And the Average Annual Salary of Yoga Teacher is…

Via Waylon Lewis
on Jan 6, 2012
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“An Infographic Depicting the Annual Salary of a Yoga Teacher.”


Say wha’? $45,000?

Not half bad. That means if you start your own Facebook Page, blog actively on big blogs, start and barely maintain a twitter account, pose for a bunch of photos, study, study, study, practice, practice, practice, live your yoga, walk your talk, study and practice more…you could probably do well better than the average.

More on how to teaching yoga:

8 Steps to Becoming a Yoga Teacher.

5 Tips for finding Yoga Jobs.

10 Signs you’re ready for Yoga Teacher Training.

6 Tricks to becoming a better Yoga Instructor.


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


38 Responses to “And the Average Annual Salary of Yoga Teacher is…”

  1. Joshua Eaton says:

    Median or sun average? The latter is libel to be skewed upward by the $1,000,000 dollar yogis, whereas the former will give a more accurate view of the middle salary range.

  2. elephantjournal says:

    Don't worry, elephant will succeed wildly and fund all Tibetan translators and help get all that wisdom safely into English before the last of the great masters pass away!

  3. elephantjournal says:

    Great question. The sources are cited above.

  4. Joshua Eaton says:

    P.S., Full disclosure: This also makes me insanely jealous. I have a MDiv in Buddhist ministry from Harvard, can read and translate classical Tibetan, and cannot buy a job.

  5. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Hey, that's not bad at all!! 🙂

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
    Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
    Follow on Twitter

  6. natandilana says:

    yes, I really, really, REALLLLY believe Yoga Alliance about how much you make as a yoga teacher, when you pay them to get your certification in the first place. Maybe I'm alone in this but most of the teachers I know teach as a second gig because their primary job barely makes 50 grand as is, and they are not making another nearly fifty grand on top annually teaching five hours a week. I call full on shenanigans.

  7. Danielle says:

    Shenanigans! … Agreed!

  8. elephantjournal says:

    Personally, I don't know a single (normal, not famous) yoga teacher who teaches full-time–as in 40 hours a week–and I'm in Boulder. Maybe that's why we find this number outrageous or surprising. Yoga's tough to teach 40 hours a week, I'm sure–that'd be at least 20 classes.

  9. ValCarruthers says:

    They've gotta be talking about major urban centers. In smaller communities like mine, it's sometimes presumed that you're teaching as hobby and, if the teacher is in their 40s, 50s, etc. that they're backed up by their pension or 401K. Teaching through the local school board's Adult Ed program requires that us applicants foot the bill for the background check and, if accepted, make $14 per hour provided the class has the minimum number of students. Did I do that in the beginning? Yes, and gratefully. It was fabulous experience.

  10. I just got off the phone with Yoga Alliance and the woman I spoke with laughed when I told her that Elephant Journal just reported that the average salary is $45,000 based on Yoga Aliance information. It's totally impossible. Yes, there are a handful of teachers making six figures but I would estimate that 95% of yoga teachers in America are either trustifareans, housewives, or have second jobs. This is just the type of misinformation that is driving down the quality of yoga teachers in America. Students take a $3,000 teacher training and think that they can teach yoga after 2-10 weeks of courses. I'm waiting for one of those novice teacher to paralyze someone in shoulder stand and then the state will come and legislate the whole community just like they did for psychotherapists (my other job). I kindly request Elephant Journal to produce the whole graph of yoga teacher incomes that they supposedly obtained from Yoga Alliance so that we can see the true numbers.

  11. elephantjournal says:

    We didn't report it, sorry if that's unclear. We're passing along this infographic, which sources Yoga Alliance and others, above. I shared it because I, too, found the figure surprising. The source is linked at the bottom…it's not Yoga Alliance on the salary figure, but perhaps you didn't see that before you took the trouble to call YA.

  12. kaywestcott says:

    i did a little better than that in 2011, counting group classes, privates and retreats. hoping for more this year as i think the economy will improve.

