The yoga teacher train is a speeding bullet! And it’s not slowing down. According to some new eye-opening statistics, more than 14,700 yoga teacher training grads registered with Yoga Alliance last year. And you can imagine how many did not – according to the Wall Street Journal it’s likely just as many. So that’s close to 30,000 yoga teachers walking around with at least 200 hours of training under their yoga pants waistbands. THIRTY THOUSAND.
There are several reasons for this. For one, yoga is getting more popular and there are a lot more yoga studios and yoga students. And some of these students decide they want to dig more into the practice so what better way to do this than immerse yourself in hours of deeper learning (for $3,500, of course). These folks probably have no intention of teaching, though they might go ahead and do so down the road for friends and family or their local church congregation. Then there are the people who feel called to teach for one reason or another, and will go through training expecting to pursue a yoga teaching career, hopefully not betting on these income numbers.
Another reason why there are soooo many teacher trainees and grads is because there are soooo many teacher trainings out there. We’d bet about 80% of studios that have been open for more than three years have some sort of yoga teacher training or immersion. Why? Because the yoga studio business model isn’t so great (read: not sustainable) and they need to make more money somehow in order to stay afloat.
As yoga studios multiply and competition increases, offering teacher-training courses has become an important source of revenue and keeps students from dropping out or defecting to another studio. The programs can bring in $2,000 to $4,000 or more per student for a 200-hour course.
“Everybody knows, if you need to make money, if you need to keep your studio afloat, you do a teacher training,” says Justin Michael Williams, co-founder with Karen Mozes of the consulting firm Business of Yoga.
Did you catch that? There’s a consulting firm called Business of Yoga, and Shiva knows those yoga business owners can use the advice. If you currently run a yoga studio, work at one or have at any point in the past, you know what we’re talking about.
Here’s some more fun info:
The number of newly registered yoga teachers in the U.S. rose by an average of 18% a year from 2008 to 2014, according to Yoga Alliance. That is three times as fast as the 6% growth rate for yoga participation overall, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association.
That’s huge, the rate of growth for yoga teachers is bigger than the rate of growth for yoga practitioners. And yet the 30,000 we were talking about still hardly makes a dent in the approximately 25 million people who practiced yoga last year, which was more than who played basketball, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association.
Honestly, we see no issue with people wanting to sign up for yoga teacher training to deepen their knowledge and understanding of the practice, the founding philosophies and the more detailed nuts and bolts. It’s nice to know people are interested to learn more. But there might need to be a line drawn between those who want to teach and those who are just doing it for their own experience. Because we’re already seeing issues arise over yoga teachers not being qualified enough to work with a variety of practitioners (potentially resulting in more injuries) and teacher trainings pumping out these underqualified teachers with their underwhelming teacher trainings that only scratch the surface in so many hours. We can blame the studios, we can blame Yoga Alliance for their lacking standards and requirements. (Either pretty valid arguments.) Or we can all collectively decide to do things with integrity, however that fits into our situation.
As students we can pay more attention to who our teachers are and as teachers we can be more conscious of what’s involved in the trainings. And studios, well, step it up, champs! Essentially, we’re all responsible for our own actions and wellbeing. If you want to be a yoga teacher and take on the responsibility of someone else‘s wellbeing while they’re in your classroom, you should probably make sure you do all your homework. And keep doing it #everydamnday.
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