How to Set Rates as a Yoga Teacher

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Setting rates as a yoga teacher is generally based on your level of training, certification and years of experience. Rates will vary depending on whether you are teaching a group class at the gym, at a high-end health club or in a yoga studio or are offering private instruction to one client.Some family gyms might offer as little as $12 per class to teach group classes, whereas a high-end health club may pay its yoga teachers $75 for a 75-minute class. Yoga studios generally offer a base rate and additional monies based on the number of students in the class.If you have a specialty, such as working with pregnant women or children, this will also affect your rates.

  • Assess your strong suits in teaching. If you are a new teacher, start modestly by teaching your neighbor or friends, in your backyard or at the park. If you have completed at least 200 hours of yoga teaching, charging at least $35 for a group of five or more people is reasonable. (This translates to $7 for each person in that group of five--quite a bargain, considering that most yoga studios in large cities charge $17 per group class.)

  • Raise your rates if you have a lot of training. If you have at least 500 hours of yoga-teacher training under your belt and have taught at least six to 10 classes a week for at least 2 years, your rate should be higher. Newly minted grads of a 500-hour program might charge $75 per 60-minute private lesson. Group classes at a mid-range health club might fall in the range of $35 to $45, but this will vary widely according to city.

  • Determine the lowest amount you are willing to be paid to teach a group class that is smaller than 12 people. For many teachers, that figure might be $45 to $55. Factor in the costs of your work: liability insurance, additional workshops and ongoing continuing education and transportation costs. If you drive 30 minutes to teach for only 1 hour, then drive another 30 minutes to get home, that is 2 hours spent. Given your level of training and experience, what is your time worth as a fitness professional?

  • Set rates according to your market. If you are teaching in a highly competitive market, such as Los Angeles or New York, charge accordingly. Your skills should be up to snuff, though. People in these cities will not pay a yoga teacher top dollar if that teacher has only a “weekend certification” of 16 hours as her sole teaching credential.

  • Practice asteya, or "non-stealing," in setting your rates. If you are a new teacher, offer to teach donation-based classes or private lessons, and allow people to pay you what they are able to. This is done even in large cities like Los Angeles, where teachers rent a room that may accommodate 80 people and the class is donation-based.

  • Do not exaggerate your experience or qualifications. If you are mainly an “asana” teacher, as many are, do not present yourself as a meditation expert. Teaching meditation and breathing exercises (pranayama) requires many years of close study with a very experienced teacher. Respect the work you are doing and do not reduce it to a workout.

  • Talk shop and attend workshops and conferences. As yoga continues to grow, many more teachers are entering the market, and not everyone will be gracious or kind toward the new kids on the block. Attend workshops to learn from yoga teachers who are well-established and generally generous in talking with new or aspiring teachers. Ask about the rates they set for different kinds of teaching. Don’t be surprised if they don’t quote dollar amounts, but merely discuss a range for your level of training and experience.

  • Consider offering a sliding scale for individual clients. If you are a newly minted grad of a 500-hour teacher-training program, starting at $75 per hour is reasonable. You might allow a college student to pay $30 if she is able to invite two more friends who will also pay $30 each. That makes it worth your time.

  • Keep your training current. If you study with a particular teacher or follow a particular specialty, such as prenatal yoga, constantly brush up on new developments and spend time in practice with your mentor. Doing so ensures that you are learning to better serve your students and clients.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always have yoga liability insurance before you do any teaching at all. Being covered will protect you in the case of any unforeseen accident.
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