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How Much Does a Yoga Instructor Make

Two women practicing yoga. One woman helping and correcting the other.
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

In the US, the average yearly salary of a yoga instructor is $74,000, according to Indeed, while according to Glassdoor, their average salary is $62,000. The minimum salary is estimated at approximately $28,000 according to Glassdoor, and as high as $238,000, while the highest figure according to Indeed is $90,500 (and sounds a bit more realistic).

A yoga teacher’s salary depends on several factors such as location, specialization, working hours, and work model. Those working with a studio need to pay a percentage for its services, but they are never without clients. Those flying solo, on the other hand, need to put more effort into self-promotion and finding clients, but they get to keep all of their money.

Suppose you’re considering a career change or getting certified to boost your income. In that case, it is crucial to know how much you can make as a yoga instructor and what you can do to increase your pay.

Most people don’t really study Sanskrit, meditate, and go down the spiritual road to get filthy rich. But that doesn’t mean that yoga instructors should struggle to make ends meet.

Today, the popularity of yoga is growing, and you can make a satisfying living as a yoga teacher.

There are different ways to express salaries of yoga teachers, from an hourly rate, to daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, or per class.

How Much Does a Yoga Instructor Make a Year?

Average $62,000 ($28,000 – $90,500 range).

Depending on where you live in the US, this average salary can seem anywhere between very comfortable (e.g. if you are located in Mississippi) or quite underwhelming (if you are living in New York).

How Much Does a Yoga Instructor Make Per Class (or Per Hour)?

According to Indeed, the average base salary of a yoga instructor per hour is $31.80, while the daily average salary is $329.

Factors that influence the price are the city you work in, the number of working hours, and whether you also work on weekends. E.g. if you’re employed by a yoga studio and work Sundays, your hourly rate will likely be higher than if you only work weekdays.

The highest paying cities for yoga instructors in the US are San Francisco with $39 per hour, and $402 on average per day, New York, where yoga instructors earn $31.80 per hour, and $381 per day, and Los Angeles where the average daily yoga instructor salary is $35 per hour and $361 on average per day.

In many cases, yoga studios offer incentives for yoga teachers who are willing to work with larger groups. However, the majority of studios have a certain revenue split model that can range between 50-50 to 70-30 usually depending on the teacher’s experience level.

How Much Does a Newly Certified Yoga Teacher Make?

According to Glassdoor, newly certified yoga teachers or those between none and one year of experience earn a median base pay of $39,275 and $23,872 of additional pay.

As a newbie in the yoga industry, you might think that you need to start by offering free services. However, this is a misconception that will only slow you down, because people put a much higher value on things they need to pay for.

After getting certified as a yogi, you can take a course on how to work with people, set up your initial prices, and create a long-term plan of growth. Parallel to that, you can start with your first student group and get paid hands-on experience.

How Do Yoga Teachers Get Paid?

A person doing a budget with pen and paper with a calculator and cash on the table.
Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

There are three main ways that yoga studios pay their teachers, each having its pros and cons:

  1. Flat-rate wage with student bonuses
  2. Student-based wage
  3. Hourly/per-class

Flat Rate Wage With Student Bonuses

The flat-rate wage with bonus is based on the number of students taught. And there’s usually a minimum granted to the teacher regardless of the number of students.

This model is the closest to optimal because it grants the teacher a base salary and motivates the teacher to perform well and bring more students to the studio. The pitfall is that many studios limit the bonus, and no matter how much of a star the teacher is amongst the students, they can’t cross a certain payment threshold.

The baseline salary in this model is usually paid monthly and secured by the contract, while the bonuses can be paid cash-in-hand or together with the salary.

Student-Based Wage

The student-based wage means the teacher gets paid according to the number of students they teach. With this “survival of the fittest” model, the studios put a lot of pressure on teachers to perform in class and show charisma. The most common rate for small studios is $35 per class, but teachers with more experience may charge $50. Many studios provide an additional bonus of $3 to $5 per student after the teacher attracts more than 10 students.

Depending on the status of the teacher in the studio (i.e. is there a contract and what type of contract), the teacher may receive cash in hand after every class or daily/weekly/monthly payments.

