I just wrote an article for my yoga teacher blog and thought it may be useful for members of this forum. Most weeks I receive an email from an eager wannabe yoga teacher asking for my advice on how to become a yoga teacher. Now I?d like to share my top 10 tips with you.
Tip #1 ? To Be Or Not To Be
Why do you want to be a yoga teacher? The first step in becoming a successful yoga teacher is to unearth the reasons why you want to become one. Most yoga courses last two to three years and believe me when I say this?
It?s going to be a lot harder than you think!
All my fellow yoga teacher trainees (when I was doing my course) said the same thing, ?It?s much tougher than I thought it was going to be.? I?m not saying this to scare you off, but to make it very clear that you?re going to have to make sacrifices if you have a desire to become a yoga teacher. Each assignment always takes much longer than you think. Answering just one question in a unit can easily soak up hours and hours and hours of research and study.
Here are some typical reasons you may choose to become a yoga teacher...
- I've been going to yoga classes for years. It's the next step for me.
- Practicing yoga has helped my sciatica.
- Practicing yoga makes me happy.
- I want to help others.
- Practicing yoga has helped build my strength and flexibility.
- I want to get out of the rat race
- It's been my dream for years.
- To find work/life balance.
- To help my local community.
Being aware of your personal reasons for becoming a yoga teacher is so important because of the energy it gives you. You may have the most expensive car in the world, but unless you have any fuel, it?s just an expensive lump of metal. You might be potentially the greatest yoga teacher the planet has ever seen, but if your reasons aren?t compelling enough, you won?t have enough energy (fuel) to finish the journey. Approximately 20% of people quit during a two year course. That just goes to show how challenging it is.
Tip 2 ? Have You Got Enough of the Green Stuff?
No matter what yoga teacher course you choose, you'll be forking out a fair amount of the green stuff. So, unless you're an oil baron, bank executive or have recently inherited a large chunk of money, it will probably be a significant investment for you.
When you factor in the course fees, travel costs, food costs, yoga books, membership fees and paying for observations (that alone cost me over ?300) it adds up. I estimate that my yoga teacher diploma cost me ?4,000. So, if money is a bit tight, you have two options.
Option 1 - Raid your savings.
Option 2 - Spend a few months squirrelling away money in a tin
I recommend a tin that needs a can opener to open it). On that tin write ?Yoga Money?. When you?re thinking about buying a cappuccino (or something that isn?t necessary), run to your money tin, put the money in, then walk to your nearest tap and pour yourself a refreshing glass of free water.
Here?s a list of money saving tactics I used to help pay for my yoga teacher training course?.
- I sold my car and used public transportation.
- I sold unwanted items on eBay.
- I stopped eating out for two years (that saved a small fortune).
- I started buying Tesco?s brand food instead of the luxury stuff.
Now you know why you want to BE a yoga teacher and have an idea on how to fund your yoga teacher training, it's time to do some research.
Tip 3 ? Research UK Yoga Schools on Google
Each yoga teacher training school is different, but most will follow a program similar to this...
- Yoga history, theory & philosophy
- Learning yoga postures and breathing techniques
- Teaching methods
- Lesson planning
- Running a yoga business
The national body of yoga is the British Wheel of Yoga (BWY). I did my teacher training with the BWY, but there are many more yoga associations. It?s well worth spending some time researching some of them such as:
- British Wheel Of Yoga -bwy.org.uk
- Association for Yoga Studies - yogastudies.org
- Bikram Yoga ? bikramyoga.co.uk
- British Council for Yoga Therapy - bcyt.co.uk
- British School of Yoga (BSY Group)- bsygroup.co.uk
- Dru Yoga - druyoga.com
- Friends of Yoga Society (FRYOG) International - friendsofyoga.co.uk
- Independent Yoga Network - heartyoga.co.uk
- Integral Yoga - integralyogadorset.org
- Iyengar Yoga Association - iyengaryoga.org.uk
- Sun Power Yoga UK - sun-power-yoga.co.uk
- Sufi-Chi Yoga Association - sufichiyoga.org
- Yoga Alliance ? yogaalliance.org
- YogaBugs - yogabugs.com
- YOU & ME Yoga - youandmeyoga.com
Visit their websites and call up the ones that look promising and ask for more information.
