Teaching yoga as a new mum-spoiler alert!

Before I had lovely Alfie I was foot-loose and fancy free, able to practice yoga twice a day, attend classes and book onto workshops without a second thought.

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See-footloose and fancy free! And a bit drunk.

 

Life and yoga was so easy back then……

 

Fast forward a year and a bit and one yoga teaching qualification later (plus a baby Alfie!) and how things are different! There was me thinking that I’d continue my self-practice with Alfie calmly sitting nearby, or I’d casually drop him off to nursery whilst I went and taught my 5+ classes per day (yeah, right…). Not so much. The reality is this….

 

 

 

  • Looking after a baby is HARD. Sleep deprivation means that getting up an hour early and going to bed an hour later in order to practice yoga than usual is less than appealing .
  • Nursery in London costs around £75 a day-in order to break even, I would need to teach roughly 4-5 classes per day. In order to make money, I’d have to teach many more…talk about burn out!
  • It’s pretty difficult to find yourself teaching 5 classes per day, 5 days per week; I think that this applies to new or established yoga teacher. It’s necessary to have another job, at least at the same tim. But then, when would one spend time with their child/children?
  • Teaching yoga, like some other careers, means studying to keep knowledge up to date. However, without an employer to help pay for your studies, it is up to you to finance this. Hopefully you have family close by who are willing and able to look after your baby in order to save money on childcare.
  • If and when you do have a baby, you may need to take extra time off teaching to allow for your body to recover. Your self-practice may certainly go out the window for a while. This happened to me, meaning that, because I was in such a physical job as a teacher, I didn’t feel comfortable teaching to students whilst sitting in a chair. That would definitely have been doing them, and myself, a disservice!
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Forcing a smile whist sleep deprived. How did I manage to even get dressed that day?!

Unless you are lucky enough to have those supportive families or trusted friends to help out, or do not need to worry so much about money (oh, I can but dream), once you have a baby, teaching and practicing yoga really does become more about the money. Is it taboo to talk about yoga teaching and making money? Yes! But it needs to be addressed, especially if thinking about starting a family.

Have a plan in place, maybe think about getting a part-time job to supplement your yoga salary, and get lots of help from loved ones!

As for me, I am relying on savings and my loving parents to enable me to teach, and of course the support of my husband who works long hours in order to look after us all. Although only able to teach sporadically, as there is only so much one can call on family to help, at least I am still teaching. However, with another baby on the way, I am well aware that this is only a short-term option; savings run out, my parents need to rest, and so does my husband!

It would be great to hear some inspiring stories from other mums who have managed to balance teaching and having a baby. Please do post some or message!

The Reality of Becoming a Yoga Teacher

Teaching yoga. This has been a dream of mine for so long, and in April this year it finally came true after I qualified to teach. When people asked me what I did for a living, I could finally say, “I’m a yoga teacher!” Amaze!

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Looking after a baby and studying IS doable!

 

 

I hadn’t, however, given much thought on where and how I was going to teach once qualified. My mind had been so focused on passing the exams that the period after qualifying hadn’t been at the forefront of my mind. The time during which I was studying was made all the more time consuming due to looking after my son, who was around 8 months old at the time. Character building, though!

 

 

 

 

Luckily, a lovely girl with whom I trained recommended me to a yoga instructor friend of hers who needed cover. I started teaching corporate yoga classes in Central London a couple of weeks after qualifying. I was actually teaching! Another friend of mine, also an instructor, regularly needs cover, so I now teach beginners’ classes from time to time.

But this isn’t enough to pay the bills! Getting a permanent slot on a studio timetable is incredibly difficult-sometimes I feel that there are too many yoga teachers for the number of jobs available in Greater London. I look at studio timetables and think, “Hmmm, where would they even put me as a new teacher?!” Still, I put myself out there by assisting at studios and making myself known to teachers’ classes I go to. I have also recently qualified as a Pregnancy Yoga Teacher which will hopefully benefit from being quite niche-y.

I had hired a room at a studio to host a beginners’ yoga course but, due to my poor marketing skills, or perhaps a lack of demand for this in Chiswick where I live, there was not enough to make it a worthwhile venture.

I have a website, I have posted CVs to studios and health clubs; I was naive to think that this was enough to make jobs just fall into my lap! And with another baby on the way, sometimes I think that perhaps I should go back to doing a real job, as I have a family to support.

In hindsight, I would have stayed in my original job and just started teaching around my main job, at least so that I had a regular salary coming in. This is so obvious to me now, but at the time I was so desperate to leave my old job and follow my dream!

So, a few home truths about being a yoga teacher:

  1. This profession does not necessarily make you rich. I meant, I guess it could do if you are lucky enough to become a celebrity teacher, like Kino et al. Otherwise, don’t give up your day job if you already have one. Teach alongside your current job, otherwise the world becomes an incredibly scary and stressful place!
  2. Teaching is tiring. I’ve only ever taught a maximum of one class a day and even this exhausts me! An hour or so of pretty much constantly talking, modifying and assisting students, and creatively structuring a class can be mentally draining. However, teaching can also be exhilarating-just pace yourself and take time to relax!
  3. Teaching yoga can make your self-practice less of a priority-don’t let this happen to you. If I’m honest, I barely practice at home anymore. If I do manage to practice at home, I end up using the time instead to create new sequences for students, or cut it short to attend to my son. I go to external yoga classes in order to practice, which means I have lost my own meditative home practice, that which made me want to teach in the first place. Something I need to work on!
  4. Being a yoga teacher can be expensive. I know this sounds weird, but if you look at Yoga Teacher Trainings, both in the UK and abroad, they are rather pricey. For example, an 200 hour YTT in London costs up to £4500. Pregnancy Yoga Teacher Training can cost around £600. A CPD in restorative teaching can cost up to £500. It is generally expected that yoga teachers keep their trainings up to date, but this can be costly.

Please don’t let my comments put  you off teaching, though! It is such a creative and rewarding profession, as is teaching anything that you enjoy doing yourself. It just pays to plan in advance, especially when it comes to finances. Don’t be disorganised with your head in the clouds like me.

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Despite not being the easiest career to get into, yoga teaching makes me feel like this!

 

Everything considered, I am going to keep promoting myself and continue to train with my favourite teachers, as I know that this is something that I love. And I am making a resolution right this minute to have at least a 15 minute self-practice every day. If I do end up deciding to go back to the ‘normal’ working world, I know that I would have given this my best shot!