For love and money

Published on August 27, 2013 by      Print
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By Deanna Hirsch

Being a yoga teacher is kind of like being a cop. Once they see you in “uniform” everyone wants you to fix their “ticket” for free.

Soon you’ll be Facebooked by everyone, from former kindergarten classmates to your own students, past and present. Girls who didn’t want to sit next to you in the high school cafeteria will suddenly ask if you think they should go vegan or gluten free. You’ll be polled for DVD recommendations on how to get them off the couch and onto the mat. Friends of friends will get referred to you, seeking treatment plans for their tennis elbow and tight hips. Everyone from your Mom’s friend at church to the dry cleaner will want a piece of your peace and your professional advice—but none of them will want to pay for it.

Talk dollars and cents with those who come seeking your support, and suddenly it’s like you’re Ray Liotta in Goodfellas, saying “F*ck you. Pay me!” You see, once you start wearing luon for a living and teaching cow pose, everyone wants the milk for free. Now I don’t mind sharing a link here and an article there, but copies of my written work and an hour of my time? That’s an exchange of energy—and a consultation fee. Hold me hostage after class for half an hour to solve your sciatica—and that’s a private. Much as I’d love to, I cannot cash your hug. Just because Pattabhi Jois said, “Yoga is possible for anybody who really wants it. Yoga is universal… but don’t approach yoga with a business mind looking for worldly gain,” you can’t expect professional teachers to coach in exchange for good karma and cookies. Even if they are gluten-free.

I’ve never been seeking worldly gain, but rather my place in the world.

I became a yoga teacher when my daughter was ready to enter school and I was ready to enter the workforce. I’d always been passionate about health and wellness, especially seeing my own mother struggle with hers. Like my mother, a former nurse, I’ve always been drawn to service. And like my mother, those in need have always been drawn to me. I consider it a blessing, even though I may curse about it from time to time. What can I say?

Like my mother, I’m also a New Yorker. Those who know me, and call on me, know my empathy outshines my sarcasm. What they don’t know is that the knowledge I’ve acquired to become a yoga professional costs, and costs BIG!

  • A 200-hour training certificate, the universal requirement for becoming a teacher these days, costs anywhere from $1500 to $20,000, according to Lisa Wells, PhD, E-RYT 500. In 2007, when I got mine, it was somewhere around $3000, once you factored in the books, the supplies and the matte lattes during breaks.
  • Unlike college tuition, YTTs generally don’t offer student loans, and there’s no financial aid from the government.
  • Once you graduate, you will need to purchase your own insurance ($150-$200/year) in order to work at a studio, where you will be paid ($3-5) per head.
  • You’ll also be strongly encouraged to get professional pictures taken ($200+) and your own website created if you’re “really serious”($500++).
  • At least once a year, you will go to a yoga conference, workshop or YTT to continue your education (cha-ching-cha-ching-cha-ching). So you see, it’s not that yogis don’t think about money; it’s that if we did we’d never make it out of child’s pose!

On top of my $3000 plus start-up fees, I’ve invested in four other teacher trainings and countless conferences, workshops and apprenticeships from 2007 to present day. What I’ve incurred in time, tears and travel expenses will never be repaid. What I’ve gained in experience and interactions with others can never be quantified. I have made $3-5 a head in studios and $60 an hour in homes. Despite the incredible cost, financially and spiritually, I’ve kept on. I’ve kept on, found the money and made the time, because I’ve loved what I’ve been able to help others do.

I believe that teaching has value far beyond the yoga mat. Yes, it is an honor to be your guide. But if I’m not willing to ask for what I’m worth, unapologetically, then I’m complicit in devaluing my time, and the time of all teachers. Where’s the honor in that? I’m not asking to make the big bucks, or make it to the “big time.” All I’m asking is for my time and experience to be valued – in a tangible way. After that, I’m more than happy to have that hug.

