How Much Money Do Yoga Teachers Really Make?

There has been a lot of discussion lately about how much yoga instructors make, and it is growing in popularity as a career choice. Here’s a little truth about the subject.

Yoga is no longer a growing trend. It is officially one of the most common and widely known exercise styles in America and has been a part of the mainstream consciousness for some time now. That is not to say it is not still growing in popularity. Yoga studios are still popping up regularly everywhere from Fargo to Fort Lauderdale.

It is a wonderful practice that continues to grow in the United States and around the world. It has officially caught on in places that many people never would have imagined seeing a yoga studio. With all that being said, it sounds very much like a hot, awesome technology product or website. Great product, continuous growth, does not require marketing and it’s super-cool– this is the perfect recipe for an industry any worker would be happy to jump into and get rich off of, right? Well, not necessarily.

While one would be hard pressed to find a more fulfilling career filled with more passionate people, most yoga teachers are not exactly rolling in money. With yoga teaching courses becoming churning out new yoga teachers all the time, and all the new yoga studios on every corner, many people find this hard to believe. Every aspect of it seems to lend to the likelihood that it would make loads of money.

CNN Article

In fact, CNN recently posted an article listing some of the 100 best careers in America with each have “big growth, great pay and satisfying work.” OK, yoga instructor easily checks two of those three boxes, but anyone who has been in that line of work knows that it isn’t always the easiest way to pay the bills, especially starting out.

According to CNN:

“Yoga instructors balance their time between teaching classes that bring the physical and spiritual together, planning what goes into each class and getting the word out about a studio.”

OK, that sounds about right too. However, where does it come in on that whole “great pay” scale? Well, according to the exhaustive research done by the great folks at CNN, the average yoga instructor makes about $62,400 a year. If you have never actually been paid to teach yoga before, you may be wondering if that is close to accurate. If you have, please try not to bump your head when you fall out of your chair laughing.

The truth is, average (even great) yoga instructors don’t often make nearly this amount, even when working full time, which is rare enough anyway. One reason many yoga teachers only do it part time is because they are unable to quit their usual day jobs without moving back in with their parents. How they came up with this number, it is hard to say, but there is one possible explanation.

The $62K figure is the median income for yoga instructors, according to CNN. For those of us who don’t remember our math terms that well, “median” is not the common type of averaging people think of. When most people think of the average of numbers, they are thinking of the “mean.” This is where you add all the figures together and divide it by however many numbers you combined. “Median,” on the other hand, is basically the middle number in a list of numbers. For instance, if you have this list of numbers:

5, 10, 1 million

The median number is 10. That does not necessarily mean that the average of these three figures is 10, but it is the number right in the middle. You get the point. If they had been able to combine the mean of yoga salaries, the figure probably would have been different.

So how much does a yoga teacher actually make?

Being a yoga teacher isn’t exactly like many more common careers, there is a large variance in how much they make. The best yoga instructors in a very large city may make well over $100,000 per year. Whereas a new yoga teacher at a small studio could barely make minimum wage.

Even aside from this variance, most yoga teachers only work part time. Skill level and the popularity of the class also comes into play and can have a large impact on how much a teacher makes. So it is hard to put down any exact numbers and have them be completely accurate for all yoga instructors all across America.

However, from the teachers I know and what I have read, it would be possible to get by working just as a yoga instructor, but it would difficult at first. It would probably require much more time than the average job to make the same amount and could even burn new teachers out enough to suck the fun right out of yoga. The common theme from everyone I have spoken with is that they were unable to quit their day jobs for at least the first five years.

We did want to put together a quick hypothetical though. Let’s say a yoga instructor teaches three classes a day, five days a week, and each class pays $80 (which is much higher than the average pay range of $20-50 per class that most Manhattan studios pay). If you were able to do that, you would be making $4,800 a month and teaching 15 classes per week. With no breaks, no time off, no sick days or excuses whatsoever, you would be making $57,600– still almost $7,000 short of the average according to CNN.

Posted by Jeremiah Boehner