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Readers Respond: Stories of Career Change to Yoga Teacher

Responses: 23

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Updated November 21, 2012

From the article: Yoga Teacher Training
Many yoga students who have practiced seriously for several years start to think about becoming yoga teachers, especially those who are dissatisfied with their current careers. Post here to share if you've done a yoga teacher training program in order to make a career change. How did it work out? Readers Respond

from corporate cube dweller to yoga

I completed my teacher training while having a full time career in the corporate world. I knew I wanted to teach more than full time eventually. I taught part time for a few years and then lost my full time job and jumped head first into teaching full time. I have been doing it for almost 2 years now and am able to pay my bills, and live my life the way I desire. Granted I am not driving a mercedes or living in a mansion, but I am quite happy and able to make ends meet. There have been times when I taught 23 classes a week to get myself established and earning enough money to pay my rent. Now 2 years into it I have found opportunity to teach better paying classes with less energy output. I also practice thai yoga massage to supplement my income, which keeps me in the realm of yoga and healing, but gives my voice a break from teaching. I am blissful and humbled to be able to do what I love. Follow your heart if yoga is what you love, find a way to make it your career.
—Guest yogasteph

Live up to your dream !!!

I worked in the corporate world for over 20 years, I got to Yoga as a way of reducing my stress but with regular practice my life started to change for good. With the intention to deepen my personal practice I took my first TT in Hatha, a few months later I realized that I wanted to share this beautiful practice with more people, that's when I became really serious about teaching, quit my formal job and started to teach while doing some consulting work for a few years while doing some additional training here and there and after five years I'm finally seeing the fruits of my effort. I opened a small Yoga shala in my home (for about 12 people) teach an average of 12 classes per week , a few of them off-premises still but I pay my bills and I am doing what I love, my students are reflecting the benefits of Yoga in their lives and I'm happy as I can be. It is not easy to make the change, it needs a lot of courage, a lot faith in yourself.
—parroyoga

Great Topic!

I began practicing yoga three years ago. Following the inclusion of Yoga in my life, I left a fiffteen year marriage and began seeing a counselor to work and process through the grief of losing both of my parents (which I have carried for many years). Yoga was life changing and I thought I wanted to share it with the world (still do on some level). I began teacher training and became a Yoga teacher. How Yoga Continues to Change My Life.. I work in corporate america and have been unhappy for many years (my company is great - just cannot seem to find passion in my work). In January of 2010, I will return to school full-time as a middle age divorcee (who is proud of her life and all the gifts of love and loss) to pursue a career which brings me happiness. I am hopeful that Yoga will be an avenue to support this new journey of life for me. It is amazing to be on the other side of the mat and to watch students come alive and come into their bodies.
—Guest Brandi

Think twice!

I went through yoga teacher training, because I wanted a different career (have worked in offices my entire adult life). The teacher training was fantastic. The problem is ... money. You do not make much money as a yoga teacher (especially as a beginning/new teacher). ALSO you are expected to take many extra trainings, which are marvelous, but they COST ALOT !!! One weekend can cost hundreds of dollars. I love teaching, but can't afford the trainings, especially in this economy.
—Guest Laurie

Inspiration and ideas!

I went through my YTT after I had my second child. My former career was in sales, and I just didn't want to travel anymore. I am so grateful to have become an RYT, and have found many opportunities to teach. I am currently teaching in a gym, a studio, I started my own gig @ a church, and I (independently) teach employees in an insurance company. All of these classes are teaching me as much as I'm teaching the students. I've learned how much I can earn from my own classes, and from teaching for someone else. I do believe you need to be a self starter and promoter to make money. I love everything about teaching, and I hope to continue as my kids get older.
—Guest HMF

Easy to earn good $$ teaching yoga

Earning money as a teacher is easy. The problem with those whining about not be able to make a living teaching yoga, is that they have the worker bee mentality. Many of them left 9 to 5 jobs working for someone else, only to do what? Work for someone else again? Hello people, you will never achieve success like that! Start your OWN yoga practice so that YOU, not someone else, will reap the rewards of your hard work.
—Guest Brenda

Chose the right training and start small

I think it is important to chose the right training. I think it should not cost you too much time an money initially but give you a good base to start. From there, of course you have to keep learning and growing. I did my yoga teacher training in India at the Arhanta Yoga Ashram (RYS 200) and it was a life changing experience. They have taught me everything I needed to know to start teaching. They also taught me how to set up my business and they have always been there for me for post course support. I now make a good living, just teaching 10 classes a week. The Yoga Teacher Training at Arhanta Yoga has set me free and given my life a new perspective!
—Guest Andrea

It Takes Focus

For years I thought I was doing myself a favor by maintaining another line of work and doing that half time (or more) so I could earn enough money. I was wrong. Spreading myself between careers means I don't have enough of what it takes to be successful in either one! When I look around at my yoga teacher colleagues who are full-time, I see that their 100% dedication to the path is what has allowed them to make it a reality. Spread yourself too thin & you'll succeed at nothing. So now I'm leaping back to full-time yoga teaching with my first teacher's words ringing in my ears, fresh as if they were spoken yesterday: "My life improved dramatically when I decided to focus on just one thing."
—Guest Karen

Balance - Experience is the KEY!

