I hope that you value your craft as yoga educator and have learned to accept appropriate payments for your time and talents. We all want to practice yoga with a loving and generous spirit, but good intentions don't pay the bills.
It can be hard to determine whether to charge for a class or if it's a situation where we could be teaching yoga for free. Here are some situations where a free class can actually be a good idea.
1. Community Class
Community Classes are generally taught for free by the teacher and offered to the community at no cost. Be careful about community classes and choosing which ones are right to do for free.
I taught a free community class at a popular chain yoga retail store in a wealthy part of D.C. The store offered the space and advertised, but did not offer me payment. Since I was a new teacher, I took the job.
After class, nearly everyone purchased a clothing item. I had spent two hours commuting and an hour teaching, not to mention the time I spent preparing the class. The store could have afforded to pay me, as well as all of the students. Instead, I felt as though I was just part of a larger ad campaign for their sales. I didn’t return to teach with them again.
My neighborhood has a community center. They offer movie nights, Bollywood dance lessons, book clubs, a lending library, and yoga classes. They asked me to teach one night. The center is three blocks from my house, and I go there often for classes. I believe in its mission and was able to teach to a group of people who would not otherwise have access to a yoga class. This was worth my time, and I felt valued. I would teach at this community center for free again.
2. Donation Class
If all proceeds from the class donate to a cause that you care about, then feel honored that you were asked to teach it. Go for it if it feels right!
Generally, internships seem like a bad deal; you do all the same work and more than paid employees, except you don’t get a paycheck. BUT you do get experience. If, for whatever reason, an amazing yogi or renowned yoga studio has offered you an internship position and you feel that you can greatly learn, grow, and still support yourself while doing so, then give it a try!
I have two work-study shifts at my yoga studio and I love them. I don’t receive any monetary payment, but I do get to attend unlimited yoga classes, which is important for my personal practice and for my capabilities as a teacher.
Work-study has opened up many doors for me. I am part of the community and am always growing within that community by being behind the desk. It has taught me how to use MindBody, and I’ve even been able to pick up substitute teaching shifts via work-study just by being there in person.
5. Personal Growth
For opportunities out there where you can learn and gain valuable experience and education (assisting workshops or classes, demonstrating classes, organizing a retreat), then you should go for it regardless of pay. Think of your personal growth as an investment. Although money matters, in the end it is not the only thing that matters.
Gigi Gilchrist is a member of the DOYOUYOGA Community. The opinions and statements expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of DOYOUYOGA and Skyrocket Media.