Yoga Instructor  What They Do

Just the Facts

Insider Info

dotThere is a lot more to yoga than posing like a camel, a fish, a lion or a cobra. Yoga instructors help their students understand the practice of yoga.

"The term yoga can mean different things to different people," says Sam Dworkis. He's a yoga instructor with over 30 years of experience under his mat. "To me, yoga is merely the process of paying attention and exploring the movement toward balance and union of body, mind and spirit."

Yoga instructors lead individuals or groups through a series of poses and exercises. Instructors must lead by example, provide constant verbal cues to explain what the student should be doing and correct the posture of students who are not on track.

Yoga instructors must be careful to make sure their classes are safe, effective and inspiring. "Yoga has become more mainstream and acceptable, especially in conservative communities," says Dworkis. "As an instructor, you can adapt your teaching to suit any market. For example, there are teachers catering to golfers, tennis players and equestrians."

Other specializations for yoga instructors include yoga for pregnant women, yoga for people with serious illness and yoga for children.

Yoga is suitable for people of any age or physical condition. Because of the range of yoga styles, even those with physical limitations can find a good yoga routine and become instructors.

"A yoga teacher is invested in practicing what they teach," explains Dworkis. "If a teacher has any physical limitation, they will teach in a way that is suitable to that limitation. By doing so, they will attract students with similar limitations."

Some yoga teachers work for spas and fitness facilities, some open their own studios, and some teach private lessons in students' homes. Since yoga teachers must cater to the needs of their students, they often work irregular hours including evenings and weekends.

"I have no average work day," says Megan McCarver. She's a yoga instructor in California. She teaches people by visiting their homes, and she has some group classes.

"I teach six classes a week," McCarver says. "Classes are one and a half hours, with driving time ranging from 20 to 30 minutes one way. Included in my work week is my own daily yoga practice, returning phone calls and answering questions."

At a Glance

Help others get the most out of yoga

  • You can specialize in many different types of yoga
  • It's important to find a teacher you respect
  • You'll have to keep up your own yoga practice