Teaching yoga is a great way to share a mutually loved passion with others who are curious about yoga, intermediate students, or lifetime devoted yogis. There are many different ways to become a certified yoga teacher and many different opinions on what “qualifies” a person to teach this ancient practice. In this article, we’ll take a deeper look at the most common type of teacher training, the ethics of yoga for business, and some of the different career paths for a yoga teacher.
Becoming Qualified or finding the Right Teacher Training for You.
We start with teacher trainings. For aspiring yoga teachers in the western part of the world, The Yoga Alliance is a credential that can be earned by attending and completing a teaching training course consisting of 200 – 500 hours. There are many trainings happening around the world and year-round. Typically, a 200 RYT (registered yoga teacher) training can last anywhere from 1-6 months, depending on the number of hours of practice and training per day. Many of these 200 hour teacher trainings happen in exotic locations, such as Costa Rica or Bali and can be a great opportunity not only to learn to teach yoga, but also to disconnect from daily stressors and blocks and come together with a new group of people to grow and learn. Of course there are also amazing yoga teacher trainings in yoga’s home country of India, which also vary from the Yoga Alliance 200-500 hour to full-on yoga universities and institutes.
There are three main things you should consider when choosing the right yoga teacher training for you. First, what style of yoga are you most comfortable with? There are many styles and techniques of yoga and choosing the one that you would feel comfortable teaching is most important. Secondly, know the qualifications of your teacher. Do the research to find out where he or she was trained and how many trainings they have under their belt. What is their personal yoga style and teaching style? Keep in mind that you will be spending many hours per day with this person for the duration of your training, so studying under the right person is definitely important. Lastly, consider price and destination. If you thrive well in exotic locations with creative inspiration stemming from sea view and access to wildlife, for example, a teacher training in Costa Rica or Bali might be a great fit for you! If time or work get in the way, look for a training that will happen in your home city that might be spaced out over a longer period of time so that you can spend just a few hours per day focusing on your practice.
Yoga & Money: The Ethics of Teaching Yoga
Yoga is a spiritual practice for many, and it may seem awkward at first finding a balance between yoga as a spiritual outlet and yoga as a business. However, everyone needs to earn an honest living and teaching yoga can be a great way to continue sharpening your own skills while offering the gift of practice to others through a business realm.
Once you have completed your yoga teacher training, you’ll be required to teach a certain amount of hours before moving into your own yoga teaching business. This can easily be done by contacting different yoga studios in your area and offering an “energy exchange” or a “work/trade” system, where you teach classes in exchange for the opportunity to practice for free in the studio. This gives you the opportunity to continue learning from other teachers who may have more experience and also gives you the experience to speak and move in front of a group setting, which is vital to being a successful yoga teacher. In this space, you can experiment with different sequences, music, mantras, chanting, and most importantly – you can find your own style of yoga teaching and mold that into your personal yoga business.
Once you have completed a few months of teaching under the supervision or guidance of others, you can start thinking about how you’d like to incorporate your training into a business. For most, this can be finding a few recurring classes to teach at different studios or taking a residency at one studio where you will be teaching 2-3 classes per day. Your rates will be negotiated between you and the studio owner and its most important to find a balance between earning enough money to live and still practicing seva (selfless devotional work) for your community. Perhaps teaching a free community class once a week could do the trick, or offering occasional discounts on workshops or trainings so that people who couldn’t otherwise afford them can still attend. That being said, make sure that you are earning enough to support yourself, or you could become resentful and not get enough personal satisfaction out of teaching yoga as a profession. Most importantly, always continue learning from those around you and the experiences that you encounter.
Out of the Studio: Yoga Teaching for Modern Nomads
Once you have worked a little in the traditional yoga business of yoga studios and private classes, you’ll begin to see that teaching yoga can be done anywhere. As yoga is an international practice and a growing interest in many cultures around the world, there are many opportunities for yoga teachers near and far. If wanderlust is something that you suffer from, you might consider checking out websites and facebook groups to find yoga teacher opportunities in the yoga retreat sector.
Yoga retreats – holidays that are based on daily yoga practice – are a great way to escape the stress of daily life and really come back to center with the mind, body, and soul. Especially for Westerners, yoga retreats are a fast-growing part of the yoga business and retreats can literally be found anywhere and anytime around the world. Many of these retreats are ongoing and the organizers look to find yoga teachers who can work seasonally, which can mean working 3-4 months on a weekly basis and then taking 3-4 months off. If you are organized and communicative, you could possibly set up many retreat opportunities per year and move from place to place, thus living the life of a modern yogi nomad, which will also give you the chance to see much of the world, explore new cultures, and make friends from different countries. Important things to consider for this type of yoga business are: having a valid passport and checking visa qualifications for the countries you may work in, negotiating payment before arrival, and organizing your time so that you aren’t without work for too long.
Being a traveling yoga teacher has its benefits, but as with any job, it has its downsides as well. Constant travel can get tiring and sometimes not having “roots” in one location can be stressful, so make sure that you manage yourself in a way that you can stay rooted even while on the move and make time for yourself to disconnect, restore, and keep your practice close to your heart. By keeping balance, this type of lifestyle can be a perfect fit for the yogi with a curious spirit!
Upcoming Teacher Trainings
For those of you who are interested in upcoming teacher trainings, we recommend Alchemy of Yoga School in Bali! With more than 2 RYT teacher trainings happening this year, there is no better time than now to get your name on the list for the training that inspires you.