I almost didn’t become a yoga instructor because I always thought that yoga teachers were poor.
The truth is that many of them are but not all of them and, years later, not me.
But how much do yoga teachers make running from yoga studio to yoga studio, teaching one-off yoga classes in hopes of scrambling enough money together to pay rent (and forget about health insurance)? It seemed like an awful way to live.
No wonder I was so scared to step into my dream of teaching yoga…
It meant I’d be entering a life of poverty! 😉
What I didn’t understand then and what is important to understand now is that the yoga industry is evolving and growing, making more opportunities for yoga teachers than ever before.
The other thing I didn’t know back then is that a yoga instructor salary is very much limited to how many hours there are in a day…
…unless you teach yoga online.
In this post, I’ll break down what got me out of my fear-based thinking and into a six-figure yoga instructor salary so that you can do exactly the same.
In this post:
My Fears About A Yoga Instructor Salary
How Much Do Yoga Teachers Make?
How The Yoga Industry Sets The Yoga Teacher Salary
How Yoga Teachers’ Salaries Can Increase Significantly in 2020
A Yoga Business Course To Launch Your Career As An Online Yoga Teacher
I was so freaked out about being poor as a yoga teacher that I couldn’t get “unstuck” about pursuing my dream to teach yoga. I finally resorted to hiring a life coach and he asked me a totally life-changing question:
“Brett, WHO are you looking at as examples of the kind of yoga teachers you want to emulate?”
I recited to him ALL my yoga teacher friends who weren’t making a lot of money teaching studio yoga classes. And even though they were all super nice yogis, they didn’t seem to really have their financial life together.
“Well”, he said, “what about
- Deepak Chopra,
- Bikram Chaudroy,
- Kino Macgregor,
- Rod Stryker,
- Jason Crandell,
- Elena Brower,
- and Gabrielle Bernstein?
Brett, these people make tons of money as yoga teachers!”
He was right. These people are multimillionaires!
He challenged me to see that there are plenty of yoga teachers out there who make LOTS of money. He told me to use those experienced teachers as examples. (duh)
GAME-CHANGER: What we focus on dictates our reality.
I changed the teachers I wanted to emulate to those who were making great money. I surrounded myself with incredible coaches, mentors and yoga teachers who had an abundance mindset around earning a living as a teacher and healer. It helped me overcome my fear. It changed everything for me.
Now, I earn 15 times my corporate salary teaching yoga and am a millionaire yoga teacher myself!
I’m still in disbelief about this. But that’s the power of intention, action, support and follow-through.
And that’s just it, as an entrepreneur, you have a ridiculously amazing opportunity to create financial security for you and your family.
Yet no YTTs treat yoga teachers as entrepreneurs. There’s no education on the mindset, methods or maneuvering it takes to run a yoga business sharing what you love.
Instead, most teacher training programs teach students to work full-time as a yoga instructor with private clients, teaching at multiple yoga studios, leading yoga retreats and workshops, or teaching corporate yoga (for those who want the big bucks).
And that’s how the yoga industry single-handedly undermines the true value that yoga teachers bring to our world.
To answer it bluntly: poverty level.
In the United States, where the free market rules and there are virtually no employee protections, the average base yoga instructor salary is $31 per hour.*
Los Angeles has the highest yoga teacher salary, where the average salary is $43 per hour, and Orlando, Florida has the lowest average salary at $26 per hour. The best states to teach yoga in are New York, California, and Washington, where they earn 26%, 22%, and 15% higher than the national average, respectively. The worst states to teach yoga in are Kansas, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Michigan, and Alabama, where they earn between 25 and 30% lower than the national average.
Average pay per state, compared to national average
Only 45% of yoga instructors feel that they earn enough to cover the cost of living, though this doesn’t indicate exactly how much they are working and for how many clients.
A yoga teaching job treats you more like an independent contractor than an employee and if you are earning $30 per yoga class, then you’d have to work a lot of yoga instructor jobs just to make ends meet.
Full-time yoga teachers teach upwards of 20 yoga classes per week just to earn an untaxed salary of $30,000 per year. That is almost 3 yoga classes per day with no days off. Of course, this doesn’t take into account private yoga lessons, which could potentially cut the number of yoga classes per week by half. But then that just puts tremendous pressure on yoga teachers to find high-paying yoga clients every single week of the year.
To make it simple, here is a pay scale chart that shows how much yoga teachers make per year teaching group classes.
