Posts

How To (Actually) Make Money As A Yoga Instructor

Let’s face it, nobody goes into yoga teaching to become rich. But yoga instructors can make money! 

It’s true.

There are dozens of yoga teacher millionaires and countless more that earn enough money to live comfortably in a first world country…

…which, compared to many yoga teaching gigs right now, is pretty impressive.

And it’s my job to help these teachers make money. As a digital marketer, I work with people in the yoga industry to help them get traffic to their websites, connect with others in the industry, and grow their virtual wallets every step of the way.

Since I truly believe that teaching yoga does not need to be an act of service and that we all gotta eat without killing ourselves, I’ve made it my mission to help other yoga teachers succeed too.

So here is my best advice for yoga teachers who want to earn more money than the poverty-level wages they’re currently earning in this industry.

1. Know Your Worth

This may seem obvious and maybe even a little fluffy, but it’s the biggest piece of advice that I can give right now. So many of us are drawn to the yoga industry because we believe in its healing powers and we want to promote good in the world.

But that doesn’t mean that your profession needs to be an act of Seva.

It also doesn’t mean that you need to charge exorbitant prices just to reflect your worth.

Instead, take stock of what expertise you have, how much time and energy you put into your work, and what would make all of it worthwhile.

When you’re working as a freelancer, it’s super easy to feel like you need to accept any and all work that comes your way. Full-time teaching gigs in exchange for shared accommodations is hardly worth your time. 

You can find part-time teaching gigs for accommodations, food, and even pay, so why settle for something that provides less.

Even if you’re brand new and you’re not expecting pay at first, make sure that you’re valuing your time and energy in other ways. By setting firm boundaries like this, you are not only helping yourself but also every other yoga teacher in the industry. We lift each other by lifting ourselves.

Here are a few helpful resources to help you decide what you want to charge:

2. Get Online, Now

If COVID-19 taught us anything, it’s that the whole world is moving online. No matter what your feelings about it are, your potential customers and students will be online with or without you.

And if you wanna make money with them, then you need to be online too.

The difficult part about this is that working online takes time. No matter how good you are at teaching yoga, writing about yoga, or editing yoga videos, it takes time to build an audience. 

Understanding and even befriending the algorithms of social media and Google takes time. Finding your audience takes time. Establishing trust takes time.

So, my advice? Get online right now.

Even if you don’t want to teach online right now, you’ll be glad you did it in two or three years when you start making money online.

Whether you build yourself a website with a blog like this one that you’re reading, or you create a YouTube channel, it’s important to understand that it’s a long-game and that any work that you do right now will continue to pay itself off for years to come.

Here are some helpful resources to get you started with going online:

3. Start Making Virtual Connections

Listen, as much as we all wish that the yoga industry was immune to popularity contests, that’s just not the case.

It’s all about who you know, not what you know.

So even if you know the best alignment cues, play the best music, teach the best translation of the Bhagavad Gita…

…if you don’t know enough people to give your best to, then you will be teaching in a vacuum.

This is even more true with online stuff.

Both the Google and YouTube algorithms bank on how many people you virtually know and how many of them are engaging with you. Just like you need to network at your local yoga studio or gym to find new students, you absolutely must network online for the same reasons.

By making virtual connections, you will

  • Strengthen your website, making it easier for students to find (and hire) you
  • Increase your reach on social media
  • Get more views on YouTube
  • Find teaching gigs around the world
  • Make solid connections with other like-minded yoga teachers

I know this might sound too good to be true, but since this is literally my day job for at least one millionaire yoga teacher, I can assure you that it works.

Here are a few ways to start networking right now:

    • Guest Posts – There’s a reason you see all of the most famous yoga teachers on all of the yoga publications… because they are networking! Find your favorite yoga blogs and shoot them an email to see if they accept guest writers. Explain that you are a yoga teacher who is simply trying to increase her exposure and ask what would be the most helpful topic to contribute. Oh, and just a warning: there will be a lot of rejection. Like dating, blogging is a numbers game. The more pitches you make, the more success you will have.
    • Yoga Challenges – Connect with other yoga teachers on social media and see if they’d be interested in doing a yoga challenge with you. By getting a group together, you’re not only exposing yourself to their audiences, but you’re also supporting them in growing their audiences too. It’s a fun way to get some buzz started around your brand that costs you nothing.
    • Yoga For A CauseYogis love good deeds. It’s a major part of the practice, after all. Creating a yoga program that does good is something that everyone can get behind. Just like yoga challenges bring in lots of different yogis to work together, so does a charity. You can create a program that supports a cause and then rally the troops to get involved.

