With all the buzz about making a living doing your passion, making enough money is a popular concern among yoga teachers. As most yoga teachers will attest, you have to teach a lot of classes to cover all your costs. Teaching lots of yoga classes might sound wonderful, but you may have to travel from one side of town to the other, maybe more than once, sometimes from 7 am to 9pm. Factor in time for personal practice, class preparation (if you teach different styles), administrative tasks, other responsibilities (kids, pets, partner, chores), eating, sleeping, and you have a recipe for a burnt out, unprepared, stressed out yoga teacher. Yuck!
Workshops are a great and fun way to make more money teaching yoga. You can keep teaching your regular classes, and do these on the weekends. Tell your regular students - they have your undivided attention. If you have your own space or are renting, you can charge whatever you want (but it's advisable to do some research to see going rates for your length and breadth of material). Or, if you are holding the workshop at a studio, they will likely have rates in place and you will probably receive a percentage of the gross.
Creating workshops puts your left brain to work. Researching, writing, formatting, choosing a delivery, such as handouts or Powerpoint or both, asking for testimonials, advertising and marketing, perhaps making and maintaining an online presence; all of these exercises are excellent hard skills for a yoga professional to have. Of course you can hire someone to do all the technical stuff for you, but you'd still have to write the content and hold the workshop (but that really is the easy part because you love the subject!). If you have a studio backing you and including you in their website and poster boards, all the better. You could then link to those ads on your Facebook and other social media platforms.
Workshop Structure and Strategy
Workshops can be as short as two hours in one day or a progressive course over 12 weeks. You can choose the structure and get creative with it. Progressive courses can be lucrative. Consider an eight week course for $200, and 10 people sign up. That's $2000, and you might be able to keep a bit more than half of that. You could then do another course, Level Two. Another $2000. Even if you were just doing two hour courses, you could create three, four, five (or more!) of them, one building on the next, and offer discounts for signing up for all of them at once. Anything is possible. Over time, specifically, after thousands of hours teaching yoga, you are eligible to be a yoga teacher trainer too.
Strategy is a key component in planning. Start writing, now! For example, you want to hold a workshop about breathing, or you want to teach people how to do simple and effective yoga at work, or, about transitioning from chatturanga to cobra or updog in the sun salutations. Once you start writing, you'll likely find that the knowledgeable and inspirational voice that comes out in your classes will come out on the page. Just remember, when you are teaching your workshop, you must know much, much more than your handouts. You can't just read word-for-word, that's very boring. To be a compelling speaker and good teacher, you have to be able to answer questions, to repeat things in different words, to demonstrate, and use metaphor. Your students, just like you, have different learning curves.
There is a way to make more money teaching yoga without exhausting yourself, and you might just get to stretch out of your comfort zone a little bit. Teach yourself the yoga of work.
Kari has been involved in the yoga industry for 12 years, as a student, teacher, studio manager, and teacher trainer. Wearing different hats in the industry has shown her the many ways that yoga can be practiced, and her conclusion is that the essence of yoga is in the relationships we forge with ourselves, others, work, nature, and life itself.
Kari operates a one-on-one yoga mentoring service for both teachers and students, exploring the questions that can arise with a life lived with yoga. Visit http://yogateachermentor.wordpress.com/ for more information.