Why I only teach two classes per week

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My most viewed blog entry certainly isn’t one of my “great” writings about asana or insights into my practice. It’s my teaching schedule page. I’m sure an equally shocked reaction is “he only teaches two classes per week?! Why should he have any merit in his writings for teaching such a low number of classes?”

First of all, I deliberately choose NOT to make a living by teaching yoga. If I had to make a living by teaching yoga, I would be forced to do things that would attract masses of students, like play music, do some type of group vinyasa flow, or advertise. I would have to teach to what students wanted to learn and not what they need to learn. I would teach poses that I have not myself fully mastered because that is what all the other teachers are doing.

If I had to make a living teaching yoga, I would probably be begging Lululemon to mention my studio and would sell my soul to just maybe become an ambassador. I would be begging Wanderlust to have me as a guest teacher and would “do the circuit” like a circus performer.

I am always flattered when I have more than 6 students show up for class, but not disappointed if I don’t. The church I rent a space from has a nice arrangement with me, and I end of giving all my donations away to the church anyway. I have a day job that pays me enough.

My mentoring teachers are great. They allowed me to take over their Friday afternoon class which is a traditionally bad time for yoga attendance as most are through of the week and want to relax. That class is not as well attended.

The one phenomenon is that my students who stay are die hard. I have had some students for more than 10 years. They have gone through all the vicissitudes of life and still come back week after week. I thoroughly enjoy watching those students change and evolve.

But by far the largest reason why I don’t teach yoga for a living is that it allows me to practice my own yoga. Some of my greatest insights have come from my personal practice and from attending classes and trainings with my mentoring teachers. If I were too busy managing a yoga business, I wouldn’t be concerned with my evolution as a practitioner, I would be concerned about rent.

Lastly, not teaching yoga for a living allows me to be at hand when my teachers need me to sub. This allows them to continue their training and allows their students to continue their practice when they are away. It is a form of Bhakti I practice.

Down the road I may add a third class to my weekly rotation. One day I may even be good enough to have yoga pay a few bills. But for now I will keep my day job. Yoga in America is trendy now, and if Lululemon’s stock price in the past year is any indicator of how yoga in the West is heading, most who are doing it for a living will quickly find some harsh realities.

I am not criticizing those who do make a living teaching yoga and I am sorry I if this post offends some of you. I am actually quite awed in how you do it. I just don’t have the charisma or business mind to make it work for what would make me feel good about myself.

 

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15 thoughts on “Why I only teach two classes per week

  1. Nicole D

    Very smart. I don’t blame you one bit! Doing what you love just because you love it.. very inspiring! I am a group fitness instructor, and currently I only run 3 classes per week for the exact same reason. Someday I hope to coach full time, but I am still developing my expertise and have much learning ahead of me before I do. Great post, thanks for sharing!

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  2. natjtan

    It’s not just in America where yoga’s suddenly *trendy*. I’ve noticed in Europe the same thing with a hashtag that makes me cringe, #yogaeverydammday. I practice at home as it’s more practical for me though I’m looking for a good yoga class locally to participate.

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  3. somawellbeing

    Aren’t we lucky to just feel continually inspired by the practice? I only teach one class a week Michael and the time and preparation that goes into it is certainly keeping my life pleasantly full. I never had a “vision” of making money from teaching yoga, it was just something I knew I would do. See you on the mat sometime I hope. 🙂

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  4. Aparna

    couldn’t agree more. I also have a day job and these are my exact same reasons for only teaching yoga part-time – mainly I don’t want the monetary aspect to take over what yoga is truly about.

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  5. lightsourcecreative

    Great piece. I teach two in a studio to the public and others in small groups to individuals for specific conditions. I love the studio work (it’s challenging, high energy, fun), but I most enjoy privates and those who are seeking healing for something in particular and might not think of themselves as yogis but have the open-mindedness and the willingness to give it a try. Peace!

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  6. clairet703

    Sounds like me and my writing! ha! Thanks for the like, Wish you lived near me I’d definitely attend. Thankfully I finally found a great yoga teacher near me with classes I could make (I have to do school pick ups etc.) only to find the class closed after 3 weeks..I do do it on my own but would like to learn more. Enjoy!

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  7. yogalok

    Thank you for liking my article on Meditation. I love writing about Yoga and Spirituality. I have also started following your blog. Regards!

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  8. Pingback: Subbing in the shadow of the popular teacher | Home Yoga Practice

  9. Pingback: Now teaching three classes per week | Home Yoga Practice

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