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Yoga Hero: Teachers Podcast – Episode 35

35: How to Become a Full-Time Yoga Teacher

This episode is all about how to become a full time yoga teacher, including a step-by-step process, starting with a quick look at whether it’s right for you.

Many people have a really romantic notion of what it’s like to be a full time yoga teacher but – while it can be an incredibly rewarding job, it is important to walk in to it with your eyes well open about the realities. There’s a harsh truth in there too, how lovely. Then we look at how to determine if now is the right time, or indeed, when the ‘right time’ is for you, including one of my favourite things – a ‘what if it all goes completely wrong’ plan.

The good news is that you can follow these steps without actually making the leap and quitting your job, so, enjoy listening, get inspired, and at the end, you’ll be able to consider an informed decision as to your next steps!

Your free income and outgoings spreadsheet:

The finances of going full time as a yoga teacher comes down to sums; how much do you spend and how much will you earn.

The good news is we have a spreadsheet to help you work this out, and here it is!

Listen to ‘How to Become a Full-Time Yoga Teacher‘ right here:

As always, we would love to know what you think of the Yoga Hero: Teachers Podcast, do leave an honest review if you can, or drop us a message @yogahero_teachers

Why do you want to be a full-time yoga teacher: Your journal prompts

  • What initially drew you to yoga, and how has that passion evolved over time?
  • In what ways has practising and teaching yoga transformed your life, and how do you hope to inspire similar transformations in others?
  • How does teaching yoga contribute to your sense of purpose and fulfillment in life?
  • How can you integrate both passion and practicality in your journey as a yoga teacher?
  • What goals and aspirations do you have for your teaching career, and how do these align with your overall life vision?

Listen to ‘Balancing having a job and teaching yoga’ where you get your podcasts:

Thank you, and happy listening!


Previous Episodes of Yoga Hero: Teachers Podcast

Episode 43: Should yoga teachers care about money?

Episode 42: Should yoga teachers demo while teaching?

Episode 41: Should yoga teachers use Sanskrit?

Episode 40: The business of teaching Yoga Nidra

Episode 39: How to develop a consistent Yoga Nidra practice (even with a busy life)

Episode 38: A Yoga Nidra for yoga teachers

Episode 37: Yoga Nidra: The art of sleeping to wake up

Episode 36:: How I Became a Full-Time Yoga Teacher

Episode 35: How to Become a Full-Time Yoga Teacher

Episode 34: Balancing having a job and teaching yoga

Episode 33: Balancing Parenting and Teaching Yoga

Episode 32: How to teach yoga workshops

Episode 31: How much to charge for your yoga classes

Episode 30: How to create your yoga brand

Episode 29: How to layer your asana classes with yoga philosophy

Episode 28: What’s your WHY as a yoga teacher

Episode 27: Setting up your own classes as a yoga teacher

Episode 26: How would you teach yoga if you weren’t afraid?

Episode 25: Do I need a yoga brand?

Episode 24: Tips for new yoga teachers

Episode 23: Define who you are as a yoga teacher

Episode 22: Yoga adjustments: Some important considerations

Episode 21: Tips for teaching yoga beginners

Episode 20: The joys of being a yoga teacher

Episode 19: Overcome imposter syndrome as a yoga teacher

Episode 18: Create your social media calendar

Episode 17: A complete guide to sequencing yoga classes

Episode 16: Do you need to teach a new yoga sequence each week?

Episode 15: Introducing yoga philosophy in to your asana classes


Transcript – How to Become a Full-Time Yoga Teacher

Hello, and welcome to For Yoga Teachers. This podcast has been created to help yoga teachers teach with passion, avoid burn out and earn a fair living.

This episode is all about how to become a full time yoga teacher. On Monday we’ll have a bonus episode which is my personal journey to becoming a full-time yoga teacher if you’re interested in that, although I wouldn’t blame you if you weren’t!

OK so in this episode we’ll have a step-by-step process to working out if and when you should make a go of being a full time yoga teacher. This is a cumulation of all the advice I’ve given in teacher trainings and in mentoring sessions and does not constitute one-on-one advice for you. Please be extremely careful with your career and your earnings and get professional advice where needed!

We start with a quick look at whether it’s right for you. Many people have a really romantic notion of what it’s like to be a full time yoga teacher but – while it can be an incredibly rewarding job, it is important to walk in to it with your eyes well open about the realities. There’s a harsh truth in there too, how lovely.

