How Much Does Your Guru Earn, Exactly? ~ Brad Lynch

Via elephant journal
on Mar 13, 2012
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Photo: Kevin Dooley

If you practice yoga in Yogatown (my city, which will just be called Yogatown), chances are he/she pulls a little less than the kid who sauced your nanny’s egg McMuffin this morning.

(by the way, you should consider paying her enough to get a decent breakfast, too)

The Exception

Last fall a small (not too little, mind you) yoga studio opened in town and drew many of the best instructors away from their steady gigs. The proprietor, a veteran instructor and studio manager herself, made a point in much of the positive press she received to point out how much she values her instructors, and that she was committed to paying them a fair wage.

What exactly does that mean?

The Small Yoga Studio pays its people $40 per one hour class to start. That may not sound like much, but it is near the top of the industry for new teachers. What that translates to is this: if an instructor could manage five classes a day, five days a week, they could pull down a grand a week, or about 50K pre-tax a year.

Not too bad, but that never happens.

Teaching 25 classes of yoga a week is a near super-human feat. One teacher I spoke with wore one of those fancy heart rate monitor watches while teaching and taking classes and plugged all of the recorded data into her home computer using the software that came with the gadget. What she found that she actually burned more calories—20% more—teaching. Think about it.

Think about giving a one-hour presentation at work. On top of the nerves, there is no microphone, so you will need to speak up. In fact you will have to shout. Also, you will have no notes or visual aids, but if you miss-cue, or blow the sequence, anyone in your audience could be seriously injured. Now turn the thermostat up to ninety degrees, give or take. Now demonstrate some yoga poses. Smile.

Additionally, few studios can schedule enough classes to keep a variety of instructors on full time, and students enjoy a variety of teachers, so you will have to run around town, hopping between studios between each class. Not too hard in this town –as I mentioned in a previous article, we have more yoga studios than churches or bars (but not more than medicinal pot depots).

There are also exceptions to the exception. There is a place where a teacher can take on that many classes.

The Big Box Studio(s)

Immaculate showers, ample classes day or night to fit into any schedule, free one-week trial memberships, state of the art temperature and humidity controls in the studios, sick sound systems (though there is no accounting for what is played through it), and Q-tips, shampoo, conditioner, mouthwash, moisturizing lotion, hair ties, feminine hygiene products and hand sanitizer on the house. Mats and branded bottled water, two bucks. Towels a buck. Drop-in classes are nineteen dollars.

At these studios a teacher can get near the twenty-five classes a week mark, theoretically. I say theoretically, because only a handful of the most experienced instructors ever have, and even then, by darting between the three (same as Starbucks within the same geographical footprint, if you don’t count the one in Target) locations in Yogatown.

Unlike the small studio, teachers are expected to arrive one half hour before and typically remain around fifteen minutes after each class to answer questions and generally attend to the needs of their students (I hear those hip openers release a lot of emotion). So the time commitment is one hour, forty-five minutes per one-hour class. Teaching five classes would require eight hours and forty-five minutes. As independent contractors, Yoga instructors receive no health benefits (other than free yoga, of course), the pay for their own liability insurance, no overtime, no holiday pay, sick leave, vacation time, or regular bonuses.

Starting pay at the Big Box is twenty dollars per class, with nothing added for the early show-up or after class time. That would cap a five class a day instructor at just under 25K a year if they took just two weeks off, or about 500 bucks a week. The demands are the same as “The Exception,” but the pay is half. That is where we get into McMuffin territory.

One last thing: The Big Box only hires teachers who have completed their 200-hour teacher-training seminar (no guarantee of being offered a position, an aspirant teacher will have to audition for that). The cost is around $2,200, but includes a branded yogitoes.

Oh, I almost forgot, one last, last thing. Before the teacher can collect his/her twenty bones a class, there is the small matter of the “internship.” A new hire at the Big Box must teach the first thirty classes without pay.

