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What Should a Yoga Teacher Get Paid?

Today, in the United States, it is Labor Day. Originally created as a way to honor labor groups (AKA appease them politically), the current incarnation is one of barbecues and celebrating the last days of summer.

Accordingly, I will be working (teaching two classes).

To teach these classes is my choice and I am glad to do so. Nevertheless, this blog is my pedestal and, dammit, I'm going to step up on it. You do not get into being a yoga teacher for the money. If you did, then A) You're probably a wack yoga teacher and B) Good luck to actually succeed. You teach because you love to do it, not because your labor is economically valued.

Yoga teachers usually lack health insurance (my job is my health insurance), retirement plans (what retirement?), and backup plans should their situation fall apart (which it often does). When starting a job, I am often asked to discuss payment for it. I wish I could say I'd do it for free-- what an amazing situation that would be.  That wish, however, often effects my response by devaluing what I think I should be paid. The students are still getting charged a lot (I couldn't afford to take the classes I teach), though.

In honor of Labor Day here in the U.S. of A., I'm going to ask a bold question. I won't be surprised if I don't get a lot of responses. What should a yoga teacher get paid? I'm not asking the usual, I'm asking what you really and truly think. If you think that we are grossly overpaid, I want to know that. Grossly underpaid, that too. If you think this isn't exactly a yogic topic, you're damn right it's not, but I'm asking anyway. Because it's labor day.

Labor Day

Yoga teachers: go take a class today. Sit in the seat of a student and drop the teacher mind. Yoga is both work and not work. Meditate on that funky little koan.

Yoga students: go take a class today. No matter what amount your teacher is paid or whether or not you jive with their teaching style, appreciate everything they bring to the class today. They showed up (mentally and physically), now you should, too.

And for me? Here's my yoga practice.

  1. Savasana
  2. Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle)
  3. Supta Matsyendrasana (Reclined Twist)
  4. Supta Pavana Muktasana (Wind Relieving Pose)
  5. Rock your leg like a baby, bending the knee into the crook of one arm, the foot into the other
  6. Savasana
  7. Repeat steps 2-5 other side
  8. Viparita Karani (Legs up the wall pose)


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