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How to Make Money as a Yoga Teacher .How to make money as a yoga teacher is a completely different topic than practicing yoga. You probably love doing Yoga so you start teaching it. Now you are doing what you love, right? Not exactly. You love doing yoga, but maybe you won't love everything that comes around teaching yoga.

Painting is one thing, being a painter is another. Enjoying cooking is a hobby, being a chef is a profession. Practicing Yoga is not the same as teaching it. How do you go from passion to profession and from profession to profit?

1. A New Yoga Teacher's Guide to Financial Sustainability

Money tends to be taboo in the Yoga world. Some teachers show up in the studio with designer bags. Others, based on the state of their feet, can barely afford a pedicure, let alone a designer’s bag.

Jokes aside, money isn’t everything, until you don’t have it. Since Yoga is a spiritual practice, breaching conversations about money is even more awkward than it already is. But let’s dive in…

2. Aligning Yogic Philosophy and Financial Sustainability

“Money isn’t the currency for Yoga teachers”. 

This was a response I got when I asked for an increase in my ‘per class rate’ in the studio where I teach. Ironically (or not), the response was given by a studio owner who, in my opinion, grossly underpaid yoga teachers. 

The yoga business and yogic philosophy are in conflict, and yogi entrepreneurs sometimes even abuse them. Yoga teachings are rooted in ancient philosophies. These philosophies call for non-attachment to material wealth, which urges practitioners to let go of greed and attachment to possessions.

A different teaching talks about contentment. Concepts like these two, however, in the contemporary yoga industry, can sometimes be manipulated to justify the underpayment of yoga teachers.

The question arises: How much is truly enough? While pondering the essentials versus luxuries is indeed valuable, it should not serve as a pretext for exploiting yoga instructors financially. Striking a balance between honoring these yogic principles and ensuring fair payment to yoga teachers is essential. 

So how much is enough for you? Define what success looks like for you.

Have a clear income target in your mind! How much do you want to make as a yoga teacher? And then, work backward from there. With a clear plan in place, you can reverse engineer your path to success. 

For example, for our school success means having 15 students signed up for our yoga courses 4-3 months in advance. This gives us security, predictability, we know that we have enough money to cover the teachers's salary, their flights, and all other costs involved.  We also stress a lot, lol. If more students sign up in the 2 last months, that would be great. If not, it’s already a success. 

Want to deepen your practice, skills and learn more about the business of yoga? Join us in Greece for an advanced 300hr YTT course in Vinyasa and Yin Yoga.

How to Make Money as a Yoga Teacher

3. Factors to consider when determining your “yoga worth” as a yoga teacher

Money discussions in yoga can be uncomfortable, but it's crucial to value your expertise before you start teaching. Earning money teaching Yoga, especially if it is your main (or only) source of income, can be hard. However, it can be very fulfillingHere is what you need to consider on how to make money as a yoga teacher: 

3.1 What was your investment in becoming a yoga teacher?

To transform Yoga from a hobby to an occupation comes at a price. Becoming a Yoga teacher doesn’t come for free. The Yoga training itself costs between 2,000€ and 5,000€. Add the flights, insurance, and other travel-related costs. What's more, an immersive Yoga Training can last between 21 and 28 days!

Check out our 2-week hybrid yoga course. 

This means up to one month of not working your usual job. It would be very difficult (if not impossible) to attend this type of training AND continue working. 

I won’t do the math for you since each situation is unique, but it is a significant amount of money. This investment needs to be repaid. Therefore, keep this in mind when setting your rates as a yoga instructor. To summarize, make sure you choose a Yoga Alliance course so that you can nail a job in any studio. 

3.2 Words of wisdom! Never be the cheapest yoga teacher

Chances are someone is cheaper than you and there is nothing worse than being the second cheapest. If you entice students with low prices it will be very hard to increase them. They will begin to associate you with that price, they will tell everyone how cheap you are and you will be known for your cheap prices. 

Time is Money

Do not offer ‘trial sessions’ since your time is valuable. Consider offering a free or donation-based group class once a week. Somewhere public and ideally, free to use. This is a great way to build both a community and your teaching hours. Students who enquire about a “trial” class or a “free first session” can be directed to this. 

Be Straight Forward

When you are just starting to teach yoga, you can teach your friends for free for a certain amount of time. Tell this to your students/friends from the beginning so that they know that these classes won’t be free forever. You can say something along the lines of: I will give you yoga classes for one month in return for your feedback. If you want to continue with me after this month is over, we can figure something out that is financially suitable and fair for both of us. 

If you don’t say this from the beginning, it will be a bit unexpected and maybe awkward. And remember, even if your friends won’t continue with you, they have friends who will be willing to do so. Your mother might have a colleague, a best friend, a boss who will. This is how you slowly start to make money as a yoga teacher. From friends of friends, from relatives of friends, from word of mouth. 