  13. elephantjournal says:

    Yes! Love to hear someone actually happy and proud, not ashamed, to be making a living doing good.

  14. elephantjournal says:

    Wow. The studios must make a bundle? Or they have huge overhead, I guess. Classes in NY are pricey, no?

  15. Shank says:

    I guess you guys repost any kind of crap that you find on the internet.

  16. Yogi Food says:

    No way. Absurd. I agree with the comment above; that this type of misinformation is driving down the quality of yoga teachers. Teacher training after one year of practice? And what kind of practice is that? Absurd.

  17. sadieyoga says:

    I think some of you are missing the point here–not seeing the forest for the huge tree of doubt you've planted in front of your face–thereby obscuring the power of your third eye to get a broader perspective on all of this, and what I believe Waylon intended at the root of this post. I too started as a poor, overworking yoga teacher, but out of nothing and with no one's help beyond my students' continued presence, and later, once my scrappy success got too much for me to handle, a small but potent management team–I have been able to make a six-figure salary doing the work that I trained for, and that I love. For me, the real message to all yoga teachers is not to pshaw the numbers presented here, nor to stop infusing yourself with the richness of knowledge after a year of basic TT, but is this: study always, find your voice, become an expert in something you are uniquely qualified through your life experience to exemplify, use the powerful world wide web as your virtual studio, create passive income streams, and above all, hold fast to your Universal and Personal Truths (integrity)…and you too will attract more prosperity, on more levels, than you ever dreamed. Or, you could just sit around and bitch about how this will never, ever happen. The choice, as always, is entirely up to you.

  18. elephantjournal says:

    As food for thought and respectful, fruitful dialogue, yah, we'll post anything, even rude comments.

    The above is sourced, citatations to Yoga Alliance, etc. You can talk to them if you think they're crap, anonymous friend.

  19. elephantjournal says:

    So much easier to think small and bitch, right Sadie?

  20. Lalana says:

    What a great background of knowledge. I will try not to be jealous of you as well:)

  21. […] According to elephant journal, the average salary for a yoga teacher is $45,000. Nothing to sniff at, especially when you consider that just about all teachers are doing something they love. But organized labor is as much about fairness and justice as it is about dollars and cents, and we should expect the equality-minded yogi to be at the forefront of a movement that seeks to organize those in non-traditional industries. […]

  22. Vicki Browdy says:

    I Believe in you, Joshua Eaton!

  23. […] are, as a yoga teacher, you’re not in it for the money; you teach because you’re passionate about it. But even when we are passionate about our work, we […]

  24. […] you count on your yoga income to support you and your family, you need to embrace the concept of marketing yourself—ethically of […]

  25. Sasha says:

    Sorry, but I have been teaching yoga for over 4 years, practiced for 6 years before taking a training. I teach 13 classes a week and do workshops monthly, I teach specialized portions of teacher trainings, and I have a Facebook, Instagram & Pintarest account that I maintain. I send out a newsletter monthly, AND I am in Orange County, Ca. I do not make $45,000 a year. I make slightly less than half of that. In my opinion, unless you are a “famous” yoga teacher you probably need a second job. Yes, most yoga teachers are trust fund babies, house-wives, people with second jobs, or people who can live very in-expensively.

  26. Robyn says:

    I actually know one of those amazing yoga teachers that make enough money to travel the world. I asked him what the secret was and it was obvious – attitude. He did so much more than teach yoga, he made people feel good about themselves while doing it. I think that's something anyone will pay for. In my own teaching it helps to remember its the person, not the posture.

  27. Joy says:

    YOU are correct. I have been teaching part time for several years myself, because I could never earn a living teaching yoga full-time. You have to have some other source of income, a LOT of extra time to market yourself, and I really believe you also just need to get lucky to become a "yoga rockstar".

