how to ask for a pay raise

It’s not about the money, right?

I mean, we all teach yoga to help others from the goodness of our hearts.

We’re so passionate about it that we’d gladly do it for free and live on the ramen noodles we buy from the change stuck in vending machines and all that jazz, yes?

Well, sure!

Aaaaaand we all need to feed and take care of ourselves in order to deliver these valuable teachings!

It’s often this inner conflict in yoga teachers that makes asking for a raise challenging: we’d do it for free, but realistically we can’t…and we shouldn’t (at least not all the time).

Money is an energy exchange and we all deserve to get back an amount that is proportionate to what we give. And developing a strong cash flow is vital to the sustainability of your teaching career!

So if you’re feeling those “icky” feelings of resentment creeping in around inequitable pay for your efforts, it’s time to have that convo and ask for a raise.

I know many of us who get into this “yoga teaching business” don’t actually like business—that’s why I’ve got your back! Here’s how to ask for a raise in 6 easy steps.

1. Do Your Inner Money Work

Trust me, we all have some money issues to iron out. Take care of yours before walking into this negotiation because if part of you doesn’t think you deserve this raise, it ain’t gonna happen, honey! Use books, podcasts, whatever resources you need to make sure you KNOW in your heart that you are worthy of and ready to receive this additional income.


Because there is never a “right time” to ask for a raise and when it comes to getting that pay increase, you gotta be able to prove to your boss that it’s a good idea. Asking for a raise doesn’t come down to personal reasons why you need to make more money. Instead, it comes down to your performance and market value.

Meaning, does the work that you do deserve a raise? When you show up and teach yoga, are you earning the studio more money than they would earn with another person with the same job title?

Before you start the conversation with your employer, you need to be able to not only prove your worth but also prove your worth to the company.

So sit down and take some notes. Figure out what your market value truly is and then ask for a salary increase.

I have a few blog posts about how to earn money as a yoga teacher and what it’s really like to teach yoga. I suggest checking them out to get started.

2. Do Your Research

Once you’re confident that you’re worthy, get confident about the amount you want to receive. Use Google, study the yoga industry, ask teacher friends, see what others are earning, and do your due diligence to determine the amount that you know is fair to ask compared to other similarly qualified teachers in your area.

Think about it this way.

No company or employer is going to say yes to a higher salary just because you request it. They’ll want to know that it’s fair market value and that you can easily earn them as much in the following quarter.

So before you schedule a meeting with your manager, find out what others with similar accomplishments are earning and how much you could potentially earn the company in the next quarter. If you come in prepared for the meeting like this, then it might surprise you how open your manager might be to your request.

3. Have Your Numbers Ready

If you’re not already tracking the students that come to your classes, now’s the time! You will be able to see how many students are coming to your classes, how consistent your class size is, how often you have repeat students, etc. Then you have this as hard evidence demonstrating that you’re a badass teacher and an asset to the studio.

Again, no company or employer will be willing to fork over more cash if you can’t build the case that you’re worth it. So crunch some numbers before asking for a raise and you just might get a raise!

4. Clarify & Communicate Your Why

Why do you teach yoga? Why do you want a raise? And how do those things go together? Be honest about these things with your studio owner or manager. It might be something like, “hey, I know that my yoga nidra classes always sell out and this extra income could help me get continuing education credits to be even better at teaching yoga nidra.”

Or maybe you are being paid more at another job and you feel like you deserve to earn more at this one too.

Or maybe you’ve taken on new responsibilities in the last year and you would like your compensation to reflect that.

Or maybe you would even just like a more permanent position with the company, such as a manager role.

Whatever the case may be, make it clear that you’re not just money-hungry (even if you are). Asking for a raise isn’t just about getting more money. It’s about communicating the justification for a higher salary.

5. Think About THEM!

Business is at least a two-way street and the best business deals leave all parties feeling good about the agreement. So figure out which of your studio’s needs you can fill.

  • Do they struggle with turn-over and seek longer-term teachers? Perhaps include in your convo your desire to teach there for the long-haul.
  • Do they love those who offer unique, niche classes or interesting workshops? Tell them you want to use the additional income to continue your education and commit to offering a new class or workshop in return.
  • Do they value teachers with the most availability? Mention that additional income per class would allow you to quit your part-time job so that you will be available to teach more classes.

Figure out which of their problems you can or already directly solve, then work that into your yoga teacher bio, your yoga resume, and your pitch.

6. Remember Your Yoga

Yoga reminds us to be kind and gracious, to do our best and speak our truth, and then to let go of the rest. So if you’ve done the steps above, then it’s time to surrender. Breathe. Listen with openness and humility to what your manager or studio owner has to say and let go of what is beyond your control. Every opportunity to use our voice for ourselves in nerve-racking situations makes us stronger. Be grateful for the opportunity for this conversation and proud of yourself for doing it.

No matter what industry you’re in, it’s super important that your compensations matches your responsibilities. And if you do enough research, then you’ll know exactly how much to ask for. Whether you just want more per hour or more classes scheduled per week, prepare for the conversation with your boss like you would for a job interview.

The biggest advice of all: go into the meeting with your boss in mind. Make their lives easier by doing the research for them. Reference performance reviews, if you’ve ever had any, and demonstrate your value to the company.

And if they don’t follow your advice to give you a raise? Then be prepared for that too and know when it’s time to walk away.

after all, if you’re truly worth the pay increase, then go find work that honors that. It may take time to eventually get the pay that you deserve, but if you do deserve it, then don’t settle for less.

Good luck, my yogi teacher friends! Determining what is fair compensation for our work and receiving that amount is a journey for all of us. Just remember…your inherent worth is never defined by money. Now go get ‘em!

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