The Good News

The longer a Yoga instructor teaches, the more money they can expect to earn. There are rumors that I was unable to confirm (Instructors are apparently serious about their confidentiality agreements) that senior instructors at the Big Box can make in the neighborhood of fifty dollars a class, perhaps more. In bigger “markets,” Los Angeles for example, it is customary at many studios to pay the instructor based on how many people attend. They typically receive about five bucks per student, which can really add up.

In spite of the pay scale, the quality of instruction is extraordinary at almost any studio in Yogatown. The quality of the overall experience is, well, amazing. Consider these results: In 10 weeks of practicing five to six days a week at the Big Box, I lost thirty-five pounds, vanquished a tenacious year long depression, took about ten years off of my appearance (as told by friends and enemies alike), learned to stand on my hands and met more hot cougars than you could on the fresh water side of a 13,000 acre forest fire.

I’ve been to a bunch of different yoga studios all over the country now, and I really don’t think I could have done it anywhere else. All things considered, they offer the best, most rounded experience. Those immaculate showers and free Q-tips make it easy to squeeze a class in anytime, and the support in the community was truly amazing. I am still a practitioner at the Big Box. I consider us friends. Sometimes the best friends need to call one another out.

The Big News

This morning my Facebook page was abuzz with comments on The Big News. One of the most popular, hard working and best looking instructors in town used the platform to build anticipation for a day or two about his announcement to teach exclusively at iYoga, a super-studio located in the newish outdoor Galleria-like mod pedestrian mall that also hosts The Apple Store, Anthropology and Sur La Table. He was one of the few that once managed the ball-buster twenty-plus classes a week at the Big Box. One can only speculate, but for a teacher to teach anywhere exclusively, there was likely some unusual incentive, like perhaps a living wage.

There was considerable lament at the studios where he will no longer be, as there will be a vacuum in those communities, so distinct is his teaching style. Too, he has expressed that he will miss us all, for the community at the Big Box is extraordinary. Unfortunately, you cannot eat the community, it doesn’t work too well in a gas tank, and it will not pay your mortgage (although if this particular teacher was really in a bind, we’d pass the hat for him).

There are increasing rumblings around Yogatown concerning the pay of yoga instructors. I wrote this piece because I do not think the average patron is aware of the income disconnect inherent to the system, and in an era where income equality is becoming a topic of increasing concern, it is important to point out that it is everywhere. It is great that there are studio entrepreneurs making a killing by spreading the practice of yoga, but no one working full time as an instructor should be forced to live below the level of poverty.

In the yoga world, it is somewhat taboo to talk about money, and the prevailing trend is to encourage young teachers to pay their dues in hopes of making more someday, when they become Jedi or some crap like that. But that is not what is happening. The Big Boxes are churning out armies of wide eyed yoga teachers, enthusiasts all, who are willing to work for peanuts, and the most qualified instructors are being pushed to the margins.

However brilliant a studio model may be (I am simultaneously appalled and in awe of the big box business model) it is a failure if it does not hold true to the core principles of yoga, one of them being asteya, or “non-stealing” (I learned that from a sign in the locker room). Asteya can be complicated. For example, by accepting less than a fair amount in earnings, a person is stealing from themselves. Likewise, one who would offer less than a fair price for goods or services, knowing that the provider will be forced by the duress of economics to accept the lowball, is in violation of this key principle, despite an agreement being reached.

I would also like to submit that in the strictest sense, those of us attending classes taught outside the bounds of fair labor practice are also in violation of asteya. There is great joy and value in teaching yoga, but it is not fair to consider that side benefit as compensation. It is certainly true that studios would make a great deal less money by paying every instructor well. But they would not fail.

The only way for instructors to make any real money is to be paid per person, that is, about five dollars a head, in addition to the fee (20-40 dollars) they receive per class. That way, the best receive more money, and the novices with less draw get less, but still enough to eat. Ask at your studio if they do this. Ask them to do this. Many already do, and they are prospering.

There is the real possibility that there may at some point be a sort of yoga teacher strike in Yogatown (Occupy Yogatown?). It seems unlikely that such a well educated, motivated and thoughtful population as our local gurus would allow this situation to go on forever. Should it come to that, I encourage all of you yogis to think carefully about where the value is in your studio.

