Yoga Hero: Teachers Podcast – Episode 36

36: How I Became a Full-Time Yoga Teacher

This episode is a bit different; it’s our first ever bonus episode, and it’s about my journey to becoming a full time yoga teacher.

Our last episode; episode 35 was entitled ‘how to become a full time yoga teacher’, and I was acutely aware that the yoga teaching landscape looked so different when I made the leap a decade ago, than it does now, and I thought it might be useful to dig a bit deeper.

So, if you’re not bothered about my story, and to be honest I wouldn’t blame you – this isn’t the episode for you and I’ll see you next time.

But if you are, well here we go!

Listen: How I became 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

Listen to ‘How I became a full-time yoga teacher’ 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 I became 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 a bit different; it’s our first ever bonus episode, and it’s about my journey to becoming a full time yoga teacher. Our last episode; episode 35 was entitled ‘how to become a full time yoga teacher’, and I was acutely aware that the yoga teaching landscape looked so different when I made the leap a decade ago than it does now, and I’d like to fully disclose that. So, if you’re not bothered about my story, and to be honest I wouldn’t blame you – this isn’t the episode for you and I’ll see you on Friday. But if you would like to know, well here we go!

In 2010 I was working for digital agency which I did like but I’m not very naturally good at understanding how things on the internet work, and so I found the job quite stressful, and as such my hours in the office were getting longer and longer. I’d also just met my now husband, so whereas I used to go to the gym in the morning, I now didn’t want to get out of bed any earlier than I had to, and when I did, I felt like I needed to spend that time in the office. I also didn’t really want to work out after work, so my main option was lunch time. Which was fine for a while, but I would always forget something that was pretty important, like a padlock for a locker, or a sports bra. On one occasion I started to get changed to realise I’d only packed one trainer. It was really annoying. On whinging about this to my mum, she suggested Pilates as it wouldn’t necessarily require a shower and I often dressed in leggings for work so might not even require a full change of clothes. This was a great solution! I started going to Pilates in my lunch hour a couple of times a week. Until the instructor cancelled the class.

I couldn’t face trying to go back to the gym at lunchtimes, and searching for other Pilates classes was fruitless, and then someone suggested yoga. I distinctly remember saying ‘no thank YOU. I do not want to sit around holding hands with people I don’t know’. Anyway, thankfully someone a bit more open minded than me did some research and found a great studio pretty close to the office. I remember going to that first class, which turned out to be Ashtanga minimum daily. We did a sun salutation, and the teacher, Jamie, said ok now 4 more, I was like are you joking I’m half dead, that was so hard!!! But needless to say the rest of the class was amazing, I floated back to work and I was completely hooked. I went as often as I could in my lunch hour from then on.

Fast fowards two years to 2012, I’ve been going to yoga regularly, there’s been some changes at my work I’m feeling a bit ‘this can’t be all there is, there’s got to be something more’. All my long hours in the office weren’t really making any difference, I wasn’t in love with the digital industry, I was just feeling a bit meh, and started to think about training as a hairdresser so that I could work for myself and be a bit more in charge of my destiny, in terms of my time and my income. But hairdressing didn’t feel quite right, so I didn’t make any rash decisions. Then one day, Jamie, the owner of the studio I’d been practicing in said he was running a yoga teacher training course and would I know anyone who was interested. Me! I thought, although I most certainly didn’t have the confidence to actually say that out loud in the moment. I went home and mentioned, half pretending to joke, to Chris who’s now my husband, I’ve had this crazy idea and told him about the yoga teacher training. He didn’t hesitate. He said I should do it, and he’d help in any way he could. Next thing was how to pay for it. I tentatively checked my savings account that I’d been sporadically putting money in to for the last few years. It had the exact right amount of money in it to the pound.