Deanna HirschAbout Deanna Hirsch

Deanna Hirsch, is the yogini next door. Born and raised in New York, she guides her classes with a mix of humor, love and vulnerability. A former women’s health counselor and personal trainer, she began seriously practicing yoga in 2004, when pregnant with her daughter. She became a teacher in 2007 and has completed certified trainings in Prenatal, Restorative, Kids and Kinda Hot Yoga. Drawn to the healing and restorative sides of the practice, she specializes in Yin yoga. She can be found at Karma Yoga Center and Kindness Yoga when she isn’t freaking out in the Whole Foods parking lot.

 

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46 Comments !

  1. Terra Kroll says:


    $98 a pop for those Lulus ain’t pretty. ;-)

    Thank you for posting this, hopefully people outside the “yoga community” will start to realize…and people within the yoga community will begin to ask for what they are worth!

  2. Emmanuelle says:


    YES!
    That is all.

  3. For Love and Money Got Shown Some Love | The Caffeinated Yogi says:


    [...] For Love and Money Got Shown Some Love [...]

  4. Jean says:


    I usually love Recovering Yogi posts, but strongly disagree with this one. While it is true that “you can’t expect professional teachers to coach in exchange to good karma and cookies”, a big part of growing your “business” (and yoga in the West is a business) depends on building rapport with your clients.

    • Joslyn Hamilton says:


      I guess I wonder why building rapport with your clients means giving away the farm for free? In all my years in the yoga world, I’ve only met a few yoga teachers who could even make a modest living teaching yoga full-time. Yes, yoga classes are expensive. But yoga teachers — and small studio owners, for that matter — are not getting rich doing what they love.

      You wouldn’t expect your lawyer to go to lunch with you off the clock. You wouldn’t ask a graphic designer for a free logo on the side. You wouldn’t expect your massage therapist to take you to tea after your treatment. There is only one thing a yoga teacher is responsible for in a studio: teaching a good solid class and being 100 percent present while doing so. If you get that from a teacher, you’re getting your money’s worth.

      • Emmanuelle says:


        I was going to write something along those lines but you wrote it much more eloquently than I would have. So I’ll go for brevity again and just say: +1000.

      • kate says:


        All around, great point.

        Aside from whether yoga is a “service” or “helping others”, to get compensated for your energy by means which help you LIVE and continue to help others is completely reasonable and unfortunately understated. Cashing in on “Good Karma” doesn’t mean expecting a teacher/mentor to consult you for free…”Good Karma” is compensating the person bringing such value to your life.

        And, as any other professional in any other industry, you would’t expect your doctor to see you for free- just because they love what they do.

        Keep it up!

    • Jenifer says:


      I think that this is possible — building rapport — without feeling like someone is trying to take advantage of you.

      You can be clear with people and still build rapport. If a client asks me a question after class, I give the short answer. If they need more information, I suggest that we set up a half-hour private lesson to answer that question and work on it specifically, or that they remind me before class and I can be sure to help them with that issue while in the class.

      But, part of the benefit of my working schedule is that my classes run back-to-back at lunch times. The students are also heading back to work, and i’m saying my goodbyes to them and also having to check in the next class. It’s all very friendly and everyone feels cared for — it’s not rushed, but it’s a short Q/A time. :)

      Most of the students are happy with this arrangement/process. Since our numbers tend to be on the rise, I can’t say it’s not working. :)

      • Janet Muse, MSW, E-RYT says:


        People in all sorts of helping professions learn, even early on in their professional education and development, how to build rapport with clients. But that does not denote that we do not ask for compensation in return. That’s ludacris. Doctors, nurses, medics, counselors, psychologists, life coaches, social workers, and the like… ALL require a fee for service. If they are practicing ethically, then it matters to them that they give the service that their patients/clients are looking for. Rapport is built, slowly but surely on a push/pull of trust — often both physically AND emotionally. But not for free.

        I am picky about my yoga teachers. I’ve practiced and studied likely hundreds of thousands of hours since 1999. Unlike many beginners, I know when I’m in front of “the goods,” and when I’m in front of someone who is not yet prepared to safely and adequately teach me. And, in my opinion, the only ones who can safely and adequately teach me… as well as find the ways to push my personal practice, are the ones who themselves have invested thousands of hours in dedication to the practice. And that most certainly does not come for free. Honestly, most of the fabulous yoga teachers in the west really cannot ask for what they are worth, because most people would really not be able to afford them. So we are already sacrificing a great deal so that we can be more accessible to more people. And the good ones… they always make sure that they do their share of karma yoga.

