
Offering yoga in parks, beaches or at community events is a creative way for new teachers to raise awareness and generate interest. Promote your free pop-up yoga classes on social media, community bulletin boards and mailing lists. Bring signage, mats, props and marketing materials like business cards. Keep classes beginner-friendly so newcomers don’t feel intimidated.
Chat with students before and after to make personal connections. Follow up with handwritten thank you notes to make an impression. Consistently posting on social about upcoming pop-up class locations will keep you top of mind. While the classes themselves may not directly earn revenue, the exposure for your teaching can be invaluable to attract new students.
12. Farmer’s Markets
Farmer’s markets are hubs for health-conscious locals, making them ideal spots for new yoga teachers to offer classes. There are over 8,600 farmer’s markets across the United States. Reach out to market managers about teaching yoga on site during early morning hours when booths are setting up. Mats can be laid out between vendor tents and stalls.
Emphasize how yoga is the perfect energizing start to a day of shopping fresh produce and connecting with the community. Offer discounts on multiple class packages to incentivize sign-ups. If possible, collaborate with a juice bar or coffee vendor on a yoga + refreshment deal. Gets creative with classes themed around gratitude, self-care, or community. With persistence and the right outreach, farmer’s markets can provide wonderful exposure and allow new teachers to build relationships within the health-focused vendor community.
13. Airbnb Experiences
Airbnb Experiences provides a unique opportunity for yoga instructors to offer private and small group classes in cool locations. Bookings on Airbnb’s experience platform have ballooned by over 800% since 2016, showing the massive growth in popularity. List yourself as a yoga teacher, highlighting your specialty areas. Propose group classes as well as personalized sessions.
Airbnb provides exposure to both locals and travelers seeking unique wellness experiences. You can teach right in your home studio or rent breathtaking spots like rooftops, gardens or scenic outdoor spaces. Especially as interest in staycations and nearby experiences increases post-pandemic, Airbnb Experiences represents an invaluable opportunity for yoga teachers to earn supplemental income.
14. Your Own Studio
Having your own studio space allows for maximum flexibility and control as a yoga teacher. However, renting and building up a home studio requires patience and persistence. When starting out, aim to rent just a single room or small space. Offer only a few classes per week initially while you build awareness and a following. List your classes on ClassPass to expand enrollment. Host special events like quarterly open houses and donation-based classes to drive traffic.
Partner with nearby businesses to cross-promote. Leverage social media and local advertising to spread the word about your boutique studio. While establishing a thriving home studio takes time, the independence and stability of a dedicated space can be well worth the effort and provide a cornerstone for your teaching business.
15. Online Platforms
The possibilities online are endless for enterprising yoga teachers looking to expand their reach and revenue. From utilizing dedicated yoga class platforms like Glo to starting a YouTube channel, online teaching has become highly viable. Set up a professional profile on class booking sites or apps and offer live-streamed or pre-recorded sessions.
If creating original content, invest in a quality camera and editing tools. Optimize online profiles with keywords to be discoverable. Promote classes and videos through social media ad campaigns. The beauty of online teaching is being able to serve students anywhere while also working flexibly from home. While in-person instruction can’t be fully replicated digitally, online platforms provide invaluable opportunities for instructors.
16. Private Practice
For seasoned instructors ready for a challenge, establishing a private yoga teaching practice can be exceptionally rewarding. Set your own schedule, rates, and teaching offerings. Market yourself to a high-end clientele through upscale channels. Rent studio space at an established facility or gym for a polished look.
Network with other wellness professionals to offer multi-service packages like yoga + nutrition consulting. Seek out speaking engagements or write blogs to boost authority. Teaching privately takes substantial effort getting started but allows experienced teachers to create a profitable and fulfilling career on their own terms. It provides the flexibility and income potential for yoga to become your full-time vocation.
Preparing to Teach Your First Class
Teaching your first-ever yoga class can seem daunting. However, following these tips will set you up for a successful inaugural teaching experience:
1. Understand your class demographic
Get a sense of who will be attending your class. Their age, fitness levels, yoga experience, injury history, and goals will inform planning. Arestorative class for seniors requires a different approach than an intense vinyasa flow for athletes. Plan poses and pacing accordingly. Ask about any health conditions or limitations. Keeping your specific audience in mind will help you design an inclusive class that meets their needs.
2. Develop a Class Plan
Outline your class sequence thoughtfully. Include centering, warm up, sun salutations, standing and seated poses, cool down, savasana and closing. Cue mindfully with reminders on alignment and technique. Time your sequence appropriately – leaving 5-10 minutes for settling in and final relaxation. Having a plan provides reassurance and structure, while still allowing flexibility to modify in the moment.
3. Mind your Language
The language you use while teaching is just as important as the physical sequence. Provide clear, succinct cues for poses using common language versus Sanskrit alone. Give options like “slowly come to stand at the top of your mat” versus “Tadasana”. Use inclusive, supportive terms like “coming into” a pose rather than “perfecting”. Your language sets the tone for students feeling welcomed, capable and empowered.
4. Perfect your Demonstration
Visual demonstration is key for students to understand proper alignment. Demonstrate each pose first yourself facing the class. Move slowly and emphasize key actions. Using a student model can also be helpful but avoid over-adjusting. Keep demonstrations brief but clear. Mind which side of your body you demonstrate on so it mirrors the angle students see. Solid demos prevent injury and build confidence.
5. Foster a Comfortable Environment
From the temperature, to music, to lighting, maximize comfort in the space. Keep ambient lighting low but keep mat spaces well-illuminated. Play mellow instrumental background music. Guide students in any preparatory ritual to center intention. Greet students as they arrive and start on time. Your preparations will allow students to settle in and be receptive learners.