4. Refine Your Niche

Not everyone is going to like you and you’re not going to like teaching everyone.

And that’s okay. In fact, that makes things super easy.

Instead of trying to become the yoga teacher for everyone, focus on being the yoga teacher you would want. Narrow in on your favorite things about yoga and heavily incorporate that into your brand.

Why?

Because there are other people out there who are obsessed with the same aspects of yoga as you are and are craving more knowledge and more guidance on the topic. It’s how I found my Tantra yoga teacher training (I’m obsessed with classical Tantra) and it’s how my clients found me (a digital marketer who is also a yoga practitioner).

Plus, when you teach your favorite stuff, your passion and glow will shine through. I can tell you that there is no paid ad, no marketing scheme, and absolutely no brand name that can out-compete that glow that comes from authentic and unbridled passion.

Here are a few successful yoga teachers who have found their niche:

5. Become A Teacher Trainer

Maybe this is obvious, but maybe it’s not, so it’s worth listing here. Assisting on teacher trainings makes you a respectable amount of money compared to teaching individual yoga classes. So it makes sense to work a few teacher trainings into your yearly schedule if you want to make good money as a yoga teacher.

If you haven’t already, start taking the steps to complete a 500-hour yoga teacher training course to make you eligible to teach other yoga teachers.

I recommend finding a course that teaches on the concepts you’re most passionate about (to stay aligned with Tip #4) and one that can legitimately teach you about the yoga business.

And if you have your eyes on a yoga school that you’d like to work with, then see if they have an advanced teacher training program that you can join. This would help you network (Tip #3), refine your niche (Tip #4), and qualify you to teach at teacher trainings (Tip #5).

6. Stay Active Both Online And In Real Life

If you’ve made it this far in the list, then great job!

Now, don’t stop there.

Make yourself a spreadsheet and keep track of all of the networking and outreach that you do each week. Create a content plan for your blog, social media, or YouTube channel and consistently make new content. Reach out to yoga gigs via YogaTrade and continue to grow your experience and your network.

This is an on-going process that will fill all of your time outside the yoga studio. If you treat it like a full-time job, it will soon pay you like one (I promise).

Final Thoughts

If you’re just trying to spread more yoga and meditation in the world, then this online stuff can seem a little exhausting. But the more that you network, the more that you can spread yoga and meditation!

If you have any questions or would like some guidance, I’m more than happy to have a chat. You can find me on Linkedin. I’ll help connect you with the right resources to grow your brand and your income because I honestly believe there is enough room for all of us to succeed.

 

 

 

Author Bio | Marquis Matson

I’m a digital nomad and yoga practitioner. I can’t change the world in big and impressive ways, but I can use my privilege, my resources, and my access to promote good in the world and help others. So I’m on a mission to help spread yoga and meditation to the world by helping people discover yoga. You can find me on Linkedin or on my plant-based blog, RealRawKitchen

 

Entrepreneurship and Evolution of Yoga: Adi Shakti

At first thought, the mix of entrepreneurship and yoga may seem like a paradox. Mixing business and yoga!? But really, when we are able to free ourselves from duality, we see that all things, including entrepreneurship and yoga are deeply connected. How incredible is it to be able to weave threads of yoga into our businesses and everyday livelihood. Also, a current theme in yoga evolution today is that of leadership. Taking responsibility as a teacher of yoga to not only teach students how to keep calm in challenging physical postures, but also how to step off the mat, lead with the heart, and ignite positive change within community. We are fortunate to live in a time where there are many extraordinary teachers of yoga offering many amazing things. Here with catch up with with one of these extraordinary yoga warriors; Adi Shakti. This woman and teacher blends her journey to purpose, devotional service, and professional development in a beautiful way. Continue to read and be inspired by her story and actions:

Tell us about your yoga journey…

I am a philosopher by nature, and I have been obsessed with the big questions since I was a little girl. I lost a lot of people I loved early in my life – and it made me terribly curious about the WHY of our human experience. Why are we here? And what are we to do with this life? This led me to higher study of the great thinkers through my time at University, and eventually I stumbled across the yogic philosophy. I had never found a philosophy that also gave such a clear path to not only knowing God, but also to having a direct experience of God. Through lifestyle, the body, the breath, and the practice of meditation. I was fascinated.

