Yoga Hero: Teachers Podcast – Episode 43

43: Should yoga teachers care about money?

One of the things that is endlessly frustrating about teaching yoga is:

Yoga is so beneficial, it should be accessible to absolutely everyone’


‘Don’t teach for free! You’ll undervalue yoga!’

Is there another industry, or another career, where one person will come across the same conflict of ‘charge more!’ and ‘charge less!’ time and time again?

This episode  explores the question:

Should yoga teachers care about money?

We cover:

  • Why yoga teachers often feel guilty about charging for classes
  • Why there’s commonly an issue with yoga teachers valuing their time, knowledge and efforts
  • The morality of earning money from yoga
  • Teaching yoga for free
  • What about times when people genuinely can’t afford your classes
  • And much more

Listen:Should yoga teachers care about money? right here:

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Convertkit Tips

In this podcast episode we take a look at why teaching completely for free might not be advisable. However, sometimes you do just want to teach not for full price, to take the pressure off, to get some experience, or both!

That’s why we’ve fallen a little bit in love with Convertkit tips – they allow you to accept income, at the customer’s discretion, without relying on coins in a bucket (because no one seems to have cash on them these days!)

Please note that if you sign up to Convertkit with our special link, Yoga Hero might receive a small commission, but we’d never, ever recommend anything that we don’t believe to be incredibly useful.

Create your Convertkit Tip Jar

Step 1

Create your Convertkit account using this link

Step 2

Create your tip jar; just give it a name, a little explanation such as ‘Pay what you can for my Restorative Yoga workshop’, and an image

Step 3

Convertkit will create a link; copy this, save it somewhere you can access anytime, and share, share, share!

Listen to Should yoga teachers care about money?‘ 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

Prefer to watch?

Should yoga teachers care about money?

Transcript – Should yoga teachers care about money?

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.

One of the things that frustrates me endlessly about teaching yoga is:

Yoga is so beneficial, it should be accessible to absolutely everyone’


‘Don’t teach for free! You’ll undervalue yoga!’

I really struggle to think of another industry or another career where one person will come across the same conflict of ‘charge more!’ and ‘charge less!’ time and time again. Do you agree? Type conflict in the comments if so, let’s see how many of us have experienced this!

Speaking of conflict; I may as well say that I’m in a huge conflict here when it comes to talking about yoga teachers’ earnings, because I’m a passionate advocate for yoga teachers but I’m also a studio owner. As an advocate for healthy, thriving yoga teachers, I’d love to say that yoga teachers should be paid minimum £50 per class. But as a studio owner, I know that would close the studio within a month and then the teachers get precisely none pounds. Zilch. Nothing.

Anyway, let me properly introduce this episode. This episode is exploring the question: Should yoga teachers care about money? It’s also exploring why yoga teachers often feel guilty about charging for classes. Why there’s commonly an issue with yoga teachers valuing their time, knowledge and efforts. The morality of earning money from yoga. Teaching yoga for free. What about times when people genuinely can’t afford your classes and much more. It’s a big topic and I think I’m probably just scratching the surface, so it’s probably one wed come back to, and we would love to hear your thoughts on what is a very important and really quite controversial topic.

Ok let’s go.

Feeling guilty about earning money from yoga

I mean why dilly dally about here – let’s go straight in with a big question hey!!

I’m not sure where this comes from, but it seems to be really common. When yoga teachers set their price for classes, workshops, one to ones, corporates etc, they will – more often than not – go on the low side. I’m sure this is tied up in self-worth, and who knows, maybe one day we can do a study about that. Maybe it’s also tied up in ideas and concepts like renunciation; like aparigraha – non-hoarding, that by being a yoga teacher we’re moving down a path towards not wanting or needing material things. Maybe it’s because we want to prove that we’re yoga teachers to help people first and foremost. Maybe it’s combination of some or all of these things.


Let’s acknowledge that feeling guilty earning a living through yoga is common, however, that doesn’t mean that it’s right. In order for you to pay your mortgage or your rent, to put food on the table, to pay for all the other things that are necessary as a human in this period in time, plus of course registration with an alliance if you have that, insurance, continuing education to ensure you’re the best yoga teacher you can be, travel and so much more, in order for you to pay for all of these things, you have to earn a living. It’s as simple as that!

What about teaching for ‘free’?

Hmmmmm. Yeah. Teaching yoga for free. I’m not a fan! Not really. On our teacher training course, we encourage teachers to teach what we call Pay As You Feel classes – these go on to the timetable and people, the general public can book on. Now, the reason I’m mentioning this here is because the teachers don’t get paid for these classes. The tiny amount that does come in goes to paying bills. BUT the teacher is getting really valuable experience; they get to see how people move in response to their instructions. Often an experienced teacher will attend and give feedback. And so the exchange is the yoga teacher, or trainee teacher’s time in exchange for feedback and experience.

You might also teach a class for free but suggest attendees donate to a chosen charity. And lastly, another time that it’s common to teach for free is essentially an introduction session, or a taster session where you’ll encourage attendees to sign up to a course, for example.

I do have concerns about teaching totally for free, one concern is that it implies that yoga can be free and then customers might start wondering why they have to pay when they do have to pay ‘because it’s always been free’ so that’s tricky to navigate. But also – we’re yoga teachers because yoga has had probably an immeasurable impact on our lives, and we want to share the benefits of it with others. When something is ‘free’ it holds – literally – no value. When we’ve put free stuff on at the studio, people book on but don’t come; like 90% of people who book on don’t come, because they don’t see a value in it. So by not coming, they’re not practicing yoga, and so we’re not even satisfying our aim of sharing yoga!

But, what about when people genuinely can’t afford your classes?

