Yoga Teaching is my Hobby Job. Why stay-at-home moms make excellent yogis.

I am proud to say that teaching yoga is my hobby job. What is a hobby job? It is working in a profession that you are passionate about but rarely does it pay the bills. When I entered my 200-hour training, located in Boulder, CO, I was one of the oldest trainees and the only one married - let alone with three kids. Not surprising considering I was in the heart of a college town with trustifarin co-eds. Most these girls happily spent their daddy’s money for their 6-week summer camp and didn’t think twice about the investment.

Alternatively, I had squirreled away my instructor pay from my group ex job for over a year. I was dedicated to the experience and upon graduating, I was the only one hired-on with the studio except for the other gal who just happened to be sleeping with the lead-instructor. I was luckier than many stay-at-homes, I not only had a supportive husband but also had family around to watch the kids. Nonetheless, I was unable to even start the training until my youngest had weaned.

My time at that studio was short-lived, primarily because of childcare. While my family was awesome, they were not babysitting gods and many studios trick you into believing they are doing you a favor by offering you an unpaid internship: three months teaching experience in exchange for your slave labor.  No guarantee you will be hired on at the end. I was already employed at a local gym with childcare, so I bailed, letting the cirque-de-soile neonates run the show. I was not interested in being ‘in the scene,’ I was interested in teaching yoga.

Teaching yoga as a mom is a true labor of love. Whether you are an employed mom or a stay-at-home working mom, adding teaching takes time away from your domestic life.  At some point, you must weigh the opportunity costs associated with this hobby job. The truth is, and the yoga industry’s dirty little secret, instructors don’t make diddly-squat. The real reason 200-hour certifications and workshops are popping up faster than a beginner upward-facing dog is because the real money is in trainings.

There isn’t a studio in this great yoga-nation that will guarantee you a paid-class after graduation. Not just because you don’t have actual teaching experience but they simply don’t have the capacity to offer as many classes as they have teacher-trainers. Besides, they are already planning your extended training program to enhance your skills at an additional cost, of course. Okay, not all studios are like this, but the harsh reality is there are more instructors than there are classes. Even in the yoga world, competition is fierce and it’s even harder for ‘the mom’ to find an affordable niche.
My advice for the mom-teacher is to seek employment at places that provide childcare, preferable free childcare for instructors. Hidden costs associated with teaching include travel time, car maintenance and upkeep, babysitting when children are sick, dirty laundry piles and the occasional food on-the-go stop (not always that occasional). When gas prices tipped up at $3.89/gallon and the gym discontinued free childcare, I finally had to give up teaching for a while, until a closer location offered similar benefits.

A whole different beast is teaching at an independent yoga studio as a mom with young kids; this is virtually unheard of until the oldest earns a babysitting certification. If you are a studio owner and have such an anomaly hold onto her with all your might. Tolerate her occasional short-notice, sick-kid day. I guarantee you, she tried every resource in this world to find a babysitter, including, but not limited to three grandmas on her block and the postal carrier. Her short notice is only because she didn’t want to call you at 3 am after she was done cleaning projectile vomit from her hair.  And if you find a single mom who is successfully running her own studio and concurrently enriching her kids’ life– bow down for she is Saraswati Incarnate.

My point is that these women are making great sacrifice to honor themselves and your studio. Yes, we may be slightly entitled, wanting our kids and a hobby job, too. But, why shouldn’t we be able to take one hour and fifteen minutes for our sanity, even if just once a week? The rewards of teaching more often than not outweigh the costs.  For this small self-indulgence we have a temporary freedom. We have the joy of interacting with adults without our momdar on constant surveillance. The joy in coaching compliant humans into naptime (shavasana) without argument and the relief on their face is not due to gas-bubbles (well, maybe sometimes). And for all the ojas (juice of life) that our teaching generates for your students we get it back 9-fold. We relate at a maternal level, we truly understand why childpose and happy baby are thusly named; our intentions are for your students because we extricate as much happiness as we give.