She Works Hard For Her Money

When I was about 11 or 12, Donna Summer’s song, She Works Hard For Her Money, was released. I loved this album and listened to it often. Little did I know that nearly 30 years later, this song would be my theme song.

OK, not quite but close. Yesterday, I read a piece written by someone who struggled with making a living from teaching yoga. I assume that the writer was being witty and sarcastic but this sentence stood out (among others): “I envied my yoga teachers, who seemed to be these rich, serene deities who lived in pajamas and had legions of followers.” 

One of my favorite yoga blogs, YogaDork, also featured the piece on their blog. I loved the comments.

I’m not going to focus on the tone of the article, if she went into teaching yoga for the right reasons, if she forgot about the spiritual aspect of yoga and teaching. No, I want to focus on the money. Do people really think that teaching yoga is lucrative? I never, ever once thought that. Who are these people who think this way? I definitely don’t teach yoga for the money. There’s no way that I could support my family based on the amount that I make. It’s crazy! I did do very well in the winter teaching yoga to kids. In one class, I had at least 16 students for the 10 week session. It was amazing. The kids all got along, the classes ran smoothly and I loved it.

This Spring, I had one student. Just one. Parents told me it was time for soccer and other outdoor activities. I know it as I have two daughters and our schedule changed.  The series was canceled. An art studio up the street from my yoga studio also only had one student for one of their Spring sessions (it was the same student who signed up for my class!)

Many yoga teachers I know supplement their income with other means. I know yoga teachers who sell jewelry, offer massages or other healing modalities. Many teachers work full time jobs and teach during their off hours. I think that’s a smart way to do it so you don’t get stressed with the number of students you have every week.

I do know yoga teachers who have a huge following. They are amazing teachers. They also offer trainings, travel a lot and work hard.

As for me, I’m writing and getting published as much as I can. I’m also investigating different spaces to offer Reiki sessions. I cannot depend on my yoga teaching to pay my bills. At least, not yet anyway!

I wrote about my journey to becoming a yoga teacher a few months ago. I am not teaching yoga to make money. I teach because I love sharing what I have learned and practiced with my students. I love infusing my classes with energy healing and spirituality. In my class today, one of my students moaned “This feels so good” when we did Bridge. Last month, one of my students shared that she was pain free 5 days after taking my class. These remarks are what keep me going.


2 thoughts on “She Works Hard For Her Money

  1. It is a blessing to have a job that you love, and I also became a yoga teacher to share the wonders of the practice. But I like to eat. And I have two children in college. It is interesting that no one challenges a personal trainer in a gym setting about the fact he is paid a good wage. Or the head of a charitable organization who receives a salary enough to support a family. I would love to see a shift among yoga teacher themselves, in knowing that we, too, are worthy of monetary exchanges, and that we do not in any way diminish the spirituality or blessing of the practice by being able to pay our rent. No one should go into teaching yoga “for the money”, but we should receive commensurate with what we give.

  2. Jeannette, thank you so much for writing. I completely agree with you. I find it so interesting when I recently read that Yoga (and Pilate) studios are among the top 10 growing industries. Does that mean more yoga studios, more yoga teachers and less pay?

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