If you got here, it is because you probably have many tabs open trying to research and understand where to start or what to do to become a Yoga Teacher. Please stay with me as I will try to explain a few things, as I have been there my friend.
We are in the middle of a pandemic, and we may have more time now at home, or maybe been furloughed, or been made redundant. Or maybe we just realised that is time to do something different with our lives. So yes, we want to become a Yoga teacher!
Everybody starts with the same question. Whether you have been practicing Yoga for years or whether you have tried a few classes but you liked it so much that you would see yourself teaching, becoming a Yoga professional is not the same at all than practising it.
First thing to know is that, there is so much information online about Yoga, that it can be confusing to know where to start and to distinguish between honest and truthful information and those that only want to sell to you. I know. And I know this because I have been (and I am) in the same path that you are right now.
My purpose is to make things simple for you, to avoid spending time in researching but more in practising and learning! If I have been there, why wouldn’t I simplify things for you?
In this post, let’s give a clear answer to a couple of questions you may have!
Do I like teaching?
This is a question you may know the answer to already or not. Teaching is not for everyone, but this does not mean you can’t learn to teach. ‘I can’t teach’, ‘I don’t have patience’, ‘I get nervous in front of people’ ‘ English is not my native language so it is harder for me’ are phrases I generally hear from different people. How do you know if you can’t if you have not tried? Yoga is all about evolution and leaving the prejudices aside!
Besides, it is not the same to teach something you don’t really like – like maths to me – than something you love. You will be inspiring other people and taking them to your own Yoga path. It is really awesome to be able to transmit technique, but also passion.
A couple of things to consider when teaching Yoga is understanding that this is not your practise. You go on and off the mat to teach. That means you don’t need to worry about your physical exhaustion (as you don’t need to do all the exercises you are teaching and you will learn with time to teach even more and more off the mat) but it is also important to know that because you are a Yoga Teacher your weekly workout is NOT done. Many teachers get on the class to show all the exercises and forget they have students that are looking and struggling to do the poses. Finding a balance between demonstrating, correcting, and using clear verbal queues is key for you to shine as a teacher. And this is all learnt over time. Being completely focused on the practise you are teaching will give you the comfort and experience you need to face different challenges in your classes.
Many times you won’t realise whether you like to teach a class or not until you are in front of the crew. And that is totally fine! Many teachers realise they don’t like to teach in person but they are happy with the learning they got as they can apply it to their own practise. Also, becoming a Yoga teacher is not all about teaching on the mat. You can go into blogging, e-commerce, coaching, having your own studio without teaching, and so many other ways where to show and transmit your passion to others – and make money, of course -. Becoming a Yoga teacher won’t be a time waste of your time for sure.
Do I know what Yoga Style I would like to teach?
There are several Yoga Styles and some of them are completely different. It might have happened to you when you started practising Yoga that you tried a class you did not like and then you thought ‘ well, maybe Yoga is not as amazing as I thought’. It will take time for you to find the style that makes you feel good, but also the style you like to teach! You could be a Power Yoga practitioner but you may end up teaching Yin Yoga as it is less demanding and because you want to target another public.
The great thing is that you can teach any style you want and you do not have to stick to just one. You could have several classes during the day or the week and you could adjust the style depending on yours and the clientele energy. For example, you might teach a Restorative class late in the evenings to improve student’s relaxation and start in the morning with a vigorous Vinyasa Class.
Overall, I would suggest that your main training is based in Hatha, Vinyasa or Ashtanga Yoga and from there you can do shorter courses to specialize in other styles.
Now, do you know what each style is about and the differences between each of them? I explain this clearly and concisely in this post!
Do I need a certification to teach Yoga?
No, you are not required to have a certification to teach Yoga. However, it is highly advised that you train with a school, even if you have been practising for several years.
Being a Yoga practitioner does not give you full knowledge needed for teaching, where not only anatomic technique and Yoga history is learnt, but also the proper pedagogic skills.
Besides, schools and recruiters will value much more those teachers with a legitimate certification – and most of the insurances that are compulsory to teach require a certification of course attendance -.
What Yoga course is best for me?
It really depend son a few factors:
Price and Location
It all depends on where you are based and where you want to study. Yoga courses taught in person are usually quite pricey. In London for example, you should expect to pay between GBP 1,500 and 4,500 for a certified course. As you can see, the price difference is huge as different schools have different certifications and vary in the number of contact hours and the size of the group. Click here for a list of the best schools in London for all price ranges.
Convenience and duration
There are courses for all tastes in terms of time and length. Usually, you could do training in 1 month if you commit to it full time. Unfortunately, not many of us can take so much time off at work. Hence, If you work full time and you are not able to commit to 9 to 5 courses you will also find weekend and evening schools that spread the duration of the training over 4, 6 months and even a year or more. Click here to check which schools are offered on a weekday or weekend module.
You are in your hometown, easy to combine with your daily activities, the more you spread it, the more time you have to study, the in-person and hands-on experience is quite unique and special and you build a community with the other students.
More expensive than other options and it can be quite exhausting not to have many free weekends for a while.
Doing the course abroad is a popular alternative if you are free to spend a few weeks in a lovely place learning Yoga teaching skills. The whole experience is really special as you get to have a ‘hard working holiday’ usually in a paradise.
Many of them are in India – of course, where else – and prices are much lower than in London including means and accommodation! You would expect to pay around GBP 1000 to GBP 2000 in total, excluding flights.
