I will put my foot right in it and maybe shatter a dream or two in the process, but contrary to what some people might imagine, teaching yoga is not such an easy job.
First, as a freelance, you are your own boss which means that it is going to take you some time to establish yourself in this competitive world. It leads you to take on not so well paid classes on the other side of town because you need to build up some experience and a network.
This in turn can very well imply running around like a headless chicken from a class to the next. You have hardly finished closing the class with a “namaste” that you are already picking up your bag and dashing through the door to be able to make it to your next class.
It might also mean that you will have something on every day of the week, even if it is just one class, because you are taking on covers and want to accommodate your first private clients. And of course, because you are teaching when your students are not working, you will find that going out in the evening week days is not so much an option because you will a) either be working or b) will have an early morning class to teach the next day.
Yes, these are all sacrifices you will have to face as a yoga teacher, but after all, what profession does not have its downsides? I purposefully depicted a pretty raw image and if despite all this, you are still loving teaching and persevere, then you are on your way to enjoy the good stuff. So here you have it, moving from a black and white picture to one in bright colours!
With some years of teaching under your belt, you are now more confident, you have dealt with a wide variety of people ranging from the super fit, strong and healthy to the complete beginners with conditions and/or injuries. You have learned on the job thanks to your students and thanks to the teachers whose classes and workshops you have done your best to regularly attend. You have now built a regular and loyal following and are able to engage more with your students, some of whom might even become friends. You have proved you are a skilled, patient, compassionate and reliable teacher and as there is an increasing demand coming your way, you can be more picky and rearrange your schedule to improve the quality of your life.
Next, you start organising workshops to be able to deepen the quality of your teaching and to offer a better understanding on some specific aspects of the yoga practice. Then, one fine day, you decide to venture into holding your first retreats locally… and internationally. Congratulations!
So is teaching yoga a dream job? It might not be all that rosy to start with, but if you hang in there, it could very well be. Like most things, it is not going to be easy, but if you love teaching, trust my word, it is going to be worth it…!
Thank you to all the wonderful yoga teachers I have had and will have the pleasure to meet and learn from. Thank you to all my students, some of whom have been putting up with me for nearly seven years…! Thank you to my family, friends, loved ones and my partner Matt for their constant support.
Yoga rocks and rules!
Yoga retreat in Ibiza in 2009 - Photographed by Nicholas Hopper