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Full Time Yoga Teacher Life – Is It Worth It?

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Fellow yoga teacher, come and sit down with me.  It’s time we have an honest conversation about being a full time yoga teacher.

I see a lack of transparency in the yoga world.

There’s a lot of teachers out there who are taking these beautiful Instagram pictures of themselves and making us think that they’re making thousands of dollars a month.

But it’s just not true.

You see, I’ve been talking with a lot of yoga instructors lately who are really struggling with their careers.

They’re struggling to pay their bills.

They don’t have enough money to drive to their next yoga class.

They are comparing themselves to others and they feel like failures.

They are feeling frustrated and burnt out from hustling every day.

They’re wondering if they’re even supposed to be a yoga teacher.

So today I want to be real about it. I want to have a REAL conversation about what it’s like to be a full time yoga teacher because, on Instagram, it looks fantastic to be a yoga teacher.

But, in real life…

Teaching Yoga full time is really, really hard!

BUT!!!

It’s also one of the most rewarding careers I’ve ever had! And I truly believe that one yoga teacher can change a life and create a yoga community.

We need to be honest about the realities of teaching yoga, so you know what to expect and can avoid some of the struggles.

Reality #1: Don’t quit your day job.

Do not quit your day job and start teaching yoga full time right away.
You will not make it.

THE DREAM:

You get paid $40 a class (which is pretty good for a beginning teacher).
If you teach 20 classes a week, you’ll make $800 a week or $3,200 a month. That’s not bad!
That’s a very meager living but it’s doable.

THE REALITY:

You go on a one-week vacation. Now, you make $2,400 for the month.
You’re sick for a week for a few days? You lose $800 for that week.
You get in a car accident and need to have surgery and you can’t teach for a month. You make $0 for that month.
Do you see the problem?
Do NOT quit your day job and expect to make a decent living teaching yoga full-time. Keep your teaching as a part time gig UNTIL you build other sources of revenue besides just yoga classes.

Reality #2- Many studios aren’t paying their teacher’s a decent HOURLY rate.

There is a lot of TIME invested into teaching a yoga class.
Each one-hour yoga class that you teach is a minimum of a 2-hour time commitment.
You have to teach the class, prep the class, drive to the class, be there early for the class, be available after the class.

  • 15 minute drive to class
  • Arrive 15 minutes early for class
  • Teach 1 hour class
  • Stay after class for 15 minutes
  • Drive 15 minutes home

TOTAL Time Invested = 2 hours
If you make $40/class, you’re really only making $20/hour.
That may not sound too bad BUT you are limited on the number of classes you can teach.

  • 20 classes/week = 40 hours a week.
  • 25 classes = 50 hours a week.
  • 30 classes = 60 hours a week.

I know a lot of teachers teaching 25 classes/week consistently to try and pay their rent.
This is IMPOSSIBLE to sustain for very long.
No one wants to work 60 hours per week just to barely pay their bills.
I’m 33 and I’ve been teaching Yoga for 14 years. There’s no way that I want to teach 25 classes a week for another 32 years until I retire!!
Physically, my body is burnt out. I’m energetically burnt out.
Currently, I can realistically teach 10 classes/week or 20 hours/week which is only about $300/week. That’s not enough money for a sustainable business. Especially when you consider Reality #1.
This leads me into Reality #3 of teaching yoga.

Reality #3- Yoga Teacher Burnout is a REAL thing

Teaching yoga requires a lot of mental and emotional energy. Many teachers who have been teaching for several years start to energetically burn out.
While I can physically teach 10 classes/week, I almost never consistently teach 10 classes/week because I don’t have the energy or the inspiration.
Over time, I’ve found other ways to inspire my audience but that’s a story for another day.
I constantly hear teachers say, “Whenever I’m faced with burnout, I take another training.” Another training is a couple thousand dollars and I don’t have that money to spend on another training.
Over the years, I’ve had to strategically back off on teaching classes and offer more workshops and events that pay me more money and require less daily energy. I still have to put out a lot of energy for the actual workshop, but then I have several days off in between workshops and trainings to re-charge my batteries.
Do you struggle with yoga teacher burnout? Find me on IG @allisonrissel and tell me all about your struggles!

Reality #4 – Injuries are the dirty little secret in the full-time yoga teacher industry

There’s a lot of injured yoga teachers, especially those who have been practicing vinyasa for 10-25 hours a week!
Even though we preach self-care, many yoga teachers are hustling so hard that they’re injuring themselves and continuing to teach and practice!
I won’t lie to you- this was definitely me. I had a torn hip labrum for about 5 years before it got so bad that I couldn’t walk or sit without pain. I finally had surgery in January of 2018.
For me, this is when EVERYTHING shifted in my business.
I went without income for 3 months!
I was forced to have a real discussion with myself – If I wanted to do yoga until I was 95 years old then I wouldn’t be able to continue teaching 10-12 classes/week for the next 32 years.
My yoga business structure had to change!!
I came up with three methods to create income while still making a huge impact in my community.

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