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.