Last updated on November 28th, 2023.
Believe it or not, being a yoga teacher can be stressful. You’ll have to work a non-typical schedule and you may be driving from place to place to teach class. Plus, if you teach online, you have to worry about your Internet connection suddenly dropping in the middle of a class you’re teaching. There’s nothing worse than having a virtual class full of students balancing on one leg and the screen freezes!
As a yoga teacher, you also have to be flexible, not just in a yoga sense, but in the sense that you need to be able to switch up your plans with very little warning! You may have planned a vigorous Ashtanga class but then notice that your usually energetic students seem to be tired, so you teach a gentler class instead. Or, a student may come in with soreness and won’t be able to do the same poses as the rest of the class. So, not only will you be teaching your regular class, you’ll have to modify poses for that one student, meaning you’ll be relaying two sets of instructions during the same class. Thinking on your feet like that can be demanding.
There are many other types of stressors you may experience as a yoga teacher. You’ve got to work very hard to grow your business. You’ve got to make sure your students stay safe when you are instructing them. You have to know what to do if a student injures themselves in class. And, you have to take care of yourself. Teaching yoga means that you are giving of yourself all the time. That can be draining and dangerous. You must also make some time for self-care because if you aren’t taking care of yourself, you will have a tough time taking care of others.
10 tips on how to survive as a Yoga Instructor
Yoga teaching is a heart-opening profession. So many people will come to you wanting to change their lives. They’ll look upon you to guide them, not just in yoga poses, but in teaching them more about yoga philosophy, meditation and ancient medicine. Your students will trust you to keep them safe in class and to offer them alternatives and adjustments to poses. And, they’ll need to be confident that you won’t direct them to do anything that could be painful to them.
To help you remain a confident and mindful yoga teacher, we’ve researched ways that you bolster your yoga-teaching know-how. We’ve listed 10 tips on how to survive as a yoga teacher, and our top tip is to Remember why you became a yoga teacher in the first place. You chose this profession for a reason and we urge that you hold onto those reasons when you’re feeling stressed or anxious.
Besides yoga survival tips, we’re also giving you a rundown on what the daily life of a yoga teacher looks like. No matter what your business looks like, whether it’s online or in person, you’ll generally be busy, and you’ll need to adapt to a non-traditional schedule. By giving you a peek into the life of a yoga teacher, you’ll know what to expect and you won’t be surprised when something goes a bit off-kilter. So read on; we’ve got some great information below for you!
1) Remember why you became a yoga teacher in the first place
The best tip about how to survive as a yoga instructor is to never forget why you started in the first place. Don’t get so caught up in running your business, booking clients, and teaching your classes that you ignore why you originally became a yoga teacher. You may have wanted to inspire people to improve their health, you may have been inspired to help people decrease their anxiety, or perhaps, you may have wanted to impart ancient, yet valuable yogic philosophy to people. Whatever the reason, hold onto it. Carry it with you and remind yourself about your reasons for teaching yoga every time you walk into that yoga space. If you let go of the reasons that drove you to go through all that hard work to become a yoga teacher, you won’t be as effective a yoga teacher as you could be. Your students will know that your heart isn’t in it.
2) Go for start-up training
You may have just finished your teacher training and your brain is full of all of things you learned that you want to pass on to your students. But, what do you know about starting a business? Or keeping that business running successfully? Whether you’re planning to teach private clients or planning to open a yoga studio, it’s imperative that you learning all that you can about creating a start-up and managing it correctly, so that you will be able to make a living.
3) Carve out time for your own practice
Don’t forget why you started practicing yoga in the first place. Perhaps it lowered the stress in your life, maybe you began sleeping better after you started, or maybe your body just began to feel better. Remembering not to neglect your own yoga practice is one of the best, and healthiest, things you can do for yourself. Your practice will allow you to be mindful and will allow you to remain in touch with your body.
4) Know your class inside and out
Make sure you have your class memorized, especially when you first start teaching. There’s nothing worse than guiding your students through a sequence of poses and, then, in the middle, forget what the next pose is supposed to be. The key to knowing your sequences is to practice them. Practice the entire sequence you will be teaching, from beginning to end. It’s a good idea, also, to time it, so that you won’t go over or under the time period allotted.
Knowing how to adjust poses for each individual is also a great plus for a yoga teacher! Taking a Yoga Adjustment Workshop Online, can help you learn further in how to adjust to your student’s physical or personal needs.
