I remember talking about the business of yoga during teacher training. At the time, I was an Account Manager for global packaging company and making an excellent, albeit stressful, living. As we discussed the realities of living the life of a fulltime yoga teacher, I was appalled at some of the garbage rates that most studios pay their teachers.

I’m not a math wiz or anything, but I did some quick calculations and determined that if I were ever going to become a full time teacher, I would need to do a lot more than just slave away in yoga studios.

Before I go into a diatribe about why studio classes are not all they’re cracked up to be, let me lay out some reasons why I actually think it’s necessary to work for local studios:

  • It’s important to be rooted in a local yoga community (or a few).
  • Workshops are an important revenue stream and yoga studios are a great place to have them.
  • It’s fairly reliable income that will be there every week. Yoga studios don’t usually get sick or need surgery (see my last post for reference).

I currently only teach 3 classes a week at two studios. I’m adding a 4th class at a third studio in the near future, and I’m exploring a possible class at a fifth down the road. But, in order for me to accept these gigs, they have to pay fairly and fit within my schedule. 

In other words, I’m EXTREMELY picky when it comes to studio gigs, and you should be too.

When you teach in a studio, your pay is usually limited (not always, but usually). If you have a flat rate, you could teach 1 or 100 students all for the same about of money. So, no matter how hard you work, you get paid the same.

If you have a per head rate (which is usually much better than a flat rate), you are mostly dependent on the studio to bring students in the door. Of course you should do some marketing yourself to encourage your student base to check out the studio, but, by and large it’s the studio’s responsibility to fill classes.

Now, if you get paid per head and have a shitty time slot…let’s say 2 PM on a Monday…it doesn’t matter how good you are, you will probably struggle to fill that class and get paid next to nothing.

However, if you get paid per head for a prime time slot, you will probably make out pretty well, especially if you are a skilled teacher who keeps students coming back.

SIDE NOTE: the next time someone asks you to teach at their studio, ask a lot of questions and don’t be afraid to tell them that you need time to think about it. This is especially true when you go in to negotiate your rate. Do not go unprepared. Remember, you get what you negotiate, not what you necessarily deserve.

Here’s one more thing to consider: whenever you choose a studio gig at a prime time slot, that is taking up space in your schedule where an independent gig could be.

What is an independent gig? Think…

  • Private sessions
  • Corporate classes
  • Public classes that you run on your own (like my brewery classes)
  • Or any gig outside of a studio where you get paid 100% of the money

The truth is, you can make a lot more money with independent gigs. I know I do on a consistent basis. I have full control over indie gigs, and I almost always receive 100% of whatever money is exchanged. 

I don’t know about you, but I really like being paid what I’m worth.

I’ll be writing a lot more about independent gigs in my next e-mail, but, if I’ve peaked your interest, you might want to consider a business coaching program with me. What’s that? Well, we take a look at your business today vs. your goals for tomorrow. Then, we lay out a plan that will help you grow a sustainable and rewarding business.

Just a warning…I’m brutally honest, and my advice is extremely pragmatic and applicable to the real world. In other words, we won’t be talking about opening your chakras. Although, if I think you need some chakra work to make it all happen, I’ll point you in the direction of someone who can help you with that.

The first 3 hours are $297. You can purchase a package of 6 hours for $554 (that’s a $40 savings). I’m planning on having this info on up on my website, but I’m having some technical difficulties that I have yet to surmount because I’m too busy working independent gigs, LOL. Just e-mail christine@movement.yoga if you’re interested or have questions.

Love & Yoga,