Yoga is all about flexibility, mind-body awareness, breath control, and harmonizing with nature. However, it’s also a multi-billion dollar industry with a lot of room for growth.
Recent reports estimate the Yoga industry to be worth almost $100 billion, with nearly 10% of the American population spending at least some time in the downward dog position.
Thousands of studios exist all around the world, from big cities to rural America; zoom out a bit, and the number of worldwide yoga practitioners balloons to nearly 300 million people. The space might seem crowded, but you can carve your own way through it if you use the right techniques.
Keep reading this article to learn how much yoga teachers make and how you can make a full-time income by teaching yoga while establishing yourself as a market leader.
Are you ready? Let’s get into it.
What Is the Average Yoga Instructor Salary?
This number depends on where you live, but a Yoga instructor can generally expect to make around $68,000 per year. However, this doesn’t mean that you can immediately expect that kind of salary.
Several factors will determine your paycheck, including:
- Location: Where you live arguably plays the greatest role in determining your salary. Tennessee tops the list with a median yoga teacher salary of $68,428, but Hawaii and Minnesota are close behind with $65,984 and $65,515, respectively. It’s worth noting that seven of the top ten cities for yoga instructors are in California, where the median yearly salary can get upwards of $80,000.
- Experience: Those with more experience can expect to make more—in this case, a lot more. Yoga teachers with only one year of experience make around $58,160, while those with 15 or more make an average of $74,302 annually.
|Years of Experience||Yearly Earnings|
- Contract Agreement: Many yoga instructors will choose to work in a studio when they’re starting, which means that the owner will pay them a base salary. Others will offer one-on-one private sessions or small groups, with members paying $30-50 per class. Another option is a hybrid format, where you get paid by a studio, with a bonus for the more students you attract. Which format you choose is up to you.
- Specialization: Ever heard of Goat Yoga? Now there’s Dog Yoga, Acroyoga, and even Tantrum Yoga. The more specialized your yoga is, the more people are willing to pay—if you can find the clientele for it.
How Much Do Top Yoga Teachers Make?
For some, $75,000 a year is more than enough compensation for working their dream job.
For others, it’s just the tip of the iceberg.
The yoga teachers mentioned below don’t just exceed the annual average; they blow it out of the water. How? By utilizing a variety of monetization strategies rather than just charging for weekly classes.
Take a look through the examples and see if they can provide you with some inspiration.
1. Ave Taylor of YAMA Talent ($400,000 per Year)
Nearly half a million dollars a year as a Yoga teacher is nothing to sneeze at.
At the average median rate of $30 per hour, it would take 13,333 hours to amass those kinds of earnings—or 256 hours a week, and a week only has 168 hours.
Ave Taylor manages a stable of yoga teachers, some of whom claim to earn nearly $400,000 per year. They do so not by teaching class after class but by diversifying their product offerings.
Teaching at a live event, for example, can net between $5,000-10,000. If the teacher moonlights as an author, they may receive up to $100,000 per book.
Social media-savvy Yoga instructors can charge for Instagram posts—sometimes $500 or more for each post. Some excel at teaching yoga-based courses, charging each student at least $3,000.
As you can see, it all begins to add up. The key is being able to leverage the expertise you accumulated through the years and package it into a format that others would be willing to pay a premium for.
2. Steph Ball-Mitchell of Online Yoga School ($20,000 per Month)
As a Yoga teacher for more than 25 years, Steph Ball-Mitchell knew that she had a lot to offer her students. Instead of relegating those lessons to a physical classroom, she used an online course portal to help train aspiring Yoga teachers.
Online courses allowed her to grow her brand internationally while also focusing on interacting with yoga students during the learning process. It’s the perfect mix of public and private classes.
The best part of this is that since the course is created once and updated periodically she only has to focus on marketing it to generate recurring revenue.
Since her audience is made of Yoga teachers, they see it as an investment in their own business. It’s a win-win.
3. Yoga With Adriene on YouTube ($2 Million per Year)
What is the key to a solid YouTube presence? A catchy intro? Good video search engine optimization? A cat jumping into a window?
For Adriene, the formula is simple: offer high-value Yoga classes that are not interrupted by advertising and give them away. It’s that simple.
Although she only has a little more than 600 videos on her channel, she has more than ten million subscribers and over one billion views.