This is what started my journey into the lifestyle and philosophy. I did my initial training with the Shambhavananda discipline in Chicago, and a couple of years later spent a few months in India where I studied with my master Yogrishi Vishvketu. Since then, I have continued my own studentship and have also started my own yoga school where I have educated other seekers at the 200 hour, 300 hour, Pre-Natal and Trauma Informed professional certification levels. I am now partnered with Yoga Journal teaching Trauma Sensitive Facilitator Skills Training certifications around the United States – to focus even more on the BIG question – How can the yoga community serve as a powerful vehicle for social change? And this is my passion and focus currently.

When did you start Passion Yoga School and how did it come about? Can you share some of the highs and lows of creating and operating a yoga school?

The school started in 2014, and I began the logistics of running the business shortly before I moved back to the small Caribbean town I call home in Costa Rica. I wanted to offer phenomenal education, and I wanted the quality and style of what we were offering to dance to a radically different drum. I wanted authenticity, shared intimacy, tears, jungle mud, sexual liberation education, conscious business growth mastermind, trauma sensitive discussion, and to start a MOVEMENT of passionate soulworkers – rather than just crank out more physical practice focused teachers more concerned with the brand on their back than the soul in their teachings (sorry not sorry). I wanted to offer pristine education on the bio-mechanics of the physical body – but I wanted my students to leave with a profound understanding that this is just the FIRST STEP, and that our job as teachers is to work with the body as a vessel for profound emotional, mental, and spiritual healing.

This was the vision, and we started at super small platforms where people would provide their own room and board in the town. And in 2017, we FINALLY manifested our own Experimental Yogic Living Center deep in the jungle. Permaculture baby. Dry toilets, beautiful recycled container housing – and all the jungle we need to chant, scream, cry, dance, sweat and do our primal work without complaints from the neighbors.

It’s NOT always easy. And sometimes the work that we do is misunderstood, and sometimes that is difficult to handle as a sensitive leader who carries so much. We talk sex, money, race, privilege, respect for the lineage, working with broken hearts, and there is a lot of CHARGE around all of these topics. Sometimes, I am the target of people’s frustration with the way things are in the world, and I am always always being invited to step up and do what I do better. Sometimes, it’s exhausting. And I am committed (radically) to the process of receiving feedback, doing the work I need to do to put my ego aside – and sort through my own inner truth system to see how, when and if I need to change the route of this ship based on others (sometimes very mean) invitations for growth. You can learn more about Passion Yoga School here.

What wisdom do you have to share with yoga teachers who want to start teaching Yoga Teacher Trainings?

Have accountability. Whatever it is that you are doing – you can do it with more awareness. You can create a more loving container. We all have blind spots to the triggers of our students, and it is our responsibility to dig deeper and deeper into what it means to truly hold SACRED, SAFE, INCLUSIVE space. Commit to studentship, even as you sit at the front of the room. Know that every student will be a different medicine FOR you, and will perhaps need a different medicine FROM you. Honor your boundaries, lead by example. HONOR YOUR LINEAGE, and surround yourself by other colleagues who will quickly call you on your bull shit when you aren’t showing up the way you need to be.

What is Soul Work and why is it important?

SoulWork is the journey from inner inquiry to purpose clarity. It is about excavating the deep and complicated layers of ancestral patterning, the trauma from this life and others, and committing to constantly renewing our connection to Earth, God, the Great Spirit (whatever you want to call it). Without a commitment to diving into the shadow, our limiting patterns of mind / behavior, or taking RADICAL responsibility for our inner condition – we remain puppets on a string. We go into default mode and continue to perpetuate the agenda of those outside of us. The revolution starts within. When we are connected to our own power and have a community of others who reflect that back to us – that’s when the purpose work TRULY starts. Then, we can get clear on how we are meant to live our lives, and do it with integrity, clarity, courage, and purpose.

We’ve collaborated with Yoga Journal on our new project – SoulWork. And we are coming to the United States this Fall 2019! We are hosting Trauma Sensitive Facilitator Skills Trainings across 4 cities (DC, Chicago, Denver + LA). These are 4 day intensives where we educate soul seekers on how to facilitate transformation with integrity + how to grow their conscious businesses with our SoulWork model + leading SoulWork circles. You can learn more about that here.