Considering that 67% of yoga instructors work fewer than 10 hours per week teaching yoga classes, it’s easy to say that yoga teachers are poor…
…if they rely on the current yoga industry to earn an income.
And if you’re an experienced yoga instructor with lots of social media followers? Then you might be able to earn $50 to $75 per yoga class, which means that you would teach between 10 to 15 yoga classes per week. This is much more livable but, let’s be honest, not as common of a pay scale.
If your yoga teaching skills aren’t quite where they need to be to earn $75 or more per class, then you can always connect with the yoga community on social media and earn tens of thousands of dollars per sponsored post. (It’s true)
In 2016, Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance teamed up to conduct a comprehensive survey that gave us intimate knowledge of the yoga industry and the current state of the yoga studio and yoga teacher salary.**
While the study was certainly super informative, it revealed that teaching yogis think more highly of themselves than the yoga studios paying them.
In fact, 67% of yoga teachers work fewer than 10 hours per week and only 29% of yoga teachers claim that teaching yoga is their primary source of income.
And at the time of the survey, only 31% of yoga teachers were recording and uploading yoga videos as a part of their yoga business.
Even more shocking, 65% of all yoga studios had been in operation for six or more years, meaning that there weren’t as many yoga studios with scheduled yoga classes as there were certified yoga teachers.
Yet the number of people practicing yoga had jumped by 50% between 2012 and 2016, making the demand far greater than the supply.
This means that there is DEFINITELY a lot of opportunities to have a healthy instructor salary.
And still, teachers’ salaries remain abominably low…
…unless you teach yoga online.
There simply aren’t enough yoga studios and yoga classes to accommodate the increasing demand (or the unemployed experienced teachers).
The way that we’ve been doing things all these years hasn’t worked. Yoga teaching has been commodified and traded, all without benefiting the yoga teachers themselves.
Instead of juggling group classes, workshops, and moody yoga studio owners, empower yourself to create your own yoga business.
You can still teach your favorite things, like hatha yoga, children’s yoga, restorative yoga, private lessons, or whatever…
…but you can do it in a way that earns you good money.
After all, the very first of the yamas and niyamas is Ahimsa, to do no harm. And that means to yourself just as much as it means to others.
You don’t need to sacrifice your well-being just to share your yoga practice with others!
As horrific as this global virus and self-quarantine is, one small silver lining is that it’s forcing yoga teachers (and teachers in all industries) to think outside the box. To step outside the traditional “teach in a studio” model and go into yoga business for themselves.
I’ve already created a few yoga teacher resources on how to earn more money as a yoga instructor, namely by going online:
- How To Teach Yoga Online And Make Money (Like Me)
- How to Lead a Live Online Zoom Yoga Class
- 6 Crucial Online Marketing Tips for Budding Yoga Teachers
- 10 Tips On How To Start A YouTube Channel For Yoga Teachers
- 3 Best Tools To Launch A Yoga App (That You Can Actually Afford)
- 13 Types of Yoga Teacher Tax Deductions (And Other Tax Tips)
I’ve been trying to help yoga teachers find their way online for YEARS because I’ve felt that the standard yoga industry grossly undervalues its most skilled workers.
I want to support you this Spring to deepen your knowledge of the subtle body, chakras, fascia, yoga biomechanics AND design this new chapter of your yoga business online with my 300/500-Hour Yoga Teacher Training program.
This is NOT your typical advanced yoga teacher training. It’s 50% yoga, 50% business coaching.
In this training program, you move through this process in an intimate group with me, meeting online via Zoom.
For those of you who feel called, the best way to learn more is to download the full brochure.
Read through what awaits you inside this one-of-a-kind training program for yoga teachers that blends yoga education with entrepreneurship skills.
Hear from those who have already completed training and are on the other side of experience– 68% report an increase in yoga-related revenue before they even graduate, and 100% feel clear on the next steps they need to take to get there.
No matter what, BIG HUG to you during this time. DO NOT let a blinding thought or samskara hold you back from your bigger destiny as mine did for YEARS before I finally got help. Mine was “yoga teachers are poor.” But yours might be “I’m not good at tech stuff,” “I could never teach online,” “I’m not good at selling,” “It’s not safe for me to invest in myself,” or something else.
Please recognize that these are just thoughts. They are NOT true, and they are NOT you. Yoga gives you the power to shift your focus, which is why I love weaving Tantric philosophy, chakra healing self-work AND business coaching together in this special program.
Stay healthy, safe and radiant during this time.