        Off the topic of building rapport (which again has nothing to do with requiring a fee for service), the cost of yoga to the masses is most definitely a luxury cost. We do still dance with the balance of receiving what we are worth (and though we receive much more, I am talking about money), and making REAL teachings available to those who simply cannot afford that. I know that with my business model, it is a factor.

        Deanna, I am pleased that you had the courage to talk about this. Because yoga is a spiritual practice… as old as dirt… many think that we should really just give it away for free. We don’t live in times like those anymore. We need to feed our families too!!

        Rock on sweet yogini. xo

      • Deanna says:


        Well done Jenifer!

    • Janet Muse, MSW, E-RYT says:


      People in all sorts of helping professions learn, even early on in their professional education and development, how to build rapport with clients. But that does not denote that we do not ask for compensation in return. That’s ludacris. Doctors, nurses, medics, counselors, psychologists, life coaches, social workers, and the like… ALL require a fee for service. If they are practicing ethically, then it matters to them that they give the service that their patients/clients are looking for. Rapport is built, slowly but surely on a push/pull of trust — often both physically AND emotionally. But not for free.

      I am picky about my yoga teachers. I’ve practiced and studied likely hundreds of thousands of hours since 1999. Unlike many beginners, I know when I’m in front of “the goods,” and when I’m in front of someone who is not yet prepared to safely and adequately teach me. And, in my opinion, the only ones who can safely and adequately teach me… as well as find the ways to push my personal practice, are the ones who themselves have invested thousands of hours in dedication to the practice. And that most certainly does not come for free. Honestly, most of the fabulous yoga teachers in the west really cannot ask for what they are worth, because most people would really not be able to afford them. So we are already sacrificing a great deal so that we can be more accessible to more people. And the good ones… they always make sure that they do their share of karma yoga.
      Off the topic of building rapport (which again has nothing to do with requiring a fee for service), the cost of yoga to the masses is most definitely a luxury cost. We do still dance with the balance of receiving what we are worth (and though we receive much more, I am talking about money), and making REAL teachings available to those who simply cannot afford that. I know that with my business model, it is a factor.

      Deanna, I am pleased that you had the courage to talk about this. Because yoga is a spiritual practice… as old as dirt… many think that we should really just give it away for free. We don’t live in times like those anymore. We need to feed our families too!!

      Rock on sweet yogini. xo

      • Deanna says:


        Thank you for your thoughtful response Janet. I think Recovering Yogi just found their next tee shirt design, “Yoga is a spiritual practice… as old as dirt!” ;)

        • Janet Muse, MSW, E-RYT says:


          Yes, I ALWAYS tell people that yoga is as old as dirt! Another common one is “older than Jesus.” True story. :)

    • Deanna says:


      I agree with you that a large part of growing your “business” is developing a rapport with “clients.” Where I’m confused, is if yoga in the west is a “business” as you say and students are also “clients’ than why the disagreement over my simple expectation to be paid for my time?

    • Jean says:


      “Hold me hostage after class to discuss your sciatica– and that’s a private” is the sentence that concerned me re: my comment on rapport. Why do you feel like someone is holding you hostage when you can simply listen for a few minutes, then interrupt them politely and cease the discussion? If you feel they need a “private”, then suggest a “private”, and do it soon into the conversation. In that way, you are not “held hostage”, and if that person is someone who is looking for free advice, he or she will get the message. This has always worked for me.

      • Deanna says:


        What I actually said, if you’re going to quote me, was “Hold me hostage after class for HALF AN HOUR to solve your sciatica—and THAT’S a private.” You are absolutely right, I can “simply listen for a few minutes” – and I have, many times! The truth is that not all questions related to health and healing have simple, few minute answers. I’m getting better at “politely interrupting” people who go on too long with questions, and getting better with suggesting privates for those who I think require them. It’s not always easy though – because I do care so much for my students, and the rapport I’ve established with them. People have been offended by the “price tag” – which is why I tried to back it up, by bringing some awareness to what it actually costs us to teach.

