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Financial Stress

Readers Respond: Stories of Career Change to Yoga Teacher

Responses: 16


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?

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.

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

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!

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

Not what you think it'll be

After spending about $4000 on training, I am now teaching part-time while maintaining a full-time job. I didn't think that teaching yoga would make me a millionaire, but on average I make about $75 a week teaching, which is I think a lot lower than most people think it'll be. (I teach 3-4 classes a week, not the 12 some others are teaching, but the problem is that the studio I work for just doesn't bring in big numbers of students.) The money aspect doesn't bother me, since I have a full-time job to support myself, but it is draining to work and teach, and the students I teach are often frustrating and infrequently rewarding. I know all this sounds super-negative, but there was a lot about teaching that I didn't expect when I received training, and I wanted to share it. I still love to teach, it's a wonderful experience, but it's not the end-all be-all that I thought it would be.
—Guest K

Teacher Training Transformation

I train yoga teachers. When I did my yoga training, I already knew I wanted to teach as a career. The training is a tool to transform your life and your world. Teaching yoga is icing on the cake. You want a meaningful life. To help many people feel good. You can support yourself financially teaching if you stick to it, develop yourself continually (never stop learning), evolve, become valuable. You will earn what you think you are worth. I started with teaching 12 classes a week and working part-time in a coffee shop. I spent a lot of money on training myself. I now own a yoga studio and have a licensed career school (RYS 200). If you can dream it, it is possible!

good start but slow

I quit working in airline after delivered my second child. I was jobless then while raising them til age 2. Then i was in a corporate world for 2 yrs...which i hated it. Too much of politics and gossip and also long working hour with low pay! I was a yoga practitioner before i while i was conceiving my child. Since then i just love practicing yoga! and always looking forward for my class. Then i decided to leave and resigned corporate world and took up yoga international courses for all levels. currently i am teaching part time while becoming a house wife. I only teach 5-6x a week and i am comfortable with my average income. Imagine that..with a full time house wife work and teaching the evening ...u barely spend most of yr time in work! it only take about 1-2 hrs of your time in teaching...i even planned one day..i will surely own a yoga center in order to expand my teaching with my fellows friends while earning full time income.
—Guest IVY

Why not?:-)

If one feels like changing career, becoming a yoga teacher is a very humanistic decision. I did it and I have not regeret it at all. Its really rewarding to see all these people feeling better and having their quality of life increased! When it comes to where a teacher can support herself/himself..well..it depends how good the teacher is. If people enjoy your classes, they will pay and if you count the private classes as well, it will make a pretty good living. I highly recommend opening a studio, relesing DVDs, brand products....and most importantly have faith in what you are doing. The rest will follow. Good luck!

Filled with possibilities

I left corporate life years ago to stay home with my kids. As they grew I was able to get a Yogafit 200 ryt. I now teach a few classes a week and look forward to the possibilities that this offers me. I have many of ideas for bringing yoga to different populations and am excited by the challenge. I won't make a lot of money with this career but will continue to learn and teach yoga for a long time.
—Guest Guest Nancy

Teaching for a Living

I became a Yoga Teacher 10 years ago. Yoga has boomed in that time so there are a lot of opportunities to teach a myriad of classes. For the first 6 years I taught part time while keeping a regular full time job. Now because of my husband's support I teach full time, 7-8 classes a week. I make between $50-$100 a class, depending on the size of the class. There is really no way you could support yourself on teaching alone...granted I'm 46 years old and 8 classes is certainly enough for me. If you are thinking of changing your career to be a full time yoga teacher really look at the reality that you get paid per class...how many classes a week do you really think you can teach? Perhaps owning and running your own studio is a goal. This also involves big start up costs and no guarantee of a large student base. I'm not trying to put anyone off becoming a teacher, but you must consider what you want your quality of life to be and how long you can realistically keep teaching. Namaste
—Guest Elaine


I am a high school PE and agriculture educator, and became dismayed at the focus of teaching to a test as mandated by no child left behind. I had not practiced yoga before, but was told it was a great way to de-stress. Well, I trained with YogaFit, and continue to branch out to all styles, and this is the second year of offering yoga to high school students as a PE elective, and this semester (fall, 2009) I practice with 5 classes, a total of 155 students. And, it makes a huge difference in their lives...as well as mine.
—Guest Ricky

Teacher Trained

I did my yoga teacher training after I was laid of from an office job that I hated. The timing was perfect. I taught for a bit after YTT, but ultimately moved on to other things. My training really deepened my practice though. That was five years ago and now I'd like to do another YTT, not to teach but just to explore more practices. YTT is amazing even if you don't want to teach.

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