Master Teacher Roundtable: Amber Cook

Amber Cook is a popular teacher at Moksha who seems to have a new workshop or special event every month.  She teaches at several yoga studios in Chicago (including Moksha) and has turned her vocation into a full-time gig.  Teaching yoga is her job, in other words, versus something she does “on the side.”

Amber referenced that this week alone she taught nearly 20 classes, which included a chakra weekend workshop.

Wow.  Busy, busy bee!

But — Amber must spread herself around if she wants to make herself well-known in Chicago.  She referenced this as a personal goal, and is clearly taking appropriate steps to make it a reality.

She also provided a brutal window into the financial life of a full-time yogi: It doesn’t pay well unless you’re teaching corporate folks or have a massive following.

Most yoga instructors get paid a “base rate” ($20-$30 per class for new yoga teachers) then a certain dollar amount (maybe $5) per student in the class.  Note: Moksha teachers don’t get paid for teacher trainees or work-study employees who might attend their classes.

So, if three students attend your class, you could walk away with $35 for the 1.5-hour class.  And that’s before taxes.

That would be a total shift in lifestyle for me.  It provides a moment of pause moving forward — for those moments when I want to just chuck my job and devote myself to yoga.  I would be so happy in vocation; but I know I’d be miserable financially.  This shift requires courage I’m not confident that I yet have … it’s a frustrating and embarrassing thing to admit.  So it goes.  For now.

Bottom line: It takes a tremendous amount of hustle, self-promotion and talent to attract a following that will sustain a full-time yoga teacher career.  This is why most yoga teachers have other gigs — or simply teach yoga “on the side” to a full-time profession.

For now, I will need to do the latter until I figure out my next step, or some amazing new opportunity arises.

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