It feels like everywhere I look, people are baring their bellies, bending backwards on beaches and enticing desk-bound bodies to peel themselves away from their laptops and into a world of yoga teacher training.
Perhaps this has had enough of an effect that you’re sitting at your desk, scrolling through websites about yoga and yoga teacher training right now, dreaming of an existence that breeds health and joy.
If you’re considering becoming a yoga teacher, I’m going to give it to you straight. Here are a few truths you may want to consider before kicking off your heels and swapping spreadsheets for a lifetime of Savasana….
Yoga teaching truths
TRUTH: You’ll have to take a pay cut.
I’m sure you’ve already considered this. You’re a smart person and you’re not about to leap without savings. However, it took me a good few years to really find my feet and work up a regular stream of income. I taught yoga classes and privates, as well as taking up a role at Lululemon, before I had enough of a teaching reputation to go solo with it. On top of this, unless you find a studio that will pay you a salary (very rare) you’ll have to take into consideration not being paid if you’re sick or on holidays.
TRUTH: Be prepared to hustle.
And, trust me, I aint no natural hustler. If you are, then fab, you have a head start. You need to put yourself out there and be prepared to do a few free gigs until you carve a reputation. With so many people doing their yoga teacher training and having just completed it, competition is high and everyone is after a job. After a while, word of mouth worked for me but I had to fine-tune my entrepreneurial skills first.
TRUTH: Doing teacher training is a change agent, but it won’t solve all your problems.
I used to think, “once I do my YTT, everything will change… I’ll be a better person, an oasis of calm and epically bendy”. But realistically, training will start you on a long and juicy journey of discovery that you can only scratch in one life-time. Yes, it will create positive and long lasting change, but you have to be willing to take a good hard look at yourself and put in the work that deep development requires.
TRUTH: It’s physically taxing.
My first year of teaching yoga was pretty cruisey and I had a vibrant Bondi tan to match my seemingly ideal career. When things really picked up and I had more classes than I knew what to do with, the tan faded and so did my energy levels. Although I was starting to get my savings back up, my health started to take a turn and I was at the point of exhaustion. Teaching yoga is physically demanding and ‘energetically’ you’re giving loads. Proper rest and time management are crucial to make it work.
TRUTH: Your own practice will suffer from time to time.
The more work you pick up, the more those times you used to practice become work hours instead. My advice on this is to get disciplined in your training and practice hours and stick to the times you have blocked out for them. Yoga is medicine – don’t forget to take yours.
The above are all truths from my own experience. I love what I do and am blessed to be where I am in my career, however, I’ve worked hard and have, at times, put my own health after others to my own detriment. I’ll never get used to early starts and late nights either. This shouldn’t deter you; it’s intended to keep myself honest, you honest and to really ignite a fire in your belly for teaching if it’s for the right reasons.
What’s your intention and how do you want to feel in your life and career? If the answer is to give back to your community, grow as a person and are not afraid to be vulnerable, put yourself out there and others first, then perhaps leading yoga classes is for you.