The yoga industry is a vast and exciting space for people interested in careers involving fitness, wellness, healing, spirituality and service. According to Yoga Journal's 2008 "Yoga in America" Market Study, Americans spend $5.7 billion a year for yoga classes and products, including clothing, vacations, equipment and media (books, DVDs, magazines and videos). This study indicates that 15.8 million Americans (6.9 percent of the total U.S. population) practice yoga. An additional 18.3 million Americans reported that they are very or extremely interested in yoga.
With the growing popularity of the practice, it is natural that many yoga practitioners are interested in taking the next step to become a yoga teacher or yoga studio owner. Many current yoga teachers and studio owners, including the ones interviewed here, report how rewarding they feel their work is.
Despite the growing demand for yoga teachers and studios, the financial payback for yoga employment opportunities varies widely. Aspiring yoga teachers and studio owners would thus be wise to learn all the different ways one can become successful in this field before venturing into it.
Teaching yoga is not like other jobs in that it involves a more intense level of connection with students physically, emotionally and spiritually. Successful yoga teachers must learn not only how to sequence and assist students technically in the yoga poses, but also how to inspire people to live in a more holistic and harmonious manner. The best yoga teachers are those who are charismatic and able to influence others to make profound changes in their overall lifestyles.
Training to become a yoga teacher can be a long process that begins the first time you step onto a yoga mat and continues throughout your life. There are many different types of teacher training courses available that vary in the depth of knowledge they provide, length, location and offerings beyond the physical aspects of the practice.
Even after completing a teacher training, many yoga schools offer additional opportunities for continuing education, including advanced training, apprenticeship opportunities and the chance to learn about yoga therapy. Yoga teachers can specialize in teaching children, pregnant women and the elderly.
Once trained, the opportunities available for yoga teachers vary from teaching in traditional yoga studios and centers to serving in corporations, schools, nursing homes, homeless shelters and juvenile halls.
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Yoga jobs can also involve serving pregnant women, the elderly, at-risk populations and children. Some teachers offer yoga retreats and private classes.
To be successful, yoga teachers have to market themselves well through creating fliers, websites and an online presence through social networking sites. It can be challenging for new teachers (or those new to a particular location) to work in yoga studios, but there are some steps those who aspire to do can take to make it happen.
Yoga teachers who seek to go beyond just teaching to actually create yoga studios often find the process challenging, yet deeply rewarding. Beyond having a passion for the practice, yoga studio owners must be capable of handling the financial aspects of running a business, writing a yoga business plan, doing marketing, accounting, hiring and managing retail sales. Yoga teachers who do not have business backgrounds find that working with someone who does, as well as a lawyer, is very helpful in this process.
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Yoga teachers can create studios from scratch, rent existing spaces to hold classes in, renovate old fitness centers or office spaces or build yoga studio chain franchises. There are many considerations that yoga teachers must make before embarking on the journey of starting a yoga studio, in whatever capacity they decide to do so.
No matter how you would like to get involved in the yoga industry, it is helpful to have thorough background knowledge about the field when getting started with yoga jobs.