Despite practicing yoga for over 15 years and teaching for the better half of a decade, I have had more than my fair share of identity crisis through working in this industry - especially as my body still struggles to hold advanced asana, and the yoga masses seem to still move instinctively to handstanding, acrobatic teachers.
The simple truth is that it’s hard to make a living as a yoga teacher.
But, doubling down on my passion to share the practice that pulled me out of my darkest places and the philosophy that provided me a framework for greater accountability and compassion has taught me a lot about myself and others.
First, I commend everyone who shows up. There are more teachers and studios to choose from than ever, not to mentioned dozens of other fitness fads moving in and out of popular culture. Those who take the time to practice yoga and meditation are people who have my profound respect.
Second, I am always humbled by people who attend teacher training. When I enrolled in my trainings each time I held my breath as I submitted my payment information. Despite dedication and a full work load, the truth is that studios aren't able to offer significant pay (and I've worked all over the country). This is just reality of the industry and I get it. Continued educations and teacher trainings are a significant investment, and it's not always easy to measure their ROI especially when the recipe for success as a yoga teacher no longer simply include a passion for the craft, skillful instruction, and experience.
With that being said, I want to offer some insight into why each time I decided to further my yoga and fitness education, and why after 200, 300/500, 50 hour, and 5 separate format trainings, group fitness certification, cycling certification, and personal training certification, I STILL say yes to my own continued education.
1. Learn to cultivate a personal approach.
In studying several methods of yoga I at first rebelled. Methods felt so constricting! It wasn't until I began to dive deeper into a variety of methods (and other movement modalities) that I shifted focus. I attend method trainings with the primary intention to glean out the 'why' behind their 'how'. From there I felt sound in developing my own method that empowers other teachers to stake a claim to their own. I believe my method is only as good as it's ability to adapt with my continued learning, and thus adopting this approach has ironically compelled me to invest in continuing my education indefinitely. I now feel comfortable offering something that is deeply rooted within what I believe to be the most authentic way for me to teach yoga. Having a personal approach that is consistent will provide your students with a stable ground to learn and develop over time, with you!
2. Gain to confidence become your own boss
I didn't expect for yoga to become my full time job. I had a practioner of yoga for almost a decade before my first teacher training. I was stunned to find out that some of the 'yogalebrities' that were popping up enrolled in their TT just a few months after they started their practice, and were teaching nationally just months later. How could teaching this profound practice actually be so accessible? Once I stepped into the arena of teaching, I took to it like a fish to water, and my passion for it overwhelmed my sensibility to start in my previous career. But soon I was hit by the reality truck - it is next to impossible to make a living by only teaching public classes. I had to diversify my offerings to include workshops, private training, teacher trainings and retreats. In order to feel confident in doing that I had to work with my teacher who showed me the way. You'll want to feel confident in your ability to provide offerings outside of public classes. Mentorship with others who have done it AND are passionate about celebrating your success (read: seek out a training that is 100% free of guru love, fearmongering, or pretentious credential chasing).
3. It will provide you clarity on your goals
My teacher used to tell me that if I wanted to do anything then I needed to do it with 'both cheeks' - implying that my entire ass needed to be on the line if I meant it. At first I took it as a challenge. "I'll show you how committed I am!"
As I matured, I realized her advice was uber-compassionate. Asking myself if I am 'both cheeks' is really giving myself permission to pause and listen deeply to my inner compass. Do I really want this? Both cheeks want this? If I discover that the answer is no that is just as valuable as knowing that the answer is yes.
So if you are fully invested in making a full-time career utilizing the practice of yoga (in any of it's capacities - not just in the sense of teaching in a studio) then it is imperative that you continue your education.
If you're looking for a mentorship approach please consider training with Practice Everywhere. Our 300 Hour training applications for both the Florida and DC sessions are now open. We move through with cohorts and help you get it done in 6-12 months. Find Out More.