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So you want to be a Yoga Teacher...

By Lisa Wells It looks like a pretty good gig, teaching yoga: you get to wear comfortable clothes, have a flexible schedule, get paid for your practice, and you’ll be skinny, rich and popular.  Or maybe not.  I love teaching yoga and I’ll soon be leading my own yoga teacher training program (Yoga Alliance Qualified and all…). I frequently get asked for advise about becoming a yoga teacher.  So, here, on the threshold of offering a teacher training program, are answers to questions recently posed to me: Can yoga instructors make a living from this career, or is it a part-time job? A few instructors support themselves teaching yoga, most don't. It is easier to get enough work to support yourself in a large urban area than it is in a small town. You'll earn between $15 and $100/class depending on the town and how popular your teaching is. You are most likely to be hired as an independent contractor and unlikely to have benefits as part of your employment. ‘Making a living’ teaching yoga can mean teaching to the level of exhaustion, especially if you teach all over town.  Teach yoga for love. Don’t quit your day job. [caption id="attachment_3401" align="alignright" width="216" caption="Eric Shaw, Co-Leader, Live Well Studio Yoga Teacher Training 2012"]Yoga-Corvallis-Live-Well_studio-yoga-teacher-training-eric-shaw[/caption] What is the average salary? I don’t know a single yoga teacher with a salary. You'll be paid by the class, by the head, or a percentage of the class or workshop income.  You’ll need to creatively mix teaching in different venues and locations to stich a living together. Think of supplementing your yoga teacher training with personal training, Zumba, Nia or Pilates training to earn enough to support yourself. Is the job market highly competitive? Yes, the job market is highly competitive. If clients don't like your classes they won't come back. You rarely get a second chance to prove yourself to a student. In the beginning you might teach at health clubs, corporations, churches, or to any group that will have you. Most of those venues will pay you by the hour and you’ll have a captive audience to hone your teaching skills. How much training is required before you can begin teaching? Check out the Yoga Alliance Webpage for industry standards: http://yogaalliance.org/.  Most yoga studios require a 200 hour Yoga Alliance Registered Certification.  You can get jobs at health clubs with a weekend certification.  Employers may require certification but there are no government standards or requirements at this time. How do I choose a teacher training?   Ask the teachers whom you resonate with where they were trained.  Ask a lot of questions about the programs you might join.  Find a school that teaches the style of yoga you practice.  Ask graduates of the program what they thought.  You can get certified on a long vacation in India, Mexico or Bali, or you can spread it out over a year, or more, of weekends in any major city.  Look for a training that resonates with your personal practice, that is grounded in firm traditions, and works for you budget and time. How much does yoga teacher training cost? As little as $1500 or as much at $20,000.  Do your homework before signing up. [caption id="attachment_3402" align="alignright" width="300" caption="2012 class photo!"]Yoga-Corvallis-Oregon-Yoga-Teacher-Training-Live-Well-Studio[/caption] Is it worth it?  I love teaching yoga.  My personal yoga practice includes my teaching.  I am honored to offer what I love back to the world.  The journey called me and I answered.  You’ll be deepened by your yoga teacher training, even if you never teach.  So choose a training that offers to enrich your practice as one of its goals. Lisa's blog was recently published in Elephant Journal: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/03/so-you-want-to-be-a-yoga-teacher--lisa-wells/ Join Lisa Wells, ERYT500, PhD, for an informal fun Q&S session, Tuesday, April 16 or Thursday, May 30, 7pm. We look forward to meeting you! Live Well Studio is offering a Yoga Teacher Training this summer!  Live Well Studio's Teacher Training