Job as yoga teacher in UK

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Gina Williams is a self-employed yoga teacher based in Manchester UK. She started going to yoga classes when she was 16. She enjoyed it so much and felt so many health benefits that eventually she decided to train as a yoga teacher.

What is yoga?

It is an ancient system of living – practised in India thousands of years ago – which helps to keep the mind, body and emotions in balance. In western society we are more familiar with the physical aspect of yoga, which incorporates basic breathing exercises, posture work (know as asanas), relaxation and/or meditation.

Who do you teach?

People of any age can learn yoga, so I teach a wide range. Most classes are targeted at a particular group, for example beginners, intermediate or advanced, or over 50s.

Over the past year I have run special yoga classes for nursery school children aged three to four years old. I have also completed a specialist course on teaching yoga to pregnant women.

What happens during a yoga class?

I usually start by introducing a simple theme based on the philosophy of yoga. We then do some gentle breathing and stretching to warm up. I spend some time guiding students through limbering the whole body, which helps to avoid possible injury, before progressing onto asanas (physical postures).

I demonstrate each posture and talk students through it. Safety is very important, so I must observe my students carefully. If they look uncomfortable or are not performing the posture correctly, I may adjust their posture or talk them into a better position.

How do you end the class?

I finish with a relaxation session. With more experienced students I often incorporate some calming meditation techniques.

How long is a normal class?

It depends on the style of yoga being taught but on average classes last between one and a half and two hours.

What hours do you work?

Most classes are from 6pm in the evening, when people are finishing work. Classes during the day tend to be more specialised – they could involve working with children in schools, at health centres, or with retired people. I also work at the weekends when more people are free to attend classes. Sunday mornings are increasingly popular.

How did you train to become a yoga teacher?

My course lasted about three years. I went to classes one day a month to learn about all aspects of yoga, including philosophy, anatomy and physiology, safe teaching practices and physical practice.

I also had to do a lot of work at home such as writing essays, preparing practical work, attending yoga classes (to improve my own practice) and reading. It was difficult, because I was also working full time, but very rewarding.

What do you like about your jobs as a yoga teacher?

I love the fact that students seem to get so much out of the classes. They all work really hard and ask lots of questions. I enjoy helping people to increase their well-being and happiness.

Is there anything you don't like?

Because I am self-employed I have to accept that my income can change from week to week.

What qualities do you need to be a yoga teacher?

You must have a genuine love of yoga, be a good communicator and enjoy working with people. You should have a flexible approach to work and be able to adapt class content quickly if it doesn't meet the needs of individual students and the class as a whole.

Gina's route to her job as a yoga teacher

  • 8 GCSEs and 3 A levels.
  • BSc Psychology.
  • Worked in social work.
  • British Wheel of Yoga Teaching Diploma.
  • Has been teaching yoga for two years.

Gina's yoga teacher tips

  • Find a teacher you like and start attending yoga classes. You usually need some experience before you can attend a training course in yoga teaching.
  • Training is a long-term commitment.
  • Do some research and make sure it is right for you.

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Salary of a yoga teacher

  • Most yoga practitioners are self-employed, and incomes vary considerably.
  • A new entrant would receive about £10,000 a year.
  • With some experience this could increase to £20,000.
  • An experienced yoga practitioner could earn £30,000 a year.

Job as yoga teacher in UK

  • There are many courses in yoga, but to qualify to join the Register of Exercise Professionals, you must have completed a British Wheel of Yoga (BWY) Teaching Diploma.
  • The diploma course lasts between two and four years and takes around 500 hours of study.
  • There are no academic entry requirements, but you should have practised yoga with a BWY recognised teacher for at least two years before starting the course.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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