No More Broke Yoga Teachers
by Lucas Rockwood

The yoga market is desperate for service-oriented, business savvy teachers.

Let’s be honest. No one becomes a yoga teacher to get rich, but when you work in $7 billion industry and make less than a Starbucks barista, clearly, something is amiss.

From the mats and clothes to the retreats and mega-studios, teachers are the driving force behind everything yoga has become—but oddly, most have no equity, no royalties, and are living paycheck-to-paycheck. More ironic still, many yoga teachers feel it’s noble or “part of the path” to be poor; meanwhile no one else (including their students) shares that sentiment.

For all these reasons, poor yoga teachers suck.

They suck up the energy of the people around them, they suck up the resources of their friends and family who have to support them, and they’re just not that fun to be around. Living simply is wonderful, and you can live a very rich life with very little money; but if we define “poor” as living in a state of lack, struggling to pay your rent, and not having any kind of financial safety net, then there is nothing spiritual about that at all—actually quite the opposite.

There’s a famous quotation that says: “It took a lot of money to keep Gandhi poor,” and what it means is that Gandhi, just like Mother Teresa or Amma (or any other service-oriented spiritual leader) attracted money into their lives naturally, so much so that they had to form organizations and hire staff simply to figure out what to do with all the funds these “poor” teachers received.

The money in your life is in direct correlation to the value you add to your community—full stop—so the more you serve, the more money you’ll earn. I’m not talking about private jet or mansion-on-the-hilltop money here, but I’m talking about more money than a single yoga teacher needs—a wonderful state of abundance where you lack for nothing. This is not too much to ask, it’s not even something to aspire to; it should be your baseline expectation for yourself.

Take a look at any highly-influential yoga teachers, and the pattern you’ll see is pretty much the same. Even if they’re horrible at business and lack even basic sales and marketing skills, those who serve at the highest level eventually receive a disproportionate level of financial remuneration.

So if you’re a teacher and you’re broke, what does all this mean? It means you need to take an honest look at your career and figure out ways in which you can be of greater service to your students.

As a teacher, teacher trainer, and studio owner myself, I see a common pattern among fellow instructors where their focus becomes mostly about their lifestyle, their practice, and their agenda. This is a surefire way to stay poor. The world is about energetic exchange, and you need to create more than you consume each day if you want to contribute at a high level.

Money moves from a place of lesser value to a place of greater value. It’s not personal, and it’s not industry-specific, this is just how energy moves. So the harsh reality is that the poor yoga teachers of the world are simply not adding enough value to their communities, and big businesses are stepping in to fill that void with products and services that teachers, for the most part, are not involved in.

Since 1993, yoga has been booming with non-stop, steady growth. Year-over-year, the products, services, studios and revenue in the yoga world have continued to rise—depressions and recessions be damned—so there is no lack of opportunity, just lack of career-minded teachers ready to step up and take on leadership positions with a service-oriented mindset.

Like any job, to do the teaching thing well, it means real work, hard work. It requires selflessness and delayed gratification; but ultimately it’s all worth it. As someone who has lived on both sides of the fence, my hope is that more yoga teachers will drive their stake into the ground and claim their place as industry leaders so that those who built this powerful movement remain those in charge.

Teach yoga, inspire students, change lives…

Questions or Comments?

YOGABODY Business School – learn more

YOGABODY Business School – learn more

As yoga students, we all recognize the importance of a good teacher and a supportive community—this is how you grow. In business, it’s exactly the same, but why do most teachers try to do it alone?

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