Besides the fact that Adriene is a very capable Yoga instructor, the real secret is that her videos are very accessible. There’s no paywall to get past in order to access premium content, and her classes are explained in such a way that anyone can understand them.
Another thing that Adrienne understands is the power of a devoted fanbase. Although corporate sponsorships are present in every video—if you look hard enough—her focus is on the viewer. Her subscribers don’t feel like they’re being sold to, which means they’re more apt to return.
Isn’t that how yoga is supposed to be? Yoga has been described as “meditation in motion,” so the gentle, simple approach to online instruction makes the most sense.
And in Adrienne’s case, it makes the most dollars, too.
How to Make More Money Teaching Yoga
You don’t need an MBA to make more money teaching Yoga. All you need is a little creativity and a brand-first mindset to up your earnings.
Negotiate Your Pay
If you’re new to teaching yoga, you may be hesitant to start your new employment at the bargaining table. Yet, not only can you reject the first offer you’re given, but studies also show that you should.
In fact, on average, people who negotiate their salary get $5,000 more than their original offer.
Moreover, most employers expect that you’ll negotiate your salary. After all, the first number is just a starting point; work off of that in order to bargain for your true worth.
However, chances are that you’ll probably be a little nervous when you try to squeeze a few more dollars out of your employer. For that reason, you should also consider structuring your pay to reflect your unique value.
For instance, offer your employer a lower base salary with a commission for each student (new or returning) that you bring to your class; or ask for a bonus to be included if you hit a certain amount of positive reviews from your clients.
Additionally, you could negotiate other services. For instance, if you used to be a DJ or can provide stellar aromatherapy services, highlight those to your studio owner. They may provide a nice pay bump for you if they can market those to their customers.
Remember, when negotiating your salary, highlight the value for both you and your boss. What can you offer that can increase their bottom line as well?
Start Teaching Online
Unless you’re bound by a specific non-compete agreement, consider teaching yoga online. Not only will you be able to build up your brand and reach a global audience, but you’ll also get more out of your content. A class taught once can be retaken by your clients forever.
There are several options for you to choose from when considering an online yoga experience.
- Live Classes: This is exactly the same as an in-person class, except it’s done through Zoom or another platform for teaching yoga. You’re not restricted by space either; theoretically, thousands of students could sign up and take one of your live classes at once.
- YouTube Channel: Just like Adrienne, you could have the next million-member online Yoga community. Film a class, upload it, and once you have a large enough audience, monetize it.
- Online Course: Either upload individual classes as part of a bundle or have an online “track” that participants can follow, such as “Forty Days to a More Flexible You.” Students can take online classes when they’re free while you focus on adding more students.
Leverage Other Monetization Models
Yoga teachers who spend time in the studio with real students will have a wealth of knowledge they can share.
There are literally dozens of ways to monetize your experience—from ebooks and online yoga schools to live events and conference speaking gigs. The only thing you need to figure out is which one you want to pursue.
When considering your monetization options, consider your rate of return. People will pay more for specialized opportunities, so think of how you can provide unique experiences.
Here are a few options that you may not have considered:
- Retreats: Find a spot near your location and organize a unique “experience.” Whether that’s in the forest or a parking garage, make sure it’s something people can get excited about.
- E-Commerce: Do you have an idea for a new yoga product that can revolutionize the market? Create it, workshop it with your current classes, and sell it to the masses.
- Corporate Wellness: These days, businesses of all sizes are putting a premium on employee health. Capitalize on that by offering a group class to your local business.
- Pop-Up Yoga Studio: Pop-Up shops are hugely popular with both instructors and students because of their flexibility. Anywhere you have the space—a park, parking lot, or even someone’s driveway—can become an impromptu studio.
- Podcast: It may surprise you, but podcasting is slated to be a $4 billion industry by 2024. Carve out your niche by starting a podcast; then charge for sponsorships, content, or Patreon subscribers.
Even though you probably didn’t get into teaching Yoga for the money, there’s no question it can be an extremely lucrative career if managed correctly. You may not reach the heights of some multi-million dollar YouTube stars, but you might make a very comfortable living for yourself.
How much you can earn as a Yoga instructor depends almost entirely on you: advanced monetization techniques can go a long way.
Your experience is worth something. Lean into the value you can offer others, find unique ways to package it, and the sky’s the limit as to what you can earn.