  5. Carol says:


    Loved this article, you have to ask for what your worth. I can remember being at a party and someone asking me if there was one pose I could teach them to fix there back. My investment aside yoga is not liking taking a pill that you can do one class or one pose to “fix” everything.
    While I agree with Jean networking is a big part of growing your business many friends and students are always looking for something for free.

    • Deanna says:


      Thank you Carol. Yes, “you have to ask for what your worth.” Which many teachers are afraid to do for fear of seeming “unyogic.” We need to make the distinction between professional service and seva. They are not the same, and you are no less yogic for asserting that.

  6. Boodiba says:


    I’ve had the opposite problem though, of being a student paying $150-$240 a month for studio fees in NYC, and getting little more in return for that than mat storage space and a parking space on the floor. The teacher might be playing on his iPhone for much of the morning Mysore style session, or chatting in the back of the room with an assistant. Meanwhile I might’ve attended three sessions and gotten not a single assist, verbal coaching / correction or any sort of inspiration whatsoever.

    • Deanna says:


      Isn’t parking in NY really expensive? Sounds like you’re getting a sweet deal! Seriously though, what I was ultimately pointing to in the piece is the need for tangible recognition for the exchange of energy between teachers and students. That goes both ways. If there is an expectation by your studio to pay $150-$240, and your needs aren’t being met, then you have as much right as they do to communicate that. You have to ask for what you need otherwise the answer is always “no.”

      • Bob Bernstein says:


        I admire your courage to speak your mind but I’m not so sure you have covered both angles. As a practicing yogi for about ten years that balances both family and work along with yoga your argument lacks practicality to me. I totally understand your point of being under compensated for your worth but honestly very very few people of the yoga world are ever really compensated for their worth and that’s just reality. By the same token you should not be taken advantage of either. That’s a fine line to walk on as an instructor.

        As for myself, I only ask in depth questions, send emails..etc. to a very select few whom I consider very good friends and have the depth of knowledge that I am seeking. I am cognizant of both my time and the instructors so I chose to ask my questions at opportune times. I practice regularily, attend workshops and splurge a private once in awhile. I also have developed a home practice that I often ask teachers about. I give back to my yoga community in various ways by supporting certain studios, events, causes…etc.. I am a firm believer in giving away my good thing and a good thing will come my way both in yoga and in the business world. If someone were to have the tone that you come off with in this article to me I would be VERY taken aback and perhaps our relationship would sour quickly. And as for yourself, I would hope that in reality you are trying to develop a relationship with your student as I am trying to do the same with.

        Perhaps it’s because it’s recovering yogi but I do caution that you chose your words and tone wisely if this is how you truly feel. Nonetheless, your points are awfully valid adn and should be heard.

        Kudos!

  7. Jenifer says:


    In addition to finding ways to increase and diversify income, I also suggest that teachers start really looking at their ROI — returns on investment.

    Free continuing education is a great ROI. Instead of spending thousands on expensive retreats and workshops, check out your local networks. A local network of teachers can teach each other for free once a month — each presenting on a given topic of their expertise. Or, you can find an outside expert (physiotherapist, ayurvedic doctor, whatever) and train with them to learn more about your own modality. Most of these are willing to provide work-study.

    Clothing doesn’t have to be expensive. I spend $300 every 5 years. I buy simple American Apparel tights, tanks, and a dresses. It’s a uniform, but it works really well.

    Marketing really depends upon your situation. When I just taught in studios/gyms, I didn’t have a web site. When I branched out beyond that system, I discovered that I needed one for marketing. Eventually, we had one professionally built — which was a reflection of the size of our business, really. And, it had a great ROI.

    I think, though, that a lot of people don’t go into teaching yoga with their business hat on, so they spend a lot more money than they need to on things that aren’t that important to the overall process of what they do.

