Chicago area yoga studios still pay their teachers SHIT.
$6 a student? I was paid $5 a student at a Geneva IL studio 10 YEARS AGO. The owner also gave out “first class free” passes all over the Fox Valley and guess whose yin class she’d send them to because she thought yin yoga was a “beginner” yoga class for people who’ve never done yoga. If you had never done any yoga whatsoever and knew nothing about it, imagine coming to a yin yoga class for your first time. They never came back AND SHE WOULDN’T PAY TEACHERS FOR ALL THOSE FREE STUDENTS. Some months I’d lose $100+. Ask me why I don’t teach in studios anymore.
Shared from a teacher friend (who’s been teaching a very long time):
“I know that for many independent yoga center owners keeping the doors open is an ongoing financial struggle. The business model needs reworking, but what to replace it with? I don’t think that paying instructors $6 per student is part of the answer. I was approached by 2 local studios in the past 3 months, & that’s what they were offering. “It’s an incentive to build your classes. If you get a big enough group you can make some pretty good money.”
She made that comment when she posted this article:
Yoga Center of Minneapolis abruptly closes, withholds teachers’ paychecks
From the article:
“It was no secret that the center was struggling, he says, even though people weren’t aware of just how bad things had gotten. He didn’t know how to tell staff in advance that there was no money left to pay them, and he didn’t want them to work another minute without compensation.” [emphasis supplied]
WHAT?! HE DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO TELL THE STAFF IN ADVANCE HE COULDN’T PAY THEM?! HOW ABOUT THE TRUTH?
Do you think this would have given him a clue?
“He says he lost $1 million on the business, borrowed money from family and friends, declined a salary for years, and worked up to the last minute to try and make payroll…”
A yoga studio doesn’t lose a million bucks overnight so I think over the years he had a bit of a clue as to how his business was doing.
A friend and I taught at a now defunct yoga studio in Sycamore IL and when my friend’s paycheck bounced, the owner became insulted when my friend told her “I need that check to pay my bills” — as if my friend had no right to get upset about a bounced check.
In 17 years of teaching I have found yoga studio owners to be of two types — one (the most prevalent) is the airy fairy type who has no idea how to run a real business. The ones who are all peace love dove and about manifesting abundance but never returning the phone calls of people asking for information about a workshop. Guess who was giving the workshop and had to cancel because “no one was interested.” Uh huh.
The other is cut throat who doesn’t give a damn about yoga or the teachers who show up every day. The less you need to ask about anything, the better, because you’re on your own. For that type of studio owner it could be a Pilates studio or a dance studio or a butcher shop for all they care. Just make sure you clean the toilets.
99% of the owners I’ve dealt with have no business whatsoever running a shoe shine stand let alone a yoga studio.
Now before anyone tells me what a big meany I am or how judgmental I am or wants to tell me how hard it is to run a business, check yourself. I run TWO businesses, my yoga biz and my India travel biz. The latter requires me to deal with people 8000 miles away, most of whom I’ve never met, setting up hotels, drivers, guides, etc., a year in advance of the trip and then hoping and sweating and fingers crossed that everything I’ve set up is OK when I get there. If you don’t think that causes many sleepless nights, try it.
Plus, I grew up watching my father run his business, a neighborhood grocery store and meat market, that he owned for about 40 years. I learned about running a biz via osmosis.
So if you’re a studio owner reading this and you are not one of those two types and who knows the difference between a spreadsheet and a mandala drawing, your teachers are very lucky and blessed. I commend you wholeheartedly and I wish I was teaching at YOUR studio, being valued and compensated appropriately for all my experience and knowledge and emotional labor.
You are a very rare bird indeed.
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