More tips on how to start making money as a yoga teacher in our 200hr YTT. 

How to Make Money as a Yoga Teacher

4. Make them a deal they can't refuse

Rich people love saving money, even a seemingly insignificant amount. How do you think they get so rich? 

It was actually one of my (wealthy) private students who proposed a 10-class package at a 10% discount. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Now I use it all the time. Just make sure that this 10-class pass is limited to a certain amount of time. (for example, it’s valid for 2 months) 

Packages are paid in advance. The nice thing is that, being paid upfront, no one has to chase up money. Simply just keep a record of how many classes of the package have been used. 

When a student has one or two classes left from the package I usually send the following message: “Hey (insert name). Just to let you know that your package is almost up. I would love to continue working together but no pressure of course. I will reserve your slot”. 

5. Focus on repeat customers

Better students make better teachers. Better clients make businesses better. 

Society tells us we should constantly be on the hunt for new business, always alert with our elevator pitch on the tip of our tongue. Another way to make money as a yoga teacher is to focus on already existing clients.

The majority of a Yoga teacher’s income comes from repeat customers. Student retention is more lucrative than acquiring new customers. Appealing to new customers usually means more time and money spent advertising and promoting. 

Better students don’t mean more advanced. It means more committed. The type of students who show up rain or shine. The ones who tell their friends about you. The ones who send a payment for a package of 10 classes in one go. The one who is willing to pay you, often in advance, to secure your time. 

But focussing on student retention doesn’t involve any extra money or (a significant amount of) time. It just requires you to do what you are already doing, but better. There is no better marketing than the recommendation of a trusted friend. Better still, it costs nothing and can earn you a lot.

5.1 Practical ways to focus on repeat customers and make money as a yoga teacher

  • The deal we mentioned earlier, with a 10-class pack is a great way to do that. 
  • Addressing the specific needs of your clients is another way to do this. It will show them that you value their journey and you focus on them. If you know a student of yours has lower back pain, while you are teaching them Extended Triangle pose, you may say: This is a great posture for lower back pain, super beneficial for strengthening those muscles…They will heat that and they will love it. And come back for more because they know you take care of them… 
  • Maintain regular communication with them. Get their emails, we can’t stress how important this is. Keep them informed of new classes, offers, and events. 
  • Create a sense of community, learn their names, and their kids’ names. They will feel the connection and want to keep up the practice with you. 
  • Seek their feedback and improve.
  • Reflect on your classes and think what you did well and what you could do better next time. 
how to make money as yoga teacher

6. A mistake to avoid when trying to make money as a yoga teacher.

$50 an hour, is not bad, right?

We teach a class, usually 60-75 minutes, and earn, say, $50. Since the class was an hour and we earned $50 we tell ourselves we get paid $50 an hour. It's much better than my first job washing dishes where I got $4 an hour, right? 

Most Yoga teachers I know teach one to four classes a day. Since most Yoga teachers only get paid for the time they spend on the mat that is $50 (class rate) x 4 (daily classes), $200 in one day. But a working day is from 9:00 am till 5:00 pm, 8 hours total. 

So take your $200 and divide it by 8 (hours in the working day) and that is $25 per hour. 

The class rate doesn’t take into consideration travel time, costs of it, or a paid lunch break. Furthermore, it doesn’t include the time spent preparing for classes, speaking with existing students, or responding to inquiries from potential ones.

Say goodbye to sick pay, annual leave, and, in most instances, health insurance. It's starting to sound less glamorous already, right? Suddenly the 09:00 to 5:00 is starting to sound more tempting.

But fear not! Yoga teachers did not invent working freelance. Teaching Yoga, to an extent, allows you to manage your time, choose your rates, and set your own schedule. And being a freelance yoga teacher is the best way you can make money as a yoga teacher. 

7. Got talent?

Are you a human of many (or at least two) talents? Perhaps you also give Thai massages, Reiki, or nutritional advice? If so, consider combining yoga with these holistic offerings. People who do yoga, are also interested in other stuff that go well with yoga. 

Keep in mind that if you want to offer massages, next to the yoga classes, it could get very physically demanding on you. While offering Ayurveda advice is not physically demanding. So make sure to combine physical activity with non-physical activity.

8. Conclusion

As practitioners and instructors, we find ourselves fighting with the age-old principles of non-attachment and contentment while also facing the reality of financial stability. However, amidst these challenges, there lies an opportunity for introspection and conscious decision-making. 

We must recognize that to make money as a yoga teacher, it's essential to avoid undervaluing ourselves by setting low rates. We must also be mindful not to exploit others by overcharging.

Ultimately, as yoga teachers, we have the power to shape our destinies by leveraging our talents, managing our time effectively, and making informed decisions that align with our values. 

Want to read more? Here is another helpful article on how to make passive income as a yoga instructor


9 Important Things to Know Before Choosing the right Yoga Teacher Training Course ...(Point 4 will surprise you).

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