Having completed my teachers training courses, I plunged straight into teaching yoga full time within a year. It's tough in the beginning when you need to establish your network of contacts for classes. And the question of money was an issue for me for about the 6 years when I was teaching full time. I stopped teaching full time for another 6 years and decided to go back again this year FULL TIME. Reason is simple, the 6 years when I was not teaching full time was not just a life half lived but the pay is great with what I know best. I thought I will never go back again for full time teaching because I am not happy with the pay I was getting. Eventually, it came to this year that many opportunities came along as I am offered 5 contracts to teach full time with a decent pay and benefits as a yoga teacher. The secret to being well paid and sought after is a balance of knowing what you truly want. Experience is very important, so do not jump and think carefully what you really want :)
—Guest Celine

the energy of teaching

I did my teacher training 7 years ago and really had in my mind I wanted to teach hard to reach communities. I got a phone call one day asking to teach 5 classes a week for these communities-amazing work and well paid. I then got work at the local university and several other jobs. Not once did I have to struggle for work or money . The more I practiced the more work I got. M business is still growing and flourishing. If I do have a quiet spell the forces are telling me I need to practice more and study. I believe that all my work is because of the good energy and intent I put into my teaching and students-thats why Im successful both materially and spiritually.
—Guest sagar

Making the Transition

I did my yoga teacher training about 7 months ago. I began teaching right away, hoping to transition from the field I was in, to a career that I felt aligned better with my beliefs and values. Starting out teaching was really rough. I began teaching at a couple studios where I was paid $4/ student. Sometimes only one or two students showed up if any. I stayed with it, teaching 1-3 classes a week and putting a lot of time into planning. It's 7 months later, and now I have earned a big pay increase; about $20-30/class. I have a full-time job and I'm hoping to drop to part-time and increase the number of yoga classes I teach in about a year. Teachers I know who are full-time yoga teachers believe that you need multiple sources of income including private classes, workshops, retreats, and/or teacher trainings.
—Guest Laura

Not for money!

I don't think it's a good idea to ltrain as a yoga teacher to make big money...especially if you are leaving a well paid job,all career changes involve risk and I think being a yoga teacher you need to be in it for more than money. Yoga is a deep spiritual art form and the best yoga teachers incorporate the spiritual, emotional and physical aspects of yoga, it's easy to know the teachers as they are well practiced with often smaller classes providing lots of individual attention. I am planning to become a teacher and do my training part time while working full time then slowly increase the yoga teaching and decrease the full-time hours...be sensible and realistic in your approach if you have the money to back it up go for it big time but learning and growing slowly can be equally rewarding
—Guest Bree

Opened a Studio

I practiced yoga for many years as I built up my technical career and earned lots of money. As I became more and more unhappy in that career (management change and loss of interest in the work), I started spending that money on yoga teacher trainings and retreats. I began teaching on the side and really loved it. When I was laid off from that job, there was no way I could force myself to go out and look for a similar job so I cashed out a decent chunk of my retirement funds and opened a yoga studio. It's scary to decide not to get a job and to spend the savings I put away when I had one, but, as my brother pointed out, I just traded one investment vehicle for another and investing in one's self is the best bet right now with the economy and real estate in shambles. I've been open 6 weeks now and it has been the most fun ever! My studio is called Escape to Yoga and there is no where else I want to spend my days. I can only trust that the money will follow. Wish me luck!
—Guest Escape to Yoga

Yup, love it

I did it, and it opened up so many doors. I'm not currently teaching, but I taught full and part time for a few years, and loved the experience. I love having that option, to go back to teaching if I want at some point later. However, I didn't do it for the money - I did it for the experience - and for that reason, it's been worth every penny. Would I do it if I needed it to support myself? Not sure. When I did my training, I didn't even think I really wanted to be a teacher!
—TofuKris

many years teaching

I have been teaching yoga since 2001 as a professional, before that I taught my friends. In 2003, I became a Yoga Alliance R.Y.T. Since then I have taught over 3500 hrs of classes. I taught at a Community College for 10 yrs, making between $45 to $65 a class. I have taught at health clubs long term, yoga studios, and the college. $20 to $35 a class is average pay in the South. Working for yourself you can make more as a "yoga on the go" instructor with little risk and cost. I now run a small yoga teacher training program and serve as "yoga coordinator" at a national facility for health and wellness, making $100 a week scheduling classes and finding subs for classes as well as maintaining the quality of the program, overseeing 11 classes a week and 13 teachers total, subs and regulars. Pay increases with experience. You must be willing to be an entrepreneur in this field if you want to make a living. Think outside the box. I make between $7K and $24K a yr.
—Guest courtney

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