Well, I’ve already mentioned this, but how about a PAYF option; people throw cash in a bucket, or donate via a Convertkit tip or something (if you want to know more about Convertkit tips, take a look at our show notes). Another option is a pay it forward  scheme, where those who are better off can pay for two yoga classes, and donate one to someone who needs it. This can all be done anonymously and can work really well.

Also, remember, someone who’s really struggling to pay for a class could rent a yoga book from their library for free, or could follow along with a YouTube class if they have access to the internet. You could even film something yourself and offer it for free to reach those that are struggling financially if this is something that you’re really keen to do but also you want to be able to eat and have a roof over your head!

Know your value

I’ve talked about this a few times across different episodes, so apologies for any repetition, but when I was leaving my – in inverted commas ‘proper job’ – the accountant at that job gave me one of the best bits of advice I’ve ever had in my entire life, which was to put a rate on my time ASAP. This is basically determining how much you earn, and how many hours you work, divide earnings by hours, and there’s your rate.

So let’s say that between studio classes, gym classes, online classes and a couple of one-to-ones per week, you’re earning £400 per week. As well as the physical teaching hours, ‘working’ also includes travel time, prep time and admin time, which adds up to 40 hours per week.

£400 divided by 40 hours = £10 an hour. I just want to stress that this example is TOTALLY hypothetical and not indicative of how much I think you should be earning / working.

Once you have your rate, and make a note to review this at least yearly, you’ll want to estimate how much time an offering takes you. For example, you might have been offered a new class at a studio. It’s one hour per week, but you have to do your own promo which will take you an hour, it’s about 20 minutes drive to get there, plus time to open up the studio, check people in, wave them off after class and lock up, so all in, you think it will take about 4 hours of your time each week. Using the maths we just did, reminder – the totally hypothetical rate we worked out was £10 per hour, so this class should pay you £40, or you’re effectively making a loss.

Now, in some ways, making a loss is ok. I’ve often talked about a class at a gym that I taught for a quite few months after I’d qualified. It took me about 45 minutes to walk there as I didn’t have a car, it was a 45 minute class, and then obviously 45 minutes to get home, and so it took about 2.5 hours of my time each week and it paid £12.50 – for effectively 2 and a half hours work, which is basically nothing, but I kept the class on for nearly a year because I got about 8 long-term one to one clients from it. So, knowing your value helps to give you a guide, it helps to give you information for an informed decision as to whether your work, and your worth are aligned.

This is something that I’m working on with quite a few yoga teachers on a mentoring basis at the moment, and it’s always really interesting which classes the teacher drops, and which they keep, it’s not a hard and fast rule at all, but a balance of ‘I love teaching that class’, or ‘people from that gym always book for my own classes’ or ‘I pop in to see my mum after that class and it basically pays for my fuel’ etc. So, if you feel like you’d benefit from a bit of a guiding hand navigating this, just give me a shout!

The chakra system and money

There’s a really interesting idea here from Eastern Body, Western Mind written by Anodea Judith, which is that it is important to feel safe in order to then work on self-esteem. I’ve boiled this way down and extracted it from its full meaning; but the principle is there and it’s really interesting. That in order to be a confident teacher; with self-belief in your knowledge and your ability, you have to feel safe and feeling safe and secure is having a roof over your head, food in fridge and money in the bank – amongst other things of course. Polyvagal theory says the same thing.

So – earning an income – or should I say – caring about money – can make you an even better yoga teacher.

Confidence and money

Throughout the episode, and throughout mentoring sessions, this has come up time and time again. That not charging enough, or not charging at all, can be linked with low self-worth and with imposter syndrome. Well good news for you, we’ve just updated and improved the super popular three day challenge Shatter Imposter Syndrome. So, if you haven’t done it before, or you haven’t done it for a while, go sign up today, because in just three days, you’ll have an understanding of what imposter syndrome is, how it affects you, and how to shatter it. Oh and it’s completely free, and it’s linked to in our show notes.

Remember the benefits of yoga

Yoga is pretty unique in that it is a tonic for the mind, body and spirit all at the same time. By sharing yoga, you’re probably helping people manage their stress. You might be helping people strengthen their body awareness, helping to prevent future injury. You might be sprinkling in philosophical nuggets that encourage people to slow down, so they’re not driving home like Lewis Hamilton risking an accident. You might encourage your yogis to be more mindful, so they take a beat to respond to their boss, or friend, or life partner and so an argument is avoided. You might give someone the tools to breathe more effectively helping them regulate their blood pressure and possibly avoiding medication. I know there’s so many cans and maybes and possibly, in there, but really – how many other things could we say here, if we all got together and shared the testimonials and text messages and thank you cards we’ve received from our yogis. I have cards in my drawer that say my classes have saved lives. Plural. These are huge things. Yes it would be wonderful if this could be made freely available to everyone, but like I said before – it is. Books. Youtube. Your free filmed class if you like. But you turning up, welcoming people in, teaching a class that you probably paid a lot out to learn how to teach in the first place. Offering modifications, variations, physical adjustments, advice – all so that the people in front of you can feel better than they did at the start of the class. It should be compensated. And it’s as simple as that.

Soon we’ll look at ways to boost your yoga teacher earnings, so if you have thoughts around this emotive topic, please do get in touch. Like I said at the beginning, we’re only just scratching the surface here. But yoga teacher, I hope that I’ve made my case that yes, you should care about earning money because your security, your confidence, your teaching and your yogis will all benefit.

Don’t forget to join the Shatter Imposter Syndrome challenge – it really is fab, it does wonders for improving self-worth, it really does.

If you’d be so kind to share this episode with other yoga teachers, we’d be really grateful. And don’t forget to subscribe to this channel so you next miss a breakdown of how to become, and stay, a passionate, thriving yoga teacher. And until next time, happy teaching!