Yoga Instructor Career - 2023 Salary, Prospects & More

Hello everyone, and welcome to PT Pioneer.

If you’ve ever wondered about becoming a certified yoga instructor, then this is the article for you.

With my experience and expertise, I’ll bring your the best insight into jumping into a career as a professional yoga teacher.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, please take this quiz. 

That way, you can get a good idea of what sort of certification and career path suits your profile.

In this guide, I’ll be hitting a few key aspects of yoga teaching, such as:

What is yoga?
How to become a qualified yoga teacher
What the career of a yoga teacher looks like
Income and salary prospects for a yoga teacher

With that said, let’s jump right into it!

Yoga Instructor Career

What is Yoga?

The first thing we need to get out of the way is understanding what exactly yoga is.

Most people know what yoga looks like. A physical discipline characterized by an array of intricate stretches and contortions.

While the flexibility training aspect of yoga is a big part of it, it’s hardly the main focus when considering its foundational principles.

That’s because yoga originated and is still considered a spiritual practice that aims to create synergy between the three aspects of being, mind, body, and spirit.

And the emphasis on optimization and control of breathing also plays a vital role in yoga practice.

The discipline itself has very ancient origins. 

It is believed to have been established over 5000 years ago in Northern India and was first mentioned in Veda scripts.

These ancient Vedas are considered to be the foundational documents of the Hindu faith.

Yoga itself is one of 6 Hindu philosophies but also has a stake in the Buddhist faith.

Besides breathing and flexibility, yoga promotes improved strength and is well known for its mental health benefits.

All the aspects culminate in an experience that many believe to be spiritually uplifting.

That’s because aside from the physical components, known as Asanas, yoga typically employs an array of stimulating conditions such as the use of candles, essential oils, or incense for aromatherapy, as well as soothing tones and music designed to raise vibrational state.

A style of yoga known as Bikram even implements a heated environment to stimulate the desired effects.

This is achieved through the challenge aspect of training in warm conditions while the heat itself allows participants to achieve higher ranges of motion through the various Asanas.

Yoga is often boxed in and compared to Pilates

While both have a few overlapping principles regarding the training effects and physical benefits, they also differ tremendously in many ways.

For instance, Pilates has less than ancient origins, having been founded in the early 20th century.

That means yoga has about 4900 years over Pilates.

Secondly, Pilates is not a spiritual practice and uses conventional exercise science to motivate activity.

Both promote strength, flexibility, breathing control, and mental enhancement, so from a physiological perspective, the two are very similar.

As we know it today, Yoga was introduced to the United States in 1893 by Swami Vivekananda. Yogi’s experience sparked the initial wave of yoga in the west, which has seen somewhat of a renaissance in recent times.

Today yoga is used in many aspects of fitness and sports.

Personal trainers will often employ yoga techniques or asanas in their range of motion and strength conditioning methodologies.

The appropriation of yoga techniques in sports and fitness has helped improve the quality and understanding of optimizing and maintaining flexibility.

Yoga is also a massive sector in the fitness industry, commercially speaking.

According to the reported linker, yoga is an $84 billion industry from a global perspective; compared to the gym industry, which is worth approximately $100 billion, yoga is a big deal.

What makes yoga so lucrative, aside from how popular and trendy it currently is, is its appeal to the female wellness market.

Women form the majority of yoga practitioners. 

According to a publication by researchgate, women account for about 76% of the yoga market.

This plays into the fact that women are less likely to sign up to a conventional “bars and weights” gym and would rather opt for mind/body experiences such as Pilates, Barre, and in this case, Yoga.

In understanding this, you can already see that yoga is a good choice. 

Being a yoga instructor also requires you to be proficient at the practice, making yoga teaching one of the world’s healthiest jobs.

How to Become a Yoga Teacher

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How to become a Yoga Teacher

So, what do you need to do to become a Yoga teacher?

Read below for complete information!

Being able and permitted to teach yoga requires a rigorous amount of teacher training. 

While there is no unifying body to serve as an umbrella and regulate yoga on a global scale, there are a few reputable organizations and institutions that offer training and certification.

The most well-recognized of them is Yoga Alliance.

