yoga instructor pay

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 instructors than ever before.

The other thing I didn’t know back then is that a yoga instructor’s 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.

My Fears About A Yoga Instructor Salary

I was so freaked out about being poor as a yoga instructor 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 instructors you want to emulate?”

I recited to him ALL my yoga instructor 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 Choudhury,
  • Kino Macgregor,
  • Rod Stryker,
  • Jason Crandell,
  • Elena Brower,
  • and Gabrielle Bernstein?

Brett, these people make tons of money as yoga instructors!”

He was right. These people are multimillionaires!

He challenged me to see that there are plenty of yoga instructors out there who have a healthy cash flow and have LOTS of money in the bank. 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 instructors who had an abundance of 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 instructors 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 yoga instructors 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 instructors bring to our world.

How Much Do Yoga Teachers Make?

yoga instructor salary

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.*

The San Francisco Bay Area has the highest yoga teacher salary, where the average salary is $38.31 per hour, and North Carolina has the lowest average salary at $23 per hour. The best states to teach yoga in are New York, New Hampshire, Arizona, Wyoming, California, and Washington, where they earn 15%+ higher than the national average. The worst states to teach yoga in are Texas, Louisiana, and North Carolina, where they earn between 25 and 30% lower than the national average.

yoga teacher pay

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.

How much do yoga instructors make per class?

Do you see the problem? 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. Let’s take a look at the numbers…

Full time yoga teacher

Full-time yoga instructors 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.

yoga instructor salary

Part time yoga teacher

Considering that 67% of yoga instructors work fewer than 10 hours per week teaching yoga classes, it’s easy to say that yoga instructors are poor…

…if they rely on the current yoga industry to earn an income.

Experienced instructor

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)

Factors for Every Yoga Instructor to Consider

The amount yoga instructors make varies widely. Whether you’re ready to open your own online yoga studio, want to be a sought-after local yoga teacher, or a hybrid approach of both online yoga classes and in-person private lessons, you’ll need to keep a few things in mind…

Location, location, location

The yoga market can be competitive in some areas, just like real estate. Depending on where you live, you might have eight yoga studios within a one-mile radius, or none! This is where some on-the-ground research can help you get a feel for what other yoga instructors in your area are making and how many yoga students might be interested in what you have to offer.

Strap on your best walking shoes and hit the streets. How many private yoga studios are teaching classes? Is anyone offering free classes you can test out? Ask around: What do the yoga instructors earn? What does the yoga world look like in your area? Hop online and see who is posting most in the digital yoga world in your town.

Where you are makes all the difference in how much you’ll make as a yoga instructor. Just like a house gets valued based on location, so will your yoga services, if you choose to only teach locally. Finding out the average yoga instructor salary for your area will help you set a benchmark.

The beauty of teaching online is that all the barriers location presents melt away. But if you’re interested in teaching yoga in-person, then you’ll want to do this reconnaissance work up front, so you know what you’re getting into.

Part-time, full-time, or side hustle?

How much time do you have to dedicate to your new career as a yoga instructor? Are you ready to jump in completely and go full-time? Would being a part-time yoga teacher be a great bridge to launching your career? Or would you like to start a side hustle and see what happens?

In my years of teaching online yoga teacher training, I’ve seen my students launch all types of businesses, everything from a full-blown yoga studio to a side hustle with a few private classes per month. It’s up to you what you feel you have the capacity to take on. For some of us (myself included!), we dive in headfirst. For others (I’m talking to my Kaphas!), a slow, steady start works best.

Becoming a certified yoga instructor is an accomplishment in itself. The choice is up to you on how your career as a yoga teacher will fit into your life. 67% of yoga practitioners teach yoga less than ten hours per week. Whether teaching yoga is your dreamy side hustle or your full-time passion, there are so many ways to be a certified yoga teacher. You decide what’s best for you.

Do you have a niche?

Where do you fit into the yoga space? Do you dream of teaching acro yoga to ten students? Or do you want to be one of the highest earning yoga instructors in your state? Is prenatal yoga a specialty you’d like to explore? Depending on your personal experience, there are so many ways to make the yoga you teach personal and tailored to a specific group of people.

Maybe you want to focus on kids yoga, bikram yoga, or how to incorporate yoga into your work as a Pilates instructor. The possibilities are endless. The way you’ll find your people is by being YOU. Everything from the yoga poses you teach to the yoga teacher training course you attend will influence your style as a yoga instructor. Teaching yoga is personal and you can decide who you’d like to focus on teaching and why. Some people even offer yoga therapy! The yoga community needs you, your experience, and what you have to offer.

Fall in love with my 300-Hour teacher training or …

How The Yoga Industry Sets The Yoga Teacher Salary

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 instructors claim that teaching yoga is their primary source of income.

And at the time of the survey, only 31% of yoga instructors 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).

How Yoga Teachers’ Salaries Can Increase Significantly

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.

Know your worth

Yoga instructor salaries are like any other job. Your earning potential depends on your ability to know your worth. By finding out the average yoga instructor salary in your area, you’re armed with the knowledge you need to not settle for less.

So many people practice yoga online and there is a space for you as in the online yoga practitioner community. The “me against the world” days are over, thankfully. There’s no reason to struggle in your yoga career, because you bring so much value to the table.

Create your own yoga business

create a yoga business

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 was, 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.

You don’t have to report to a yoga studio every day to be successful, anymore. Those days are over. Many yoga teachers are wildly successful and their entire yoga practice is online. Heck, I’m one of them! You can bust through the national average salary yoga instructors make and create a business that works for you and reaches more people. A win-win!

I’ve already created a few yoga teacher resources on how to earn more money as a yoga instructor, namely by going online:

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.

A Yoga Business Course To Launch Your Career As An Online Yoga Teacher

teaching yoga and assisting posture

I want to support you 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, and 50% business coaching.

In this teacher training, 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 instructors that blends yoga education with entrepreneurship skills.

Hear from those who have already completed teacher 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 instructors 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.

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