Hourly/Class-Based Wage

Finally, studios that offer fixed hourly or class-based wages usually treat yoga teachers as freelancers. An hourly wage means the studio pays for every minute you spend in class. If they pay per class, they will give the yoga teacher a flat rate regardless of whether a class runs overtime.

When you freelance yoga teaching, the studio might ask you to sign that you won’t work with any other studios. This may reduce your wage because it cuts off your other options to earn money, but it also presents you with an opportunity to request a higher hourly/class wage.

With this model too, you can negotiate the frequency of payment, and depending on the type of contract you have with the studio it can be cash-in-hand or via bank transfer.

Independent Work

If you decide to drop out from collaborating with a studio and start working independently, your payment will depend on the number of students you work with, and your local/state tax laws.

As an independent teacher, you get to choose many things, such as payment method (bank transfer, cash-in-hand, monthly, weekly, or per-class payments), whether or not you collaborate with other teachers, your rate, your promotions, etc. Also, all the money you earn is yours (after tax), which is a huge plus. On the other hand, there are many other activities you need to do that a studio would otherwise do. Marketing, organization, and communication with the students should always factor into your calculations.

Improving Your Yoga Earnings

A group of people practicing yoga at the beach
Photo by Kaylee Garrett on Unsplash

Teaching yoga is so much more than holding classes. A yogi needs to go through a personal transformation, learn how to live more holistically, and focus on well-being beyond material wealth.

A yogi with a good knowledge base can use these skills in many ways that go beyond the purely physical aspect of yoga.

Let’s dive into some ideas on how to make additional money as a yoga instructor by introducing some diversity into your work tasks, which should also help avoid yoga teaching burnout.

Explore Different Types of Yoga

There are many types of yoga you can teach, with the majority of yoga instructors focusing on Hatha yoga. However, if you specialize in either a type of yoga that is in demand or a type that is rare, you may be able to charge a premium.

For example, consider Ashtanga yoga and Acro yoga as rather challenging types of yoga, or some more options such as Goat Yoga, Dog Yoga, Aerial Yoga, or if there is an interested audience – Nude yoga.

You can also get creative, target specific groups, and organize training for them, such as children’s yoga, senior yoga, managerial yoga, or yoga for pregnant women.

Host Yoga Events

If you’ve seen enough movies or spent enough time in the world of yoga, you probably know about the popularity of different types of yoga-oriented events. Workshops, retreats, or lectures help you create a network of people, both other yoga professionals, and interested clients, plus new potential revenue streams.

Such events can also take place online, allowing you to reach a broader audience.

Focus or Expand Your Effort

While traditional classes outdoors or in studios are how the majority of people picture starting their yoga career, there are other options to consider.

For example, one-to-one yoga classes may be attractive to many people who prefer additional attention and advice from their yogi. This type of work can also take place online.

You can use social media to upload your sessions and promote your work while offering online yoga classes via yoga platforms or even freelance platforms such as Upwork or Udemi.

As mentioned above, you can also expand your niches and focus on senior citizens, youth, children, managers, mothers, or any other social group you feel comfortable and inspired to work with.

Offer More to Your Existing Clients

Besides regular yoga training that can take place both offline and online, you can expand your yoga-related skillset and offer your students more options.

For example, healing crafts that involve working with energy such as Wingwave, Reiki, Contact healing, Spiritual healing, or Qigong go hand-in-hand with yoga practice, and they have gained a lot of popularity and interested clients over the past few years.

Furthermore, you can organize meditation sessions of yoga-Nidra or guided meditations to offer your clients a relaxation-oriented self-care treatment.

Another skill set you may find useful is to upgrade your other wellness and fitness skills, such as teaching pilates, aerobics, Zumba, or massage. It is highly likely that people who come to your classes are also interested in these areas of the well-being and fitness industry.

Be Online

Finally, a very important skill set are digital skills. From registering your business to Google my business to building your own website, writing blog articles, running a social media account, or maintaining a mailing list, and entertaining them with a newsletter and special offers is an essential skill set for any modern-day entrepreneur.

Final Thoughts

Although you’re probably not in for the wealth, the good news is that a yoga instructor can earn a six-figure yearly income. The key is diversifying your activities, expanding your skills to target different groups, and gaining the confidence to charge what you’re worth.

 

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