    • Deanna says:


      Would love to see ROI education infused into YTTs so that new teachers come to understand that “business hats” will serve them more than Lulu pants.

  8. Adrian Cox says:


    I’ve adopted a new pay structure lately- for one-to-one sessions, I will charge whatever it is YOU make per hour. Hardship cases can pay with an equivalent use of their time using a skill they have to assist my pursuits in some way and really hardship cases can pay in discipline/ consistency.

    I agree with Jean about building rapport- but I own the studio so I don’t really rely on the same bottom line for my personal time. I have found however that the rule of reciprocity, (a well-established psychological principle most humans unconsciously respond to) has opened up many doors that I didn’t expect to find. Opportunities and referrals which have had their own cumulative benefit.

  9. Tatertot casserole says:


    If you compare what you get paid to the amount spent on the education, I do not think that yoga teachers are doing bad. In many cases, people who had spent amounts in the $10000 and many more hours of study than what it takes to do a teacher training, had to go through unpaid interships, low paid starting positions, etc. My point is that you are not worse than many other profession and while it may look that they are making more money than yoga teachers they have HUGE students loans and they still need continuing education.
    As a basic scientist with more than 10 years of experience and working around 50 hs a week, I am making $25 an hour (hey Adrian, where is your studio). I also volunteer to outreach programs to teach teenagers . I was the one who chose to do something thatI love, knowing that for many years I was going to make not much (hopefully I will be a professor soon) And, I love to talk about science and answer question, for free.
    So, you spent $10000 in your education in a profession that you knew youwere not going to make much money. I am sorry, but go around and ask how much a nurse or a physician assistant make per hour and how much money and time had they spent on teir degree.

    • Deanna says:


      Thank you for your comment. I still don’t see how being, “not worse than many other professions” makes being devalued in mine any better though? I outlined some of the cost of what it takes to become a professional yoga teacher, not to whine or garner sympathy, but rather to illustrate why it’s not right to devalue our time. I think it is wrong that as a scientist, whose work adds tremendous value to our society, you are compensated so poorly. Perhaps you and your colleagues need to speak up about that -unless you’re content. I’m not content to work for less than I’m worth so I decided to speak up about that fact. My mother, a nurse, taught me that.

      • Kim says:


        The value of a service is what the market will pay for it. That’s why it doesn’t matter how much time or money you put in to your education. If you don’t happen to do something that the market pays a lot of mo ney for, you won’t be compensated like you think you should be. How many liberal arts PHDs are there out there who spent far more time and money getting their qualifications than yoga teachers getting paid far less–especially when you consider the number of educational hours involved. Should you charge for your time? Absolutely. But you should also realize that relative to many people mak ing far less out there you aren’t that educated and regardless of what you think you deserve, there is a market rate for your services. If you want to increase the rate you comman d, you will probably need a lot of time and a really strong reputation, the development of which may be harmed by posting ungrateful sounding articles about how you feel devalued(makes you sound less rather than more pro,fessional and therefore less likely to command a nice big fee)

  10. Danny says:


    Thank you Deanna for this great article!

  11. Janet Muse, MSW, E-RYT says:


    I think part of the hurdle that we as yoga teachers face in the west, is a HUGE misconception of what yoga is. The second sutra (arguably the first) states that “yoga is to cease the fluctuations of the mind,” (atta yoga chitta vriti nirodhah). Most westerners simply have no clue that the asana practice is merely a sliver of the classical 8-limbed path. Showing up on the mat to get a “yoga body,” in my mind, is a gateway for a competent yoga teacher to plant the seed… so that the practice might some day fully wrap itself around a practitioner… when the practice permeates one’s life off of the mat. A master teacher fully comprehends and appreciates the beginner’s mind, and seeks ways to implement the experience of all 8 limbs of yoga in an asana class. That takes a tremendous amount of mindfulness and skill. Yoga in the west has come a long way, but still isn’t taken as seriously as it should be. This practice… as old as dirt… is ancient and sacred. True teachers do not take the responsibility of imparting its teachings lightly. Just think of where we were with it in the states even in the 80′s. It makes sense that because of the misconception… mis-perception… of what yoga really is, then many people might have a hard time understanding why they would need to pay so much for some sun salutations before or after their morning Starbucks. Those of us who teach during these times, we are still a very much needed part of the evolutionary process. We continue to pave the way that was paved for us.

