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3 Things I Wish I Knew When I Became a Yoga Teacher

I have no idea what I’m doing or where I’m going… Do you ever feel like this?

Right before I found the path of yoga, this is exactly what I was thinking about myself and my life. I had been in the world of nutrition and health for many years, and although it was and still is a personal passion and lifestyle for me, it wasn’t lighting me up to serve in this way.

Enter yoga… The practice, the community, the philosophy, the way of life… Before I knew it, I went from a dedicated (lifelong) student to diving head-first into becoming a teacher.

My 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training was one of the most enriching and valuable experiences of my life. I absolutely loved the full immersion of diving deeper into my practice, into yoga philosophy, being challenged and pushed outside my comfort zone a lot, realising and learning so much about myself, letting go of many things that hold me back, connecting with wonderful, life-long community and directing me towards a path in service of others…

What happened after training was also truly life-changing. I had finally found something I was incredibly passionate about, that became an all-encompassing, purposeful lifestyle, and I jumped straight into life as a yoga teacher right as the training finished up. My life turned upside down in the most beautiful way. A few studio owners knew of me and asked me to come and teach for them right away, which I was so grateful for as it helped me to get started teaching.

Ok, time to step out into the world as a yoga teacher… Wait, hang on a minute, but how?

So many questions started to arise…

Where do I start? How do I approach finding classes to teach regularly?

Is yoga a business? Is it just a passion and hobby? What do I do with bank accounts and invoicing? What is the going pay rate for teaching classes?

Is this something that I can make a living out of? Will I need to have another job on the side? How do I market myself online?

What if I need support? Who do I go to?

On and on and on the questions went. I am very lucky that I had some close friends who had already been teaching for a couple of years before me, so I was able to receive some great insights and answers to some questions, but there were also many gaps that I wasn’t sure of how to fill.

It started to occur to me that there were many things that I wasn’t prepared for when stepping out into the world of yoga teaching.

I felt like I was flying blind and making things up as I went along. Can you relate?

It wasn’t necessarily a bad thing because I am someone who learns well from trying, testing, experiencing, making mistakes and I’m pretty confident in putting myself out there, taking risks and learning from it all.

Still, the first couple of years were a struggle; financially, mentally and emotionally. I spent so much time, energy and tears (at times) not knowing how to move forward. I had times where I questioned it all and where I almost wanted to give up.

For me, the hardest part was the financial side of things, and finding that balance between doing it for the love and making it financially sustainable as my path of service.

It’s worth noting that it’s incredibly rare to have yoga business information in a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training. I only know of one training that includes a small business module. I’m hoping to change this! I do understand that 200-hours is a limited amount of time and there is only so much that can be included. Plus, just like any kind of training, when we step out into the world, there are always going to be real-life situations, occurrences and challenges that we can’t necessarily prepare for in a training.

I am super grateful that I get to walk this path, and even though the first couple of years were a struggle, I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else!

Yoga teachers, does any of this resonate with you? I know that there are many of you who have been through or are currently going through similar experiences, and I want to remind you that you are not alone. I’ve been through it and have received many valuable lessons along the way.

Looking back, here are 3 things that I feel would be useful to know for all yoga teachers coming right out of Yoga Teacher Training, especially for those that want to teach full-time or part-time:

  • How to start a business as a yoga teacher – To be honest, I didn’t really know that being a yoga teacher could turn into running a business. A list of steps to get your business up and running, such as:
    • Applying for an ABN as a sole trader
    • The best options for opening/having a bank account
    • Insurance and other certification requirements
    • Accounting and invoicing systems
    • Superannuation and tax
    • Understanding the workings/system of yoga as an industry
  • Foundations of running a yoga business – Following on from #1, some basic aspects of/things to think about when operating a business as a yoga teacher:
    • Understanding around picking a niche, ideal client avatars and the struggle/solution aspect of business
    • Business planning
    • Social media, marketing and promotion
    • Yoga website and photography
  • Some ideas on the many different ways to earn an income as a yoga teacher – Early on, it became clear to me that I needed to find other sources of income, outside only teaching classes to make a substantial living… unless I ran around from studio to studio teaching lots and lots of classes, which I knew was not sustainable long term… at least for me, it’s not. And because there are many avenues that one can take when it comes to teaching, knowing about alternative options outside of the public classroom.

What do you think? Can you relate to anything that I’ve mentioned above? Is there anything that you would add to the list? I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to share your thoughts below or email me at lucy@reconnected.me

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