Is it in the Q-tips?


Brad Lynch was born in New Orleans, raised in a dozen points of suburbia around the United States, and now resides in Boulder, Co. He has been practicing yoga, the art of breathing in and out, for forty-one years, because that is how old he is. He is a student of history at Metropolitan State College of Denver, father of one very precocious eight-year old boy, Owen Merced, and writes for Elephant when Waylon asks him to, though it usually takes him a while to get around to it. He also really wants you all to like him.

Editor: Greg Eckard


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23 Responses to “How Much Does Your Guru Earn, Exactly? ~ Brad Lynch”

  1. SQR says:

    Good article! This is, unfortunately, true for any number of things around Our Fair City… "armies of wide eyed yoga teachers, enthusiasts all, who are willing to work for peanuts" is also a good description of the music industry, and one of the main reasons I left that. While Anusara is the pyramid scheme currently getting attention, any of the other yoga styles that has a certification process is not entirely dissimilar- pay to play, and hope the market doesn't get saturated before you can recoup your investment and become solvent.

  2. West says:

    Outstanding BLOG for current and prospective Yoga Teachers to read. While sometimes I think I would love to teach Yoga full-time, I am not sure I would actually enjoy having to earn a living teaching Yoga. I enjoy and my students enjoy the less stressful aspect of teaching Part-Time. Kudos to Full-Time Yoga Teachers and Studio Owners, you are very special.

  3. T M says:

    I find this cleverly-written and thought-provoking. The situation for yoga instructors reminds me of language teachers, music teachers, academic tutors, EMTs and pilots, to name a few. The barriers to entry for practitioners are low relative to the total number of people that want to get into the line of work ("relative" doesn't necessarily mean that learning to teach yoga is easy). It could well be that some yoga entrepreneurs are "making a killing", however, I'm not so sure that's the case across the board. We all know that when it comes to brick-and-mortar retail, location is everything, and we also know that retail rent prices in Yogatown are astronomical. It would be great to read a follow-up article that estimates the amount of time, initial capital, monthly expense required to start and operate a yoga studio. This would present a more complete economic picture of what's going on. Interesting and important discussion – thanks.

  4. Amy says:

    Interesting article, Brad! I have some clarifications that I would like to respectfully submit regarding the "Small Yoga Studio" and some of your observations. To begin, we do not start all of our teachers at 40$. We calculate our pay based on the breadth of training, and how long a teacher has been teaching among other intangibles. If you are a new graduate from a teacher training program who has not taught for many years, we do indeed start at the 40$ number you quoted. However, If you have been to numerous trainings, have a depth of experience in many modalities and many years of experience of practicing and teaching yoga both on and off the mat, the pay reflects this. We do not pay any less than 40$ per class for any instructor, but that is, again, not where everyone starts.

    All studio owners, like me, have many "moving parts" to factor in to teacher pay, within the constraints of a wide variety of service and financial models, while making every effort to honor their teachers. Whether you are a "Big Box" corporate studio with dozens of locations, or a "Yoga Town" large studio in a mall, I believe that we all want what is best for our teachers. Fair pay for teachers (or any profession) Its the right thing to do, and it's good for business. The corporate model can seem exploitative on the surface, but in all fairness, they have hundreds of classes to offer new teachers and the chances of getting a class to begin your teaching career are much higher than in small studios like ours, and as instructors, we all have to start somewhere. Many of us started teaching in a corporate studio model here in Boulder, and we owe them a debt of gratitude for the opportunity. Yes, the expense of teacher training adds to the price we all pay to become trained instructors, but one should note that many teacher trainings around the world, have no studios to offer any classes to any graduate- so that should be taken in to account as well. Yes, it is all but impossible, but for a few, to make a living teaching yoga- but we all know this going in. Writers, musicians, actors, artists all live with this same reality, and where would the health of our culture be without literature, theater, music and art? Yes, often the more mature teachers get pushed out by the younger, cheaper teachers, and that is truly the most disturbing trend we all hear about. Yes, the student has to pay for the ammenities of any given studio, but many students could not practice if they were not able to take a shower (as you fairly stated) and have some basics to rely on in the changing rooms to get them comfortably off into their work day. At our studio, we do not have this so we can keep the price of yoga low and the pay high. This does not meet the need of every yoga student in Boulder. Every studio offers its own level of service and instruction, and each studio attracts students that fits their profile.