    But if you are lucky enough to get yourself in front of a teacher who can push your limits both physically, and spiritually, then you have yourself a gift that is worth much more than its weight in gold. You learn to harness the waves of your own mind under the guidance of a master… and that, my friends, is priceless.

  12. Bob Bernstein says:


    I admire your courage to speak your mind but I’m not so sure you have covered both angles. As a practicing yogi for about ten years that balances both family and work along with yoga your argument lacks practicality to me. I totally understand your point of being under compensated for your worth but honestly very very few people of the yoga world are ever really compensated for their worth and that’s just reality. By the same token you should not be taken advantage of either. That’s a fine line to walk on as an instructor.

    As for myself, I only ask in depth questions, send emails..etc. to a very select few whom I consider very good friends and have the depth of knowledge that I am seeking. I am cognizant of both my time and the instructors so I chose to ask my questions at opportune times. I practice regularily, attend workshops and splurge a private once in awhile. I also have developed a home practice that I often ask teachers about. I give back to my yoga community in various ways by supporting certain studios, events, causes…etc.. I am a firm believer in giving away my good thing and a good thing will come my way both in yoga and in the business world. If someone were to have the tone that you come off with in this article to me I would be VERY taken aback and perhaps our relationship would sour quickly. And as for yourself, I would hope that in reality you are trying to develop a relationship with your student as I am trying to do the same with you.

    Perhaps it’s because it’s recovering yogi but I do caution that you chose your words and tone wisely if this is how you truly feel. Nonetheless, your points are awfully valid and should be heard but from the angle of the student or the service being asked for I do sincerely hope that you’re really not being as condescending as the tone of the article implies

    Kudos!

    • Joslyn Hamilton says:


      Bob, the argument that “very very few people of the yoga world are ever really compensated for their worth and that’s just reality” might be practical, but that doesn’t make it right. Also, please don’t boss.

      • Deanna says:


        Kudos ;)

      • Bob says:


        Joslyn,

        I’m not really arguing that it’s right that yoga teachers do not earn their worth is right or practical just stating a fact. Same holds true for teachers, many in the health care field, any minimum wage earner and countless other professions including myself. What I am saying is that I pay alot of money too in order to attend teacher’s classes as well. Spending thousands of dollars annually as well. My point was that while I make every effort to respect the instructor’s I expect the same courtesy and politeness if I am seeking what I would consider to be a professional’s opinion. Not trying to be bossy just cautioning the message. Had I been the receiver of this message or at least the way I perceived it I would have been turned off and probably would have terminated my relationship with this instructor. That’s all, not being bossy and I think based on her response Deanna somewhat understood..

    • Deanna says:


      Thank you for your sharing your thoughts Bob. I am having some difficulty, absorbing your “caution” against “tone” and coming across as “condescending” though. Perhaps it was because all that cautioning came sandwiched between admiring my courage to speak my mind and “Kudos!” I’m glad that despite my tone you were able to “totally understand” my point of being under compensated for my worth. Blessings!

  13. suzanne hirsch says:


