Yoga teachers are among the unsung heroes of our days helping students to de-stress, stay balanced, strong and flexible.
Teaching yoga is a noble calling, and yoga is an industry that is growing quickly. There are more than 36 million yoga practitioners in the United States, and 34 percent of Americans say they plan to try yoga within the next 12 months. 
Modern yoga instructors join a long history of teachers in the United States that stretches back to the 1890s. But Western yoga as most teachers and students know it today evolved in the 1950s when yoga was presented to Americans as a non-religious practice that generated good health and well-being.
Today, yoga is just about everywhere you look. The ancient practice goes on in our offices, schools, and even hospitals. It is used to help underprivileged children, cancer patients, and war veterans.
It seems yoga bestows its benefits on just about everything it touches. So, what of the yoga instructors who have helped give rise to this billion-dollar industry? What type of living can they earn? While most yoga teachers are not interested in only the money, even yoga teachers live in the real world and must make a real-world living.
How Much Yoga Teachers REALLY Make
A yoga instructor’s income varies depending on where they teach, how often, and other business activities they may participate in. Income varies from city to city and instructor to instructor.
Exact figures on yoga instructor pay are hard to find, but there are a few sources that shed light on how much yoga instructors really make. Before we look at some actual figures, here are some variables that influence a yoga instructor’s income:
How often they teach: Some yoga teachers teach less than part-time. Others teach up to six classes a day.
Where they teach: The studio a yoga instructor teaches in will also determine their income. Teachers at an established and the well-known studio will earn more than those in a city that is saturated with studios on every corner. The best studios require yoga instructor certification and yoga instructor insurance. So, have both at the ready when applying at high paying studios.
Business Acumen: Some of the highest earning yoga instructors are top-notch business people. They know how to negotiate, budget and protect their business with insurance.
What else they do: Many yoga teachers dabble in healing arts. Some teachers have complementary careers in massage therapy or acupuncture. Others sell products such as yoga attire or essential oils.
Experience: Just like any other profession, experience counts when it comes to teaching yoga. Experienced teachers garner better pay for several reasons – they have built a following, reputation and refined their teaching styles. But they may also be more business savvy and more experienced at negotiating better rates and fees.
Following: Yoga is a personal practice and is often most enjoyable when the student feels connected to the teacher. Yoga instructors who develop a following make more money. They often publish their teaching schedule and will have students follow them from class to class. Teachers that have a following can demand more pay per class and private yoga studios are often willing to pay extra for a teacher that can fill classes.
Rates: Teaching rates vary among teachers. Some yoga teachers are happy to teach for no money, while some charge high rates to make the best possible living. Rates vary and can depend on experience, negotiation skills, and career goals.
Specialization: Many yoga instructors specialize to maximize their income. Some specialities include children’s yoga, therapeutic yoga, and chair yoga. Some of the most successful teachers specialize in teaching to a specific clientele or for a specific result.
Style: Whether you teach Vinyasa, Yin or Hatha classes won’t make much of a difference in how much you get paid but creating your own style and brand can make a big difference. Consider Sadie Nardini, a successful New York-based instructor who created her own style as a punk rock yoga teacher and coach.
Average Yoga Teacher Salary
While there are many factors that can determine a yoga instructor’s salary, the overall job growth outlook for the industry is strong. The 2018 Occupational Outlook Handbook predicts the demand for fitness-related professionals, including yoga instructors to grow faster than average.
Yoga instructors can work on an hourly rate or a per-class rate. There are also instructors employed full-time at studios where they may provide management or administrative services to earn a salary.
Here are some facts and figures about yoga instructor hourly and annual wages on a scale from low to high.
|Glassdoor.com||$30k per year||$38k per year||$78k per year|
|2018 Occupational Outlook Handbook||$19,640 per year||$39,210 per year||$74,520 per year|
|Indeed.com||$7.25 per hour||$27.51 per hour||$69.25 per hour|
Yoga Instructor Hourly Rate
Yoga instructors working on an hourly rate can earn anywhere from $7.25 per hour up to $69.25 per hour. The hourly rate is negotiable based on experience, style and following. Some instructors are full-time employees at yoga studios and others conduct all their classes as an independent contractor.
How Much do Yoga Instructors Make Per Class
Yoga instructors can also be paid per class. Class rates can vary from $35 per class for a new teacher at a small studio up to $75 per class for experienced teachers at an established and well-known studio. Yoga instructors can negotiate their per class rate. Having certification and insurance will help make sure you get paid among the best per class rates.
How to Earn More as a Yoga Teacher
If you are looking to bring your earning potential to the next level, there is no shortage of ways to do it.
The highest earning yoga instructors recognize the need to earn a good living to sustain a yoga instructor career. Good business skills are essential and pay yoga teachers back tenfold. Proper insurance is particularly important for yoga instructors as yoga-related injuries are rising .
Once you have purchased insurance and gained a little business knowledge, you can really launch your teaching career and maximize your earnings.
There are endless opportunities for yoga instructors to grow their income. Try these five avenues for starters:
- Protect yourself: Yoga teaching is not without risk. There are insurance products available that are designed to help protect and defend you if you end up in a lawsuit. Having insurance also makes you more marketable to studios and for other teaching opportunities. Yoga instructor insurance policies can be purchased through BizInsure in minutes and are affordable.
- Cross train: Some of the most successful yoga teachers are trained in other healing and wellness crafts. Consider a certification in massage therapy or personal training. Maybe you are interested in herbal remedies or clean eating. Anyone of these interests can become another source of income to complement your yoga instructor income.
- Go private: Teach privately. Some of the most lucrative teaching gigs are private sessions. Bill yourself as a private lesson instructor and watch your teaching income grow. Just don’t forget to be properly insured as serious lawsuits  have stemmed from private lessons.
- Teach teachers: Yoga teacher training has become highly popular. Many yoga students enter teacher training simply for the expanded knowledge of the practice. Not every person who completes yoga teacher training will teach, but they all need to be trained. If you are properly certified, consider teaching teachers. This can be a great way to boost your income.
- Harness the internet: The internet has much to offer today’s yoga teacher. There are digital marketing and social media platforms to grow your following. They can be used effectively for even budget-conscious yoga instructors. There is no limit to your online audience. Many yoga teachers have harnessed the internet to reach students around the world. You can offer subscriptions, philosophy, educational materials, and video classes.
Yoga instructor pay can vary. Although teaching yoga is among the noblest of callings, it is like other careers in many ways. The most successful teachers work hard, invest in themselves, build a community and approach their work with sound business principles.
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 Yoga Journal, (2016). 2016 Yoga in America Study. [online] Available at: http://media.yogajournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016YIAS-Release-Final.pdf [Accessed 3 Aug. 2018].
 Sadienardini.com, (2017). Sadie Nardini. [online] Available at: http://sadienardini.com/ [Accessed 3 Aug. 2018].
 Sawin, T. and McGwin, G. (2016). Yoga-Related Injuries in the United States from 2001 to 2014. Orthopedic Journal of Sports Medicine. [online] Volume 4(11). Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5117171/ [Accessed 3 Aug. 2018].
 Counterpunch.org, (2014). Counterpunch: Tell the Facts Name the Names. [online] Available at: https://www.counterpunch.org/2014/07/04/yogas-growing-threat-of-legal-liability/ [Accessed 3 Aug. 2018].