You will not get rich teaching Yoga or blogging…and that’s not the point

 

lonely road

Making money teaching Yoga is a lonely road

I don’t want to sound like the Grinch Who Stole Christmas, but after reading two somewhat unrelated blog entries, it occurred to me that people are actually upset when they can’t make a living teaching yoga or blogging. I read this post which was recently Freshly Pressed about a blogger who sounds disenchanted with the whole process after her blog reached 1.6 million hits. She aspires to become a professional writer, but even after one of her posts went viral she has yet to receive a writing contract or some other form of salvation for her hard and talented work. Another blogger wrote a post on why she quit Ashtanga Yoga and lists one of the reasons as that she cannot make a career of teaching. “Unless you will be moving to a town where there is not a single Yoga teacher within a radius of at least 50 kilometers, do not open a Yoga studio,” she says in the post.

Both writers are talented people who are worthy of making a living from their wonderful contributions in blogging and yoga. But who sold them on the idea that blogging and yoga teaching would be a way to riches? As both a blogger and a Yoga teacher, both of those entries hit close to home. There was a time when I really wanted to make a living teaching Yoga, but the reality is that to do so would consume so much of my time and resources, that I would actually wind up hating Yoga. I had similar delusions of grandeur about blogging. When I first got over a 100 views in one day I thought “wow, maybe this will lead me to be able to quit my day job.”

I used to write for a newspaper and had also worked in television news. It was fun for a few years, but I really started to hate it when day after day of deadlines led to more days of deadlines. There was no end to it, and that is why I switched professions. My feeling is that if I had to write a blog for a living, the quality of my posts would go down significantly because I would be trying to cater to some audience or to make some advertiser happy instead of writing what is in my heart.

To date, I have not made one red cent from my blog. Nor have I attracted one student to come to my class after reading my posts. I have even checked out other yoga bloggers who make money doing so. Matthew Remsky seems to be doing well. He is asking for $30,000 CAD by December 1 in donations to fund a yoga book he is working on. So far he is up to $13,200. Even if he does not make his goal, 13k is not a bad figure for simply asking for it.

But in real life, how far would $13k take you? You surely could not pay off your mortgage on that (although you could pay rent for a few months). This represents someone who is actually making money by blogging about the topics I write.

I read about B.K.S. Iyengar and the many years he went with only a handful of students. He stuck to what he loved doing and eventually it payed off. It was many many more years than most would have patience for in this “become-a-yoga-teacher-in-200-hours” era.

What blogging has done for me is to refine my ideas about the subject. By exposing my ideas to the blogosphere, other great bloggers have given me feedback on my ideas to help further develop and nuance them. Writing about Yoga has allowed me to slow down and really think about the process in teaching. I noticed a marked change in my teaching when I started blogging . It is not certain whether my students have noticed, but since I started my blog my class attendance has increased and I have gotten more teaching opportunities. Next week in will increase teaching two classes per week to three classes per week.

So the short of it is that blogging has enhanced my Yoga teaching, and teaching Yoga has enhanced my blogging. It is a mobius strip of activities that has not so much made me financially better off, but has made a huge difference in my personal satisfaction of both crafts. Who knows, maybe one day I may get a book deal.

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11 thoughts on “You will not get rich teaching Yoga or blogging…and that’s not the point

  1. So...

    While I’m not a teacher, I’ve had a similar experience with an enhanced experience in my journey with running and yoga. Blogging about my learnings has made me a little more sensitive to the changes happening within and without.

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  2. sara

    I know exactly what you mean. I don’t want to monetise my blog because that would ruin it. Part of the joy is the freedom – and the ability to practice the craft of writing in a way that I want. We don’t know where doing things we love will take us, and it’s not really the point is it?

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    1. yogibattle Post author

      Thanks for your thoughtful reply! Both teaching and blogging have made me rich in many other ways aside from monetarily. I was originally going to make the headline “You can’t make a living by blogging and teaching Yoga,” but it was too long. In reality, it is possible to do both. But the Perez Hiltons and the Tara Stiles of the world are few and far between and I wouldn’t want to be in either’s shoes.

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  3. saralouyoga

    This is such a wonderful post, thank you for this! I totally agree. I’ve thought about this, too with yoga. If I did yoga for a living, would my practice be as beautiful as it is now if I had to cater to sales goals and marketing? Would I even like it better than my current job? I don’t think so, but that’s what makes it beautiful, the idea that even though you’re not making money off of it you still love it. I’m finding that with blogging, too.
    xo

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  4. Hannah Andrews

    It’s interesting when we think we need to be doing something and go forth charging along with our own will and expect to make money doing it. Feels like a fearful place to be coming from when I read how you shared what these bloggers wrote. Who are we to charge ahead with our own will? What if we handed our will over to spirit and asked to be guided each step of the way? Would we be focusing on money? Or exercising our trust to be supported in this material world?

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  5. Pingback: Correction…Teaching Yoga Will Make You Rich* | Home Yoga Practice

  6. richard

    When we’re trying to make a living from teaching yoga, there’s a reasonable chance that our teaching becomes subtly corrupted. When the money starts to come in, we’re all tempted to cater (in various ways both large and small) to whatever we think will bring in more students. But I think we’re better off focusing on what will truly advance the art of yoga — not what will grow our bank accounts (or our egos). Teaching yoga is probably best approached as a labor of love, an offering for the benefit of others. We’re probably better off charging just enough to cover the expenses of running the studio, our transportation costs to & from class, and so on. Can we be content to break even on the deal, and leave it at that? I know that not everyone will agree, but it may be wiser to earn the bulk of our living elsewhere, and to let the teaching of yoga be our gift to the world. If it so happens that students begin to flock to our classes, let’s hope it’s because they were drawn to us naturally — and not because we distorted ourselves into a form other than our own true self. Perhaps that is what yoga is ultimately about, after all. “Tada drashtuh svarupe avasthanam” — “Then the Seer abides in its own true nature.” — Yoga Sutra 1:3.

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