When I opened the studio door this evening to leave YTT, I was met by a carpet of roses sprinkled on the street. It was beautiful. And it made me think, “why don’t we sprinkle flower petals all over the sidewalks ALL THE TIME?” Seriously folks, the world would be a much better place if there were flower petals on sidewalks.
All that goodness said, Wednesday night’s YTT lecture was solid proof that it’s a good thing I’m headed back to work on Monday.
Our lecture was titled, “The Business of Yoga” and it was led by the founder and owner of our studio. Now, it was a lot less Business 101 than I expected. I was hoping for a three hour lecture on how you can make money teaching yoga. But basically, for 20 minutes, we discussed taxes, insurance and going rates for teaching.
It was pretty bleak, but not the first time I’ve heard about the trials and tribulations of making a living off of yoga teaching. According to our studio owner, as well as another well-respected teacher I know, the going rate for teaching yoga is $3-$6 a head. That’s right. If you have ten students in your yoga class and you’re a new teacher, you’re making 30 bucks for that class. :::cue doomsday music:::
Now, I don’t mean to be negative, dark or depressing. I’m sure there are phenomenal yoga teachers out there who are making enough to live comfortably and happily. I’m sure there are people making a killing off of hosting weekend retreats, and doing quite well for themselves.
But let’s be honest- yoga teachers, lately, are a dime a dozen. We’re EVERYWHERE. There is stiff competition EVERYWHERE to get a spot at a studio. You’ve got to find a target audience, and self-promote, self-promote, self-promote. And be ready to teach a lot of FREE classes to get the word out there that you rock.
And frankly, I’m relieved I don’t have to deal with that. I never went into YTT to become a full time yoga teacher. And this became apparent to me when we spent the rest of the lecture sitting in a circle, kumbaya-ing and sharing our souls mission, our dharma, our hopes for our future teaching yoga. (Ever seen the movie “Wanderlust” with Jennifer Aniston? It was like a scene out of that).
Everyone had a turn to go around the circle and speak about their future hopes and dreams. Most of them cried. Some it was touching, some of it was serious over-sharing. It went on FOREVER. At one point, even the hippie yoga guru was like, “ok guys, we need to wrap it up, keep it short, just a few words about your hopes for your future.” And still, tears and unnecessary self-disclosure- it was like graduate school all over again (my fellow counseling/social work/psych readers can relate!). I tried not to shift impatiently on my blanket and check my Iphone for the time. And when it came time for me to go, my response was this:
“As for where I go from here, and what my future looks like, I don’t need it to be any different than it is now. I love my life. I’m happy. I’m doing everything I’ve ever wanted to do. I love my job, despite it’s stresses and challenges. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere but the present moment. So my hope is that I just have more of the same. I don’t even think I want to teach yoga after this. I want to practice yoga, to be yoga, so that I can take care of myself, in order to provide the best service to my patients.”
Yeah, I just said to a roomful of YTT-ers that I didn’t really want to teach.
But I’m OK with that. Because teaching yoga isn’t about teaching asana, pranayama or meditation. It’s just about being an ambassador of love. Seeing people. Letting them know they matter. Spreading love and compassion wherever you go.
So let someone know you love them, you see them. Hug your yoga teacher in particular- their work is a labor of love. They’re not getting paid major bucks to make you feel so blissed out.
Happy Weekend. The Husband and I are off to Vail tomorrow for a little Groupon Getaway at our favorite resort and restaurant. It’s a celebration of all the beautiful things happening in our life- our new home, almost completing my YTT, and the end of my sabbatical. Pics and full report later on to follow.
So go celebrate this weekend. Go spread some love- and in doing so, you can call yourself a yoga teacher.