How Much Does a Yoga Instructor Make? Well, that depends. Here’s why;
So, you want to jump on the multi-million dollar bandwagon that is the yoga industry and you want to make a living doing it too?
Well, let’s get one thing straight first; yoga is a business and a competitive one for that matter. I mentioned before in Yoga Is a Lie that “Studios are unfortunately not in the business of teaching yoga, they are in the business of teaching what’s popular and driving revenue.” And what drives revenue? Teaching the masses to teach yoga.
Everyone and their mother is now a “certified yoga teacher,” making the industry diluted of knowledgeable and qualified instructors, while flooding it with newbies hungry to make a dollar. I’m not trying to discourage anyone from becoming a yoga teacher, I was once wet behind my ears and willing to take any yoga class at below market rate too.
What I am trying to point out is that teaching yoga is competitive and you better be ready to differentiate yourself if you want to make money. You also better realize that karma isn’t going to pay your bills anytime soon.
Over the past six years of teaching yoga, I’ve scratched and clawed my way to learning the art and science of becoming a successful teacher. I’ve learned a thing or two about staying true to what I want to teach and offer my students, while also creating enough income to live well and take care of myself in return. Here’s the five questions to ask yourself if you are interested in doing the same in your wellness career.
How Much Does a Yoga Instructor Make?
1) What style of yoga do you teach?
As a new teacher this question can be quite tough, as you will most likely teach in a way that’s similar to your teacher rather than in your own way (at least at first). There is a tendency to parrot your teachers because they are more established in what and how they teach- I notice this every time I go to a class of a Rusty Wells’ student. Rusty has a unique and engaging personality and teaching style (which is why students are attracted to him) and as a result most of his students try to teach just like him.
If I wanted to take Rusty’s class, I would go and take his class and not be at yours. So ask yourself; who you are and what do you teach?
It’s perfectly normal and natural to draw from your teachers, but make sure you are clear on the style you teach and what you offer, also be clear on what makes you unique. I’m a blend of multiple teachers and have combined much of what they have taught me into a style that is uniquely me; powerful, mindful and focused on stress relief.
Some people love my classes, others come once and never come again, I’m not attached either way. The students who benefit from my classes and style will continue to come until they no longer benefit, the ones who don’t benefit from me will benefit from another teacher.
Define your style. It will relieve a lot of pressure as a result.
2) What is the theme and tone of your brand?
Define the underlying message and theme of what you want to represent to the yoga world and to your students.
Defining what you are all about gives your students consistency and helps them identify why they would benefit from learning from you. Your theme and tone also tells possible clients and studios what makes you unique and why they would want to pay you for your services.
Your theme should be uniquely you and be very clear.
I follow Manflowyoga simply because the guy is the best out there at offering yoga to men. I don’t especially resonate with what he teaches, but he is clear on who he is, who is brand is for and what he wants to accomplish. As a result, he’s created one of the largest yoga brands for men in the process.
It’s not rocket science, but it takes time to figure out what theme is right for you.
3) Who is your ideal student?
If you answered “everyone is my ideal student” try again.
You are not for everyone and everyone is not for you, period.
Your ideal (I’m using this word to paint a picture, use a different word if it works better for you) student is looking for you already, all you have to do is realize what they are looking for and how you want to teach in return. Let me share my experience on this;
I originally thought my ideal students were athletic males, just like myself. Wrong. I then thought they were people interested in yoga and weight lifting. Wrong again.
Ask yourself what five characteristics your ideal students share, then start looking for them.They are out there, I promise.
Here’s the similar characteristics my “ideal” students tend to share:
- Working female professionals age 25-50
- Mid-level management and up
- Perfectionists with high stress levels
- Their external lives look great, but internally they want more
- Ready to change and put in the hard work to do so and are giving people
4) What services do you offer?
If you only offer public yoga classes, I’d suggest getting an additional side job too. Only teaching public yoga can be a great way to burn yourself out and make a low income in the process.
New teachers only make $25-40 per class, which means you’d have to teach a minimum of 30 classes a week to make a modest salary of 5,000 a month. No thank you.
What else can you offer to differentiate yourself and charge a higher rate? Private classes, workshops, small groups, retreats and on-line programs are all great options to expand your reach and income.
I personally employ a mix of public and private yoga, small group training and stress coaching to balance out my schedule. Being diverse and well-rounded allows me to charge a competitive rate while offering lots of value to my clients at the same time- that feels good.
Diversify, Specialize and Master your trade to stand out from the crowd so you can increase your income without burning yourself out.
It’s important to take care of yourself both physically and financially as a teacher so as not to find yourself back in the rat race you were trying to escape from in the first place.
5) How much do you want to make and how many hours do you want to work?
Here’s a simple formula to figure out the hourly rate you need to charge to hit your income needs/goals;
Let’s say you want to make $100,000 per year and work no more than 25 hours a week (in-person), this doesn’t include back-end administration work, marketing, blogging, meetings, travel time etc…
$100,000/ 12 (months) = $8,333 per month
$8,333/ 4 (weeks) = $2,083 per week
$2,083/ 25 (desired hours) = $83 per hour
So, to hit your goal of $100,000 per year and to work 25 hours a week, you would need to make an average of about $85 per hour. You can do that.
Now that you know the style of yoga you teach, the theme and tone of your brand, the ideal students already looking for you and the varied services you offer, it actually isn’t too hard to book 25 hours a week at $85 per hour.
As you become more clear on these points, the easier it will be to locate your ideal clients and studios and for them to find you.
This is how you can “Do well and do good”.
You don’t need 100’s of clients or classes, in fact you only need 10-20 great ones to get the job done.
Know yourself, stay true to who you are and what you want to teach, work like hell and become the best teacher you can be. Your students are already looking for you, sometimes it’s just that you aren’t able to see who you or who they are yet.
Are you a yoga teacher, wellness provider or personal trainer feeling stuck and struggling to define and answer the five questions I’ve listed above? Contact us about our Wellness Pro Coaching program to start doing well and good!
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Nick Palladino-King teaches students and clients how to reduce stress, to increase happiness and to elevate health through yoga, wellness coaching and strength training.