CNN called yoga teaching one of the best careers of 2015, but upon deeper inspection not many people make the median $62,400 a year that they claim. After considering the truth about how much yoga teachers make, I began to consider why I wanted to be a yoga teacher in the first place.

teach yoga at yoga teacher training

Making money is part of any job we choose. We need to support ourselves and to do so we need to make money. A large and growing industry like yoga appealed to me on many levels. I don’t think I am the first to say that I wanted to make money while teaching yoga. Hourly rates are decent and private lessons seemed to be a golden opportunity to add to my savings.

The glamour and image of being a yoga teacher might get someone in the door and to an information session about yoga teacher training, but if the projected income doesn’t match the reality, why did I (and so many others each year) still decide to complete training and become a yoga teacher?

I Teach Yoga Because I Love Yoga

Love: I love yoga. There is truth in CNN’s claim about yoga teachers having high personal satisfaction. When you are doing something you love, it makes it easier to manage the worries and the difficulties associated with working. Also, I love those around me. This sounds like something a yoga teacher would say, but the truth is I love sharing my passions with people that I connect with and who want to share this journey with me.

I Teach Yoga to See Progress

Progress: Teaching promotes progress in myself and in my students. I get satisfaction from seeing improvement in my students, both physically and spiritually.  Seeing practice pay off in students through getting deeper into a pose or developing a new awareness of Self is more rewarding to me than preparing economic reports.

In order to help my students develop, I must also grow. Having students who want to learn, drives me to work harder and find new ways to challenge them—this challenges me. Every week I can see progress in myself that might have been lost in other careers.

I Teach Yoga to Feel Needed

Feeling Needed: This may make me a bad yogi and is not very yoga-teacher-like, but I like feeling needed. Yoga is a growing industry and many people are curious and interested in trying it out. People ask me more questions and how they can relieve their pains when they find out I am a yoga teacher. It is rewarding (and self-serving perhaps) to have people want your help or find interest in what you do. This attachment to vanity and approval is not an attractive quality in a yoga teacher, but it is human.

However, despite these reasons for becoming a yoga teacher, I must now admit that I still make no money from it. I earn my income from other endeavors and teach classes to people in my building for free. How disheartening.

CNN touched on several of these reasons for becoming a yoga teacher in their report. But they failed to understand the income and career growth potential in a market already saturated with teachers.

These reasons why I became I yoga teacher must be stronger than those desires to get a piece of this growing and seemingly glamorous industry. I spent time, money and effort to become a yoga teacher and then freely give away what I learned.

I must not be such a bad yogi after all.

Why did you decide to become a yoga teacher? We’d love to hear your reasons below!

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