"How Much Do Hot Yoga (Bikram Yoga) Teachers Make?"

It's a question that gets asked a lot. 

Even by people who are already teachers.

I asked it before I went to teacher training almost eight years ago. I asked another person who was a teacher at the studio I was practicing at.

"The average is about $50 a class," they said. "And you have to be at the studio 30 minutes before and stay 30 minutes after."

So, $50 for about two and a half hours of work. So about $20 an hour is what it breaks down to.

I went to teacher training understanding what the going rate was. I also knew that you weren't guaranteed to find work as a teacher. So I deduced...

"If you want to be a hot yoga teacher, you've gotta hustle to teach good classes and stay in favor of the studio owner so that they give you a lot of classes in order to make a living just on teaching."

I wanted to go to training to further my understanding of the practice. And I figured I would probably teach a few classes here and there... But that my day job would continue to be my main way of making a living.

Many people, though, do not think that through.

And they also don't ask the right questions before going to teacher training.

A few weeks ago, a fellow teacher from a European country posted in a Bikram teacher's private group on Facebook wondering what the average pay rate was for a teacher. They were told that the average rate per class is much higher, and they were wondering if they should bring it up with their studio owner.

Many people responded.

Including me.

...At the studio in Toronto where I taught, I was given $60 per class. Which I thought was very generous. Of that, $50 was for teaching the 90-minute class. I was given an extra $10 for doing side work - which included folding towels, starting laundry, and cleaning mats. If you want to make a living just teaching, you have to hustle.

I had studio owners Liking my post. Because it is a good amount of money for what we have to do. But if you're just teaching five classes a week, yeah, you're not going to make enough to live on in any North American city. And probably any European city.

But some teachers don't want to teach 10 classes a week (about 25 hours a week). And that's probably barely livable.  

The reality is that there are a lot of really, really, really, not good and completely delusional hot yoga/Bikram teachers out there.

What makes a bad teacher (in my opinion):

  • They just recite the dialogue. Like a robot. Adding no personality or emphasis in their voice when reciting it.
  • They don't pay attention to the students' energy. Are students reluctantly moving into poses? Are they sitting out a lot of poses en masse? Then it's probably too hot or your energy in motivating them.
  • They don't pay attention to the time. Many times, I've seen classes rushed at the end. I've seen teachers - who are not new to teaching - go over by as much as 10 minutes after starting on time! I've also seen some cut second sets of poses in a 90-minute class.
  • They lecture or nag students - ones who are clearly trying hard and don't have attitudes. I want to say to these teachers, "I get it. Someone hurt you. And you feel compelled to take it out on the students. But go fuck yourself and stop picking on them."
  • They don't teach the poses properly. Dude... I've had SENIOR teachers correct myself or other students incorrectly on poses.  Locked Knee? They have no idea what that actually means. Standing Separate Leg Stretching? No, you fucking dumbass, that does not mean you bend your knees to scoop up the heels - the most important part of that poses is the process of opening up the back of the legs first!

Good studio owners take student feedback and fellow teacher feedback seriously. They coach. And they weed out those from teaching who are bad. 

Bad studio owners - and I've only come across a few in my time - do none of that and don't lead by example when they themselves teach.

So to be a good teacher, one who gets the number of classes they want a week and can therefore make a living, you have to do more than just show up to class and teach.

You are being paid to be present, aware, and lead.

And if you can't do that, then quite frankly, you suck as a teacher. And are overpaid.