A recent survey by Yoga Alliance indicated that for every yoga teacher in the United States, there are two more people who want to become yoga teachers. But that interest isn’t the only reason why we’re seeing so many new yoga teachers: experts say that for many yoga studios, the revenue derived from a yoga teacher training helps them stay in business.
Indeed, that might be why you started thinking about hosting your own YTT. At $3,000, $4,000, or more per student, you can increase your yearly numbers pretty quickly–tempting, especially if you’re competing with three other studios in your neighborhood to fill your daily yoga classes.
It might seem like an easy decision when you put it that way, but there are a few serious things to keep in mind before you commit to the idea.
Are you ready to teach the teachers?
It’s one thing to teach students; it’s another to teach teachers. But even if you’re not ready for that, it doesn’t mean a YTT at your studio is off the table. You could consider bringing in an experienced teacher who is perhaps well-known enough to draw students from a greater area. This ensures you’re delivering a high-quality training and it helps you fill the course; in addition, your visiting teacher will already have a curriculum, so you won’t have to take the time to develop one.
When will you schedule it?
Most in-studio trainings are stretched out over the course of several months or a year to allow you to make the most of your studio space and time.
Making big changes to your yoga class schedule to accommodate a teacher training could cost you some students, so make sure you’re working the training around your existing schedule in a way that works for the studio and potential trainees.
Who will enroll?
The good news about running a yoga studio is that you have an audience full of potential trainees. Keep in mind, though, that you don’t want all your students to graduate and ask you for a job rather than continuing to pay their memberships!
Have a plan in place for how you will attract trainees. Research other local YTTs and differentiate yourself in both value and scheduling to give interested yogis a new training option, instead of just another training option.
Have you considered the implications?
Not to get too heavy here, but this is worth considering. It’s a bit of a catch-22: by creating new teachers, you make money for the studio…and you increase the competition and impact the industry:
“All these trainings have generated a huge oversupply of would-be instructors. ‘There’s been a massive growth in the number of yoga teachers since 2008,’ says Yoga Alliance spokesperson, Andrew Tanner. “More and more teachers are being bred, of not necessarily good quality. They’re all going out there and saturating the market. It’s the devaluation of yoga on all fronts.'”
Of course, not all yoga teacher trainees go on to teach yoga, and this is not to say you shouldn’t host your training, but it is a call to ask yourself:
- Will this training enrich each student’s life?
- Will this training help more people have access to yoga?
- Can this program develop high-quality teachers?
- Or is this simply what we have to do to survive as a studio?
You have to pay your studio rent, but if your reasons for doing the training all come down to money, take some time to see how you can truly add value to the yoga world with your training. This might mean, for example, requiring your trainees to volunteer their teaching in homeless shelters or low-income areas. Also consider other sources of income: retreats (local or international), workshops and retail sales. It might not bring in YTT-level income, but it could be enough until you feel ready to host that teacher training.
Take your time
Researching the local competition, developing a curriculum, registering the school with Yoga Alliance, advertising and enrolling students and running your program is going to take time. Give yourself plenty of it to make sure you’re doing good work without sacrificing your health or your family. Take a deep breath and enjoy the process of putting together your yoga teacher training.