Why Yoga teachers struggle to pay rent? I have had the topic of ‘Yoga salary’ at the back of my mind for a long time. Some of us make it. Some actually can pay the rent from what they earn with teaching Yoga. Most of us can’t. Why? Allow me to explain!
When new teachers come to the scene, I feel like warning them. I would like to warn them and tell them to hold on to their part-time day job. Teaching Yoga is a profession, and it for sure is a job and hard work, only often it is validated as a hobby or volunteer work. Don’t get me wrong, I love teaching Yoga, only I just wish the profession had better working conditions. And Yoga teachers and studios please STOP offering free and cheap classes, you are devaluating our work!
I know I have a strong opinion on not offering free yoga classes in the West where most people can afford to pay for a class. And I did teach Free Community Classes, and I am still grateful that I did, because I taught free Yoga classes to staff at a Yoga Retreat Centre called Turtle Cove in Tofo, Mozambique (Africa). These people needed an opportunity like this. They would otherwise, with what they earn per month, never ever have been able to take Yoga classes. In those cases I believe we can offer free classes. This is for me the exception.
What do I see happening in the Yoga world in the fast paced Western societies? Yoga teachers …
- start teaching with a lot of enthusiasm.
- need to take on as many classes as they can to make a living.
- end up teaching 10 or more classes a week
- teach classes of 60-90 minutes.
- end up travelling from one location to the other.
- need time for preparations, marketing, pre-sale and after sale.
- often teach morning, lunch and evening classes with some gap hours in between.
- often work 7 days a week to be able to teach all the scheduled classes.
- forget that teaching one class of let’s say of an hour, means that they are busy for three hours when they include travelling, being on time, answering questions before and after class. And then I have not even included the time for preparations.
- need to prepare classes. This is not the same as doing their own practice.
- need to do their own practice. They say for each hour that we teach and share our energy; we should take 2 hours ‘back’.
- earn in between 25-35 Euros per class.
- There are many payment constructions, but often with a maximum wage of 45 Euros per class.
- Often there is not a minimum wage.
Yoga teacher salary
This sums up to a Yoga teacher salary of let’s say:
- 10 classes a week multiplied by 35 euros = 350 Euros a week.
- This is roughly 1500 a month.
- When income taxes of 35 % are deducted, 975 Euros are left.
Do you think this is fair Yoga teacher salary? Let’s continue!
Teach Yoga classes
How many hours does a teacher teach Yoga classes again in a normal Yoga workweek?
- 10 classes of 1,5 hours.
- That is just purely the hours a teacher is in the class room during a normal Yoga workweek.
- Roughly 65 hours a month (10 classes *1,5 hours per class * 52 weeks / 12 months)
So 975 Euros per month and this is being divided by 65 hours, so it comes down to a Yoga salary of 15 Euros per hour.
Only …. We now didn’t count all the other work hours that are not billed. So the 15 Euros does not include all the preparations, travelling, marketing and sales activities and cost. Yes, we often need to do our own marketing too and pay for it too. So from experience, and I have been on this track since 2010, I know that when I teach a class, I need to book 3 hours of work.
So let’s count again! How many hours does a teacher actually work in a normal Yoga workweek?
- Roughly 130 hours a month (10 classes *3 hours of work per class * 52 weeks / 12 months)
So 975 Euros per month and this is being divided by 130 hours, so it comes down to a Yoga salary of 7.5 Euros per hour.
Of the 7.5 Euros per hour we also need to pay for our own insurances and pension plan. Mmmm, I guess this is not possible. What do you reckon?
The result of teaching as many hours as we can to pay our bills? Yoga teachers …
- with a BURN OUT!
- with a BURN DOWN!
Thus Yoga teachers ..
- that have lost the Yoga feeling.
- have lost their inspiration to teach.
- are still broke.
- still can’t pay the rent.
- have no savings for insurances and let alone a pension plan.
- with a burn-out or burn-down can’t even call in sick, since they can’t get an allowance from the government. They work as freelancers remember ;)!
Teachers give, give and give. They use their body and often forget to do their own practice. The result is that they burn down. They can’t give anything anymore after a while, since by then they have given it all away. Like a student once said to me: ‘I am here to get your energy’. She did!
“Remember we too started doing Yoga to balance our body and improve our health.”
We teachers really can ONLY teach 10 classes a week. Even the more experienced teachers have expressed this clearly. We are also not even meant to do the practice when we teach. Teaching more than 10 classes a week is unhealthy for our own body. Remember we too started doing Yoga to balance our body and improve our health. So teaching 10 classes a week of 1,5 hours is already 15 hours of exercise. And then you have not even done your own practice, and we need the experience our own practice to be able to teach!
This means we as teachers need to take GOOD care of healthy food intake, sleep and our own practice. If we don’t do that, we wear ourselves out. I have been there too. Up to as much as 3 times I had to stop teaching. For three summers I took a long break. Why? Teaching Yoga is a responsible job in which we need to perform every time when we are on the mat. We need to make sure we train the students safely and let them train in a sensible way. And we have to take even better care of ourselves. We have to set the example here.
Why do Yoga teachers struggle to pay rent? … because the Yoga salary is so low! Yes why do we still do it? That is a good question. Only the world needs healers. We need Yoga to slow down in this crazy fast paced world. Could we only ALL start to validate the work we do?
“I would say cut down on the coffee and
spend the money on a Yoga class of a teacher that guides you to better health”.
Support the Yoga teacher
It is a lot of work to teach high quality Yoga classes and like I hopefully have been able to point out: often underpaid. People spend more money on coffee in town then that they are willing to pay for a class. I would say cut down on the coffee and spend the money on a Yoga class of a teacher that guides you to better health.
To conclude, support the Yoga teacher that teaches you and spend money on subscriptions at the studio where (s)he teaches. This way you support her/him. Stop spending money on coffee and ‘I can do Yoga anywhere cards’. Next time you pay for a Yoga class, think about that teacher. Your money is well spent.
Share your energy and money on high quality classes. He or she has worked hard to get there and is there to guide YOU towards better health. That is worth something, don’t you think? I’d like to share my message with the Yoga studios too; ‘Please start paying your teachers for what they are worth!’. Let’s ALL arrange a better Energy Exchange next time ;)! Can we do that?
How to slow down? Simply take a break and do Yin Yoga.
Sit still. Stretch. Breathe. Continue.
Yin Yoga with Marianne
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