It has the largest registry of certified Yoga instructors in the US.

Yoga training involves practical courses conducted over a set amount of hours.

This typically ranges between 200 and 500 hours spread over several months.

Different yoga schools offer different approaches to the coursework, but only slightly.

The methodology of Yoga, while not universally regulated, is very standardized.

When choosing a certification, vet it based on reputability and recognition and its adherence to foundational principles and philosophies.

Once you become a registered yoga teacher, you’re ready to take on the world of yoga certification.

What Does a Yoga Teacher Do?

What Does a Yoga Teacher Do?

Join me in this segment as I reveal in detail what a Yoga teacher does.

yoga teacher teaches yoga.

Okay, we can go home now.

But wait for a second, let’s break down what it means to teach yoga.

As I’ve already mentioned, yoga is a complex, ancient spiritual practice.

This simple fact means that applying yoga teachings and effective instruction requires more mindfulness and integrity than the typical role of a fitness instructor.

Firstly, you’ll need to understand the spiritual principles and terminology of yoga-like the back of your hand.

You are an expert in the field, so you should immerse yourself in the practice and philosophy.

Supplement your knowledge and continue your education beyond your teacher training to remain sharp and authentic.

You should also be pretty competent at yoga techniques or Asanas since your training programs will always feature them.

That doesn’t mean you have t be a top-tier contortionist, but having the ability to execute Asanas and breathing techniques correctly is a must.

Yoga is one of the few forms of fitness instruction that demands your competence in actually doing it.

That’s because instruction is largely reliant on demonstration.

Yoga Teacher Job Description

Yoga Teacher Job Description

Here is a breakdown of where a Yoga teacher can work and what is required from them.

Working as a yoga teacher can manifest in many forms.

The most basic entry as a yoga instructor is to find work in a gym or established yoga studio where you would run yoga classes.

As a full-time yoga instructor, you’ll have the security of consistent work premises, stable income, and benefits. Even a part-time position has its advantages.

The drawback is employment in this fashion sits lowest when it comes to income potential.

Your next option would be to work as an independent, freelance yoga instructor

In this way, you would be able to set your rates in addition to renting space or partnering up with a regular gym or yoga studio for private or group classes.

This relationship might include paying a commission or rental free to the studio, so make sure you set rates that offset your expenses adequately.

Lastly, you could open your yoga studio and have your own space where you call all the shots.

This is a heavy investment and requires a lot of input, time, and sacrifice. If you choose to go this route, it’s best to do so after you’ve had a bit of skin in the game and built a substantial reputation in the yoga community and with clients.

That way, you’ll have a guaranteed start-up revenue, and your reputability will allow you to grow comfortably.

Because of how trendy and well-regarded yoga is, your options are broad.

You’ll be able to apply your skills to a wide range f population groups, from children’s yoga all the way to seniors.

For example, the hospitality industry, which includes hotels, resorts, and cruise liners, has a high demand for yoga services.

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Yoga is a quick and hassle-free fitness option in terms of apparatus and setup. That means it can easily be adapted to scenarios in the hospitality field.

Another area yoga can be profitable is in corporate wellness.

Corporate wellness is a business practice that falls under the human resources dept of a company, aimed at optimizing staff health to optimize productivity.

Corporate wellness initiatives usually involve implementing health and fitness protocols within the company structure over the long term.

Another big venture you could engage with yoga is in the wellness retreat sector.

Wellness retreats are sort of linked to hospitality, whereby clients book accommodation, but for the express purpose of improving health and wellness.

Such retreats are often situated in secluded areas, immersed in nature, allowing guests, typically urban dwellers.

The emphasis with wellness retreats is to tune out the noise associated with modern, urban lifestyles and recenter the mind, body, and spirit.

That’s why yoga is one of the most prominent features of wellness retreats. 

Many of these are actually styled as yoga retreats.

Wellness retreats are quite lucrative in terms of what guests pay. With this in mind, you can imagine that working as a yoga instructor in a wellness retreat could pay well.

Now that I’ve rambled on about earnings let’s take a look at what a yoga instructor can expect as an income.

What Is A Yoga Instructor’s Annual Salary?