    It is a challenge to operate a yoga studio keeping yogic principles in tact, but it can be done. In the final analysis, we all want to bring this practice to our community as responsibly as possible, and it is always easy to judge the values of one studio over another, but as someone who knows and has worked with all of the above studio owners, I can vouch for their heroic efforts to honor each student, teacher and the business model they are working within. Sometimes it succeeds, sometimes it doesn't. We all make our choices freely as students and teachers, and we each have our unique visions as students and teachers and the responsibility for each choice we make is our own. As a studio owner, you decide the values of your studio, and filter your choices and decisions from those core values before you even sign a lease. Boulder is sorely in need of mutual respect between the competing studio's and although I understand this "expose" is important, it deserves a reply from someone who is actually working to pay rent, meet payroll, earn new students and honor the practice of yoga in a "for-profit" business model.
    As the teacher said in a class I took this morning, "have you ever had to rely on faith?" Opening a studio is a huge risk whether you have deep pockets or no pockets at all, and requires the managers and owners to stand their ground on their core values. None of us are saints, but most of us are truly doing the best we can.

    You wrote a fair article and it is important- Just 2 cents from the inside.

    With high hopes for unity and mutual respect between all yoga studios in Boulder,

  5. stephen says:

    All we can do is call ourselves to be our best! Being off midline included.

  6. Brad says:

    Thanks Amy-all important considerations. Your doing a stand up job. Running a studio is an epic endevour, for sure. I have considered writing a more about the industry as a whole, big vs small, etc. I will have a sit down with you for sure before I do it!

    Thanks so much for all you do for us.

    Respect – big time.

  7. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
    Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
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  8. Patrick says:

    Very insightful post on, thank you for having discussed this subject, it is food for thought for any treacher trainne that may want to make a career change. i think that the model is made for studio owner that can make a living from yoga and for part time teacher that have day job.

  9. laughingstock says:

    So a "guru" is not allowed to make a living now? wtf is wrong with you guys. You're willing to pay them but then get mad they make money. Grow up.

  10. Katy Poole says:

    Hi Brad,

    Thanks for this really thought-provoking piece. There is an alternative to the "Big Box" "little box" for-profit yoga studio scenarios and that is a teacher-run cooperative. It goes like this: A group of like-minded and mutually supportive teachers get together and decide to form a yoga coop. You all share in the rent and marketing expenses and eliminate the middleman. You promote each other's work so there's cross-fertilization of students. After these expenses have been paid, the profit for all the classes you teach is yours. I keep asking Michelle Anderson to write a piece about what the teachers at Studio Be in Boulder have done that I think is exceptional. (Someone else bug her! 🙂 They run the business like a coop and even if the classes aren't big, the teachers still make out better than if they teach in big or little box outfits. But more to Amy's point—the teachers actually support each other instead of compete with each other. They work together through problems and issues instead of leaving that up to the managers or owners. And as good entrepreneurs, they decide their own fate.

    I've been around yoga for a long time—over 25 years—and I have to say it was better when the focus was on spiritual attainment rather than making a profit. But I hate to be one of those "old people" who long for the good old days. It is what it is now and that is on one end a huge commercial enterprise and on another end, a way for someone to make a simple living that's uplifting—and is probably better than waiting tables. But to add more to Amy's point, I actually think all the "mom and pop" yoga shops in Boulder, for example, should form a collective. The reason the Big Box (and we all know who they are) succeed is because they are a corporation. They are united. They have one website, a consistent style of classes, and consistent teacher quality. I know if I take a class at any one of their locations, I can expect the same quality of delivery. And I can pay once and use my card at multiple locations around the country. As it stands now in Boulder, if I like an instructor and he teaches at different studios around town I have to pay for a series of classes at all those places. It would be great if that teacher could sell me a card directly that allowed me to take his classes wherever he taught and that the yoga studios who were part of his collective would honor that.

