I have always been baffled by the $6 billion dollar figure thrown around in articles about yoga earnings. I know many yoga teachers and studio owners. About 90% of them depend on a second job, a wealthy spouse or bank loans and investors to pay their bills. Out of the other 10%, most of them barely make it and a small few who have built a strong following over 5-10 years are doing well.
So where is this money going? Probably clothing, equipment, retreats, videos, and the few mega studios and Yoga superstars out there. It may also be that when you divide this money amongst the amount of teachers and studios, it really isn't much.
But let’s put these figures into con text. The U.S. economy was about $14.3 trillion in 2009. That means that the $6 billion market (I think it’s safe to assume that the yoga market has not grown since then.) is actually a tiny faction of the U.S. economy.
On a more human scale, if we take that same $6 billion and divide it by the number of “followers,” we get $389 a year per yoga fol lower. That works out to $32 a month, enough to take 2-4 classes a month, depending on where you live and how you practice. Of course, some of those “yoga followers” might do yoga in the nude in their living room and there fore add noth ing to the “bil lion dollar indus try,” while at the other extreme, some yogins buy a $1500 year-long unlimited pass at big name studio and go on retreats to Costa Rica twice a year.
How many of these aver age yoga converts would be needed to sustain a yoga center? 300 would allow gross monthly gross income of $10,000. Remember that operating expense for a studio in Helena, Mon tana, is lower than one in Washington, DC or Los Angeles.
For most studios, there is no “billion dollar” market. There is a steady churn of clients that flows over a small group of bedrock yogis who have chosen that studio as their home base. These studios are limited to the market of driving distance. In some places like Santa Monica, that can mean a dozen stu dios within a couple of town blocks, all competing for a large population of yoga devotees. In other places, it means that a teacher can barely afford to pay for the use of a church basement a few times a week.
I want to hear from you:
Can you pay all your bills from your yoga salary?
Is you studio self sustaining?
Where is all the money going?
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