You can also subscribe to our SoulWork podcast here – to start learning a TON more about everything I am sharing here.

In what ways do you see the global yoga community evolving over the next 10 years?

We want to be a big part of shaping this direction. What I see trending, and what I intend to continue to advocate for – is the global yoga community being a POWERFUL vehicle for profound social change. Yoga teachers who are properly educated in the true power of the practice to transform people’s lives – hold an incredible platform, voice, and impact in their local communities. If this leadership is developed and their voices are amplified (and this is what we specialize in supporting through our professional development intensives) – I believe that we will continue to see the work come off of the mat and organize more into a socio-political movement. Diversity, accessibility, inclusivity. Bringing health of body, discipline of mind, and freedom of spirit tools and practices to the MASSES – not just the upper-middle class white woman. It’s time to TRULY take the teachings mainstream, and the time is now.

What qualities do you believe make an extraordinary yoga teacher?

A commitment to constantly fine tuning and expanding your own awareness. What’s that mean? YOU ARE WILLING TO CALL YOURSELF ON YOUR SHIT. You become more and more committed to living your life in alignment with your own values. How you shop, how you build your business, how you care for the Earth. It becomes about walking the talk – truly living your practice. Being nice to waiters. Giving back in your communities. Being an advocate for the things that are important to you.

I always tell my students – I could give a damn how you teach a down dog (even though you’ll leave our programs having that DOWN by like day 2). What is important to me is how students FEEL being in your class. Do they feel WELCOME? Do they feel SEEN? Do you create an environment where people can come and GRACE can do her work in allowing healing to unfold. Get out of your own way – hold space like a boss – and invite in a deep deep journey inside for your students.

You are also involved with several other projects including Selva Fitness and Shakti Seva. Tell us more…

Selva Fitness is my fitness company where we offer online education + global fitness retreats. I love to go deep deep deep, and I also found myself taking my life a little too seriously, so I wanted to start a company focused on FUN. That’s what Selva Fitness is about. Fitness, fun, and feeling sexy, strong + confident in your body. You can check out Selva Fitness here.

Shakti Seva is our non-profit extension. We started a community center for the indigenous community (upon their request after submitting a proposal) near our home here in Costa Rica. We host volunteers (mostly Costa Ricans) who dedicate 3 months to live in the tiny (tiny tiny) village and work with the community children. We also have built a classroom for my teacher’s school in India, are advocates for the work our partners are doing to support women transitioning out of human trafficking in Kolkata, and we are currently re-organizing with the help of Yoga Journal to give back to local urban organizations making yoga more accessible to a diverse audience.

How do you balance all of your work and projects with your own personal well being?

Fitness. I train like a freakin’ athlete, (pretty much) every day. And I eat well. And I have incredible relationships. And regular orgasms. And I freaking LOVE what I do. Work is work – but it’s also my hobby, my purpose, my passion, my baby. It’s not easy. I’m not always good at the life / work balance thing. But, I’m getting better at getting pickier about what gets my focus + energy every single day, and maybe someday I’ll be less crazy. (I kind of doubt it.)

What are you most curious about right now?

I’m curious if I’ll get to hold YOU (yes you – the one reading this right now) close to my heart one day. I share my story because I want to connect with you. I want to hear YOUR story, learn your fears, your desires. I want to know where you hurt, why you hurt. I want to grow with you, learn from you. I want to see if there are ways that my life experience can add more depth to your life, too. Come see me in the world? Please?

You can see my schedule of events here.

Follow Adi on Instagram – @adi_shakti_rising

 

Adi is a teacher’s teacher, philosopher + serial entrepreneur whose work and life is based out of an experimental yogic living permaculture center on the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica. She has trained hundreds of yoga teachers in the 200 hr, 300 hr, Lifestyle Social Entrepreneurship, Pre-Natal and Trauma Informed professional focus areas through her company, Passion Yoga School. She has also led international programs across the globe – including to Thailand, Cambodia, India, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Ecuador. Adi is the founder of SoulWork and producer of SoulWork: the Film – focusing on the journey from deep inner inquiry to clarity around social purpose and responsibility. She is also the Executive Director of Shakti Seva Inc, a 501c3 organization focusing on uplifting the indigenous community near her home among other global projects.