Yoga Instructor Career - [year] Salary, Prospects & More 1

Below, I’ll give you a rundown of how much a Yoga teacher earns and the factor that influences the exact amount you will receive.

The income potential of any career path you choose is one of the first and most important considerations.

When it comes to yoga, the average salary in the US is $46,000 per year.

That, of course, changes depending on several factors.

Let’s take a quick look at what factors influence your earning potential as a yoga instructor.


Location affects many career choices.

From where the base of operations of certain companies is situated, all the way down to the target market of certain goods or services.

It is common for people to move cities, countries, and even entire continents to optimize their earning prospects in their chosen profession.

Location is probably the biggest factor when it comes to determining what you can expect to earn as a yoga teacher.

That’s because the demographics and target markets for yoga tend to be quite a niche.

First of all, yoga is more popular within the upper-middle class segment. It is considered an aspirational activity and is common amongst people who place a high value on specialized wellness practices.

These types of people usually sit in the higher income brackets of western society.

For that reason, yoga would be a good choice if you are located in a high-income metropolitan area.

These locations also tend to have large, stable economies, meaning there is a lot more disposable income to be spent on specialized services.

According to, Visalia, California, is the highest-earning location for yoga instructors in the US, with an average annual income of $55,004 per year.

Other places to consider would be New York City, Los Angeles, and Denver, Colorado.

The location also influences your income regarding yoga and other forms of fitness instruction in another unique way.

That unique way is population health.

Population health is determined by the health statistics of the general population in a given area.

These stats are determined by such things as obesity and diabetes rates and the level of access to health and fitness services.

The healthier a population is, the more opportunity you’ll have to work as a fitness and wellness provider.

Lastly, location also affects income potential based on the size and density of the population.

The higher the population and its density, the more opportunity and, thus, income prospects you’ll have.

There are a few caveats when it comes to location, though.

One important thing to keep in mind is the cost of living.

No matter how much you stand to earn, the value of your salary is ultimately determined by how much you’re required to spend to maintain your lifestyle.

You’ll often find that areas with high-income prospects also have a higher than average cost of living.

Keep this in the back of your mind when planning your next big move.


Qualifications play a big role in how much you could earn.

Not only are your credentials the key you need to unlock your ability to operate as a professional, but they are also a calling card to your prospective clients, indicating your credibility.

Having yourself registered as a yoga teacher is a necessary start, but you can take it further and improve your salary prospects.

By this, I mean you can bolster your credibility by upskilling your credentials.

For example, after completing 200 hours of yoga teaching, you could then go for 500 hours, making you a more valuable instructor.

You can also improve your income prospects by adding more variety to your credentials. 

A great example would be to gain a personal trainer cert and a nutrition cert to add to your profile and expertise.

bachelor’s degree is also a big bonus.

This allows you to diversify and add value to your brand and services.

Level of Experience

Your level of experience affects your salary outcome in most professions.

The more time you’ve spent in a field, the more money you’re eligible to earn.

Experience isn’t something you can control outside of not quitting.

Time will need to run its course, and you’ll just have to hang in and rack up that XP if I’m to use gaming terminology.

Having said that, you can maximize the value of your level of experience by maintaining a consistent and favorable track record.

This means delivering the best possible service you can as well as managing your brand and reputation effectively.

Your reputation is dependent on how well you market and brand yourself as well as maintaining a good level of integrity.

The use of social media is key when it comes to the growth and management of a reputation.


Conclusion on yoga Career

This is all I have for you on what it entails to become a Yoga teacher.

I am sure you have been able to tap from this wealth of knowledge.

Teaching yoga offers many opportunities and is a rewarding experience both in terms of income and job diversity, but also based on the fulfillment you will experience helping people connect with their minds and bodies.

Check out my article on how to become a yoga instructor here.

If you have any questions or suggestions not covered in this article, please feel free to drop a comment, and I’ll get right to it.



Tyler Read

Tyler Read, BSc, CPT. Tyler holds a B.S. in Kinesiology from Sonoma State University and is a certified personal trainer (CPT) with NASM (National Academy of sports medicine), and has over 15 years of experience working as a personal trainer. He is a published author of running start, and a frequent contributing author on Healthline and Eat this, not that.

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