What does it mean to be a yoga instructor? What are the responsibilities of a yoga teacher and what does it take to have a successful career in yoga?
Yoga is more than training the body, it is a discipline.
Yoga teachers help others to strengthen their muscles and stretch their joints. But they offer much more.
Yoga is about reaching the perfect harmony between the body, the mind, and the soul.
A yoga instructor can work in different environments. These include yoga studios, gyms, and spiritual retreats.
Nowadays, many professionals are also providing online training.
This career offers lots of opportunities but also brings responsibilities. A professional yoga teacher needs to prepare sessions, teach yoga postures, and support trainees during the process.
If they have their own studio, they may even be in charge of admin tasks and advertising too.
Moreover, it is important for a yoga professional to keep training. Regular practice, attending courses, and perfecting skills are key to a successful career in yoga.
This article summarizes the most important aspects of being a yoga teacher.
Yoga teachers’ preparation
If someone wants to quit their current job to pursue a career in yoga, there are many things to consider. Before making a life-changing decision, it is important to think about the financial and social impact.
First, it is necessary to make an honest assessment of one’s objectives. Consider your long and short-term plans and ask yourself: why do I want to be a yoga teacher?
The yoga asanas not only require physical skills but also mental health. Hence, being in good shape is not enough.
A yoga instructor must help students achieve peace of mind and perfect harmony. They may be an important part of a students’ spiritual path towards total awareness.
If opening their own studio, they will need business management skills.
Spirituality and finance aren’t words that go together very often. Yet a yoga instructor needs to pay the bills.
It is important to consider the financial aspects of managing a studio. However, it should not be the main reason for pursuing this career.
If the goal is to have a successful career in yoga, make sure the motives are not self-centered.
Yoga trainers should accompany students through their learning process. They should practice the postures as a means of discovery and self-development.
Loving this discipline is not enough for a yoga career. The next section presents the characteristics of a true yoga teacher.
Important characteristics to pursue a career in yoga
- Ability to perform all the activities that the profession requires. This includes mastering asanas, being in good shape, and studio management.
- Be a people person.
- Ability to bring the best out of each student.
- Good listening skills.
- Ability to motivate and inspire students.
A yoga career is a fulfilling path in a trainer’s life. Teaching yoga involves a special commitment to this discipline.
Although it requires hard work and practice, it is very rewarding.
The work routine usually involves regular classes in the morning and the afternoon. At noon or in the evenings, teachers usually prepare their training sessions.
Most yoga teachers do their daily practice routines early in the morning.
On weekends, they are usually busy with intensive courses. They can either impart the training or receive training from more advanced professionals.
During the holidays, they usually take part in yoga retreats. There, they can improve their skills and develop a sense of community.
Trainers can invite their students and share valuable experiences. Retreats are excellent opportunities to find the quietness and peace needed to meditate and practice the asanas.
Also, yoga teachers have responsibilities.
Responsibilities of a yoga teacher
- Teach the asanas according to students’ training levels. Support them and help them overcome their difficulties.
- Plan yoga classes. Trainers need to design the sessions according to the students’ levels of expertise.
In some cases, yoga instructors may need to find areas of specialization.
- Help students lead a healthy lifestyle. Support them in their search for complete harmony.
- Be a studio manager. If working independently, teachers need to run the studio, carry out admin tasks, and more.
They may also need to create advertisements and design marketing strategies.
A yoga career is a very fulfilling one but presents many challenges. Before taking the first step, one should analyze the responsibilities and rewards.
Being passionate about yoga is the most important prerequisite.
Study the competitors: Take other yoga classes
Besides taking advanced yoga courses, yoga teachers should attend other instructors’ sessions.
Constant improvement and training are important for any discipline. But attending other yoga classes can be advantageous for other reasons too.
This helps form a realistic view of one’s skills. By attending their competitors’ courses, teachers can understand their own strengths and weaknesses.
