Print Posted 06/02/2017 in Teaching

The Economics of Yoga

The Economics of Yoga

Economics of yoga – have we reached a saturation point? 

Since Indra Devi introduced the concept of yoga to Hollywood, we have seen an exponential boom of yoga across the West.  Whilst there are many positives to be acknowledged in terms of mental and physical benefits across communities there have been some issues particularly for those who are trying to build a sustainable career out of teaching yoga. 

This phenomenon can be articulated through the natural innovation cycle. We typically have the introduction and growth where early adopters give yoga a go and the interest begins to grow. Businesses and individual yoga teachers alike have can and have reaped the most benefits because this is where the demand for yoga exceeds the supply. For those who were fortunate enough to ride this wave there was an opportunity for a strong full time career which paid well. 

Yoga has been around in London for over 60 years and in this time the maturity phase set in. It is in recent years that we have seen many offshoots and revitalised yoga practices such as Rocket, Vinyasa, Voga and yes even Disco Yoga. We have reached a point where the yoga is not able to gather the same momentum as the growth phase despite how many new segments of the demographic we target and attract. 

This is not even the half of it!  For those who were able to create a stable career from teaching yoga, they have been met with challenges as competition fiercely grows and as a result more and more businesses opt to enter the field of teaching. New opportunities had to be created to stabilise income and a great way for businesses to reach the thousands in terms of profit was to run teacher training. 

As well as this has been in the short term both in theory and practice this is not without consequences. This has fuelled the issue as more and more teachers are churned out each month and requirements for gaining a yoga qualification have become more flexible. What is this consequence you ask? The more teachers = less $ to earn. As the number of teachers increase the more competitive it is and the more choice clients have.  To attract people you not only have to be a great teacher, you have to charge the right price and be in a good location.  

For some businesses to increase their revenue whilst still paying for expensive overheads, they have resorted to hiring teachers and paying them a sub-standard rate so that they can retain the revenue themselves. For those who are teaching for a hobby or have supplementary income this may not be an issue, but for those who are seeking a sole career they are often forced to go at it alone and try and find their own client base to maximise their earnings but it is a battle ground with costs for classes falling from £16-20+ to £8-15. 

It’s not all bleak, remember change is inevitable and no matter which political ideology we hold it is a positive one- let’s go back to economics…

If we adopt a market view which hypothesises that the markets will correct themselves we should see less demand for yoga teacher training. Aspiring teachers will realise that the market is no longer attractive and will either opt for another profession or will attempt to differentiate themselves in the market through revitalisation. 

Alternatively if we adopt a command economy view, we are likely to see increased competition driving the demand for higher qualified training schools. This could take the form of tighter regulation or, as promoted by Yoga Alliance Professionals, far more stringent conditions before a school can offer teacher training. 

Roshni de Silva

Contact This Member

Join Our Newsletter - Today