How to find a job as a Yoga teacher
Now that you’re a certified teacher, it is time for the next step: Finding work. There might be a few bitter truths in this article because of how many new Yoga teachers are out there, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make your dream of becoming a Yoga teacher reality. Just know that it involves patience and optimism.
1.Don’t quit your job immediately
It might be tempting to turn your life around and start working as a full-time Yoga teacher, but stay realistic: With thousands of new certified Yoga teachers every year, there is more supply than demand. That doesn’t mean it is impossible, but it might take some time before yoga can become your only source of income, so don’t start writing your resignation letter just yet. Teaching Yoga full-time can also be quite stressful if you’re working at more than one studio (which is the case for many Yoga teachers that make their living teaching Yoga): You might have to rush from one class to the next, which is why many people keep it a part-time job. But if you find that teaching Yoga brings you a lot of joy and you want to do it every day, then go for it!
2.Offer to assist at your favourite studio
This is a great way of gaining some experience without being fully responsible for the class: A more experienced teacher is leading the class, and you get to watch, learn from them and help them with adjustments, or you might get to teach fragments of the class. The main teacher might also become your mentor, and answer your questions, as well as give you feedback on your sequencing, adjustments etc. Maybe you’ll even be allowed to teach your own class once you’ve gained some experience or when your mentor is sick or busy, or the studio will accept you as a new teacher.
3.Think outside the box/Yoga studio
It doesn’t always have to be a Yoga studio; There are now schools, hotels and gyms that offer Yoga classes too. You will have to adapt your teaching style, but you’ll learn valuable skills that help you find your own voice as a teacher. You could also start offering Yoga classes at your main job for your colleagues during lunch break.
4.Know your value
I’m not saying you should refuse every job that is below 50$ per hour: Your first classes might be donation based or in exchange for accommodation, and it might be nice to get the chance to teach without pressure. It’s also a great opportunity to find your style as a Yoga teacher, but once you’ve gained some experience, you’re a certified Yoga instructor who has taught classes before. Don’t let employers talk down your skills with the goal of paying you less: If somebody can’t appreciate what you’re doing, you should look somewhere else for work.
Attend classes at studios you enjoy and have a chat with the instructor afterwards: Mention that you’re also a teacher (maybe leave your CV – see 6.Build your own Yoga CV), and that you’d be happy to teach for them. They might not be looking for someone right now, but maybe they’ll need a substitute teacher one day or one of their long-term teachers leaving.
6.Build your own Yoga CV
There might not be much on it yet, but make a CV that mentions your Teacher Training and your experiences teaching (and maybe writing about) Yoga. I wrote about Yoga before I started teaching, and while it might not be a great source of income, it is fun and something to add to your CV.
7.Use the internet to your advantage
Become part of Yoga teacher Facebook groups (like Yoga Jobs All Over The World), sign up to Yoga Alliance and search the web for jobs. This is also great for people who would like to teach abroad: If you don’t have a certain place in mind, it is a lot easier to find a job and you can just go wherever Yoga takes you.
Let people know that you teach Yoga: Don’t overdo it, of course (nobody wants daily posts reminding them that their friend is now a Yoga teacher), but building an online presence can be useful: People might come across your website or remember your website when they’re looking for a teacher, and might contact you.
9.Get ready for Yoga Teacher Auditions
Once a studio (or any other place that teaches Yoga, as mentioned before it doesn’t have to be a studio) has shown interest, they will want you to audition for the job. Usually, they will require you to teach at least part of a class to evaluate your teaching skills. Ask important questions beforehand: What style am I teaching? What level are my students? Should I prepare a playlist or not? Then come up with a sequence:
10.Start writing Sequences
One of my teachers once told us how she taught her first Yoga class: She had completed her Teacher Training, but had no intention of teaching yet, she was just volunteering as a receptionist for a Yoga studio in exchange for free classes. One morning, ten minutes before a class, her phone rang: The teacher was sick and they didn’t have a replacement. “This is your chance to teach your first class!”, her boss told her.
“But I didn’t prepare anything…I need some time…”
–“Well, improvisation is an essential skill for Yoga teachers. Have fun!”
She hung up, and my teacher proceeded to teach her first class: “I was very nervous, and the class probably wasn’t great, but in hindsight I’m very glad I got pushed to do it: I probably wouldn’t be here now if it wasn’t for that first unprepared class.”
Although it is unlikely that this will happen to you, always have a sequence or two prepared (one for beginners, one with more intermediate options), ideally you should be so familiar with them that you can remember them without notes. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with teaching a class with notes: It is reassuring and saves you if you’re having a blackout, but should you ever be in a situation where you need to teach spontaneously, you might not have your notes with you.
11.Make your classes unique
Nothing too crazy, but teach what you enjoy: If you really like playful Vinyasa classes, chances are you’d also enjoy teaching them. You want people to be able to tell a difference between you and the next teacher. We always try to be good at everything, but focus on one or two Yoga styles you’re comfortable teaching instead and make them your specialty. Remember that not everyone has to like your class. Not only is it impossible to please everyone (some might think it was too easy, others found it too hard, maybe you smile too little according to the lady in the second row, but the lady with the red Yoga pants think you smile too much etc.), it is also quite paradoxical to give up your real personality when you teach: Yoga teaches us self-acceptance and self-love, so how could a teacher lead a class trying to hide his or her personality to please his/her students?
12.Maintain your own Yoga practice
It is easy to lose sight of your own Yoga practice when you’re busy looking for a job as a teacher, but this is crucial to becoming a good teacher: It is difficult to understand your students’ struggles if you’ve given up your own practice. Your passion and love for Yoga will show in your teachings – if that passion is gone, it becomes just like any other job, and you’ll likely get bored soon.
13.Believe in yourself
I know, I should put a dollar in the cliché jar for that title, but things might get a bit frustrating at first: There are so many Yoga teachers with no experience out there that it is hard to make employers understand why they should pick you. If you can’t find a job straight away, don’t let that bring you down or doubt your skills as a teacher. Maybe the market is saturated in the area you live in, and you to have wait for a few months for opportunities to open up. Keep on practicing and offer free classes to friends and family, or donation-based classes in a park/office etc.