Living yoga: making money as a yoga teacher

So…lately I’ve been thinking about the financial viability of being a yoga teacher. The question that’s looming in my mind is, “can I make it as a yoga teacher?” During my year in teacher training, I focused on deepening my understanding of yoga and learning how to teach it — mindfully sharing my knowledge with others. This is what I’m deeply passionate about. I’ve also been lucky enough to have another job that allows me to study and teach yoga with minimal distractions and financial stress.

But now that I’ve received my certification and have begun getting paid for teaching, my next thought is “how do I shift a bigger part of my source of income to yoga?” My goal is to exclusively teach yoga. However, I’ve spoken to my yoga teaching friends and read up on salary statistics and yoga teachers’ anecdotes online, and most of them shout, “for your sanity and survival, don’t quit your day job!” Yikes.

So how do typical, non-celebrity yoga teachers make it work? A few ways: 1) they offer overlapping services such as massage therapy, Reiki healing, nutritional/lifestyle guidance, or physical therapy, 2) they offer workshops, retreats, or teacher trainings, or 3) they have supplementary income from another source. Often it’s a combination of these.

With the pragmatics of teaching yoga in mind, I check back with myself again. How do I define “making it”? What is my intention behind teaching yoga exclusively? What am I afraid of?

***meditation break***

Ahh, some clarity! My picture of success, after setting aside my ego, is to share the joy of my yoga practice with others, and to help others see themselves and live their dharma,  or purpose. My fears are not making enough money to live off of, and at the same time letting money and egotistic measures of success cloud my intention, my message and my teachings. Fear of uncertainty of the future.

So…what’s the answer? The answer is…I don’t know what will happen. But what I can do is set up ways to share yoga in the world we live in: through classes, workshops, word of mouth, online presence, and to track how much I earn doing what I love. Since I’ll be traveling around the world beginning this fall, I’ll have a unique opportunity to connect with people from many places and with many perspectives. If anything, this will help me become a better yoga teacher. Who knows where I’ll be in 5 years? For now, I will be here, practicing yoga.


Image credit: Hanson Mao

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Bliss: why I teach yoga

Why do I teach yoga?

I teach yoga because it is my dharma, my purpose. That is, it brings my whole being — my True Self — bliss! Not bliss in the newlywed, just-got-promoted, everything-feels-perfect sense, though there are moments of that too. It’s bliss in my soul. Content, at home. It feels like, “this is what I’m here for.”

When I see the transmission of yoga through me to my students, I smile inside. When they challenge themselves by listening to their breath and their body, I feel joy. When they’re able to let go of their ego, and simply be, I know I’ve done something good.

I want to stress — bliss is not perfection. It’s not the thrill of a roller coaster. It includes times of struggle, can-I-make-a-living? (Not yet.) It includes boredom, a lack of inspiration. (How can I teach today? Nothing moves me!) But it also includes gratitude for those struggles and those feelings, because it’s all part of the journey. And every time I teach another class, or try something new in my practice, or see my old practice through new eyes, it feels like home.

Work meets play!

Playtime! 🙂🙃🙂🙏🏼 #yoga #homepractice #nofilter

A post shared by So Yee (@soyeemole) on

 

I was flowing at home a couple days ago. It started as creating a sequence for my teacher training video review, and ended with moving from my True Self. You know that inner voice? The one where your gut feeling comes from? That’s the one I explore when I practice at home; it’s the one I teach from.

In moments like this, when work really feels like play, I feel like I’m in my element, and I’m living my dharma. “I have a purpose!” shouts my True Self. It was a good day.