Sometimes when I tell people I teach yoga, I get frustrated with the looks or comments that I get. While it was a conscious career choice to improve my life, people assume teaching yoga means I wear clothes that looks like pajamas and just do yoga all day every day for fun with no responsibility. While I love my job and it is a far better industry than what I was previously in, it is still a job that comes with responsibilites and frustrations. Here are a few myths people have about teaching yoga.
Teaching yoga is stress free
If this has become your career choice and a means to support yourself, teaching yoga is not without its stresses. The pay is not great unless you have a following which can take some time to build. There is a very high likelihood you will need to commute all over town when you start. Sometime you have students that are challenging to work with or studio owners who drive you crazy.
The schedule is flexible
Yes, you will be able to create your own schedule. However, compared to jobs where you have co-workers who may be able to cover your shift at the last minute or cover your shift in general, it’s typically not the case when teaching. Your ability to build a base requires consistent routine and attendance with your potential following. Additionally, as you may be the only one at the studio who is available to teach, being a few minutes late or taking time off may cause issues with the studio as there may not be anyone available to cover your class.
It’s all peace and love teaching yoga
When trying to support yourself by teaching yoga, just like you have bills you need to pay so do your places of employment. At the end the day, these places are businesses unfortunately may need to make business decisions that may not necessarily be the most compassionate such as cutting classes that don’t generate revenue, having uncomfortable conversations about performance of classes, and so on. Additionally, if you interact with other instructors, they are peers and some of the issues that arise in the regular workplace: gossip, cliques, and conflicting personalities still exist.
No waking up on the wrong side of the bed
Depending on your previous profession it may have been perfectly okay to have a bad day and limit your interaction with other people while you sort through your own personal problems. Unfortunately, teaching yoga to others means you put their needs first and shelf your personal issues until your class is over. It means being “on” when you just want to go home.
You will do what you love 100% of the time
Teaching yoga is still a job and with every job there is going to be certain things you have to do that you don't like. For instance, most yoga teachers are surprised with the amount of marketing they will have to do to promote themselves. To get jobs, they may need to drive all over town or their shift may involve cleaning or selling yoga packages. No matter what job people get there is always going to be some part of it they don't like.
On the bright side, teaching yoga is incredibly rewarding. There are countless individuals who had other jobs making more money with different lifestyles who wouldn’t change their decision to teach for the world. There is nothing more satisfying to see people come to yoga and heal their physical, emotional, or spiritual issues. Depending on your needs, teaching yoga with all of its challenges can still be the best career choice you can make.
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After serving in the United States Army and having a successful career in finance, Melissa began to feel how the pressures work and other attachments were negatively affecting her life. After beginning to feel more detached from her own life, she found yoga was a way to stay present and avoid letting negative thoughts get out of control. She began teaching yoga in 2012.
Melissa also owns Ignite Your Bliss, a yoga and creative outlet retreat company that takes participants all over the world. She can be followed on Instagram @IgniteYourBliss