Yoga Teacher jobs(Also known as Yoga practitioner, Yogi)
A Yoga teacher is an expert in the Indian practice of Yoga and qualified to pass this on to students. Yoga is a several thousand year old art from India comprising moral, religious, spiritual and physical study in order that the practitioner, a Yogi, can achieve enlightenment in his own lifetime. Outside India Yoga is commonly known as a set of physical exercises that bring health, calm and happiness to the practitioner. Yoga in the UK is usually taught with four main aspects:
- Asana: the moving physical practice of Yoga, from one position to another, ascending in difficulty and exertion.
- Pranayama: Breath work, sending energy round the body.
- Dhyana: Meditation, calming the mind.
- Mantra: Yoga chants to focus practice prior to commencement.
- Ashtanga Yoga: a particularly strenuous physical practice emphasising the rapid advancement to difficult positions.
- Iyengar Yoga: uses blocks and straps to assist students to achieve correct alignment in the Asana.
- Bikram Yoga: a modernised form of Yoga practised in a hot room and emphasising maximum exertion to achieve maximum flexibility as quickly as possible.
- Hatha Yoga: a more traditional form of practice encompassing breath work and meditation alongside physical work.
SalaryMany Yoga classes are paid for on a per head, per class basis. The amount charged depends on what the students would be willing to pay and depends on factors such as the experience and teaching ability of the teacher and the facilities of the club. Classes usually range in price from £10 - £15 a session. Over time a good teacher will build up more and more students, so space permitting, their income will rise accordingly. Many Yoga teachers work part-time. A full-time Yoga teacher may earn from £15,000 - £60,000 a year depending on the size and regularity of their classes. Some large Yoga organisations have their own dedicated teaching space and here students can pay for a monthly or yearly subscription. Teachers are likely to be paid a salary and to be employed by the Yoga centre.
ResponsibilitiesYoga teachers have the following set of duties and responsibilities:
- Communicating correct Yoga practice with their students, irrespective of ability.
- Modifying difficult positions to conform to particular students’ abilities.
- Leading Yogic chants.
- Leading students though breath work (Pranayama) and seated meditation.
- Keeping up to date with their own development as Yogis through protracted daily practice.
- Liaising with students outside class to discuss their development and commitments to Yoga practice.
QualificationsThe first and most important qualification a Yoga teacher must have is a lengthy period of study with a single Yoga teacher or organisation. When that teacher or governing body feels it is right for a person to begin teaching they will give authorisation. Some Yoga organisations run specialised teacher training courses that qualified practitioners can be admitted to. These courses are usually very intensive and test a Yogi's commitment and ability on an emotional, physical and spiritual level. There is also a nationally recognised qualification to become a Yoga teacher:
- CYQ Level 3 Yoga teacher
SkillsA Yoga teacher must have a unique set of personal attributes and abilities:
- Excellent level of ability in and understanding of Yoga.
- Good at communicating complex ideas to a wide range of people.
- Ability to empathise with people of different abilities.
- Organised, motivated self-starter.
- Excellent anatomical knowledge.
Working ConditionsYoga teachers usually work from within a dance studio or dedicated teaching space. This could range from a community hall to a dedicated Yoga centre comprising of several studios, a café and changing rooms. Private Yoga classes can take place in clients’ own homes. The hours can be long with early morning Yoga classes in some centres starting at 6am and the last class beginning at 8.30pm. However, classes are rarely longer than 1hr 30 mins so classes will be distributed amongst several teachers. As classes may involve a large amount of demonstration on the part of the Yoga teacher, a day’s work can be tiring. Add to this the daily practice required of a dedicated Yogi and you can see the commitment that being a Yoga teacher requires.
ExperienceTo be a Yoga teacher, literally years of experience (with the exception of the CYQ qualification) in the art is required. Aside from that, some Yogis can find their career into teaching accelerated if they have a particularly good understanding and control of their own bodies. Professional dancers, Martial Artists or gymnasts may all be able to progress more quickly.
EmployersMajor employers of Yoga teachers are large chain sports clubs such a Virgin Active, Fitness First and Cannons. There are also several large Yoga organisations in the UK such as TriYoga, Bikram Yoga and Jivamukti Yoga, who all have their own unique teacher qualification and accreditation structures.
Career ProgressionNormally a prospective Yoga teacher will work for some time as an assistant to the main teacher, correcting the positions of other students in the class and observing the teacher in his job. A successful and very experienced Yoga teacher can go on to train other Yoga teachers and may one day run his own organisation with other teachers working under his guidance.
Liz Monks, 28 is a Yoga teacher of the Yogamonks style, working in London.