As a yoga teacher and a yoga studio owner, I have had the opportunity to interact with hundreds of yoga teachers. Some teachers are well established and others are inexperienced having just graduated from a yoga teacher training. Overall, I have two perspectives: that of a yoga teacher and as a studio owner. While this topic is searchable online, I don’t feel people are being reached, the subject isn’t explored in depth, or maybe people just aren’t interested in bettering themselves. Who knows. Regardless, I’ll give you my perspective because I’ve experienced some pretty ballsy moves by some people. These are the kind of moves where you go “wow, did that just happen?!?!” and all you can do is shake your head. Yep, those kind!
If you are a yoga teacher; established or not, there is a high possibility you might want to get a teaching gig or add teaching opportunities. Why wouldn’t you? You paid, thousands of dollars and spent countless hours learning how to be a yoga teacher so its likely you want to practice what you’ve learned and maybe even help others.
I’m betting that is the case.
As a yoga teacher, you can find numerous places to teach. You can teach in a gym and it really doesn’t matter what type of gym either. You can teach in churches, community centers, and recreational centers. Businesses even offer opportunities too. Perhaps you teach at a coffee shop or store that sells yoga merchandise. Of course, it doesn’t stop there. There are tons of corporate opportunities with giants such as USAA insurance or hospitals. If places don’t offer yoga, you can create opportunities to offer it. For instance, you can teach privates, hold classes in your neighborhood, or home. And of course, last but not least, you can teach at a yoga studio.
No matter where you might want to teach, you are looking for a job! It is the same as looking for any other job. Yoga is no different. Please treat it as such!
To increase your chances of actually securing a yoga teaching gig, I offer some advise. (Both my business partner and I have worked in the corporate world and we still do. We also happen to own a yoga studio). These are my expectations of a potential employee.
- Have a professional resume! Submit it (email, online, snail mail, walk-in)
- Be knowledgeable about the yoga studio, business, gym… (What is their mission statement? What type of clientele do they work with? Even better if you are part of our community).
- Be prepared to sell yourself. Be humble! You are looking for the job. The employer doesn’t need only you when there are several other instructors looking for opportunities too.
- Come prepared! Be able to talk about what is on your resume, about the studio, and how you could be part of the team. Have copies of your certs, Yoga Alliance registry, insurance, and samples of workshops that you can show me. Also, know ahead of time, if you’ll be doing a demo class and be prepared for that. (If I consider you, I will make sure you are legit).
Here is what I am not going to do as a studio owner! These are deal breakers!
- I’m not going to chase you. If you can’t make the time to meet with me at the studio where you’ll potentially teach then you aren’t the right person for my team. That right there tells me a lot about you as a reliable teacher! Plus, remember, I have several instructors to choose from. You aren’t my only hope.
- No one is a diva or rock star in my book and you especially as a newbie aren’t going to get preferential treatment at my studio over my established staff. Yes, I’ve heard it all before about how you pack the studio at where you currently teach. Guess what, chances are extremely high that your so called following isn’t going to follow you to your new location. Sure maybe one or two might, but not the whole studio and those onesies won’t show regularly either. I call this the “BAMBI” effect. (I’m prior Air Force and that means “back at my ‘last’ base I…”). No, you’ll have to essentially start from scratch and build your class and earn clientele. Just like everyone else had to.
- It is my studio and I’ll tell you where I have teaching opportunities. Guess what, this is how the real business world works. As a studio, believe it or not, we’ve done the trial and error thing and have learned what does and doesn’t work. Plus, us studio owners talk. Overall, it is perfect if one or more of our class timeslots work for you. That definitely would be a win-win. Eventually, you might work your way into a timeslot that you’ll love. But know this up front, I’m not going to shuffle my studio schedule or staff around just to accommodate you. That is not how it works. I know my clientele and studio pretty darn well.
- I’m not going to entertain extreme left field ideas. If what you want to teach doesn’t fit our business model, I’m going to say no. For instance, if I don’t offer “Arial yoga,” why would you preach that on and on to me? Or that you want to offer a workshop that runs way over our typical workshop price points that our customers are used to seeing. There are legitimate reasons why we do and don’t offer certain classes or even prices. One top reason is insurance.
- You are there for the clients. You’ll teach to who is in the class. It is not up to you to decide who can and can’t take your classes. At Eighteenth Element Yoga we have clients with adaptive needs to include missing limbs and wheelchairs, those with PTSD and anxiety, and lots of newbies. Yoga is for every single person.
- I run the studio’s budget and we pay what we pay. If you don’t like it, no one is forcing you to take the job. Plus, if I do consider giving you more money, it will be because you’ve proven via steady performance how valuable you are to my team. You’ve got to show me!
- No your little kids can’t run around my yoga studio while you perhaps teach! I have a trauma-sensitive studio who caters to traumatized people. I don’t run a day care and no I’m not watching your kids.
These are just some common expectations. At least they mine. Yes, I had to say it! Probably others too.
One last note… If you are a nearby acquaintance who has never or rarely comes to my studio and are ballsy enough to say, “I’ll come to your studio if you hire my friend so I can come to her classes,” that doesn’t set the right tone for your ‘friend.’ Just saying! Yep, had that happen too!
I don’t want to end on a negative note. If you are part of my team you are a VIP in my book. I will work hard to mentor you and build you up. For instance, I offer more teaching opportunities (workshops, classes, YTTs…) if you desire them. I don’t want you to have to work at six different places just to make a living. I bring training to the studio so you don’t have the expenses of travel. I do give pay raises. I consider and often get what yoga accessories you want or need for your classes. That and more happens at Eighteenth Element Yoga Studio.