In the excitement of signing up for a teacher training program, you may envision your future lived in a yoga glow. Teaching classes, taking classes, doing as much yoga as you want.
I learned that this picture I had in my head was far from accurate. Teacher training was amazing. The opportunity to fully immerse myself in the physical, historical and philosophical arms of yoga was an experience I’ll never forget. I hope for the opportunity for deeper dives into the ocean of yoga knowledge through an organized training again someday. But as I graduated and started teaching, my life changed in ways I didn’t expect.
I realized that the only time I had available to take classes was now taken up by teaching commitments. My home practice became my main practice, since I was only able to get to one or two classes a week, tops. This sounds pretty reasonable, I know. But I had worked with a flexible schedule in my “real-world” job for about the last 10 years, enabling me to go to a class almost every day. So the move to one or two a week became a real adjustment…I know, first-world problems!
As I transitioned out of that real-world job and started teaching more…I felt surprisingly overwhelmed. Not by the teaching–that was great! But all the running around was exhausting. Managing a typical job is pretty easy. You go to your desk every day, and there is a nice consistency to that routine.
Teaching regular classes and subbing at multiple locations, I was constantly on the run. I had to pull my kids out of after-school care due to the expense, and having to become a full-time chauffer (which I hadn’t done much as a full-time, regular desk worker) was another challenge I didn’t expect.
The reality is, the economics of teaching are challenging. While hourly rates are generally fair, the amount of classes you have to teach weekly to make a sufficient living feels impossible (or at least it did for me!). Most teachers I know have branched out into supporting or complementary fields like life coaching, holistic methodologies, or flexible creative fields to help pay the bills.
There are also unexpected expenses to be aware of when you teach. Insurance, business licensing, websites and other marketing like business cards, props, music for playlists, and transportation between teaching locations put a little dent into the budget.
A great opportunity to transition back into a traditional job came my way recently, and I took it. I was able to keep one regular teaching job, a seasonal teaching job, and stay on some sub lists. A bit of balance has been restored.
I am so thankful that I had an opportunity to focus on teaching for a couple of years…and thankful to continue to be able to teach. To anyone considering becoming a teacher, I think it’s important to be aware of how becoming a teacher will change your life, and your practice. As we learn in yoga training…the only constant in the universe is change. This aspect of becoming a teacher is hard to qualify and completely personal. I’ve enjoyed where the path has lead me and I’ve learned a lot. I hope you do too.