Ahhh Pure Bliss. You get to leave your full time well paying desk job. Who need benefits, job security and vacation pay anyways? You can save enough money for retirement, no problem right? Anything to get away from that annoying co-worker who almost always gets your coffee order wrong.
I get it, you want to inspire people for a living, you LOVE yoga. All you wanna do is yoga all day and chant all night, create magical classes that will leave your students floating on a cloud and you, in turn, have a job that now fills you up!
Ok, that’s the dream I know. So here is my version, without the fluff, the reality of what it means to throw in the towel on your well paying, seemingly unfulfilling day job. A few tips from me, a full time teacher of 12 years and studio owner of 7 years – the slightly raw, unfiltered truth of being a full time yoga teacher.
Pro tip number 1 – Please, do NOT quit your day job. I mean unless you are some trust fund millennial who has the freedom to do so, I repeat – Do NOT quit your day job.
The reality of being a new teacher is that you hustle, every successful yoga teacher that you are modeling your new life after has done it. That’s right, spending your days driving from one end of the city and back again to teach enough classes to make ends meet. Picking up every class you can not only to pay the bills, but the only way to become a great teacher is by teaching – a lot.
2- If you do not like to work a lot (and you need to make money) this may not be the job for you. It takes years to get into the best studios, to get a higher pay rate and to get to the level of teacher that can offer a quality teacher training or workshops (more on this later). When I started teaching I taught 15-20 classes a week AND was bartending 4 nights a week. I am not saying you need to do the same, but you do need to figure out how much money you need to pay your bills and how much energy you have to put into that. Not everyone is self motivated or likes to hustle and that’s ok – just don’t try to fool yourself and remember the world needs all types of people to make it go round,
3- Your practice will take a backseat. Some people sign up to do their training and decide not to teach when they realize this. Just because you love to take yoga classes does not mean you should teach them, just because you are a yoga teacher does not mean you should open a studio (more on this later as well). Try to get clear on what it is you love about the practice before you decide to share it with others. For a lot of people it is a totally personal thing that you may just want to keep for YOU, again this is OK and I think it’s a beautiful thing,
4- Your 200hr training is the tip of the iceberg. I have done at least one training a year and as many workshops as possible since the day I started teaching. This is a path of continuous self growth, inside and out. Things are, just as in every other industry, evolving, and you want to be able to educate your students and yourself as this happens. So just know that your 200hr training is where it begins, but it does not stop there.
5- Please, please do not tell studio owners that you do not want to teach early mornings, late nights and weekends. If this is you, stop while you are ahead and know that this is not the job for you. Not sure if have noticed, but there are yoga classes running across the city 7 days a week from 6am to sometimes 10:30pm in the evening. If you want to be successful as a teacher you need to show up in more than a few time slots, in fact the most successful teachers I know are the ones that are teaching all of the time slots, and on the weekends. This is how you connect to a larger audience and make more money as a teacher by filling your own retreats, trainings and workshops in the future.
So please do not get me wrong, Is it worth it? YES! Is it easy, NO. but from my experience nothing that has been worth it has been easy. I actually love to work and I love to work hard, it has always been a part of me and sure, you could argue that I probably have a higher energy level than the average person. The fact is, I have chosen to invest my energy in my work. I have no children, and i even get to share my dog walking with my partner. So to the moms out there, remember that you have already chosen the hardest job of all, that no one can compare teaching yoga classes or sitting at a mediocre desk job to raising children.
Whether you have a full time job, a part time gig, or maybe you are home with your kids – if you are thinking about it, here is my advice – Think seriously about it, it still is a job and being self employed is a different ball game. Things truly are not always what they seem. You will still run into the same people you do in every other walk of life, you will still run into problems and face new challenges. The fact is, the same people are everywhere. If you are looking for a quick solution to a problem, changing your job may not be the solution. Most of the things that bring us true happiness and fulfilment in our lives come from working on ourselves from the inside out first, not the other way around. It isn’t always about changing our current situation, but perhaps shifting our perspective instead.
In saying all of this, and I don’t mean to be harsh, I truly am the number one pusher, cheerleader and believer of following your dreams, of getting out there are finding the things that make your heart beat a little faster. But I am also a believer in hard work, and understanding the reality of our situation.
So to all of you who are living the hustle, ready for the hustle, and love to hustle, I salute you. Making your dreams a reality is hard, but nothing in my life has ever been more fulfilling as seeing them unfold before my very eyes.