Now you know your personal reasons for becoming a yoga teacher, that you?ve got what it takes to be one and where you want to train, it's time to think about the different ways to make money as a yoga teacher???
Tip 4 - Teaching a Yoga Class
You have a multitude of options for giving group yoga lessons.
Here are a few examples to get you started...
- Teach at a local school
- Teach at a university
- Teach at a local business
- Teach at a local hospital
- Teach at a community centre
- Teach at a hotel
- Teach at a day care centre
If I had to give one tip to get more students to your group classes it would be: Offer the first class for FREE.
Tip 5 - Giving One to One Yoga Sessions
When someone comes to you for one to one yoga, it's a great opportunity to take your teaching to the next level. For example, the first one to one session I did was with someone who was pregnant. I had done a bit of yoga for pregnancy in my BWY teacher training course and knew enough to get by, but faced with a looming one on one session, I swotted up on pregnancy for yoga. I read books. I researched online. I watched YouTube videos. I called the person who trained me. I called my mum (a yoga teacher). The total immersion in pregnancy yoga made me a better teacher. Since that first one to one session, I've given one to one sessions for people with sciatica, depression, MS, bad backs, etc.
Expect to receive around ?30 to ?45 for private yoga lessons.
Tip 6 - Corporate Yoga
Corporations know that healthier, happier employees are more productive and don't come down with imaginary flu 20 to 30 times a year. That's where your yoga lessons come in.
You have two options...
Option 1 - Call up the corporation and give their employees a special rate to your yoga class
Option 2 - Set up a class in one of their rooms. This is a great option as you won't have to pay for the venue and if it's a large business with lots of employees you won't have to worry about marketing the class.
Tip 7 ? Establish Your Yoga Niche
I highly recommend picking a yoga niche to focus on. It will increase your passion and your profits.
For example, I play professional golf and teach yoga. The obvious niche for me was to combine my love of yoga with golf. After teaching a normal yoga class for almost three years, I started to teach yoga at a golf academy. The perk of being an expert in a niche, is that you don?t have a lot of competition. Within the next 12 months, I?ll be creating a membership website and DVDs on yoga for golfers. That will create passive income that will go towards paying for my eco house/yoga studio.
The successful yoga teachers, the ones who make a full time living, all have a yoga niche and host one or more yoga retreats for that niche each year.
Here?s a list of 15 potential yoga retreat niches..?
- Alpine yoga adventure retreats
- Beach and yoga retreats
- Cooking and yoga retreats
- Corporate yoga retreats
- Eco skills and yoga retreats
- Horse riding and yoga retreats
- Red sea paradise yoga retreats
- Rock climbing and yoga retreats
- Scuba diving and yoga retreats
- Snow yoga retreats
- Yoga and Spanish course retreats
- Yoga cruise retreats
- Yoga and walking retreats
- Yoga retreats in Africa
- Yoga retreats in the Austrian mountains
Tip 8 - Yoga Weekends
Hosting a yoga weekend is by far the most profitable option for yoga teachers.
You have two options...
Option 1 - Host Your Own Retreat
You can make more in one weekend yoga retreat than a whole year of teaching group classes. Though don't rush into it. Give yourself a few years to mature as a yoga teacher before setting up your first yoga retreat.
Option 2 - Piggyback
Find businesses running retreats in your local area; call them up and ask if they've ever thought about adding yoga to their retreat. This way you get to 'piggyback' onto the retreat. That means you make pretty decent money without the worry and hassle of organising a retreat.
Tip 9 - Opening Your Own Yoga Studio
This isn't really an option until you've paid your dues and been a yoga teacher for several years. Earn your stripes before thinking about setting up your own Yoga Studio.
Tip 10 ? Multiple Streams of Yoga Teacher Income
Do you remember going to a sweet shop when you were young? You come to the pick ?n? mix section and get to choose your favourite sweets. Treat (forgive the pun) your yoga business like going into a sweet shop. Pick the career path options that you like the taste of.
Time for an example?
I teach group classes, give 1 to 1 sessions, host yoga weekend retreats, teach yoga at other retreats (ones that I don?t have to organise) and have recently started teaching yoga to juniors at golf academies.
The message is: don?t put all your eggs (yoga services) in one basket (e.g. yoga classes). Having several yoga teacher income streams is a wise strategy in case one or more of them dry up.
Hope that helps