Should I Become A Professional Yoga Teacher?

I love teaching with all my heart, but I’d never encourage anyone to be a fulltime Yoga teacher, UNLESS they want to set up their own Yoga studio. If you’re willing to put the work in to have your own Yoga studio, then I say: go for it! But I’d definitely advise against going fulltime as a subcontractor in the gym industry.

You might say, “Well, if the gym industry is so bad, I’ll only subcontract for Yoga studios.” A logical conclusion, except that you won’t be able to have a fulltime schedule by only subcontracting for Yoga studios. If you’re a subcontractor, you’ll have to take work wherever you can get it - gyms, studios, schools, community colleges, etc - with gyms likely being your main source of classes.

And therein lies the problem. The gyms. Not the people who come to your classes, mind you - it’s the management that's the problem.

In over 26 years in the industry, I’ve found that gym management is almost consistently poor - ranging from mildly disorganised to outright corrupt. I’m guessing you could say that for many industries, but it's made all the worse because the gym industry is also very unstable. In the blink of an eye you can lose classes, and management have no obligation to give you more than a moment’s notice, because you’re a subcontractor.

Let me tell you a story.

About a year ago, I was primarily working for one gym called Lifestyle. This gym had three centres, and I had 18 classes weekly in those centres. I had lots of double and triple classes, so it was a great situation, but it all fell to bits when the owners of the gym closed the doors with literally a few days’ notice. All the members were left with useless memberships, and everyone they employed in any capacity lost their work. So one week I had a fulltime schedule, the following week I was practically unemployed. (I still had two classes - yes, two whole classes! - in the schools I was working at.)

Since then I’ve found it incredibly hard to recover a decent schedule. In fact, in over two decades I’ve never experienced such difficulty finding work than I have in the last year. The market has become flooded, with lots of inexperienced teachers undercutting the going rates. This leaves those of us with self-respect (ie. those charging the correct rates) of little interest to short-sighted and stingy management who only see the bottom line and cares little for experience and professionalism. Luckily, there still are a few places that care about the quality of their teachers, but they're few and far between.

I can tell you many more stories, but I think that one suffices as an illustration of why as I’d never advise anyone to become a fulltime subcontracting Yoga teacher.

Still, it’s ultimately about what you’re willing to put up with to make a living through Yoga. If you feel that you must teach Yoga fulltime, but don't want to have your own studio, and you think you can cope with being treated as a disposable product, losing chunks of income without notice (and often without reason), and being at the mercy of untrained and incompetent managers…then I guess do it and try to enjoy. Oh, and good luck: you’ll definitely need it.

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Adopt a homeless animal instead - they all deserve a second chance

It's estimated that 130,000 dogs and 60,000 cats are killed every year in Australia because there are not enough homes for them all. And the global numbers amount to millions upon millions every single year.

Puppy mills are a major contributor to the terrible problem of overpopulation. Puppy mills are essentially 'dog factories' where dogs are forced to churn out litter after litter, with no thought for the welfare of the dogs and all thought for profit. The dogs live in appallingly dirty, cramped conditions all their lives, and when they no longer serve their purpose they're killed, dumped or sold to vivisection laboratories.

Petshops fit into the picture because puppy mills are generally where petshops get their animals from. Furthermore, having animals in shop windows encourages impulse purchases, and adding an animal to your family should be a conscious, careful decision - NOT one to be made while shoe shopping.

Breeders contribute enormously to the tragic statistics above too. And it doesn't matter whether they're professional breeders or backyard breeders, and whether they breed for profit or not, because while there are homeless animals sitting on death row in shelters, any and all animal breeding is utterly irresponsible.

Now, here's where you come in. You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. You can either buy animals from puppy mills, petshops or breeders and be part of the problem. Or you can adopt from a shelter or rescue organisation and be part of the solution.

If I haven't convinced you, visit your local shelter to see the homeless animals. Let their innocent faces convince you that adopting is the only responsible choice to make.

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