Then we’ll look at the steps to determine if now is the right time, or indeed, when could or would be the right time for you, including one of my favourite things – a ‘what if it all goes completely wrong’ plan.

The good news is that you can follow these steps without actually making the leap and quitting your job, so, enjoy listening, get inspired, and at the end, you’ll be able to consider an informed decision as to your next steps!

Let’s crack on!

Step 1 – Should you become a full time yoga teacher?

This might be a straight-forward yes or no answer… or it might be in the future, but it isn’t at the moment.

First things first. Do you want to be a full time yoga teacher, and if so, why? In the show notes for this episode is some journalling prompts that will ask you to dig in to this question – you’re really, really going to need to know the answer as you continue through the rest of the steps!

One of the things that comes up time and time again on trainings for yoga teachers is how, before being a yoga teacher, yoga was a place of escape. But now, yoga is work. So where do you escape to?

My advice here – which might sound really over the top and this is the harsh truth that we’ve all been looking forward to – is that you probably need a yoga practice for you the person, and a yoga practice for you the yoga teacher.

When you practice for you the person, you roll out your mat and do your class – whether it’s a lead class or self-practice, and it’s just for you. No notebooks, no sequencing notes, it’s not for your yogis in anyway. Then, separately, you have your yoga practice for yoga teacher you, where you do have notebooks, you have the intention of sequencing a class, or getting inspired or whatever you need then. I know this sounds over the top and it sounds like you need to practice twice what you’re doing now. That’s not the case. If you practice twice a week now; then make one for you, and one for yoga teacher you. If you practice daily, maybe 5 days is for you, and 2 for yoga teacher you. You decide. But I really can’t recommend this enough: before the start of your practice; declare your intention whether the practice is for you – in which case, no text books, no note books, no manuals, or is it for yoga teacher you, in which case you’ll have beside you whatever you need for experimenting, class planning etc.

But it really is a serious consideration; do you have the tapas, the discipline to keep your yoga practice for you up – as it is, pretty universally, one of the things that disappears as yoga teachers get busier and busier.

That aside, will it work financially? – Working out the answer to this is in our step-by-step guide which we’ll get to in just a sec.

And those two things aside; your health and your finances, what about just the overall logistics; bear in mind that especially at first, yoga teachers tend to work pretty anti-social hours; teaching classes weekday mornings, lunchtimes and evenings and often working weekends too. If your love, your kids, your friends, work or are in school at all the other times, then put simply, yoga teaching might not give you the quality of life that you’d dreamed of, if you end up not seeing the people that you love.

Step 2 – What if it all goes belly up?

I’ve mentioned a few times that one of my favourite things is to create a worst-case scenario plan. Not because I’m a negative person – I mean don’t get me wrong I have my moments – but because if you are happy with that plan, or if you can cope with that plan, you’ve almost got no reason to not give it a go? In the interests of full disclosure here – like I say on Monday there’s a bonus episode coming out which is my path to becoming a full-time yoga teacher, but it’s worth me saying here that when I took the plunge, I had no dependents. No kids. I didn’t even have a dog. I was a rolling monthly contract with my rent so the worst case scenario was that I got no work as a yoga teacher, and I’d have to pay a months rent and then move back in with my mum who was about a 40 minute train ride away. That was a very viable plan – I could most certainly cope with that, and so for me personally, it was almost silly for me to not give it a go.

So, if you were to go full-time tomorrow, and it went belly up, what would your plan be? How long could you pay your mortgage or rent for? Is there a back-up place you could live? Do you have people that you’re financially responsible for? Do you have savings? You might be best speaking to like a bank or an accountant or something here, but in my experience, in the end, it comes down to raw sums. If you don’t make enough money, it’s a struggle to pay the bills and that’s that.

Could it be that you’d easily get a job again somewhere else or doing something else – do you have skillsets that people are desperate for, in which case you might not go ages without work?

So, let’s review – in summary – what would you do if you went full time and it really, really didn’t work out. If you can cope with this plan – then what a good chunk of food for thought that could be. If you really couldn’t live with it, that’s very important to acknowledge too.

Step 3 – Decide if you’re excited about running a business

From experience, most yoga teachers don’t think about teaching yoga as running a business. I get it. Business is cold and hard and cash crazy. You as a yoga teacher are none of these. But, yoga teacher, when you start teaching for money, you are running a business, and the more you see it like this, the more likely you are to have success. You know that businesses need promoting, and tough conversations, and contracts and efficiencies. Your yoga teaching will most certainly need all of these things at some point, so let’s face up that right now. You might not be super talented of every aspect of running a business. You might not like some aspects of it. But it all needs doing. And remember it is possible to pay people for the bits that you really don’t want to do!

