Being a yoga teacher is a fulfilling and healthy career. When I first began my yoga teacher training I never imagined I would be where I am now making a living teaching yoga. I tell my students often that I’m grateful for their participation in making my dream come true. You can’t be a yoga teacher without the support or your students.

Are there downsides to being a yoga teacher? Sure, but after teaching full time for the last ten years I can tell you the good definitely out weighs the bad. If you’re thinking about becoming a yoga teacher and living a luxurious wealthy life style you should think twice. The biggest downside to being a yoga teacher is that for the most part your income will be very modest. There are a small percentage of rock star yogis out there who are rolling in cash and traveling all over the world. Think of them as rock stars, there are millions of talented people but only a very few become famous. There are other downsides but you can’t beat the positive influence in your life. Here are 5 reasons why I love being a yoga teacher.

  1. Yoga teachers help people feel good. Whether it’s relieving physical tension or promoting peace of mind, yoga teachers are guiding us. Although our job is significantly different than that of a doctor, nurse or physiotherapist I do believe we are health care practitioners. Every time one of my students says, “you really helped me with such and such” it reminds me why I teach yoga and gives me the courage to keep teaching. It is fulfilling to me to see that lightness and positive energy circulating after yoga class.
  2. Teaching yoga forces you to examine your own practice. I love how teaching yoga keeps me connected to what’s happening in the yoga world. If I decided to become something else like a school teacher or plumber I honestly believe I wouldn’t have kept up with my practice. Being a yoga teacher keeps yoga at the forefront of my life and therefore makes my yoga practice a priority. Teaching yoga has deepened my practice in ways I never could have imagined. My ability to self examine and objectively view my life experiences has helped me to build mental resiliency.
  3. Being able to make my own schedule. I love that I can decide exactly where, when and how I want to teach. If I decide I would really like to have Thursday nights off I simply change my schedule the next season. Despite working some evenings and weekends I still manage to have plenty of time to spend with my family plus I have free time during week days to cook or run errands. Before I taught yoga I always had a feeling of being overwhelmed and having to much on my plate. You have to work whatever hours are required for your job and fit in everything else around that schedule. Living this way made me feel stressed. I love having the ability to say No. Being able to say No to certain activities and choosing how much I want to work has helped me find work life balance.
  4. Teaching yoga nourishes my energy. In jobs I’ve had before I would come home physically and mentally tired. I would have sore feet and aching shoulders. I always tell my students if you are holding your body in one position (for example sitting at a desk) for eight hours you would need to do eight hours of yoga to counteract that muscle memory. Obviously we can’t do eight hours of yoga a day but the point is to begin thinking about how repetitive motions or stagnant body positions in our work environment contribute to our health. When I teach yoga I am up, moving around and my body is making all kinds of shapes. After I come home from teaching I feel I have worked but my mood is good and body is open. There are some occasions when I go to teach yoga feeling bummed out and I always feel better after class. Although teaching a class is a completely different experience than taking a class it still forces you to live in the moment which helps you to view your emotions objectively.
  5. The yogic environment is low stress. There have been times where not everything goes according to plan but thankfully yoga students are very forgiving. Unlike other places I’ve worked where people complain, make you feel bad or take their anger out on you yoga students are very accepting. I’ve never had a yoga student come up to me after class and say “you know what your class really sucked” or try and blame me for something that’s out of my control. Teachers are there because they want to be and they are passionate about yoga. Students are there because they want to be and are passionate about yoga. When you work together to create a loving environment people trust each other to make the right decisions. When we are allowed to work independently there is little stress to make things perfect.

Whether you decide to become a yoga teacher or not my advice is to follow your dreams. It’s not always easy moving away from accepted norms but following your heart gives deep satisfaction to the soul. Our lives are so short and the work we do shapes who we become. Begin thinking about whether your career choice is satisfying to you on either a physical, mental or spiritual level but more importantly ask yourself if your career is taking you further from the lifestyle you want to live.

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