September 5, 2013

Tired of Being a Broke-Ass Yoga Teacher.

Yeah I said it: I’m tired of being broke and apologizing for wanting to be financially secure teaching yoga.

I know this is going to ruffle some feathers but the truth needs to be told.

Why is it distasteful to be a financially stable yoga teacher? I love yoga and I wanted to commit my life to studying, teaching and sharing yoga with as many people as possible. So much so, I gave up a lucrative job with kick-ass benefits to do what I love.

Yoga was a nice contrast to my job in the gaming industry. Yoga was a way for people to connect with life. Working in casinos, I saw people disconnect from reality. I watched people lose their livelihood, destroy their health and ruin their families by gambling their wages and life away.

Watching and feeling like a part of this depressing behavior brought me to yoga.

I wanted to be the solution.

Photo: Wonderlane

I wanted more. I wanted to live an inspired life. I wanted to help others and I wanted to make real connections and influence change in the world.

I found I could do all those things through yoga.

I quit my job and started on my path as yoga teacher and I have no regrets. I do, however, miss being financially stable.

I survive as a yoga teacher/studio owner but financially I don’t thrive as I would like. I’m not getting financially rich teaching yoga. I do feel rich in my experiences and I love what I do but the money does matter.

I have been fortunate to make my living primarily teaching yoga for the past 8 years. I am truly blessed to devote my energies so fully to my students and community.

I want to change the conversation around the financial compensation of yoga teachers.

My studio is small but has a huge heart. I have seen people come in the door nervous, sad, broken and in pain, both physically and emotionally. I have seen them leave, joyful, focused, happy, inspired and strong.

I see them step into themselves and the world with greater love, awareness and consciousness. Their happiness is definitely my reward, however I still need to pay my mortgage, put kids through school and eventually take a non-working vacation.

Are those things really so much to ask? Do I need to take a vow of poverty to be a yoga teacher?

Why is it that we are okay with allowing in companies with appalling social injustice issues to prosper?

There are companies out there that inflict social, environmental and financial injustices every day and yet we support them by shopping at their stores and using their products. We never question their prices, services or policies. We are just happy to save a buck or get a deal.

Companies like Wal-mart don’t seem to care about the environment, social injustice, financial and human equality. They are only interested in serving themselves, and we empower them but giving them our money.

Make no mistake: they hold a lot of financial influence in the modern world.

As I move forward in my teaching career, I am learning that in order to survive as a yoga teacher, I need to find an additional income outside of yoga.

I need a part time job so I can still do both!

After 10 years, I understand that being financially stable is not going to happen through yoga alone. (Yes, it takes me a long time to learn these lessons.)

The teachers who are thriving are few and far between. They are the Yogalebrities working hard with international workshops, book deals, yoga festivals and online courses.The market is saturated with these teachers.

Teaching yoga is now becoming more of a hobby, done for the sheer joy of teaching and sharing your light. It is just really hard to make a living doing it. It’s an amazing opportunity and gift to be a yoga teacher but make sure you have a “Plan B.”

At the end of the day you need a place to sleep.


Like elephant ganesh on Facbook.

Ed: Catherine Monkman

Photo: via Pixoto

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