Gillian Buckley Yoga & Wellness
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When to Say No to a Yoga Teaching Opportunity

I’ve talked about how to find teaching jobs in studios, but once you get the job, should you take it?

Most yoga teachers love what they do…and sometimes this leads them into bad situations.

As yoga instructors we’ve benefited a lot from having yoga in our lives, and we’re hungry to share the practice. Sometimes, though, this causes us to turn a blind eye to red flags or ignore those bad feelings in our bellies.

Over the last few years I’ve had a lot of newer instructors reach out to me to ask if an opportunity seemed like a good one. (Spoiler: usually if you have to ask, you should pass.) 

I’ve taught at a lot of studios and gyms over the last few years—some I wish I hadn’t. Here is a list of things I look for when considering teaching in a new space. Perhaps it will help save you some grief in your own teaching journey.

1. The listed instructors don’t appear on the schedule.

If none (or few) of the teachers who appear on the website are actually teaching at the studio, this might tell you that there’s a lot of turnover. When I look at the studio’s website, I also like to see a mix of instructors from a variety of backgrounds. Are senior teachers on the schedule or did everyone just graduate from teacher training? Evidence that people don’t stick around long at a studio is a HUGE red flag.

2. The website and social media haven’t been updated in a while.

A yoga studio needs a website. Social media is less important, but whatever they do have online should be accurate and kept up to date. As an instructor, I want to know that my students receive a professional experience when they purchase class passes. Will emails be returned? Will the phone be answered? I can’t control how the studio operates…but that doesn’t keep a poor customer service experience from reflecting negatively on me.

3. The owner or manager don’t seem comfortable discussing money.

Before you take on a new position you should feel comfortable asking what compensation will be and when you will get paid. Does the studio expect you to submit a monthly invoice? Will your payment be based on the number of students? If you can’t get a clear answer or (heaven forbid) you don’t get paid when you should, create your exit strategy. 

4. The studio is dirty and run down.

When I teach at a studio, I think of it as a mutually beneficial relationship—it is in our best interests to grow our businesses together. Ideally, the instructor should bring new students to the studio, while the studio exposes the students to different instructors.

A dirty studio can ruin the whole experience for a yoga student. If a studio can’t be bothered to keep the space clean I begin to second guess their investment in the business and community—how much do they care about the quality of their teachers? What are they doing to ensure the safety of their students? Does it seem like they might close without paying their instructors or fulfilling their contracts with students? 

Keeping a studio clean is a fairly straightforward task. If they are letting that slide, what else are they neglecting?

Have I missed anything? What are your “red flags”? What lessons have you learned along the way? Leave me a comment below!

Hi, I’m Gillian.

I’m obsessed with helping women live their best lives. Together we’ll use yoga and mindfulness to build confidence, reach goals and have some fun!

Let’s do this!

About the Author Gillian Buckley

When she's not teaching yoga classes or wellness workshops, Gillian can be found doing boot camp in the park, spending time with her kids or developing her latest and greatest kombucha flavour.

  • For more on that yoga teacher life, here’s a post I wrote about what a good YTT should look like https://gillianbuckley.ca/what-makes-a-quality-yoga-teacher-training/

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