This helps create a more effective development strategy. Instructors can work on their weaknesses and stress their capabilities.
A teacher can analyze a competitor’s flaws. This allows them to implement better customer service at their yoga studio.
Also, this helps stay updated about the new trends in the yoga industry. Enjoying different training sessions provides the flexibility that every yoga professional needs.
When working for someone else, openness to improvement and a passionate approach make a big difference.
Colleagues and superiors will notice your enthusiasm. As a result, they will be more likely to recommend you for open positions.
In the beginning, teachers are called from different studios. Although this may sound interesting at first, it is not good in the long term.
If you feel comfortable in one studio, stay there. Do so even if starting with only a few sessions.
This will help an instructor to develop a community and land a steady job faster.
Many studios offer yoga teacher training. By attending one of these, a trainer is more likely to be considered when an opportunity opens up.
Studios prefer to fill their vacancies with people they trained themselves.
Get proper instruction: attend a yoga teacher training course
One can complete yoga teacher training in a few months. Usually, people who enroll in these courses have long experience practicing yoga.
The length of a certification process depends on previous experience and the program. Generally, there are two options.
The first one is a 200-hour teacher training course and the second one a 500-hour program. The former can take between 3-5 months while the latter can last from 6 months to a year.
The training starts with the basics. These may be familiar, but it’s important to learn them from another perspective.
A teacher may know how to do the asanas, now they need to understand how to teach them safely.
Prospective trainers will learn yoga asana, pranayama, meditation, and other techniques. With time, they gain a clear understanding of the postures and their implementation.
Attending different classes makes it easier to choose the teacher training that best suits you.
Find a registered teacher who is also authorized to teach yoga. Thus, you will also get a certification at the end of the course.
A 500-hour yoga teacher training course can cost between $500 and $5,000. This depends on the reputation, location, and quality of the studio.
Get registered as a yoga instructor
Yoga professionals need a certification. This is especially so if they want to work at a renowned yoga studio.
A person can acquire this certification by registering at the Yoga Alliance. They receive a ‘Registered Yoga Teacher’ status or ‘RYT’.
This status can be very useful for those who want to work at a prestigious studio or get hired as a yoga teacher. If creating your own yoga center, a certification is not mandatory.
Many unregistered trainers set up studios and manage to create a faithful community. They have followers with whom they connect through social media and similar platforms.
No law prohibits practicing yoga without proper registration. Any person who loves this discipline can become a yoga teacher.
They can share their knowledge and passion with like-minded people.
Fitness and health centers usually require other certifications. In these places, trainers must be able to handle health emergencies.
For this reason, they usually need an RYT and a CPR certification. A trainer’s certification and its type will depend on their goals.
For example, one may be training at a studio and find out that there is a position available. In this case, getting an RYT certification is advisable.
Build your niche for a successful career in yoga
This is a vital point in any trainer’s career. In general, successful professionals are known for something.
Find your strength. Identify your best aptitude and improve it as much as possible.
This is a yoga teacher’s presentation letter. People that look for this particular aptitude will come to you because they’ll know you are the best.
There are different types of yoga teachers. Some may be known as ‘the one with heavy breathwork’ or ‘the one who integrates singing’.
Find a niche and then take the time to refine it.
Yoga specialization areas:
- Yoga retreats or workshops.
- Exercises for physical fitness.
- Private yoga lessons.
- Spiritual development through yoga.
- Prenatal and postnatal yoga.
- Yoga for couples.
- Yoga sessions for kids.
- Yoga sessions for the elderly.
Possible yoga titles:
- Aerobic instructor
Make a list of preferred work choices
When taking the first steps, beginners usually apply to as many jobs as possible. They don’t give it much thought.
Yet, this also calls for a strategy. Applying to many different jobs without a plan can hurt a yoga teacher’s reputation.
A person should choose the studios they want to apply to. They should base their choices on preferences, style, and type of training.
