Recently a friend asked me how I was able to get yoga teaching jobs so quickly, and she commented that it seemed so easy for me. I don’t think easy is the right word, because it’s been a lot of work to get to the point where I’m able to “easily,” get a job teaching yoga. I’ve compiled a quick formula of what I do when I know I’m going to be moving somewhere new and want to start teaching there as soon as possible.
Be good at Teaching Yoga
This seems like kind of a sassy suggestion but I would challenge you to ask yourself how much effort you put into your classes. Maybe if I was less sassy I would title #1, “Continue to grow as a teacher.” I heard a yoga teacher telling a student the other day that, “they never plan their classes out,” and said it proudly. While I do believe that everyone is different, and we should all follow our own paths, for myself, I know I’m being a bit lazy to not at least have a general outline for my classes. I suppose if you’re teaching Ashtanga or Bikram this doesn’t apply since those sequences never vary, but as a vinyasa, hatha and yin teacher, I plan a rough outline of what I’m going to be teaching in my classes. Sometimes what I plan out will be focused on leading up to a peak pose, other times it will be on a specific type of sequencing, sometimes it will be on a certain concept, or maybe it will be focused on the feelings that I’m going through at the time. I will say first and foremost, one should be able to read their students, and sometimes, what I have planned will end up not happening depending on who is in class that day, and how their feeling or what their capabilities are. Bottom line, if you aren’t pushing yourself as a teacher, to bring new things to your students practice, you’re missing out on growth of yourself and potentially stunting the growth of your students. (*Pro Tip: Record yourself teaching a class, and then listen to it and “take,” your class. This was super helpful for me in realizing that I was talking down to my students, and slipping into a strange baby talking kind of voice ahh!)
2. Keep an up to date Yoga Resume
Do you keep track of where you’ve taught? References? Continued education workshops or seminars that you’ve taken? Keeping track of all of this information in a well laid out, clean resume shows studio managers and owners that you take pride in your work and are clearly good enough to have been hired by other studios. Most studios transfer responsibility onto their teachers for things like logging people in and opening the studio. Having a resume and experience shows that they can trust you. Lastly, a big portion of yoga teachers skip this step entirely, so making sure to have a well crafted resume automatically shows that you’re willing to put in more effort than other teachers who haven’t made one.
3. Research Where You’re Moving to
Do your homework, look up all the different studios that are in the area where you will be moving to. Try actually reading their websites and checking out their instagram accounts. See what the place is all about, and if you think you and your teaching style would be a good fit there. This doesn’t mean that if they don’t offer the style of yoga you specialize in that you shouldn’t reach out to them, it just means that when you email them (SEE # 4), mention that you noticed that they don’t currently offer your style, that perhaps they should, and then explain why!
4. Email Yoga Studios Before You Move
This does not guarantee a teaching job necessarily, but it does put you on the studio owners radar. Reaching out beforehand shows them that you want a yoga teaching job at their studio, and you care about where you will be working. Take time to figure out why you want to work at that studio and then explain that to them in your email. Attach your yoga resume in the email, as well as your instagram and website if you have those features. (*Pro tip: If you don’t have an instagram dedicated to teaching yoga, consider creating one! If you post on your personal instagram, I encourage you to think about separating your personal and business “grams,” that way you can keep your yoga business page professional and looking clean.)
5. Take classes where you want to work!
The truth is, I’ve found that sometimes you’ve got to spend a little money, to make a little money, and this applies even to broke yoga teachers. Most studios generally have an intro offer of some sort for two weeks or a month etc. Sign up for this and take as many classes as possible. Introduce yourself to every teacher (not necessarily as another teacher, that may be uncomfortable for them). Get to know the people around the studio and find out who the owner and/or manager is. Showing up to classes shows a lot about who you are and what you could bring to the studio. Once you’ve met the owner and gotten to know them, you’re ready for Step 6.
6. Ask to teach a trial class
Don’t ask for a job teaching yoga, ask if you can show them how awesome you are! If you’ve done #1, you should be confident in your abilities, and your class will rock their socks off. After you teach your trial most studio owners and managers will also want to talk right there, so make sure you go in with a resume, as well as knowledge of their schedule, and where your classes could fit in! Once again, doing your research shows them that you care and are excited to be a part of their community.
7. Negotiate your pay.
Maybe not right away, but at some point, when you’ve established that you are a great, hardworking and reliable teacher. Most yoga teachers, (and I would argue, most women in general, although that could be a whole other post…), rarely negotiate. Often, we don’t even think that we can negotiate! I am here to tell you, negotiation is a very normal part of almost every job. Take time before you go into the studio to think about what would be a fair pair for what you are offering. A lot of studios want their teachers to come in 15, or 30 minutes early, and sometimes stay just as late after, is that calculated into your pay rate? Have you thought about the time and gas spent commuting? If you think about all factors, $20 or $25 is often not worth it. This is where number one comes into play, trusting that you are good at what you do, and that what you do is valuable. Even though yoga is a wonderful thing and it would be ideal if every person could do yoga for free, this is not the reality, and as yoga teachers it’s important to make sure that we can afford food, housing, and the basic life necessities, so that we can be the best dang teachers possible!