Determining how much to charge for your classes and workshops is one of the first challenges every professional yoga teacher faces. As teachers, it is often hard to assign a monetary value to our teaching when yoga is closely coupled to our passion for a practice that has given us so much. It can be a delicate balance between sharing what you love while also being equitably compensated for your time and energy. After all, teaching yoga is an energy exchange, and energy flows best when there is balance. While there is no perfect formula to calculate your rate, here are some tips and strategies to help you identify a price that you are comfortable charging.
1. Begin with your values
Start out by asking yourself some basic, yet important, questions; reflecting on your answers can be a great starting point.
- What is your main motivation for teaching yoga? Is it simply to enjoy and share the practice with others, or is it also a means to support yourself and your family?
- What are your expenses and will they be covered by the prices you set? It may not make sense to pay more for childcare or transportation than you earn for teaching a private session. So be sure to consider these costs when calculating your prices. Other expenses you may want to consider include taxes, managing your website, accounting and more. Don’t forget to include travel time as part of your pricing calculation!
- Do you want to work for someone else or for yourself? While there is much more freedom to set your own price levels when you work for yourself, it is important to determine if it is worth the time and cost of marketing, accounting, and more. On the other hand, working for someone else often involves accepting the compensation set by the employer, with very little negotiation room.
2. Set goals
If teaching yoga is your primary income to support yourself and your family, you’ll want to calculate how much you need to make ends meet. You can then work backward to determine your rate per session and the number of classes/private clients you’ll need to make this a reality.
For example, let’s assume you only wish to teach 60-minute group classes at a studio. A $50,000/year salary would be calculated like this:
- $50,000/year (before taxes)
- Teaching 15 classes/week
- 4 weeks off for vacations, sick days, and unexpected absences
= 48 working weeks x 15 classes week = 720 classes/year
= $50,000 / 720 classes = $70 per class
This is just an arbitrary example, and keep in mind that many studios don’t pay $70 per class, unless you bring in a lot of new students. So, realistically, you’ll also have to invest additional time outside of teaching hours to build your client base, market your classes, and more.
If 15 group classes a week is too much for you, and you prefer to teach workshops, private sessions, and online courses, you will have to tinker with this formula to find your desired level of compensation. These calculations give you a starting point to brainstorm the types of services you want to offer and how much you need to teach in order to maintain a certain income level.
3. Do your market research
“Google and word-of-mouth are your best friends when it comes to determining your pricing strategy,” advises Dani Schenone, Mindbody RYT and fitness expert. “Get a feel for the market and learn what others are charging.”
A good rule of thumb is to charge private clients around the same rate as a local massage therapist for an in-home massage, recommends Brittany Lynne, Inner Dimension TV yoga and meditation instructor. There are some official calculators such as Glassdoor and LinkedIn Salaries that allow you to calculate the going-rate for yoga teachers in your location. If your rates seem consistent with the other yoga teachers in your demographic market, you have a good starting place. In reality, you can charge whatever the market will bear in your area.
4. Know your value
An important aspect of determining your price structure is to reflect on your experience, skillset, and specific offerings. In general, the more experienced you are, the more you can charge for your time and expertise. For example, a yoga teacher with 20 years of experience can likely charge more than someone with only two years of experience. However, if the instructor with fewer years of experience is also a physical therapist or has completed specialized trainings, they may be able to ask for the same amount as the more experienced veteran. Evan Lawrence, LMHC, CPT, RYT, shared that he personally did not charge as much when he first started teaching as he does now. As he built up a client base, he then increased prices for new clients. “That’s what I was comfortable with and what worked for me.” The most important factor in your decision-making is to do what is comfortable for you.
5. Be confident and publish your prices
Once you’ve determined your pricing structure, Lynne suggests remembering that you are providing a premium service with specialized attention for your client, so it’s OK to ask for what your time is worth! Be confident in the value that you bring and in the pricing plans that you have developed.
There are always ways to ease the burden on your clients, such as creating packages at discounted rates and payment plans. Additionally, if it is an important value for you to share your teaching with those in need, having sliding scale pricing may be something you should strongly consider. Either way, be transparent about what you charge and publish it clearly on your website or fliers. If you are clear about your pricing, this will engender confidence and trust in all parties involved, and ensure long-lasting relationships with your clients.
6. Be open to change
When first starting out, be humble and patient, advises Huma Gruaz, a yoga teacher and yoga therapist in Orange County, CA. It is better to focus on obtaining experience in teaching in the right setting rather than focusing on how much more you can make at the beginning of your career. As you build up your reputation, skills, and community, you can re-evaluate your pricing to balance your rates with the increased value you are providing.
There really is no one right answer to how to price your services. Experiment, be wrong, and try different things as your wisdom and comfort level expand.
Want more advice for new teachers? Check out our special report: So You Finished Your Yoga Teacher Training… Now What?