Step 4 – Align your passions, your background and your teaching

There are so many yoga teachers around now. And for the record, I think that’s a really good thing, as long as we’re not all clones of each other. So – think – what in your background is pretty unique to you, that could apply to yoga teaching. What are you passionate about? Who do you want to teach? And how do you want to teach? Here, basically, we’re creating a yoga brand – if you haven’t done this yet, or you haven’t done it for a while, head to episode 30 as its going to be super useful here.

Once you’ve created your brand, then do some market research to see if there’s a demand for your offering.

Just another little bit of food for thought here is to try to get as much real life data as you can, so while you’re working out whether to go full time yoga teacher or not, you could set up a block of classes, or a workshop, or a course, or a retreat, with your way of teaching at the heart of it. So for example, if you’re a trained run coach and you dream of working mainly with dedicated runners to get their PBs, you might design a four week course; yoga to run faster. If you host this a few times, and it repeatedly sells out, well that’s great information to work with. I’d definitely recommend hosting offerings more than once. Total one offs have a habit of flying off the shelves – as it were – but then the second time you host it it’s tumble weed. Don’t fall in to this trap!

Step 5 – The raw sums

Up until now, we’ve been thinking about going full time yoga teaching in a way of is it possible, and if it is possible, would it work for you.

Now it’s time to get to the nitty gritty. I mentioned before that in my experience, the finances comes down to sums; how much do you spend and how much will you earn. The good news is I have a spreadsheet to help you work this out. I know I know, it’s too exciting, it really is. If you’ve got this far and you’re getting excited about being a full time yoga teacher, do the sums and be really honest with yourself.

The very exciting spreadsheet is a list of costs, and your yoga teaching income; as it is now or a projection, or a combination of these two. Put simply, if your yoga teaching can pay for your outgoings, well, you’re golden aren’t you! If not, there’s definitely some more thinking to be done here. But, please, yoga teacher. Complete the spreadsheet. Make your decision with real life data. Knowing in your gut that you want to teach yoga is beautiful, but your guy feeling won’t pay the bills. Let’s come at this from the raw sums. Get the link to the spreadsheet from our show notes.

Step 6 – What, and where, will you teach?

Distribute your offerings between yoga studios, wider offering fitness studios, add in gyms, privates, workplace classes and one off offerings too, or pick and choose from these as it works for you. I think a combination of yogis paying you direct; for your own classes, workshops, privates etc and being paid by studios and gyms is pretty sensible. You’ll probably be able to predict the income from studios and gyms as it’ll probably come in on a set date, and then the income straight to you is an added bonus!

Step 7 – Create your plan to stay motivated, inspired and well

You’re probably going to be knackered – how about booking in a monthly massage now for the next six months? Or if you don’t like massages, maybe a spa day or a hair cut or a whatever.

I mentioned before, lots of busy yoga teachers see their practice fall away. So, yoga teacher, from my heart to yours – keep practicing! Make a plan now for how you’ll keep a regular practice going even when you’re tired, grumpy, achey, knackered etc.

if you want to teach at a range of studios, I’d recommend practicing there first, before asking for a class or asking to be put on the cover list; by going to practice at studios that are new to you, you can kill two birds with one stone!

Step 8 – Build your village

Make connections with other yoga teachers who can cover your classes, and you can cover their classes.

Connect with physios and massage therapists to direct people with injuries, aches and pains to. maybe you can even come to an agreement about a little kickback if you give them some new customers.

A business coach to help you succeed on your new adventure (cough!)

Connect with other local businesses and other business owners, they don’t even have to be in the wellness or spiritual space. Just being able to chat to another business owner about the highs and lows can be a real tonic.

Step 9 – Decide… or decide when to decide!

If all the previous steps have gone well, you’re probably in a pretty decent place to explore making the leap to full-time yoga teacher, or, to say to yourself ‘I’ll decide by – 3 months, 6 months etc.’

Ok yoga teacher, I hope that’s given you some food for thought about whether teaching yoga full time would suit you, and would be suitable for you, or not. I’d absolutely love to know what you think! And remember, you can make your way through these steps even with a full time or part time job doing something else, just to give your yoga teaching business a boost!

Good luck, yoga teacher. And thank you for listening. If you’d share this with another yoga teacher, we’d be so incredibly grateful. Good luck. We’d love to know what you think and keep us posted with how you get on!