Becoming a yoga instructor is a great career. The yoga industry is slated to grow upwards of 13% between 2018 and 2028, and yoga teachers can earn upwards of $80,000 and higher as they gain experience.

Hello everyone, and welcome to PT Pioneer.

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

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

I also highly recommend that you take the quiz and find out which Yoga instructor certification is best for your career goals.

What Yoga instructor certification is right for you?

We developed this critical quiz to help you find the best certification for you and your goals.

That way, you can get a good idea of what 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

Choosing the best yoga certification

Choosing the best yoga certification is the first key step in your yoga instructor career. The following is my list of the top yoga certifications, starting with the best of the best.

Yoga CertYoga CertFeaturesPrice
ISSA Yoga 200 Certification

ISSA Yoga 200 Certification

  • Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga School (RYS)
  • LIVE Weekly Virtual Studio Studio
  • Learn pose sequencing inspired by the 7 body chakras for Hatha and Vinyasa-style classes
  • Comprehensive 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training Manual and Asana Guidebook
  • Powered by the global leader in online fitness certifications
ISSA Yoga 200 Pricing
ISSA Yoga Basic Certification

ISSA Yoga Basic Certification

  • NCCA Accredited exam
  • Comprehensive yoga framework
  • Practical guidelines for yoga teaching
  • Less global recognition than longer existing certifications
ISSA Yoga Basic Pricing
Aura Wellness Center

Aura Wellness Center

  • Education for many styles of yoga
  • 20 years of industry recognition
  • Not NCCA accredited
  • Available online but in-person lessons more comprehensive
Aura Wellness Pricing

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 the foundational documents of the Hindu faith.

Yoga 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 spiritually uplifting.

That’s because aside from the physical components known as Asanas, yoga typically employs an array of stimulating conditions such as using candles, essential oils, or incense for aromatherapy, 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 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 differ tremendously.

For instance, Pilates has less than ancient origins, 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 the two are very similar from a physiological perspective.

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 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.

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

What makes yoga so lucrative, aside from how 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 shows that women are less likely to sign up for 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

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

While there is no unifying body to serve as an umbrella and regulate yoga globally, a few reputable organizations and institutions 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 reputation, recognition, and 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?

A 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 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 yoga’s spiritual principles and terminology, 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 competent at yoga techniques, or Asanas since your training programs will always feature them.

That doesn’t mean you have to 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

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 that employment in this fashion sits lowest regarding income potential.

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

In this way, you could 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 the studio a commission or rental free, so make sure you set rates that adequately offset your expenses.

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

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This is a heavy investment requiring much input, time, and sacrifice. If you choose 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 guaranteed start-up revenue, and your reputation 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 of population groups, from children’s yoga to seniors.

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

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

Another area in yoga that can be profitable is 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 linked to hospitality, whereby clients book accommodation to improve health and wellness.

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

The emphasis of 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 styled as yoga retreats.

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

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

What Is A Yoga Instructor’s Annual Salary?

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

Regarding yoga, the average salary in the US is $46,000 per year.

That, of course, changes depending on several factors.

Let’s examine what factors influence your earning potential as a yoga instructor.

Location

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 in 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 niche.

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

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

Therefore, yoga would be a good choice if you are in a high-income metropolitan area.

These locations also tend to have large, stable economies, meaning there is much more disposable income to spend on specialized services.

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

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.

Obesity and diabetes rates and access to health and fitness services determine these stats.

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 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 your mind when planning your next big move.

Qualifications

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

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

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

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

For example, after completing 200 hours of yoga teaching, you could 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.

A 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 spend in a field, the more money you can earn.

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

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

You can maximize the value of your experience level 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 depends on how well you market and brand yourself and maintain a good level of integrity.

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

Conclusion

Teaching yoga offers many opportunities and is a rewarding experience both in terms of income and job diversity. It is 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.

Please comment if you have any questions or suggestions not covered in this article, and I’ll get right to it.

FAQ

Why become a Yoga Instructor?

Yoga is a great way to conduct restorative strength and conditioning for general populations. Additionally, breathing, flexibility, and mental health benefits make it a great all-around training system that offers lucrative income opportunities.

How much does a yoga teacher make?

The average salary for a yoga instructor in the US is $46,000 per year.

Which Gyms Accept Which Yoga Teacher Certifications?

Any gym looking to hire a yoga instructor or studio manager will accept almost any reputable cert. In America, the Yoga Alliance is the most recognized.

Is there a high demand for Yoga Instructors?

Yoga is one of the trendiest sectors in fitness and is worth nearly 100 billion dollars as of writing.

What are the requirements of a Yoga Instructor?

You must complete your teacher training hours through a recognized yoga teacher program.

What are the benefits of becoming a yoga instructor?

Yoga allows you to help clients uniquely and holistically, tackling aspects of mental fitness and emotional well-being alongside the physical benefits. It also means you will practice a lot of yoga, allowing you to improve your quality of health in the process.

How long does it take to become a yoga instructor?

Yoga teacher training requires you to complete a certain number of training, commonly 200 hours, usually spaced out over 3 to 6 months.

Are yoga instructors in demand?

The demand for yoga is experiencing a renaissance since its introduction to the West in the late 19th century.

References

  1. “Yoga Market Report.” ReportLinker, https://www.reportlinker.com/market-report/Sports/115079/Yoga.
  2. “ResearchGate.” ResearchGate, https://www.researchgate.net/.
  3. “Yoga Instructor Salary.” Zippia, https://www.zippia.com/yoga-instructor-jobs/salary/.
Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

Tyler Read


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