The Yoga Class … a Licence to Print Money?

By: Yogacharya

I was sitting in a juice bar the other day sipping on my GreenEarth B-plus Energizer with Wheatgrass, and I overheard 2 stylish young urbanites kinda railing a bit on their yoga teacher. Actually, they weren’t complaining about the teacher per se, but they were definitely perturbed about the 16 dollars that she was charging for a yoga class. If I remember correctly, I heard one of them say “yoga teachers are getting rich these days!”

Exqueeze me? …. Rich? … Yeah right!

I know a lot of yoga teachers, and let me tell you, “rich” is not the word I would generally use to describe their financial status! In fact, the majority of the 70,000 yoga teachers in America (yeah, 70k according to a Yoga Journal report!) are struggling to just keep their doors open.

But the average person has never taken out a lease on a 3,000 square foot commercial space downtown to know just how expensive it is to run that yoga class. On top of that, yoga teachers have families to feed and clothe too (I know, it’s shocking!).

Rich? … No, not exactly the word I would use.

But does that mean yoga students are getting a good deal? I sure doubt it. I mean really, dropping 16 bucks two or three times a week can add up pretty darn fast, can’t it?

It’s really a bad situation all around … and as yoga studios are being forced to steadily increase their rates and add more and more classes to pay their overheads (which can often mean bringing on more inexperienced yoga teachers to pick up the workload), the situation is only going to go from bad to worse.

I’m not a doomsayer, but I’ve known for a long time that the modern yoga class model was not a sustainable one. I’m afraid it’s heading for a long-overdue overhaul … which may be painful for a lot of yoga teachers in the short term, but in the long run it might not be such a bad thing.

For decades now we yoga teachers have been trying to teach a comprehensive science of self-transformation within the narrow confines of 60 or 90 minute sessions to groups of people that just come and go as they please. Even the best of teachers can’t hope to achieve much with that approach.

But somewhere along the line, it somehow got settled that this is the way to teach yoga … and new yoga teacher after new yoga teacher just keeps arriving on the scene following this same, painfully insufficient model of yoga instruction.

The revolution in yoga learning may not quite happen next week, but it is, at some point inevitable. More and more yoga teachers are starting to take notice … they are frustrated not only with the limitations they face with trying to effectively teach yoga in the modern yoga class setting, but also with the financial hurdles it presents to a growing number of folks who really want to learn yoga, but can’t bend their finances as much as their spines.

Anyways, that’s some yogic food for thought. In the end, all I can really say is that at $6.49 for an 8oz GreenEarth B-plus Energizer with Wheatgrass, these juice shop owners must be getting rich!

Yogacharya is Director of International Yogalayam and Editor of “The Yoga News

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1 Comment so far

  1. Jennifer Popper/Studio Fitness on September 30th, 2009

    As a studio owner, I found this very much on target!