yin yoga instructor courseBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

If there is one lesson that I can pass onto you in this lifetime, it is to question everything. Please do not take anyone’s word as gospel – including mine. Find your answers through research. Lately, there has been a lot of misinformation about Yoga and many related issues. Some people would have you think that all of the teaching opportunities are only in the studios. When you consider that Yoga sessions are taught in health clubs, church basements, kids day care centers, salons, and hundreds of other locations, where people of all ages meet, it is safe to say the 90% of the teaching opportunities are outside the studios.


Most studios hire from within, and some will ask you to sign a non-competition agreement, which states that you will not take students from that particular studio.  I do understand the motive behind the policy, but I have never believed in these agreements. We had a teacher, who left and lured a few of his students to his home-based studio for lower class fees. Nevertheless, I will not draw up a non-competition agreement, but I have learned to listen to my intuition.


Some of the more aggressive agreements require an instructor to teach exclusively for the studio, even if you are on their substitute teacher list. So, why would you sign one of these agreements? I ask you to open your mind and see that 10% of our field is trying to dictate policy that regards your life and the infinite teaching opportunities around you. Some Yoga instructors only teach private sessions, just like personal trainers, which requires one small room. I ask you to write down all the possibilities you can think of after you finish this article. Here are a few more ideas to consider.

Teaching Yoga at a University

Teaching Yoga classes in a studio setting is just the beginning, when it comes to opportunities for instructors. Community centers, corporate buildings, senior centers, hospitals, and universities are all options that can be explored. The last of these can provide a fun and an energized environment with eager students. College students are among the most stressed individuals in the world, and many practice Yoga in their limited free time, already.

Just as with any open class setting, teaching at a university means that there will be students with varied levels of ability participating in your classes. Some of the students may practice Yoga regularly, while others may have never even considered it an option, until they signed up when a friend or teacher suggested it. Some students may be suffering from stress, related to their roommates or exams, and they may be less focused than your typical students at other locations. Teaching at a university can be fulfilling, in helping students overcome daily stress through practical application. Through the practice of Yoga, your students will quickly learn to apply their stress-reducing skills in real life situations. Some students may require extra help and attention. In many cases, more dedicated students may be willing to help the less skilled students in an informal practice.


College Life

College students are notoriously disorganized, which means that there may be initial trouble with starting the Yoga class on time in an organized manner. There is a possibility of students arriving late to class, whether they are required to sign up in advance or not. When students arrive late, there is often some chatter and distraction among them. This disrupts the classroom environment, and it should be handled calmly in order to bring about a collective state of tranquility and to avoid increasing the stress level in the room. It is important to remember that, while it may not always be made visible, some students definitely appreciate your classes.


Universities have the benefit of providing a large variety of locations, in which Yoga classes can be taught. Most college campuses have a gymnasium, and these frequently include a large empty room or basketball court that could serve as an ideal location. Smaller classes can be held in classrooms, with desks that can move, or they can be held in the common areas of dorms. In good weather, Yoga classes can also be held outside on the college grounds, whether on a common or on a football field. The influence of the sun, and time of day, can also be factors when teaching outdoor classes.


Teaching Yoga in Community Centers

Some community centers are for housing developments, residents of the local city or town, age specific, and some are for gated communities. Community centers are among the most relaxed and fun environments in which Yoga can be taught. The students may know one another, but frequently there is a wide turn out, which results in a variety of individuals who share a common interest. Teaching in this type of setting can be difficult, due to the varied skill and knowledge levels of the students, but many are willing to help each other, as well as listen to you.

Teaching Yoga classes, in this type of setting, opens the class to anyone who signs up or arrives, depending on how it is advertised; but this also means that there will be various degrees of skill levels among your students. Some students may practice Yoga on a regular basis, but more often than not, the students will have little, to no, experience. The unbalanced skill levels mean that some students may require extra help, and teachers must be entirely aware of the abilities of all students.


Look around you and see the realistic teaching opportunities in your community. All it takes is vision and the right conversation to open doors of opportunity. A person who rains on every parade will never see the infinite possibilities under his or her nose, even if you point them out. You can waste a lot of energy trying to convince people who do not want to see. This is a part of life that we must accept.


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