Let’s Support Our Yoga Teachers the Way They’ve Always Supported Us
Who stands in front of you when you’re dropping into a backbend and behind you when you’re kicking into a handstand? Who’s there every Saturday at 10:30 with a smile on her face and a block in her hand when you’re about to move into Ardha Chandrasana? How many times have you said to a friend in need of advice, “Well, my yoga teacher always says…”?
She’s had your back, quite literally, so many times. Now it’s time you had hers.
Yoga Teacher Hustle
For most yoga teachers, their work is a labour of love. It has to be because it’s certainly not a way to get rich quick. Helping others through yoga is their job, but also their vocation, their mission, and their passion. You have surely seen this dedication in your most beloved teachers.
Anyone who is supporting themselves solely through teaching yoga is working very hard at it. They are hustling, teaching multiple classes at different studios in a week (sometimes in a day), building up an online following to broaden their platform, all whilst maintaining their own practices and continuing their yoga studies. If they are more experienced, they also may be hosting trainings and weekend workshops and travelling to teach at festivals and retreats.
Most do without employer-sponsored benefits like sick leave and health insurance. Their livelihoods depend on filling classrooms with people. People to whom they can describe a subtle alignment tweak, offer an adjustment, or give a variation. People with whom they co-create the magic hat is a yoga class.
The New Normal
Now that we find ourselves in a crisis situation, a majority of these earning opportunities for yoga teachers have been put on hold. No public classes being held because all the yoga studios and gyms are closed. Workshops, festivals, and trainings, many of which are planned far in advance and represent a substantial part of a teacher’s income, are cancelled indefinitely.
While social distancing measures and travel limitations are necessary during this unprecedented pandemic, they have left many yoga teachers in the lurch. Online teaching is the only viable option for most. It’s been inspiring to see so many teachers and studios react quickly and creatively to keep their digital doors open and at least some income flowing. If you haven’t yet, take a live-streamed class with one of your regular teachers. It feels so good to see their faces and move your body in a familiar way. This little slice of almost-normalcy helps both parties but, unfortunately, it’s not going to be enough to keep our teachers and studios afloat. When studios do start to reopen, their businesses will look very different as they will have to reduce class sizes to keep everyone distanced. There is a long road ahead before studios and teachers can expect a return to “normal” operations.
Stand by Me
So much ink has been spilt over the last few weeks (including ours) in support of people who are struggling with working from home, but it must be said that they are the lucky ones. They still have safe jobs and the salaries, benefits, and sense of purpose that go with them. But what about the people whose jobs, by nature, don’t allow them to work at home? This includes so many people in food service, retail, manufacturing, child-care, hospitality, and health, including yoga. These people who contribute so valuably to our everyday lives need our help during this extraordinary time.
At Liforme, we believe it’s the role of companies to give back to their communities so we created the Yoga Support Fund and are donating a whole month of our web sales profits. To help yoga teachers and studios worldwide, go to https://yogasupportfund.com to make a contribution, nominate a teacher or studio, and find out how grants will be awarded.
Of course, we also encourage you to support your local teachers and studios by keeping up your monthly memberships and taking their online classes whenever you can. (Check out our Online Yoga Class listings to find streaming classes with the world’s best teachers.)
When times are tough, it’s more important than ever for those with sufficient resources for themselves to help those in need. As yogis, our teachers and studios are the backbones of our communities. Let’s support them now they way they’ve always supported us.