Are you looking to teach yoga part-time or full-time? Wondering if you should teach freelance or through an established yoga studio? Not sure what to charge for per class or what kind of teaching salary to accept through a studio? We have advice for you!
Yoga is a wonderfully spiritual practice, but in this article, we'll be talking about the earthly considerations facing yoga teachers. Namely: how much to charge for yoga sessions.
Freelance Instructor or Yoga Studio Teacher?
As a yoga teacher, you have two main pathways to sharing your knowledge and passion with students:
- Freelance as a yoga teacher
- Get employed and teach through a yoga studio
Each pathway has its perks and difficulties and will affect how much you can charge when teaching yoga courses.
Teaching and learning through a yoga school
There are many popular forms of yoga in Australia, such as yin yoga, Hatha yoga or vinyasa. If you are trained in one of these particular disciplines, you'll have the best luck searching for yoga associations, schools and studios that teach your discipline. Many local yoga studios also programme a mix of disciplines, as well as offering retreats and yoga days throughout the year.
Teaching through a yoga studio takes a lot of the stress out of the business side of yoga - the studio administration will take care of the accounts, taxes, room rental and advertising your classes. This is also great if you're new to a city or area and don't have a lot of contacts yet.
There are lots of advantages to being an employee:
- Official payslips
- Predictable work hours
- Paid holidays
As a rule, you make less per hour as an employee than as a freelancer - those choosing to work through a yoga studio are generally choosing stability over money.
On the other hand, employee jobs are quite rare, even at established yoga studios. Most yoga teachers freelance for studios. If you're just starting as a yoga teacher, this can be a great way to establish yourself, build up a following and make invaluable contacts in the yoga world.
Teaching through a studio can net you between $35-$60 per hour depending on your level of experience.
Freelancing as a yoga instructor
Freelancing takes away some of the stability of working for an established organisation. On the other hand, it allows you to fit classes around other life commitments and take control of when, where and how you work. This can be great for parents needing to fit work around caring for children, or students teaching alongside further study.
Yoga teachers who freelance are generally considered as sole traders under the Australian taxation system. This means you use your personal tax file number when lodging your tax return, and you'll also need to apply for an ABN.
With freelancing, it's up to you to advertise your classes, find your first students and build a following. You'll need some marketing know-how to launch your business as a freelance yoga instructor. Find your niche in the market by reflecting on what makes you unique as a teacher and what your selling points are - is it your solid grounding in anatomy, a particular approach or personal philosophy, or perhaps accreditation with a certain yoga alliance?
Teaching freelance is no walk in the park - you'll need to build up your student base, manage your own timetable and do all your own invoicing and taxation.
There is also the question of location - if you're taking group yoga classes, you'll need to find a suitable space and cover rental for the space.
However, with platforms like Superprof and free invoicing software aimed at small businesses such as Wave, striking out alone is becoming easier than ever. You can also hire an accountant to take care of the taxation side of things.
You'll generally earn up to $50-$60 per hour leading group classes at a private studio, or if you take group yoga classes yourself, you could earn up to $150 - $200 per class. That's assuming students pay $15-20 per class and you have a minimum of ten students per class.
Calculate Expenses As A Yoga Teacher
There are lots of things to consider when pricing your yoga classes. Like any business, your personal yoga teaching enterprise has a series of expenses to keep track of. This includes any travel costs to different studios, rental for a suitable yoga space and perhaps hiring an accountant to deal with your taxation.
Do you plan to take your car or use public transport? Your petrol and train tickets need to figure in to your business budget and you should deduct these from your total earnings.
Handy tip: it is becoming more and more common to teach yoga (and many other academic or fitness disciplines) online. All you'll need is a webcam and a strong internet connection. This will reduce your travel costs to zero and you can enlarge your customer base to anyone willing to learn online. Consider offering online lessons to your students!
Another expense is good-quality yoga equipment:
- A yoga mat for asanas
- A zafu (meditation cushion) for meditation sessions
- Comfortable yoga clothing
- A large, practical yoga bag (this is especially important for teachers on the go!)
- If you teach yoga from home, you'll need a properly furnished, dedicated space
- Room rental for group classes
- Advertising materials - making your website, printing business cards
There are also communication costs to consider (such as your mobile phone plan), income tax, and you'll need to investigate getting liability insurance.
A yoga teacher never stops learning! To really follow your passion and turn it into a sustainable career, you should also consider setting aside money for professional development. This could mean taking a teacher training course, earning a new qualification, or simply exploring a new style of yoga. If you teach Hatha Yoga but want to branch out into Prenatal Yoga, Bikram Yoga or Nidra Yoga - you'll need funds to pay for yoga teacher training classes at an accredited yoga institute. You may even dream of travelling to India to train!
How Training and Experience Can Affect Class Prices
A yogi who is just beginning to teach won't be paid the same as an instructor with many years of experience. You'll need to factor in your years of training and experience to your costs.
Another element to consider is the type of yoga you teach. If Hot Yoga is uncommon where you live, you may be able to charge above-average rates.
The size of the yoga studio and the class sizes can also influence prices. Smaller yoga studios might only pay $35 per class, while larger studios might pay around $55-$65 per hour.
Be prepared to make less than the minimum wage - $753.80 per week - until you've built up a solid client base.
If you're just starting out, you may like to start a yoga channel on YouTube or publish a yoga blog to gain a following and build up a client base. This avenue can be particularly useful for those teaching online yoga classes.
Click here to learn how to set up for your yoga lessons.
When setting your class prices and hourly rates, it's a good idea to look around for advice from experienced yogis. You should keep your prices competitive for your area, whilst also fairly compensating yourself for your time, energy, qualifications and experience.
You may also have different pricing for different kinds of yoga. Hot Yoga may cost more because of the overheads needed to heat a room to 30C, or you may offer discounts for students or unemployed people.
You can also consider offering a higher price for on-off lessons or a cheaper rate if your students purchase 10-lesson packs. As a freelancer, another great way to take back your evenings is to introduce an on-peak and off-peak pricing system. This means a slightly lower rate for those booking in for day classes rather than lessons outside 9-5 work hours.
Whatever you decide, try to keep your pricing system simple. Three pricing choices is enough, any more and any prospective students may come away from your website feeling confused.
Teaching Yoga Through Superprof
Many yoga instructors offer the first session or consultation for free through Superprof.
If you browse the tutor profiles on our platform, you'll also find that location affects your pricing - if you are offering classes in an affluent area of Sydney, you'll generally be able to charge more than in rural areas.
Some final considerations for pricing your lessons - if you specialise in a particular yoga discipline (Yoga For Kids, Ashtanga Yoga, Raja Yoga...) make sure you mention this front and centre in your profile. Also, highlight your unique physical or spiritual approach, how you can aid with stress management, balance body and mind through self-care, and how yoga can help your student find a sense of harmony in their lives.
Ready to teach your first yoga class? Get tips on planning how to plan your yoga classes here.