Finding a Job

I recently moved from Los Angeles.  This journey is the most frightening thing I’ve ever done.  But now I’m here and how does an LA yoga teacher find a job? I know it won’t be easy even though I consider myself capable to compete in NYC’s job market.

I have heard back from a couple studios. Truthfully I appreciate any response; it’s courteous and polite. But sometimes I get responses that are tough like; “we are not taking on any new teachers at the moment” or “we only accept teachers who have gone through our teacher training program”.

I can completely understand the first reason. This is just not my time. I will continue working and checking back in. Eventually they will need a new teacher and I will be the persistent one available and ready.

But the second reason…really? ONLY teachers who have gone through “your” specific 200hr training? Is it just me or does that sound close-minded? I believe that a studio’s biggest responsibility to yoga students is to provide well-informed and experienced teachers who can make the yoga practice challenging and accessible.

I do understand keeping philosophy and style consistent at a studio. It clarifies the identity of the business. When taking a retail job, you want to wear the style of clothes you’re selling. I get it. But there is typically an information session for new hires at a job. It keeps new-employees in line with the companies’ mission statement.

So instead of giving an experienced Instructor the guidelines of a studio’s style, managers would rather hire a brand new teacher who has no experience, simply because they were recently trained at that studio? This confuses me and just sounds risky.

But I can see a problem though. If studios open their minds to different teachers from unfamiliar schools, how do they distinguish between the ability of teachers? There are just so many teachers now because we have saturated the market. The 200hr nationally certified training is simply not enough anymore. Just like in most job fields an individual needs an advanced degree to be competitive, we should be requiring more from our yoga teachers than just being recently trained.

So, what should be done?

I do think that as a community we should always challenge ourselves and be open to change. Change is the fiber of growth. If we aren’t open to new teachers with different experiences then we won’t grow. As a teacher I’m always learning from my students, my studio managers and my teachers. In fact, that reminds me…I should sign up for my next training cause I need a job.

–Sarah Girard

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4 comments

  1. i’m sorry but you have to go through the process just like any other yoga teacher in new york city – seasoned or not. there are teachers who have been teaching here for years who still have a tough time “getting a job.” it is actually funny that you call it a job. most teachers here realize that you can’t live on your yoga salary alone; it is not exactly a lucrative profession. in fact it is probably a good idea to get a job and then teach because you love it and you want to share your wisdom and experience. whatever financial gain comes of it well that is just extra. perhaps you should find a studio where you like what they have to offer, practice there for a while, get to know the students and teachers and managers, and then offer your teachings as a sub and then if you are lucky as a teacher. don’t get ahead of yourself, sarah. this is a tough town!

  2. A well reputed yoga studio makes much of their profits from teacher trainings. Any certified teacher who is is worth their salt could be groomed and assist to get a feel for a particular studio’s approach but instead they are asked to pay up large sums of money to even just be considered as teacher, regardless of their past certifications. It is the real reason some schools in NYC are doing continuous certification programs through out the year; profit. It’s one aspect I don’t like about living in NYC. Rents are so high that business owners of any kind have to think with their bank accounts first, their minds and hearts secondly. Your article is interesting but I believe this situation has very little to do with yoga businesses being open to other kinds of teachers or change. It’s money.

  3. Yogagal3 · · Reply

    I direct a yoga school and we only hire form graduates because a) we have a specific style and our 200 hour is rigorous and thorough-which not all trainings are and b) we graduate many students every year-and have very very few slots that ever open up for teachers. I know you feel slighted because the door is not open at all-but many people who have trained in our style are waiting to teach classes at our center and are really really good teachers (having amassed experience teaching, no one is hired right after training)-It would not be fair to them. In terms of opening up to different styles? Embrace the variety of studios out there and take class at them-but also honor the choice of a center not open to hiring teachers who are not part of their community without assuming it is a reflection of their lacking in the ability to change or grow.

  4. I sympathize, Sarah. One good work-around is to put yourself on a million sub lists. I’m sure you are meeting plenty of yoga teachers (as these things tend to go)… make sure they think of you when they want a sub. This lets you impress your way into a studio, and the staff will hear students’ glowing reviews of your class. I’ve brought in a number of teachers for permanent positions through this very route. When I look for more yoga gigs, this is how I do it.

    And yes, studios-that-shall-not-be-named like to hire their own trainees… sometimes this is for good reason: if the teacher is truly masterful and one cannot get equivalent training elsewhere (this does not apply to most giant institutions). Other times, I think it is to sell more yoga teacher trainings (which certainly applies to giant schools). Would you really want to work at a place with that kind of mentality, though?

    Good luck!

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