The teaching training took place on alternate weekends over six months. Right from the get go, we knew we’d have to teach an Ashtanga class to graduate, so half way though the course, I set up a little Facebook group of friends who lived nearby and we’d organise classes at my flat. We’d move all the furniture to the side of the room to make space for maximum three mats plus mine, and I’d teach Ashtanga, 6 – 7 on most Mondays and Thursdays. I did love it. I’d be crippled with nerves all afternoon, I’d teach the class and swoon at these happy yogi post-class faces. I knew I wanted to get my certificate and then just see how things were. Jacking in the day job was the dream but it felt like an incredibly long way away and I was happy to be patient. That said, I didn’t tell my day job I was doing the training, just in case they thought I was planning to leave. Because I wasn’t. Well not immediately!

So now fast forwards to March, and graduation of the course which went pretty well!

I got certificate and thanked my friends for their support over the last three months. And that was that. Or so I thought. My friends, of course, had been practicing yoga once or twice a week for three months, and they felt better for it – they weren’t happy about it just stopping. But poor Chris, I’d kicked him out every time I hosted a class and the floor was completely scratched from moving all the furniture around – the classes at the flat weren’t a long term solution. So I started to sort of day dream about maybe, just possibly, teaching a class somewhere… I did a bit of research and found Trinity Church, which wasn’t operating as church any longer, but had a huge art display, it was pretty perfect. It was £20 per hour (or £50 with the heating on. Well we were practicing Ashtanga which is pretty warm and I just hoped for good weather!) I took the leap and booked in Mondays and Wednesdays 6 – 7. I knew my friends would pay £5 each, I could keep my hand in teaching and they’d get their regular practice. It all seemed pretty good. Things at the day job were a bit better and I was just happy to see how it panned out.

But the classes got busier, and busier and busier and soon, there wasn’t enough space in the church for everyone. I took another leap and upsized; from Trinity Church to an art studio which was a little harder to find, and – as it turned out – had a leaky roof, but it was pretty much perfect for my needs. But again the classes got busier. I ended up teaching two on a Monday and two on a Wednesday so I could fit everyone in. This is sort why I wanted to tell my story. I never wrote a business plan; like I’ll teach this many then I’ll upgrade to this size of a space… it all just sort of happened. My intention was to remember people’s names and to be reliable. If I said I was teaching a class, I’d be there. And that was it. Oh and I gave Savasana adjustments in every single class without fail.

So, it’s Summer 2013, I have four classes of my own, plus two at a gym and I’m starting to think that this does not work alongside a full time job, so I start to consider my options, including, full time yoga teaching. I’ve said this before, but at the time, I had no one who was financially dependent on me. I rented and it was on a rolling monthly basis. I didn’t have my dog at the time. If it went belly up, I could move in with my mum so the risk was minimal.

After a lot of thinking, I just wrote down all the things that I needed to stay alive and out of jail; rent, food, council tax, TV license etc. It added up to about £800 per month, and I was making that through yoga, so an easy to make. I handed in my notice the next day.

Once I’d finished the full time office job, I started to explore doing some digital work but on a consulting basis which worked really well; it was at a desk, so not physical, and it kept my hand in that industry just in case I had made a terrible decision! I accepted loads of cover and loads of opportunities. I was in my early twenties and had so much energy, I was teaching 28 classes a week at one point, which is absolutely ridiculous and completely unsustainable but it worked for me at the time, and I think because I made such an effort to get to know people and to offer savasana adjustments, and I really prioritised being reliable which not many yoga teachers were, the opportunities gave rise to more opportunities, and by the end of 2013, I was able to start turning down the classes that didn’t suit me or that didn’t pay as well as others.

So that’s my journey to becoming full time. Like I say, there weren’t loads of yoga teachers around at the time, and some of those who were around would forget they had a class so wouldn’t turn up to teach it, or would double book themselves and so on and so work came easily when gyms and studios knew I could be trusted. I’d love to say I had it all planned out but it wasn’t like that. However, I have seen so many people with part time or full time yoga teaching careers that they love, that I feel it really can be created and cultivated now in the landscape we’re in, and if you’re thinking of taking the leap, listen to episode 35 and or book in a mentoring session with me, I’d love to help!

Thanks for listening, and please do tell me about your journey, your plans, your dreams, I’d love to know!

Thank you,