  28. Vasu says:

    I have done masters in Yoga therapy worked with many patients with different ailments. I can teach meditation, pranayama, special techniques, stress reduction techniques and what not? I have more than 12 years of experience. But, I never got a chance to work as yoga therapist or Yoga instructor or utilize myself as a yoga teacher. Forget about making money for living not even able to make pockey money. You should be good at marketing in this field. Of course, the location also mattes.

  29. juliecpeters says:

    Waylon, the links only go back to the infographic as far as I can tell. I’m also shocked by the math and would love to know where this info came from? Do you have any YA contacts to ask?

  30. Maya says:

    Yoga Alliance only has a total of 38,000 RYT internationally. Where does the 50,000+ number come from?

  31. […] to this nifty infographic, and an accompanying article in Elephant Journal, the average salary of a full-time yoga instructor could be $45,000/year. Not […]

  32. MBCVP says:

    Posting about money sometimes meets people where there at. teachers come as they are hopefully we can as teachers create other teachers. True or not about salary does that matter. Really where helping human beings find they voice and there connection by teaching and practicing. I know teaching helps me stay less reactive and coming back to my mat it keeps me honest. I believe everyone is already a teacher and can inspire. But if as a teacher you correct not connect and force an adjustment after a few week program they will injure. But this ancient discipline is so natural my 2 yr old does these postures all the time. Inspire people to find there shape meet them where there at and there is no way we can stay the same. I think as yoga teachers we are helping people come out of suffering one posture at a time money just feeds my belly so I can have energy to inspire. Namaste

  33. sophie says:

    I really respect and love all the yoga teachers i have experienced. …that said I struggle with the fact that some teachers practice for such a short time before teaching. I know we all bring different and valuable past experiences to whatever it is that we do BUT I started dance at age six and started helping my teacher asist at 18 after 12 years of study and then went on to study dance three years full time and then teaching for an extra full year before teaching….I still have a lot to learn. So to think someone can study yoga teaching in 200 hours is insane sounding sometimes. I have studied yoga for around ten years and hopefully one day I will teach when I am finally ready. Rant over…..I have been lucky enough to have great teachers so can’t really complain 🙂

  34. cindy says:

    how I wish this figure was true.

  35. Elizabeth Kumari says:

    Really? Really? Could you please publish some pieces profiling teachers who earn this, even near this, mystical (pulled straight out of someone’s a**) amount who would feel comfortable sharing their stories? I would love to hear how they do it.

    I live quite successfully as a yoga teacher – but I’m also a chef and a writer. Although I’m certified in Hatha, Raja and Restorative yoga, E-RYT and all that, live for long periods on ashrams and retreat centers, I rarely teach straight yoga asana classes. Honestly, I don’t even call myself a yoga teacher! My income is mainly derived from cooking for profit according to yoga/Ayurvedic principles and offering various workshops, etc, If this infographic is leading people to believe that doing 1 teacher training – I won’t even go into YA standards for RYT-200 and that taking classes over 6 mos at your local gym might not equip you to teach – is how you can achieve this income…. Hmmm…. I’m so skeptical. But always open to new possibilities!

  36. @AhimsaYogi says:

    I went onto the site the infographic lists. The #s have changed apparently. Now they are reporting a $22,000 average. Sound a little more realistic?

  37. @AhimsaYogi says:

    Go to the website link listed on the infographic. It currently shows that the average salary for a yoga teacher is $22,000. Sounds pretty close to me!

  38. Patty says:

    Practicing yoga for 14 years; teaching for 5, I always tell my students it's not about making money, it's about practicing yoga. I kept it very affordable and developed a loyal following. Yoga is not so much a way to make a living as it is a way of life. Don't buy into the Yoga Alliance. Do you think Patanjali would register? The concept is ridiculous to true yogis. It's an American invention to create division, make money, and cause distrust. The truth just is. And on top of all that, It is a lot cheaper to just go to India than pay exorbitant fees for teacher trainings here. If you are in it for the money, you are in it for the wrong reason. If you haven't gotten past ego, than you are not a yogi anyway. Peace to you all. Shanti. Namaste. Hari Om, Om tat sat.