So, you have a big crush on yoga, and lately, you’ve thought maybe you want to learn to teach?
Maybe you think life as a yoga teacher is a glamorous life of leisure where you float effortlessly from studio to studio, with green juice in hand, and get paid a lot of money to do what you love, all while wearing fabulous leggings sent to you for free.
Then I’m about to burst your bubble and save you a lot of heartbreak and disappointment.
Before giving away thousands of dollars for a teacher training program, here are five things to keep in mind:
1. You might not ever teach yoga.
Most people that take teacher training never become full-time yoga teachers. Some take yoga training to learn more about yoga and are satisfied with that and think it was money well spent. Some try to teach yoga full-time and realize that it’s not the life of glamour and ease that they thought and quit.
Some try to apply to studios and realize the market is already saturated with fresh 200-hour teachers. So without the knowledge and skills to work for themselves, they give up—and most yoga teachers keep their day job and teach part-time.
Can you make a full-time living as a yoga teacher?
Yes, I have, and I help others do the same, but you need to learn business and marketing skills far beyond what they teach you in teacher training. You will need to be smart, strategic, patient, dedicated, and be ready to work to make it in the yoga business.
Are you still with me? Okay, so you realize it won’t be easy, and you are ready to put your nose to the grindstone and learn? Great, keep reading.
2. The minimum is not enough.
Your first 200 hours are only the start. What most teacher training programs won’t tell you is that 200 hours is like the yoga equivalent of a high school diploma. It doesn’t matter what program you take or whether it’s yoga Alliance approved or not, 200 hours is not even scratching the surface.
I have been teaching yoga since 2004 and have over 2,000 hours of teacher training and a boatload of college-level applicable courses, and I’m still always learning more and doing next-level studies. So be prepared to spend your whole life humbly learning.
3. Yoga is not a workout.
If you think teaching yoga is teaching yoga poses, you are probably mistaken. Yoga is so much more than the Asanas, and if you are only looking to make people sweat and give them a workout, then save your money.
Instead, become a personal trainer or a spin instructor, the workout will be more effective, and you won’t waste a bunch of money and time learning stuff you aren’t going to teach anyway.
4. Yoga is a work-in.
If after reading all this you still want to become a yoga teacher, please know your whole life is about to change in ways you haven’t even thought of. In beautiful ways, and in really hard ways. The bliss and the grit, the mud and the lotus—all of it.
You are about to dive deep into yourself, your shadows, your unconscious beliefs, how and when you don’t act skillfully, and realize how little you know. The journey into yourself is not easy and not for the faint of heart. To hold brave space for your students to heal is an art all its own—it takes work and study.
5. Do your research.
Don’t choose your teacher training program because it’s the most convenient or cheapest one. Teacher trainings are not fully regulated, which means it’s like the wild wild west out there, so be picky.
Deep dive into researching the experience and knowledge of the teacher or teachers guiding the program. How long have they been teaching? How much teacher training do they have? Hint, if it’s 500 hours or less, that’s not enough.
Who did they train under? What was the last training they took?
Ask around. Ask the teachers that inspire you to recommend programs and see if the same program or teacher comes up again and again. You might have to take time off, or you might have to go elsewhere to study.
If you aren’t willing to do that, then maybe you aren’t committed enough. Or, maybe it’s not the right time for teacher training, and you can continue to learn and study yoga in other ways.
If after reading all of this you still want to become a yoga teacher, then welcome to the club; it’s not easy, but it’s a great club to be in.