An email to yoga Alliance from Emmet:
Hi, thanks for reading my email. Motivated mostly by frustration I decided to email someone that would understand, I’m glad I did.
As I said, there are so many people that have gone to a teacher training and become certified and are teaching these days studio owners can get by with paying almost nothing to the teachers. In 1992 when I started my yoga practice there were maybe 3 yoga studios in and around St. Louis. Today in 2019, without research I can think of at least yoga 15 studios in the same area. In addition when I did my teacher training in 2006 there may have been 1 or 2 studios that offered teacher training in St. Louis. I drove to Asheville Yoga, (St. Louis to Asheville N.C. 635 miles one way) in Asheville, N.C. once a month in 2012 to get my 300 hour training for 500 hour designation.
I’m paid the same as the 200 hour teachers who have little experience. When I began teaching full time in 2006 most studios paid teachers 60% and the studio kept 40%. Classes were $12.00 or so for a drop in and quantity discounts were offered but we could still make $70 to $100.00 per class. Then came Groupon and later Classpass, now people were getting yoga classes for $1.00. 60% of $1.00 or 60 cents per student. In a typical class of 15 to 20 where I’d make as much at $100.00 now with half the students or more getting on Groupon or Classpass I’m cut to between $30 and $50.00 per class.
I saw the trend several years ago and joined in by starting a YA sanctioned teacher training at Prana Yoga St. Louis in 2012. In a way I have contributed to the problem although I believe the students completing my 200 hour training understood more than teaching physical movement. I put a great deal of emphasis on mindfulness, compassion and all the brilliant teaching in The Gita, Upanishads and as espoused in the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali.
It gets worse. Now every other new student/teacher decides to open a yoga studio. Husbands and families help with finance and before you know it everyone has a yoga studio. This huge influx of competition naturally drops the cost of yoga. Today some studios are offering unlimited 30 day class cards for $30.00.
It’s impossible to survive teaching regular classes at any yoga studio in St. Louis. There are fitness gyms that pay hourly but what they teach isn’t yoga. They call it yoga and they advertise it as yoga but it’s mostly yoga asana without emphasis on breathing or staying connected or paying attention or not competing. Fitness gym yoga becomes competitive and dangerous in my opinion. These day I hear people say “I got hurt doing yoga” as we know, in true yoga there is never struggling, forcing or competing so the chances of getting hurt are almost nil.
Currently my wife and I (she’s also a yoga teacher) offer one day workshops and we rent space for classes at a Dance Studio. We have done weekly retreats at Present Moment Yoga Resort in Playa Troncones, Mexico and we are planning a 5 day yoga retreat in Bavaria Germany July 2019. It isn’t easy to get people to commit mainly because most think of yoga as exercise and they can get that just about anyplace for very little. Yoga used to be something special that wasn’t available on every block. We didn’t intend to be in the marketing business but we understand the necessity these days.
I guess I have said enough.Thanks for listening.
Emmet Schmelig E-RYT500, YACEP, LMT