    There's no reason why independent yoga studios can't join together in a similar "corporate" way as the Big Box to deliver consistency without sacrificing profits. I would guess that profits would actually increase for everyone and there would be money left over to offer showers and cotton swabs. Most of all, there would be unification among yogis who (as I've observed a lot) often fight against each other, which is one of the reasons I now practice exclusively at home. I got tired of the drama. But there is a better way. And the Big Box guys are showing us that there is. They're cleaning up and expanding everywhere like spores…because they're united.

  11. Lisa says:

    One of my favorite studios, Bhakti Yoga Shala, is donation based. The teachers pay rent and whatever is left beyond the rent is theirs. So it is beholden to the teacher to build a student base. The people who run this studio are lovely and highly ethical so I am sure the "rents" are varied depending on the time of day you teach. The owner also teaches there so he practices what he preaches. The studio is tiny and basically self serve. But I feel good about going there. I used to belong to 2 different large yoga chains here in LA LA Land. But I had bad experiences at both. I technically am paying more now for yoga then I did when I had a membership with either of those studios. But I feel better knowing my money is being channeled directly into keeping this studio alive so yoga teachers can teach the way they want to.

  12. Jenifer says:

    Great article, and thanks for writing it so well.

    We flipped the model well on it's head, too. Your suggestion is a great one, but I think that what we have done has really created a vibrant opportunity as well.

    We have created a collective. Our center has many people of different modalities working here. We have a large room, which we use to host yoga classes, as well as feldenkrais, and we are expanding into 'chi power' (which will do the energy work and movements from various marital arts), as well as hosting trainings and events for various modalities on the weekends.

    The way that we work is this. My husband and I — as owners — create the office space and marketing. The, a practitioner rents the space from us. This rent pays for the space — combined — covers the expenses of the business, and provides us with a modest profit that supports our efforts as managers, marketers, and so on (we spend an average of 5-8 hours a week on the administration of the business).

    From there, clients pay their practitioner directly.

    Our classroom fits a max of 25 yoga students. Students pay on average $10 for class (it's 45 minutes long), and if a teacher is popular, then she/ can earn up to $250 a class (and then, of course, less the rent, which is $45 for the class).

    We have been open for a year and are doing quite well. I teach most of the classes, and by mid-year, was able to easily cover my rent and take home a comfortable little income from my teaching. This year, things are looking even brighter, and we are adding 8 classes to our schedule which launch in April (diversifying both the styles/methods of yoga as well as diversifying into other movement modalities), taking the class schedule from 11 public classes to 19.

    It's great because in order to get this sort of income, most teachers are "out on their own." By this I mean that they have to rent a church hall, or local community center, and then market themselves, build their classes independently. Their students may love them, but they may nto be able to teach 2 classes a week in that venue, or at times that the students can make. And, they might also be working in a less-than-ideal room, as well as feeling isolated from fellow practitioners because they simply come, teach, and leave — without a wider professional community on which to rely.

    By coming together as a collective, we collectively market our classes, our payment structure makes it easy for students to choose our classes, or to have the flexibility to try other styles depending upon their schedules, and we also have the support of each other. Once a month, for example, we hold a "teacher's practice" — where we get together to talk about the studio, our work, our thoughts, ideas, and questions, and to get to know each other's styles so that we can make recommendations to students or potential students as to which classes might be great for them if ours isn't a perfect fit.

    And, we are lucky to have a community wider than yoga at our disposal as well. Students can benefit from our recommendations to our fellow practitioners who have their own diverse experiences and offerings, which can only facilitate their growth. We tend to meet quarterly to discuss the practice, our work, what we are experiencing and learning from our students, and so on.

    And, the rent that each person pays supports everyone's opportunity to work here — and everyone has emotional ownership of the space as well. This is not just "my studio" and then I dictate what happens. I have parameters, yes, and I create the culture ultimately (so some people might not be good fit), but at the end of the day, teachers are free to teach their own styles, from their own voice, with the support of all of us here.