    PROUD OF YOU! xoxo Mom-in-love

  14. Lakshmi says:


    Being from an Indian yoga tradition, it is difficult for me to think in this way. People may jump on me and say that yoga is big business in India too, but my answer is that that is a relatively new phenomenon and it came from the capitalist ethos that has taken over the world (much to its detriment). You can still find yoga in India that is still free or supported by donation or service because it is a spiritual practice meant to be available to everyone, and in India, you have people who have money and plenty of people who have not a penny to spare. The same is true everywhere actually. My grandfather was an Ayurvedic physician. He was very famous. He was the official physician of the president of India at the time. He was quite well off. But he never refused anyone service and he would accept payments of fish from fisherfolk, even though he and his family were strict vegetarians. That is how a yogic economy works. In the capitalist system, worth is determined by money. In the yogic system, worth is determined by wealth of knowledge and spirit and willingness to serve. People give greater honor and respect to those who selflessly serve. There is a trust in that system that you will be cared for by the community you serve, though you may or may not become rich in a monetary sense. I personally feel that yoga should be part of a movement that makes the world a more just and equitable and sustainable place for all rather than comfortably entrenching itself in a system that harms the earth and its citizens. I’m not saying it is wrong to try and redeem the monetary investment you put in, but it is a good practice of balance to also give some away for free (and totally reasonable to offer free services only to those who are in need). Hope this doesn’t come across as a harsh criticism. This is just my 2 paltry cents. I know it is idealistic and difficult to do in a practical sense, especially living as we do in a capitalist society, and we all need to make a living, but I just wanted to offer this perspective, which I feel has been long lost in the yoga world.

  15. Disgruntlasana says:


    Here’s the problem in a nutshell, yoga techers are a dime a dozen and there is absolutely no standard to become a yoga teacher. Everybody and their soccer mom neighbor thinks they can become a yoga instructor because they did gymnastics or ballet in middle school and the sad part is, they can, all it takes is a couple grand, a matching lulu lemon outfit, a corny Ganesh or OM symbol tattoo and some “authentic” mala beads made in Tiajuana. Core power pumps out amateurs who have no business teaching yoga faster than old ladies put nickels into slot machines. Sadly, independent studios are barely any better. Here’s a good question you should ask yourself if you’re thinking about becoming a yoga teacher. Do I really deserve to be paid for something I’ve only taken seriously for a few years? Lulu lemon and core power are just the symptoms of the problem, the root of the problem is the low teaching standard and entitlement attitude that follows.

    • Fluffy says:


      Disgruntlasana:
      You are absolutely correct. There is no barrier to entry to become a yoga teacher. You don’t even have to take a teacher training to call yourself one. Of course there are many qualified teachers, but they are outnumbered by the incompetents. Also, many qualified teachers are responsible for churning out the vast legion of incompetents. Has anyone ever failed a teacher training?

  16. Kim says:


    First let me say that you have worth and value as a person. No one should make less than a living wage, period. But this idea that you ought to charge “what you’re worth” is really, really silly. You might think what you do is very valuable. And, on many levels, it IS very valuable. Unfortunately in a capitalist economy you do not decide what you are worth being paid – people who are highly paid usually do a job that is functionally important and the people available to do it are for whatever reason somewhat scarce. That is the opposite of yoga and yoga teachers. A yoga class surely has many benefits but it can be gone without very easily (or done for free at home once basic asanas have been learned), making teaching it not of any real functional importance at all. And let’s be honest, at least where I live you can’t swing a dead cat (as Tom Sawyer would say) without hitting a yoga teacher. So you are one teacher among very many who teaches what is functionally a hobby to your students. That’s not a solid career path. No one is devaluing your worth by asking you questions about what is for them a healthy hobby or spiritual path – we just live in a society where those things have almost no monetary value whatsoever. And that isn’t going to change when most people cannot make a living at things that are functionally important to this society – which is where our economic crisis has us at the moment.

  17. mandinkus says:


    This post–and the subsequent comments and conversation–make me think of church and tithing. I dont wish to make too strong of a parallel here…but I was just musing how I’ve always felt I should give a tithe to any church I visit more than once, because I know it costs money to keep the lights on and pay the staff. (Maybe thats because my mom worked as a church secretary for years) But I also never balk at paying the yoga studio fee. I like to be paid for my time too…I’m not sure what my point is either…its just odd that it seems to be the idea of paying for the spiritual aspect where so many balk at the cost, less so for “gym/fitness” aspect…yet paying your share to keep the church going is well accepted. Maybe because that ‘sacred text’ was pretty specific about the need to do it, and how much to give (10% of your income), whereas yoga is plagued with sacred texts that point toward…the opposite? I dont know, but I feel certain the answer to WWJD? would be Jesus would buy a class package without complaining. Right before He started healing everyone’s sciatica.


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