Full time for a yoga teacher, meaning what you can sustain yourself on, is probably anywhere from 12-16 classes per week. I would say the average instructor teaches roughly 15 classes a week on a full time schedule. I was lucky enough (and I mean that entirely), to teach 25 classes a week for 6 months this year. While it was no walk in the park, I value that experience and thought it would be nice for new teachers - and teachers wanting more classes - to hear from what I've learned.
1. Beggers can't be choosers.
When you first begin teaching yoga, you need experience. I taught for my first year for Karma - for free. Realize I did this because I studied at a Karma school, so I worked for them to pay them back. But at first, you just need to get out there. I see so many new teachers be picky with jobs all the time. If you just want a side gig then of course, do what you wish. But if you want to make this your career, you gotta work pretty hard (not only at first - this is life long).
2. Once established with an income you feel comfortable, then become picky.
Once you are making enough money in which you feel supported and secure, then its time to scale it back and curve your schedule to fit your needs. I used to train 45 minutes to a single class out of the city when I first moved to Brisbane. This was also after I had already been teaching for two years (limit that ego). I only dropped that class once I had a double class in the city somewhere else. I feel like this is common sense but its the main reason why my classes line up so incredibly now - I was patient.
3. Develop a self care routine: morning and night.
What do you do when you first wake up? What about before you go to sleep? I found that once I structured and set these routines, I had so much more energy. Seriously SO much more energy! This is what I do:
AM Routine - wake up, run 30 min, shower, make hot lemon water, practice Pranayama for 10-15 minutes. Then I get ready and make my smoothie before starting the rest of the day. I've found that to do this I have to wake up 2 hours before my class starts in order to get it all done (I like to chill in between what can I say). That means if I teach at 6am, I'm up at 4am. It sounds crazy - but the days that I decide to skip (this happens at least once a week), I'm always way more fatigued then the days I stick with it. It's 100% worth it.
PM Routine - to slow down, I'll take a shower, reflective journal about the day (5 min), read whatever book is on the go (10 min), write more if necessary (books are usually yoga philosophy so almost always require a little reflection). Then I usually focus my mind by gazing at my beautiful Mala (Trataka) for a few minutes before either practicing Seedless Meditation or So Hum Meditation. This routine usually takes an hour to do so I try to be in my room before 8pm to get myself sorted (I'm trying to sound cool - its usually around 7pm).
4. Meal prep!
You are in and out of the house all day, as a yoga teacher. I used to make lunch plans with other yoga teachers, but it got to the point that I just needed to recharge. A lot of valuable chill time can be burnt by needing to make lunch and snacks. I found that by just preparing some rice or quinoa every week, or baking some veggies or having lots of fruits prepared really gave me enough time to eat and then relax.
5. Establish good relationships with your studio owners.
The relationship between studio owners and instructors is an interesting one. Owners are your boss but also your customer. There is a line that is important to notice. For myself, I've been blessed with working with amazing people. But I have never put myself in a studio that doesn't resonate with me. I think that's important. Always look out for yourself first. Your environment shows in your teaching!
6. Perception is everything. I said at the beginning of this article that I was lucky to teach 25 classes a week. I mean that. We all have reasons for doing what we do. I have always wanted to have experience teaching 25 classes a week because all of the teachers I look up to have taught this much. To me, learning to not only teach 25 classes a week, but also live life teaching 25 hours a week, is an important process in where I want to go. If teaching a lot of classes doesn't mean as much to you, don't do it. Do what makes you happy. Especially as a teacher. We are providing a service for people who need support. Always make sure you have enough support yourself first.