    You can make a living this way. You can teach a few yoga classes a week, earn up to $200 a class (45 minute classes), and have the amazing supportive environment that working in a studio brings.

    It's really great. I'm so happy to be able to do this. I'm happy that I can pay rent to a studio and take home a nice income. I'm happy that I can provide this space — as the owner — to others who want to make a living doing work that they love, without having to do a large, back-breaking amount of work (I remember those days — 30 classes a week, $15k in take home per annum!).

    Today, we live simply, beautifully as ever, but we can live comfortably and not stress about whether or not what I am doing is able to feed us, cloth us, or keep a roof over our heads. It's truly possible.

  13. Hoka says:

    Brad, the average revenue per student per class at Big Box is about $10. No way will they pay their teachers $5 per head plus $20 to $40. When you take into account the free week and monthly memberships the average per student is not the drop in price.

    Even in big cities many experienced teachers work other jobs. They don't just teach yoga. The young kids at Big Box don't earn very much but then again they don't know very much. The reality is until someone has been teaching for 5 to 10 years they just don't know a lot. At Big Box a teacher that sticks around for 2 years can be running the teacher training. The pay for these teachers should be compared to what trainers earn at a local gym. That is how teachers usually start out if they take a TT outside of the Big Box system. They learn the ropes and HOPE that one day they will be given a job at a "proper" yoga studio.

    Popular teachers in a mature market can make good money based on per head income. Typically the average revenue per client per class is about $15. Teachers can make $2 to $7 per head and walk away with $75 to as much as $500 per class. These however are teachers that have been at it for years and have paid their dues.

    So what's the answer? Don't give up your day job. If you are a Big Box teacher then you are just starting out on the road. You chose the corporation and that is their game. If you want a well paying teaching job then take other trainings and work for other studios. Stick at it for 10 years and maybe you too will make a good living as a teacher.

  14. SQR says:

    Agree with your thoughts about Studio Be… great place!

  15. Branáin says:

    Many yoga teachers make more money teaching workshops and private sessions than with drop-in classes. Of course, 200-hour Power Yoga teachers have few skills that enable them to do either workshops or privates. Unless, of course, it is working for the boutique studios' money-making teacher training or yogi trainings (the cash cows of yoga studios).

    I tried teaching 15 to 20 classes a week for a while. My teaching became robotic and I was hungry all the time. When I cut back to 6 or 7, with mostly pre-registered classes, I was able to put more effort into fewer classes. This meant I increased the number of students in my classes, and made as much money as I had with 20 classes a week.

    In addition, I could spend more time writing (and making money by writing), as well as studying yoga philosophy so someday I could have a few cash cows of my own.

  16. SQR says:

    This is good news, and we're starting to see examples of it where I live as well. I don't know about your town, but the commercial rents where I live are high enough that the margins you mention at your place may not happen here. I still think the model you describe has a future in Yogatown, though- despite all the marketing talent at the large places, the studios that remain solvent over the longer term are the ones with the lowest overhead.

  17. RTFA says:

    You didn't read the article, did you luaghingstock?

  18. Brad Lynch says:

    Some excellent points, Hoka. Also, some not so excellent. Perhaps I should expand on my authority in this matter. Who am I to evaluate a Big Box teacher? I have taken over 400 classes at the Big Box. (If you work there, you can easily check this on MBO). I reject the idea that a first year teacher "doesn't know a lot." Hogwash. There are first year instructors that have practiced for over twenty years. Also, who cares what they know? What they need to know is the sequence, and right from left. Often they do a better job, because they're committed and focused. True, some suck. They should volunteer somewhere. In any case, I've had some of the very best experiences with first year teachers. (A.H. and R.S. – became fully pro in less than a year). What I intend to address is a labor issue. Fair wage for fair days work. Think about your argument carefully. I say "you should pay your people more". Your say "But no, because they suck." To that , I say "But you trained them." See where this is going?
    You've just made my point: The model clearly needs adjustment.
    I also reject that they will never change the business model (thou you are correct that it would be unlikely to move to what I suggested.) They will change the model if it makes good sense to do so. Right now it does not. In the future it may. There are countless examples in other industries.
    You have an excellent point about the programs. They are the best value for student, teacher and studio. They do pay well for that, and even a first year teacher can get in on those. I've done one, and it was worth every penny.
    As to "They learn the ropes and HOPE that one day they will be given a job at a "proper" yoga studio…" and "Don't give up your day job?" On this we can agree to disagree. You have a worldview that I cannot argue with, as I just can't get my head around it.
    Thank you for your comment though. It made me think some things through more for sure.

