I recently shared an article on social media about How to Earn an Honest Living as a Yoga Teacher. A couple of questions came to me in regards to this topic, so I want to share my response here. I’m sure that this will interest a number of people.
Hey Johnny, I read the article you posted and of course it’s daunting. I have struggled making a living being a massage therapist and know the odyssey of doing what you love and surviving. I am about to embark on a yoga teacher training, and am very excited but do not have financial expectations right now as I want to really enjoy the ride.
Question: Do you as a male yoga teacher feel discriminated against? I see that sometimes in the body worker world.
Do you as a male yoga teacher feel discriminated against?
Answer: I don’t feel discriminated against as a male yoga teacher. It’s the opposite. There are fewer male teachers than female teachers. There are lots of opportunities to take a yoga class with a goddess type, or young/thin Lululemon type of teacher (no offense to those types, I like them too!). My masculine and direct approach can separate me from the pack.
In a crowded market like Portland, you’re better off differentiating yourself in an authentic way. The faster you get comfortable with yourself being a teacher, the more you can develop your voice.
There are two really good ways to get to that point where you are a confident and strong teacher. The first is to teach a whole lot. The second is to continue taking more advanced training. Neither way is fast.
The idea is that you’ll want to combine who you already are with what you are becoming, and who you want to be. The body worker part of yourself will fit in nicely with being a yoga teacher.
I have had students tell me that my class was the most technical class they ever attended. I took that as a compliment.
If you ask me about being treated differently as a male teacher, I would say that the main time I feel different is in the application of adjustments. I think that I get weird vibes when I try to get in too close with adjustments. I think that overall people feel differently about a woman getting in more close and personal.
Yet, this difference has helped enable my style. If I’m not going to get in and physically adjust as much, then I need to get better with verbal instruction so that my intentions are crystal clear. I have had students tell me that my class was the most technical class they ever attended. I took that as a compliment.
My physical adjustments tend towards directional touch as opposed to getting in too close. There’s always exceptions though. You’ll want to do what the situation calls for.
Question: What are your true thoughts on going into the teaching works of yoga? Words of advice. The impression I have gotten from you is that this ( fitness ) is your true calling. To do otherwise would probably not be the right path. You inspire people and embody your teaching and philosophy. Has it been a struggle? Sorry for the questions?!!
What are your true thoughts on going into the teaching works of yoga?
Answer: There’s something inside you that drives you to make the decision to sign up for yoga teacher training. If that thing came from your heart, then you should listen to it. Not in a condescending “You Should!” kind of way, but as in I hope to always tune in and listen to that voice myself, and then act accordingly.
The real benefit of our yoga practice is that we connect better with our inner intuitions as a result of the meditative aspects of yoga. The heart doesn’t make decisions irrationally. Sometimes, it might take years for us to realize in hindsight that following our heart was the best decision for us.
More often than not, when we position ourselves to listen and act according to our heart, then we feel as if we’re on the path we’re meant to be on… Following our dharma.
Adversely, we absolutely know when we’re not on the right path.
We feel right when we can listen to our heart, and act upon what we hear, but that doesn’t mean it will be easy.
To succeed in this profession you’ll eventually want to make a decent living. This happens by becoming a better teacher, and gaining the experience to lead retreats, sell out workshops, and teach other teachers. It’s definitely not easy to get to that point.
My words of advice are “Good Luck!” Sincerely, good luck! With dedication and persistence, you can establish yourself as a teacher. Then, you can do this anywhere.
In Portland, I’ve been keeping my head above water well enough for a few years. If I ever come back to the US after my stay in SE Asia, my plan is to try and be a bigger fish in a smaller pond, than compete with all of the options in a larger city. I’ll let you know if one way is better than the other after I try them both…