Yoga: An Ancient Practice in Modern Times
The word “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit root yuj, which means “to join” or “unite”.
Although it started to become widespread in the US in the 80’s, yoga dates back almost 5,000+ years ago to Northern India.
These days, yoga is a $27 billion industry practiced by over 20 million people.
I’ve personally been practicing yoga on and off for the past 7 years and I can attest to its positive effects, both mentally and physically.
For better or worse, a major factor in one’s enjoyment of yoga lies squarely on the strong shoulders of your yoga teacher.
What a Good Yoga Teacher Does
Just like in school, a good yoga teacher can help you achieve great things that you didn’t realize were in your reach.
And fortunately, I have been blessed to learn from one of the best yoga teachers in the Greater Boston area.
In this revealing interview, I talk with my yoga teacher, Cara Gilman, on how she got started teaching yoga.
She shares the steps she took on how to create a successful yoga business and what you should know about getting started as a yoga teacher.
How to Become a Yoga Teacher:
An Interview With Cara Gilman
How did you first get into yoga?
My gym was offering a new Monday night yoga class and I decided to give it a try. I fell in love right away.
This vinyasa yoga class taught me how, just like running, yoga is a powerful form of moving meditation. My mind was no longer moving at 100+ miles per hour, but after doing yoga I felt relaxed and at ease.
What inspired you to become a yoga teacher?
I jumped into yoga teacher training with no expectations to be a yoga teacher. I loved yoga.
I loved running. I loved living a healthy lifestyle and yoga teacher training seemed like a natural progression.
In fact, the first couple months I was terrified of the thought of teaching a class.
However, after a couple months of practice, teaching, and working on my inner perfectionist voice, I realized I could not let fear get in the way of something I loved doing.
I picked up one class after I completed teacher training and then after a month I got another and from there got a few more. I left each and every class I taught so inspired and energized!
I soon realized that this was what I was meant to do. I left my full time corporate job soon after and have been a full time fitness professional ever since.
What kind of certification and basic requirements do you need to become a yoga teacher?
A number of studios in Boston offer this training and each certification is approved by the Yoga Alliance.
It is also recommended to be CPR-certified and also get liability insurance.
How did you get yoga teaching jobs when you were starting out?
I did a lot of networking and connecting with teachers in the community.
I was able to find some amazing mentors, some of whom are Lynne Begier, Chanel Luck, Kathy Tarnoff and Patti Anderson, who connected me with opportunities and gave me great feedback on how to grow and manage a career in the yoga/fitness industry.
How do you advertise your yoga teaching business?
It all came piece by piece.
First word of mouth, then social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) and then I began to really invest some time into marketing by launching a website, blog, and I’m in the process of working on adding some content and videos to my YouTube channel:
Describe your typical day in the life of a yoga teacher?
I’ll usually teach 2 or 3 yoga classes and see anywhere from 1 to 3 clients, 1 to 2 hours of computer time (email, business admin tracking, social media) and add an hour or so of class planning.
Somewhere in there, I’ll sneak in a run or yoga class.
What kind of insurance do you need to be a yoga teacher?
Liability insurance is strongly recommended, especially if you are working with clients one on one or corporate clients. Some studios require it as well.
How did you set up your yoga teaching business (ex. LLC, C-Corp, Sole Proprietor, etc.)
I actually do not have my own LLC setup as of yet. Given the nature of my business having liability insurance keeps me covered.
What advice would you give to new yoga teachers or someone interested in becoming a yoga teacher?
I think identifying with the “why” creates a passion statement that allows you to not just be a teacher but enables you to build a sustainable business by thinking outside of the box and being energized by what you do each and everyday.
Any last shoutouts?
I coach clients privately and I also am one of the coaches for the Marathon Coalition, an organization that coaches 15 of the Boston Marathon charity teams.
It’s been so fun to bring my two loves of running and yoga together to create Yoga for Runners classes, a RunYoga weekly series in Cambridge and to also launch a RunYoga day retreat this summer (more info on this to come!).
To learn more about me and to check out my schedule, find me below!
James K. Kim
James "Jim" Kim is a commercial real estate agent with Cushman & Wakefield / Pyramid Brokerage Company in the Capital Region of New York, specializing in retail, office, and industrial tenant and landlord representation.