5) Remember that Child’s Pose is always an option
Just like yoga students are invited to move into Child’s Pose anytime during their practice if they need a rest or something is too difficult for them, so too you can guide your students down into Child’s Pose if you’ve forgotten your sequencing or you realize that, perhaps, the class is too tough or not tough enough. Allowing students to get into Child’s Pose will give you a few moments to regroup, come up with some on-the-spot alterations, and then successfully carry on with the class.
6) Keep studying and learning
Even though you’ve finished your yoga teacher training, there is still so much for you to learn. So take extension courses, go on yoga retreats (with so many retreats now in the US or retreats in Bali) and keep learning. Lifelong learning will be rewarding, not only for you, but for the students who you will pass your new-found knowledge and expertise to.
And, if you’re stuck at home there are some awesome yoga books for beginners as well as more advanced students just waiting for you to soak up the knowledge within!
7) Avoid focusing on money
If you are spending too much time worrying about money, you won’t be able to calmly teach your students. They will sense the anxiety you are feeling. Try to have a financial plan in place before you start teaching. Know how many classes you need to teach per week to put food on the table. Are there other sources of income you can pursue when times are tough, such as a part-time job or lecturing about yoga?
Not only will networking with other yoga professionals will help you grow your business, you’ll also be in the company of people who can relate to the stressors and challenges of the job. It isn’t healthy to keep problems bottled up, so who better to seek advice from than another yoga teacher? They’ll most likely have a sense as to what you are going through as they may have gone through it as well. And, they’ll be better able help you as they have an insider’s view of the yoga teaching profession.
9) Teach private and group classes
You can charge more for private sessions compared to group classes. So, when calculating how much you need to earn to put food on the table, know that teaching private classes will give you a bit of a buffer. Even if you are happy teaching group classes, try to book some private ones; you’ll thank yourself later. In fact, many yoga instructors teach in multiple environments. You may have a private lesson one day, teach in a hospital setting the next, and finally, in a studio, all in a week. It’s fun to shake it up, as well. You’ll meet more people and get your name out there.
10) Use social media to grow your client base
Connect with your students via social media. Post offers of special rates and ask that students repost them. It’s free and easy to market yourself and your business online. You could also post inspirational sayings and blogs that will give your readers insight into the world of yoga. Not only could this grow your business, it could also help people who are dealing with stress, anxiety or other issues in their lives.
What is it like to be a yoga instructor?
First off, being a yoga instructor is very rewarding. You’re helping people. You’re imparting valuable wisdom. You’re change people’s lives. You just have to make sure you remember all that when you’re sweeping your studio floor for the third time in a day. Being a yoga instructor can be a lot of work. If you run a studio, you may have to wake up at the crack of dawn to teach an early morning class. But, it’s not always about teaching yoga. There’s marketing, handing finances, and signing up new clients. There’s also scouring bathrooms, washing windows and making sure your supplies, like yoga mats, pillows, blankets, etc., are clean and well-stocked.
If you’re a private yoga teacher, you will find yourself driving to different locations every day. You may teach at someone’s home one day or at an office location the next. So, you have to be organized. You’ll want to make sure you are at the right place at the right time. Your schedule will be erratic and unpredictable. And, you’ll have to do all of your own invoices and billing so that you can get paid. Again, you’ll be spending time marketing to find new clients.
You may also be a freelance yoga teacher, going from studio to studio as needed. You’ll have a very erratic schedule and your money situation may vary week to week. You have to be willing to be very flexible with your time if you want to work as a freelance yoga teacher.
Or you may teach online, which means you’ll need a suitable space in your home, and you’ll need to shell out money for high-tech equipment. Plus you’ll be at the mercy of that high-tech equipment. If it fails, you won’t be able to teach your class.
But, whatever type of business you run, you’ll be dealing with all sorts of personalities. You’ll need the strength to deal with problems and complaints. You’ll have to have an easy-going attitude, good communication skills, and a positive outlook. But, if you’re willing to work hard and keep learning, you’ll do just fine as a yoga teacher. You even find success.
Make it easy on yourself
If you prepare for most problems, educate yourself well in business and yoga, and keep an open and positive mind, teaching yoga will be a fun and rewarding career. It may even be an ever-changing adventure. You’ll meet lovely people, you’ll help your students and you’ll delve deeper into the world of yoga.
We hope our 10 tips on how to survive as a Yoga Instructor will help you learn to be resilient and happy when teaching your students. And, we hope the information we presented on what it’s really like as a yoga teacher will give you insight into the profession so that you can prepare yourself for busy and fun profession. So, there is it, go and find a yoga studio near you to get started, or of course you can create a business online! If you have any concerns about teaching yoga, you can also talk to your own yoga teacher training instructors; they’re right in the middle of it all and tell you about their experiences, good and bad.