It is advisable to look for a successful studio with good management staff. The more the business grows, the higher the possibilities of professional development.
Yoga instructors should target the largest and best-rated yoga centers. This kind of background in an early career will impress future employers.
Although harder at first, targeting prestigious studios brings advantages in the long term.
Teach yoga online
Usually, independent yoga professionals begin teaching at studios or among family and friends. Yet an online presence can provide a significant boost to one’s business.
There are many new opportunities for yoga trainers in the online market.
Teachers can access a wider client range as they are no longer restricted by location. It’s also possible to pre-record individual sessions, allowing trainers to book more students.
While in-situ training has benefits, online sessions are more stable.
A trainer can conduct classes even under a lockdown. This is an excellent option, especially in a post-Covid19 world.
There are many online training apps and software available. Trainers can use these to manage their yoga business effectively.
Develop your brand
To be successful, yoga instructors need to stand out from the crowd. This is especially so if they are working independently or running their own studio.
There is one difference between a regular yoga teacher and a successful, growing business. The brand.
Yoga professionals need to be highly qualified as instructors and yoga practitioners. But this is hardly enough.
The yoga industry is competitive. Hence, instructors need to find a way to stay in people’s minds.
By developing a brand, it is easier to get followers who may very well become clients.
A yoga studio should have a logo, a brand story, and a strong social media presence. There should also be fluid communication with the audience.
Today’s customers are exposed to much information. Hence, they tend to try different options.
Yoga trainers must set goals to impress these customers. They need to provide at least one thing that nobody else offers.
They should also try to make sure that clients remember their brand.
Targeting a specific niche also helps. This can be yoga therapy, yoga retreats, yoga and art, yoga and dance, etc.
Many yoga trainers get caught up in the process and end up quitting. Many feel the same way that they felt with their previous job.
Like any other business, running a yoga studio is very challenging. Although some find in yoga a road to enlightenment, others don’t.
The yoga teacher stereotype is a perfectly harmonized and peaceful person. Yet sometimes this is far from reality.
Yoga professionals have to cope with the same daily issues as every other human. Hence, they should lower their expectations in this regard.
It is important to get help. Trainers can hire an assistant or delegate classes to other trainers.
They can also use an app to optimize processes like booking, schedules, and payments.
Another key aspect is training. Yoga professionals should attend as many classes, seminars, and retreats as possible.
They must continue to learn from colleagues and more experienced teachers. Thus they honor the discipline while providing students with the best possible training.
Relate to students professionally
Teachers need to maintain a friendly relationship with students. This is part of being a yoga professional.
Students need to feel well received. They should also have a pleasant environment for their practice.
But overdoing this can generate the opposite effect. If a teacher gets too friendly, the yoga session can turn into a catch-up.
Students will find it hard to focus in an environment that is too relaxed. This can affect the session and the teacher’s reputation.
It is ok to make small talk before and after the class. But trainers should not take the relationship outside the studio.
Teaching yoga is about inspiring and helping people, not about making friends.
Ending thoughts on the most important aspects of a career in yoga
Building a solid career in yoga takes 2 to 3 years on average. Like every discipline, yoga requires hard work, dedication, flexibility, and passion.
Starting is difficult. Prospective teachers should establish their goals.
They should attend other classes and get proper training and qualifications.
Organization, marketing, administration, and communication are also vital for professionals who want to run their own yoga centers. It helps to develop a brand and form a community of followers.
Building a niche helps teachers to stand out from the market. So they need to find and develop unique skills
Then they can target the right audience and get a student base faster. Although this audience may be smaller, they will likely be more faithful.
Finally, the most important thing is to keep training. Outstanding teachers are usually those who acknowledge themselves as perpetual students.
Constant training and exposure to new trends, techniques, and styles, is what makes a yoga teacher great.
If you enjoyed reading this article on starting a career in Yoga, you should check out this one on how to start a yoga business.
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