Turning Passion into Income: Is Becoming a Yoga Instructor Worth the Investment?

When I was eleven years old, my dad and I went to free yoga classes at the Air Force base gym. As a pudgy fifth grader, I thought I was amazing at yoga. I could reach for my toes (note “reach”, not “touch”) and hold warrior one like I was set for battle. Combine this with my overly proud father, who would boast to everyone about our pastime and frequently make me demonstrate my butterfly pose, and I thought I had found a real calling. Him and I then began to dream up the idea that when I went to college, being a yoga instructor would be a great part time gig.

We visited that yoga class about four times, but then as he got caught up at work or I had volleyball practice, we stopped attending. It would be five years until I got back on a mat. In those five years, I entered college, but the intention of becoming an instructor had long faded.

However, as I started back with the practice, I remembered why it inspired me to begin with. This time around, I had the extra benefit of being more fit and pliable. I now actually can touch my toes and so much more.

Searching the Options

So, recently, I began considering becoming an instructor again. Like all great quests, I began my path on Google. Numerous methods of certifications and teaching classes and advice columns popped up, I had no idea where to start. The options ranged from an on-your-own time online course to three month submersion programs. The online possibility seemed too good to be true, but I didn’t know where to start with finding a reputable program. Overwhelmed, I decided to go chat with one of my favorite people in the world and certified yogi, Anna.

A Little Guidance

Anna works at the local art gallery, so I went and chatted with her during a first friday opening reception. (side note: First Friday is my junk. I do what I call a “Gallery Crawl”; there are about six art galleries in Macon that open their doors and offer free refreshments every first friday. It’s an amazing evening filled with exciting local talent and free booze. Nothing can compare). Anyways, back to my chat with Anna. Her first words of wisdom to my inquiry were– DO NOT TRUST the online courses. While these courses seem convenient and inexpensive, the yoga alliance will not recognize them, so you’re certification will be useless (much like my groupon online bartender certification.) She suggested heading up to Atlanta, where there a tons of great programs and well experienced instructors. They offer courses that involve a few weeks of classes and training or ones that allow you to meet for several weekends.

Anna’s own path to certification was actually a little more unusual. She found an instructor in Houston, Texas who she simply vibed with. So, she managed to take off three months to head to Texas and learn from her yogi master. To have that kind of freedom sounds amazing.

Anna provided me with the name of a great instructor in Atlanta. When I got home, I started back with my research, with a little more guidance this time. Still, as I looked at the options and considered heading to Atlanta every weekend, the burden just seemed to high. I grew weary of whether I should invest all this time and money into something without knowing if there would even be a job opportunity at the end of the journey.

Choosing a Path

I’m wrapping up my college degree in December. What am I doing after that? No stinking clue. I have no idea what I’ll be doing for work or even where I’ll be living. I have basically decided on two plans. A) Land job as an assistant buyer/position in buying program. Move to New York/Boston/wherever that job is. Be dirt poor and alone but fabulous and employed. B) Apply to law school and in the months leading up to the fall semester, travel and explore. Be poor, possibly alone, but gain new experiences and insights. Currently, I’m rooting for plan B. While it has been my end goal throughout college to pursue a career in buying, I have begun to feel like I don’t have the right personality type for the career field. A buyer has to be able to foster relationships with numerous vendors and negotiate (haggle) for the best deals. I just have never been that charismatic, salesman-esque persona that I feel would thrive in this environment. Instead, I think I am more suited to sit in an office read and analyze documents, and formulate written opinions– which is the bulk of law practice nowadays. Also, plan B would give me the time and freedom to discover a yoga program and instructor that I can fully immerse myself in and learn from. Then, maybe I can use my certification for a little pocket change in law school.

Are you a certified yoga instructor? If so, I would love to hear about your journey! Feel free to share your story in the comment section below.


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