Is your yoga teacher making ends meet or meeting the end?
Making money in today’s economy is rough, especially in the Midwest, especially in Lansing.
It almost doesn’t matter what your job is. Getting a fair wage for good, honest work is hard.
Yoga is no exception, in fact it might be harder.
As a donation-based yoga studio I certainly chose to embrace a fluctuating flow of revenue and thus an inconsistent and unpredictable payday. I wanted to eliminate finances as a barrier to practice but bills want no barriers to getting paid.
Money can make anything messy. But in the end of the day, even yogis need to eat.
Just B Yoga instructors are paid 60 percent of the revenue from their classes.
I think that feels fair for their training and insurance and commitment to showing up on time, giving students their care and attention.
But many yoga teachers across the country don’t even make that much at full-pay yoga studios that charge upwards of $15-$20 for a drop-in. Some teachers make nothing, teaching as a parti f their training requirements for free or in exchange for taking yoga classes. Some make a flat rate. Many yoga teachers are independent contractors or at the very least part-time employees.
This recent article, “Yoga teachers: Overstretched and underpaid,” highlights how much yoga teachers are struggling to make ends meet.
Most of the people I know how have become yoga instructors do so out of a passion for the practice and a desire to help others feel and find the same thing healing and healthiness they have. I know several folks in the Lansing area stringing together 5-10 yoga gigs to pull in enough income to cover their bills. Others work several jobs while teaching or hold a full-time job and teach on the side. Their duties range from cleaning, to marketing, to computer and IT work, along with teaching a class.
Passion only pays so much.
This comes after they’ve spent at least $1,800 and some $10,000 for their teacher training, possibly incurring a lot of debt.
As yoga grows as an industry, so do yoga teacher training programs.
“The growth is expected to continue over the next several years, but it’s unclear whether it can keep up with the proliferation of new teachers. A large teacher training school may “turn out graduates via intensive programs at a rate of 30-50 every three months,” according to Frick. In order to scrape together a full-time income, those teachers must then pick up gigs at a range of studios and venues in their home cities.”
So, yoga students, think about it the next time you’re at your favorite yoga studio. How much does your teacher make? Ask them.
Suggest a tip jar for the teachers so you can drop a little bit more their way.
If you’re a donation-based studio, pay a little more than the suggested rate.
And if you’re a new yoga teacher or in training, know that it will take lots of practice to establish enough of a client-base to support yourself exclusively with yoga. That doesn’t mean to give up. It means have patience. Develop your teaching style and voice and expertise. Scrutinize your payment arrangement at the studio you chose to work with and negotiate your terms. Don’t just accept what’s offered. You and your teaching needs to be respected and fairly compensated. It’s not just about feeling honored to work at a certain, possibly prestigious, studio. The work arrangement should be mutually respectful – for you, the owners and the students.