General Income and Salary for Yoga Teachers

Rachel Blumenfeld
Instructor input

While demand for qualified yoga instructors is increasing, instructors' pay is surprisingly low. Most yoga instructors don't teach full-time, and even those who do can have a tough time making a suitable living. The pay can range from about $17,840 to $66,950 (and this top figure is only for the top 10% of instructors), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Only a small few, very well-known instructors can make a very comfortable living.

Yoga Teacher Salary

While you may pay $10-20 per yoga class in a class with up to about 20 other people paying this same amount, your instructor is probably not pocketing all of those fees. Location plays a role in how well teachers are compensated (and in how much your class costs), as does the type of environment in which a teacher instructs classes. For example, private lessons cost more, and may earn the instructor more, depending on the studio. Additionally, if a yoga teacher holds classes from his or her house, he or she won't lose a significant chunk of the class fees to a studio.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for yoga instructors in America (whom they do not separate from other fitness instructors) is $15.88 per hour. They also assessed the top paying states for yoga and other fitness instructors as follows:

Top Paying States for Fitness Instructors
State Hourly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
New York $25.30 $52,630
California $23.70 $49,290
New Jersey $23.11 $48,060
Connecticut $22.87 $47,560
Massachusetts $21.05 $43,790

In metropolitan areas, instructors in private studios will earn more than in private rural studios, because of the high ratio of students and a more expensive class fee. In these areas, new yoga teachers can expect to be paid about $25 per class.

More experienced instructors may make more money than this, and a Kripalu center survey showed that six months after their certification, instructors often make about $50-200 per week. In fact, in Washington D.C., yoga teachers may make $40-100 per class, where classes average 18 students.

Certified Teachers

Yoga teachers who have received a general certification are in high demand. While a non-certified instructor can be an expert and have a few high-paying private clients, most instructors are certified. Certification is not only a prerequisite for the vast majority of yoga instructor jobs, but it also provides a wealth of experience for the instructor to use in his or her classes.

As with most career fields, the more qualified you are for a position, the higher your salary will be. Certified yoga instructors often earn more than non-certified instructors. In addition, a specialization such as in yoga for kids, often increases the salary. The number of hours in a yoga teacher training program (such as 200 hours versus 500 hours) can also have an impact on the salary one can expect to earn.

Tips for Increasing Your Salary

As you prepare to become a yoga teacher, follow some simple tips in order to have the best chances of earning a high salary.

  • Specialize in one type of yoga or just a few if you want to work at a yoga studio; most studios offer classes within one yoga type, such as Iyengar Yoga. The more training you have in one style, the more able you are to work in such a studio.
  • Get broad training if you want to teach all kinds of general yoga classes, for example, at a fitness center. If this is the environment you want to work in, broad training can be beneficial. However, the salaries are, generally speaking, lower than in specialized studios.
  • Get advanced formal training. Certification and hours of practice are necessary.
  • Learn to network. Depending on the region where you live, networking may be necessary to let others know of your abilities. You may be able to simply apply for a great job once it has been advertised, but it always helps to have references, especially when competition is fierce.
  • Teach yoga workshops, which pay much more than regular yoga classes. Of course, to teach workshops, you need more experience and certification than a beginner yoga teacher. To teach a seminar, you will also be required to have a reputation as a specialist in some area for your workshop to be desirable to students.

Keep all of these factors in mind as you try to evaluate the general income and salary for yoga teachers and what path you'd like to pursue. And while the median pay may be lower than that of some other careers, remember that, as in every field, your salary will likely increase with further qualifications and experience.

General Income and Salary for Yoga Teachers