How to Creatively Find Yoga Teaching Opportunities
We all know that doing yoga has many benefits. But teaching yoga also has many benefits that are both spiritual and practical including:
- Sharing knowledge that transforms people’s lives
- Giving back to the community
- Practicing public speaking
- Enhancing posture and poise
- Networking opportunities
- Self-employment or freelancing potential
- Ways to earn supplemental income, or income while traveling
And these benefits only scratch the surface. Since becoming a yoga teacher in 2010, I've improved my self-confidence, speech, and understanding of the human body and mind. Being able to help people and also gain the personal benefits from teaching made me want to teach more and refine my skills.
I’ve discovered creative ways to find teaching opportunities — and also ways to attract them. Here’s a summary of 8 creative strategies I’ve used to create more yoga teaching options for myself.
1. Find seasonal teaching opportunities.
My first job teaching yoga was seasonal. It was at a summer camp that didn’t have a yoga program at the time, so I proposed the idea and took little pay in conjunction with being a camp counselor. I was able to teach every day — to people from ages 8 to 60! They were big classes so I learned how to quiet down a whole room of children, and how to give a well-deserved relaxation session to the overtired staff.
Later on I was able to use that experience as a foundation to teach yoga in other camps and for other seasonal programs. For people who like to travel a lot, seasonal opportunities are ideal because they let you live places that often offer room and board during their most beautiful seasons.
If you live in a place like a ski town or summer vacation spot, you can also seek seasonal yoga jobs and simply live at home. You can even look for places within a couple hours’ driving distance and go on a “yoga tour” — leading yoga classes in seasonal spots on the weekends.
2. Be on the lookout for opportunities during regular visits home.
When I travel to New York to visit my parents and sister who still live there, I look for short teaching opportunities that I can enjoy when I visit. I offered to be a substitute teacher for a wonderful yoga studio nearby. When her students gave positive feedback on my classes, it put me in a position where I could offer special workshops on the weekends I was in town.
I also had the idea to visit the local nursery school in town and offer to teach yoga for toddlers. It was my first time teaching a group so young, and I taught three 15-minute classes in a row for the three groups. It was fun, heartwarming, and a positive learning experience.
I recommend you look for opportunities in places you visit semi-frequently, so when you return you will have personal connections already in your network that you can reach out to. Not all of them will work, but you never know who you’re going to meet!
3. Teach workshops and courses.
I recommend this for people who have been teaching yoga for a while and have a deep understanding of it. But know that it’s not only yoga postures in your repertoire … it’s also meditation, guided relaxations, healthy eating, and breathwork. If you have a yoga specialty, teach a workshop on it. You can even combine it with something else you do. I combined my yoga teaching with my background in weight loss. I was able to teach workshops and courses after I understood both of these subjects very well.
So if you’re into healing, food, fitness, aromatherapy, music, the outdoors, or anything that goes well together with yoga, you already have an edge.
4. Lead or assist on retreats.
Leading a retreat definitely takes work. It requires organizational skills, follow-up, administrative work, and planning. It’s not for everyone. Still, it’s an option — but there’s also the option to assist on retreats. I’ve enjoyed assisting in cleanse retreats as the yoga teacher because I didn’t have any administrative responsibilities. If you’re not sure you want to be the retreat planner yet, try assisting. You also can partner with someone else and lead a retreat together.
5. Teach workplace wellness.
While I’ve personally only done this twice, this can be a great way to take a group of people through a yoga program. My first corporate wellness opportunity was for two weeks and I taught about yoga, plant-based eating, and general wellness. I taught yoga classes, led lunchtime workshops, made food samples and gave out the recipes. The company also allowed me to offer private sessions to the employees. Because it paid well, I was able to further my yoga education by taking the Sivananda Yoga Teacher Training course in the Bahamas right after.
To go the workplace wellness route, you’d need to map out a program in advance, and be willing to make some changes once you meet the actual group and better understand their needs. If you return to an office regularly (if it’s your own office), or even just bi-annually to various workplaces in your area, you’ll be able to know what to expect for the next time.
6. Bring yoga to new places.
Here’s where you can really get creative. Think festivals, health food stores, parks, and schools. There are now yoga festivals, stand-up paddleboard yoga, and even goat yoga. You can start a yoga book club or lead satsangs. You can take yoga to new places everywhere ― all you need to do is make the first move.
7. And of course, visit local yoga studios and gyms.
Some yoga studios and gyms are wonderful work environments and others aren’t. My advice is to read reviews on the studios and visit in person before jumping in, just so you know what you’re getting into. I’ve had some wonderful experiences with studios and gyms, and others I’ve chosen to leave. As long as you keep an open mind, you’ll end up in the right place. Many of them pay per class rather than per head, so this environment is ideal for someone starting out who needs to build clientele.
8. Stay spiritually inspired.
I return to the ashram regularly to stay inspired, keep learning, and expand on my yoga training. I remember the reasons I practice and teach, and I try to further Swami Vishnudevananda’s mission. Being there re-energizes my soul and gets me inspired to practice, teach, and learn more. I also visit other Sivananda ashrams and centers. I take courses and keep a beginner’s mind. This mentality not only helps me attract new opportunities to myself, but it helps me advance my own practice .... which makes me a more capable teacher.