There are also many schools in Europe that are taught in English where you can have a similar experience for a lower price as well than in London.
Beautiful location, more connected to the practice as it is a daily course, cheaper than in the UK, a one life experience.
You need to take 3 or 4 weeks time off
COVID-19 accelerated the online learning experience. Although we already had many schools providing online certifications before, most of them were not ready to teach online. However, the pandemic created a mindset change and schools had to speed up their online presence.
Many people – pre-Covid – thought that online courses were not the same than in-person It could be true as there is no hands-on approach, however, the modern technologies made online learning so great that you not only have constant support but also access to the learning documents and videos 24/7, all from the comfort of your home. I am a big supporter of online training, providing it is a quality course. My recommendations here.
International entities, such as Yoga Alliance, would not approve a course delivered online, as the ‘ contact hours’ were compulsory. That would mean you could take a percentage of the course online, but some contact in person hours were compulsory.
During the pandemic, Yoga Alliance decided that for those students at schools registered with the entity and offering an online course -providing it is the same quality than the in person course- can be certified with Yoga Alliance standards as well as with the Yoga School. Due to the ongoing nature of COVID-19, and for now, Yoga Alliance is extending the temporary online provision allowing for existing approved RYSs to offer in-person contact hours via virtual formats through the end of 2020.
It is key for your decision in choosing a course whether you want it to be Yoga Alliance certified or not.
Another great point of online courses is that they are usually cheaper as most of the training is pre-recorded with live sessions. If this is the case then the course is usually self paced. Other schools offer live training only and you have to adjust to their time schedule – and the price might not differ as much as an in person training.
Also, by doing a 100% online course you get to choose any school in the world! Price range really varies, more than in person, and it can range between £300 to £1,500.
Much cheaper than in person, convenient as you do it from your home, can be self paced
Lack of in person human connection
Can I make my Yoga teaching a full-time job?
I would reply with a rhetorical question: why not?
If you feel you would like to become a full time teacher, there is nothing that prevents you from doing it.
Now, how easy/hard it is to earn a full time living is a different question. People’s meaning of ‘life’ differs from one person to the other. Here a few facts that will help you made the appropriate decisions depending on what you want to do with your time and life:
Offer vs demand
In today’s world, Yoga became quite popular in the western part of the world. Demand was followed by an offer, so today you can find many Yoga teachers willing to share their work. That means there are many people with the same type of skills you could have and willing to have the same idea/business. That does not mean it is impossible, as there are many people with the same professions out there. However, wow you differentiate yourself and the steps you take to make your profile interesting to students is key.
How to start teaching after the certificate
When you finish the training, it is not easy at all to start teaching straight away, but it all depends on your personality. Some teachers go straight to teach a regular class, however I would suggest starting covering classes. It is the best practice as you can have a class prepared in your mind and try it with different people without having to worry about changing the sequences, until you start acquiring that ‘ real life’ teaching experience that gives you more confidence to start tweaking your classes.
Getting to a full time Yoga job
it is not easy to start working 9-5 as a Yoga teacher as you can imagine. Unless you are hired by a studio as a full-time teacher, you will probably start by having single classes here and here. You should expect to teach early mornings and late evenings as well as it is when the majority of people are off work.
it all depends on where you live and how you want to work: as freelance for another school, or to have your own classes. In London the average group hourly pay rate is GBP 30/GBP 35 before tax. There are schools that pay more, others less, and some others also increase the hourly rate for experienced teachers. Now, if you have your own group classes, your private classes or private group classes, rates are much higher, but you will also have the studio rent cost to deduct.
Let’s say you hire a studio that fits 10 people and you are charging each of them 10GBP per class. That would make it 100GBP the hour, not bad at all, right? Probably the studio costs will be about 30/40GBP though so you would end up with 60/70GBP the hour PRE TAX. Average the double that if you are hired by a school. Please note these are all average prices and there are always changes and more/less money you can earn along with more/less costs you can deduct.
With COVID 19, online classes came to stay. There was a lot of confusion around the rates that should be charged, especially as many people don’t feel like an online class has the same impact than an in person class and also due to the amount of free offer online. Many teachers also decided to offer free classes for certain populations i.e: unemployed, medical workers, which made the price mix more variant. Now that online seems to be the new normal for many people, teachers start to find a fixed rate which is normally the same or a bit less than what they would charge in person. Charging a bit less is my recommendation, as you can definitely gauge more people in an online setting without increasing your studio costs.
Online Marketing IS important
Let’s face it, online is more important than ever. We need to recycle and recreate ourselves, especially during and after the pandemic, as things won’t be the same and your online profile is the way you will be able to reach more people.
It is not easy if you are like me that were never the techy type – and yes, look at myself now having a blog! There are too many platforms and social media sites, that it can be really confusing to understand where to market ourselves better at the lowest cost. I remember when I started, I used to open 20 tabs and then close them all together as I did not know where to start from.
Also, there is a ‘training’ boom where everyone seems to have the magic lamp to turn your teaching into the business of your life. It is critical that you learn to identify the real good stuff out there so you don’t waste your time and money, but on the contrary you capitalize it with the best learning.
There are so many more questions that I hope to clarify in other posts, but please contact me for anything you want to know about Yoga.
And remember, Yoga is a path, not a destination, enjoy every step.