Being a yoga teacher can seem glamorous, wholesome, and satisfying. Especially when you get onto social media, you also see a stereotypical image of a bendy, lithe yogini doing complicated poses in exotic locations. It can appear like a fantasy come true. Pursuing your passion sounds romantic and exciting, but the reality can differ widely from what you may expect.
So, what is it like? Is it worth quitting your job? That’s what I will cover here, one question at a time.
Question 1: Are you a yoga teacher or yoga practitioner?
Practising yoga and teaching yoga are two very different things. It is one thing to enjoy doing yoga, and it is an entirely different thing to teach it. Many people enjoy yoga because of how it makes them feel, but when you’re teaching yoga, it’s all about how the student feels. Their requirements, needs and practice style can be completely different from yours, and as a teacher, you need the mental flexibility to accept and guide them.
Practising yoga is focused on you; teaching is focused on others. Therefore, your attention, awareness and interest must be directly 100% to the people in front of you. Unfortunately, many start teaching but still focus on themselves, which can create a lot of friction in their journey.
My key message here: Start teaching on the sidelines and gain some experience before taking the plunge to give up a career.
Question 2: What’s it like to be a yoga teacher?
Here’s how it works. First, you’ll do a TTC which will be an enriching experience, and you’ll learn some valuable concepts and get exposure to a new way of life. But then you will come into the world with no idea how to find clients, market yourself, or make money. Essentially, you’re now an entrepreneur with great passion but no training in running a business.
Check out my video here on Things to do before choosing your Yoga Teacher Training Course.
You’ll figure your way around and start wearing multiple hats, such as video editor, content creator, website designer, and various admin tasks while also travelling, hustling and struggling to teach yoga. Finally, you’ll come across your next challenge: marketing and selling your product (Classes). Now this will require breaking out of all comfort zones and showing up with confidence to convince people. For many people, that itself is a considerable challenge.
I’m sharing this not to discourage you but to highlight that the journey of an entrepreneur is not easy and what sustains you is your passion or fire to do what you love.
The key message here is – Pretend you’re a yoga teacher and create a one-year plan, set your goals and visualize yourself living your everyday life. For example, what will you do each day, how will you stay productive, how many hours will you teach, what will you do other than teaching etc.? The greater the detail you can add, the more clarity you’ll have.
Question 3 – How do you make money as a yoga teacher
Here are a few ways to make money as a yoga teacher – monetizing time, and content, becoming an influencer, or scaling up and starting a company.
1. Monetizing your time
It is the easiest way to start making money, and it covers all those activities where you, as an individual, must be physically present to make money. These include
– Workshops /training
But this is not scalable for an individual, and you’ll quickly cap out on how much money you can make. It is also important to note that the value of time and skill in the Indian market is not comparable to the western yoga market. In the west, a yoga teacher can charge around 200 USD for a private session; in India, the number is still far. Indian market is very price sensitive—something you must keep in mind when quitting a well-paying job.
For this reason, you’ll notice that most yoga institutes and teachers target overseas markets or international students. And for this reason, there are not many well-known professional yoga teachers in India, but plenty of them overseas.
2. Monetising your content
The next step is monetising your content or making money while you sleep. To do this, you’ll need to create content on social media channels or get your own app / OTT platform. Then, you can create modules, packages, and training programs which people can subscribe to or purchase to get an additional source of income.
For this, you’ll need to invest in equipment to shoot content and have a general aptitude to show up in front of the camera with love and confidence. While Instagram has started paying people to make reels, it is a rather fickle and new proposition; compared to it, YouTube is more efficient and reliable for monetising content.
3. Become an influencer
If you have a strong following in social media, you can start taking brand endorsements which can be a strong source of income. And if that’s your interest, you’ll have to focus on building a strong personal brand which can become a full-time job. So, whether you want to be a yoga teacher, an influencer, or both, be clear about it and plan your time, effort, and goals accordingly.
4. Set up a company
If you really want to scale up, you’ll need to think big and look beyond being a yoga teacher. Find a bigger goal, identify gaps in the market, see what drives you and what solutions you want to provide and then start building a team to help you accomplish your vision. For example, you may want to create a content platform or run a chain of yoga studios; maybe you want to get into apparel or run a training institute. In this manner, not only do you support your growth but also other like-minded people. But, again, it requires experience and a stronger entrepreneurial spirit to raise funds and set up your own company.
The key message here – There are multiple different ways to monetize your yoga journey. When you start, you may not be clear about it, so be open to everything. Try other things, and with experience, you’ll find that clarity over time.
Question 3: How do you establish your reputation?
How do you establish yourself and carve out your space in the crowded market?
First, you must be clear about who you are and what inspires you the most. Every teacher is unique because every human journey is unique. You are a product of your life and experiences; they come together to make you the yoga teacher you are. Next, you must use those experiences, learnings and your inner wisdom to identify what you’re most passionate about and carve out your niche. Finally, narrow down your focus to something specific that is inherently YOU.
And once you have that, you need to go out there and share your message. You can do that by writing articles, and books, frequently showing up on social media, running digital ads, networking with like-minded people, etc. Celebrity endorsements are a quick and effective way to establish yourself in your niche and work well for the Indian market.
The key message here is that you will make your life easier if you identify a niche that aligns with your life journey. In addition, it will help you be more authentic and relevant as a yoga teacher.
Question 4: What was my journey like?
I’ve spoken at length about this subject on my YouTube video; please check it out there:
Question 5: What are the positives of quitting your job to follow your passion?
The first benefit is a deep sense of fulfilment and relevance. If I look back, I was going with the flow, moving from one project to another, making good money, and having more of everything than I needed, but I still felt somewhat dissatisfied. I had a burning desire to do something more meaningful, but I could never find the right place or opportunity to fulfil it. So the day I found that moment of clarity, every physical, mental, and spiritual resource I had access to got a fresh energy boost and aligned itself towards my renewed sense of purpose.
The second biggest benefit was to be in charge of my time and spend it in ways that I felt were most productive. And I am delighted with how I have used my time since the day I quit my job. I would not trade it for anything else.
The third is personal development. The growth and transformation you will undergo by choosing your path are simply unmatched. Of course, it comes with a lot of blood, sweat and tears, but for that very reason, it is priceless.
The entrepreneurial journey has been far more challenging than my corporate life. But I was fully invested in this journey and had greater resilience, enthusiasm, and motivation to get through it. And despite the stresses, I am happier, healthier and more hopeful about the future.
Do check out the youtube video here to get a complete overview of my journey.