Yoga is all about peace and love, so it should be free, right? Well, some yogis and schools of thought identify with that, but some don’t. Here are five reasons you might want to request compensation for your worth as a yoga educator.
1. Yoga is a philosophy AND a business.
I am of the school of thought that the philosophy and history of yoga should be taught, revered, and respected. I believe we need to educate our students on more than just the moving asanas we practice in class.
I also believe, however, that looking at yoga as a business doesn’t belittle its power or gravity. Yoga studios, yoga teachers, yoga retreats, yoga teacher training, and yoga gear all qualify as businesses. Why do we feel nervous or sacrilegious when money comes into the picture? We shouldn’t anymore.
On Money and Yoga
A recent encounter with a yogi helped me see money and yoga a little clearer. I work at a studio here in D.C. and a student needed to rent a mat. The charge was $2, and she only had a credit card on her. I let her know we accept credit cards.
Her reply? “Do you want to just waive the fee?” I felt conflicted.
I realized it’s only $2—I felt kind of cheap being a stickler and demanding the money. But then, I thought, well shouldn’t she feel the same way for trying to get out of a $2 charge? Also, it’s not my studio; I work there as an employee, so I am obligated to uphold studio policy regarding mat rentals.
She ended up paying with her card, but she wasn’t very happy about it. I wondered why this woman felt she could ask to not pay a reasonable charge at a small local business. Would she have gone into Lululemon and asked for them to waive the sales tax, or have picked up a granola bar at the register and asked them to waive the granola bar fee?
Customers shouldn’t expect free things from their yoga studios and teachers. You are operating a business and you are not cheap, stingy, or greedy for expecting a return for your services.
Whenever you are in doubt, ask yourself what any other business might do. And if you want to stay in business, then I am sure your answer will be to value your time, space, and money and then charge your customers the appropriate fee.
2. You are offering a service.
People are coming to you because they need your guidance and your education. Put a price tag on your knowledge; you deserve it. If you are true and honest with what you offer and reflect that in your price, then those who can respect what you do will pay.
Dry cleaners, mechanics, and chefs all charge for their services. Parallel to that, you offer the service of educating and guiding your students through yoga class. You offer assists, modifications, and lessons on how to practice, so you should also charge for this.
3. Time is money.
You spent a lot of time in teacher training. You spend time attending workshops, writing and practicing sequences, and researching poses, modifications, and assists. You spend time chatting with your students. You spend all of this time on yoga because you love it and you want to be the best educator you can be.
Most of the time spent being a yogi will go unpaid, so when it matters, such as teaching at a studio or a private class, make sure you get paid for your valuable time.
4. You invested a lot of time and money in your yoga education.
Yoga teacher training is not cheap. It is valuable education and most of us find it worth it, so don’t let that money fly out the window. You spent the money and trained to teach yoga to people, and now, people are coming to you to learn.
It’s only right that you get paid the money you deserve and earned, and allow yourself to slowly gain back the money spent on training.
5. Greed is a sin, money is not.
Money is not the root of all evil. It is a gift for a service. Money is not complicated, it’s the emotions that we tie up with money that are complicated.
Don’t complicate the matter of money when it comes to your worth as a yoga teacher. You provide a service to your students in the form of yoga and they provide a service to you in the form of money.
So, find your fair and honest value as teacher. If you are overcharging and underdelivering, then reevaluate yourself first, then reevaluate the money. Charging a reasonable fee for your service does not make you greedy; it makes you a modern yogi with an understanding of how this world works.
After reading through this article, I hope you are able to confidently and fairly assess your value as a yoga instructor. Please also consider that with every point of view there is always another side.
Next week I’ll share five reasons why you should consider teaching yoga for free, and these won’t conflict with this article but will help guide you to finding your financial boundaries as a yoga instructor.
Greer 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.