  19. Brad Lynch says:

    These last few are the kinds of replies that are productive. Thinking up new models is the way to go, for sure. I still want the existing ones to improve their labor practices though, because there will always be a Big Box, and we need them! There is nothing wrong with being the Starbuck's of yoga. We need Starbucks. They drove the fair trade movement, and have improved the lives of tens of thousands of workers in the developing world. It should also be noted that Starbucks pays much better than most independent shops, because that is how the choose to use their corporate leverage. Also, I've driven across Texas in the pre-Starbucks world. Can you imagine a world with yoga studios at truck stops? I can.

  20. Brad Lynch says:

    Correction: When I said your doing a stand up job… I didn't mean that. I meant YOU'RE doing a stand-up job. Iphone auto correct-sorry.
    Also, I need to mention that the Big Box gives away a ton of free yoga, which they no longer need to do to get people in. The Small Yoga Studio also has free classes on the schedule. That is straight up good.

  21. Hoka says:

    Knowing a sequence and having personality does not make one a good yoga teacher. There is a vast difference between a skilled sequence leader and a yoga teacher that knows what each student needs and does not need. The later is not wanted by Big Box because they are too much trouble. I know this because I have employed a bunch of BB teachers. I know this because I know the inner workings of the Corporation. There is no doubt that they have some of the nicest, most sincere and hard working teachers. I did not say they suck I said they don't know a lot. Brad you don't know a lot. By that I don't mean you suck I mean you don't know enough about the subject to express a truly informed viewpoint. You have taken a whole lot of classes but you have not taught for years in many different locations and with many different teachers. I have a woldview of the yoga world that you will not understand because you don't have the experience I have. You don't suck you are just limited by your experience. I think you have raised some valid points and this kind of dialogue is always useful.

  22. Alec says:

    An extremely valid point, however, some of the things are not up to date, and I believe your "solution" leaves a lot to be desired.
    First, paying per head has numerous problems. The time of day can mean more to whether a class fills than actual instructor skill. This can lead to favoritism between teachers and management. At many studios in YogaTown a mediocre teacher can fill a 5:30 p.m. class. Also, I find older, more experienced teachers to be the best, but they don't fill the room like the 25 year olds. You are going to see a serious bell curve of pay. With the newbies and the older teachers making less.

    Also, I think BigBox yoga has made some improvements. They now pay by the hour, so the teacher actually gets paid for that half hour before and after cashier time. Since they are now hourly employees, they get health care if they log 30 hours a week or more.

  23. maxperformanceyoga says:

    I could write a shattering report on the real numbers at BigBox yoga that might make Alec rethink his "improvements" comment, but why go negative? If you don't like something, do something about it, right? And we have. Inspired by some of the exploitation witnessed by the 800 lb gorilla, the company I'm building is training teachers to teach a specific kind of athletic yoga to youth sports teams at schools and keep every cent they make. As the market for athletic yoga continues to soften, not only do we provide yoga skills that engage teenage athletes (not make them roll their eyes), we also provide marketing skills, follow-up support and a networking platform for teachers and coaches to find each other. We don't middle. We just train our teachers to look at all the opportunities within a 5-10 mile radius of where they live. No more driving 20 hours a week to get reamed by studios. I'm not writing this to promote. I'm writing this to say there are and should be options for yoga teachers to earn $30-$70 per class and feel valued and appreciated for the gifts they are sharing.