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8 Blunt Truths About Becoming a Yoga Instructor. ~ Rachael Car...

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8 Blunt Truths
About Becoming a
Yoga Instructor. ~
Rachael Carlevale


Via elephant journal

on Apr 24, 2013

get elephant's

Featured Authors

Youve practiced your

postures with dedication and
possibly have even mastered
bhakasana, crow pose.
Now you want to become a yoga instructor.
Are you sure thats your path? Sharing the

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8 Blunt Truths About Becoming a Yoga Instructor. ~ Rachael Car...

benefits of yoga with your community is a

wonderful goal. But before you invest in an
expensive teaching training program, it pays to
consider a few things.
1. Yoga is more than asanas. Many
practitioners have a devoted asana practice but
Alex Myles

Amanda Christmann

neglect the holistic view of what yoga

encompasses. There are actually eight limbs to
yoga, and flowing through downward dog and
triangle pose is just one little aspect.
1. Yama: universal morality
2. Niyama: personal observances
3. Asanas: body postures
4. Pranayama: breathing exercises

Ashleigh Hitchcock

Brandon Gilbert

and control of prana, life force energy

5. Pratyahara: control of the senses
6. Dharana: concentration and
cultivating inner perceptual awareness
7. Dhyana: devotion, meditation on the
8. Samadhi: union with the Divine

Crystal Jackson

Eric Klein

Still on board? Keep reading!

2. Your mission is to shed light, not to master.
The best teachers live their yoga practices on
and off the mat. Are you in the right head space
to take on teacher training? Applying the eight
limbs of yoga to your life is an essential step
toward instructing others. Students will see right

Hilda Carroll

Jayson Gaddis

through fake yoga bliss or personal motives. No

one wants to spot their seemingly enlightened
teacher making rude comments on the street or
pulling into the nearest pro-GMO fast food joint.
No one is perfect; its all about balance. However,
our true selves will shine through to our students,
and that is what they will mirror. Make sure your
feet are on the ground before you teach others

Jerry Stocking

Kate Evans

your habits. As an instructor, it is your

responsibility to put your best self forward.
3. Specialize your education. There are so
many different types of yoga out there, from
Bhakti to Kundalini to Power Flow. Try different
styles so you dont waste money on a training
that doesnt suit you. You just might surprise
yourself by taking a new class and learning that

Kate Rose

2 of 19

Laura Brown

youre into that whole breath-of-fire thing. Once

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8 Blunt Truths About Becoming a Yoga Instructor. ~ Rachael Car...

you find a yoga that clicks, youll be able to hone

in on a school thats right for you. Some schools
are more demanding than others, and you get
out what you put in. When choosing a training,
look into the reading list, check out the books,
investigate guest teachers and learn about the
certification requirements. Would you prefer to
learn over a long period or spend an intensive
Michelle Sweezey

Nicole Cameron

couple of weeks? You know your lifestyle and

what would work best for you.
4. Find the right teacher. Practice with many
instructors until you find one who resonates with
you. Understand what you are getting yourself
into. In your enthusiasm to get certified, you dont
want to end up with a loony teacher or in a
creepy yoga cult. Unfortunately, a lot of teacher

Rachel Astarte

Rebecca Lammersen

trainings are about money and not authenticity.

Take your time and follow your heart. The right
teacher will come to you.
5. Remember the 20/80 rule. Most teacher
trainings will take your money no matter who you
are. Anyone who pays can get a certification, but
not everyone will become a successful instructor.

Renee Dubeau

Renee Picard

To be a success, you need 20 percent facts

earning a yoga teacher certificationand 80
percent business savvy. One of the biggest
obstacles for yoga instructors is consistent
attendance. Have you thought about how you
would market your classes? Are you tech savvy?
Do you know how to make a website, flyers and
posters? How will you get students to your class?

Ricardo das Neves

Sarah Harvey

And how will you keep them coming back?

6. Consider your finances. Pay attention to the
economic reality of being a yoga instructor. You
will be making an initial investment upwards of
$3,000 for your teacher training. If you opt to
teach at someone elses studio, make sure you
understand its payment process. Some studios

Sarah Norrad

Theo Horesh

pay a flat rate per class, some pay per student

and some are donation based. Does the studio
advertise? Does it offer health insurance?
Opening your own studio is a huge investment
that could take years to recoup.
7. Find your own style. The Bhagavad Gita, an
ancient Indian yoga text, states that it is better to

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8 Blunt Truths About Becoming a Yoga Instructor. ~ Rachael Car...

Waylon Lewis

Yoli Ramazzina

live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an

imitation of somebody elses life with perfection.
To keep students coming back, you need to be
you! Have something special that sets you apart.
Think about your favorite instructor. Why do you
like her? What qualities make you consistently
return to her? Like an artist in training who learns
to reproduce exact replications of Van Goghs
Starry Night, beginning yoga instructors can copy
a master instructor they admire. However, there
comes a point when you will need to tap into your
own creative consciousness and bring forth your
own style in your teaching.
8. Get support! Still think being a yoga instructor
is your path? Bring family and friends along for
the ride. This journey can become overwhelming,
and you dont want to lose sight of who you really
are. Consider other instructors not as competitors
but as allies you can learn from. Yoga is all about
unionnot about whether you own a pair of mala
beads, have the hottest yoga gear or have
mastered bhakasana. Once you obtain your
certification, you are just as much a student as
you are a teacher. Make friends in your training
and have fun!
Becoming a yoga instructor is a rewarding
journey and not for everyone.
No matter your age, location, finances, gender or
background, listen to your heart. It will tell you if
this is your true calling.

Rachael Carlevale, certified yoga

instructor, dedicated to the pursuit
of sustainable, holistic healing

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8 Blunt Truths About Becoming a Yoga Instructor. ~ Rachael Car...

methods and lives by the words of

Neem Karoli Baba: Love
everyone, serve everyone. A
dedicated yogi since 2002, Rachael
became a certified Hatha Yoga
teacher under the lineage of Sri
Shambhavananda and earned a
pre-med degree with honors from
the University of Massachusetts.
She is working toward an
eco-conscious revolution for human
health through her Durango,
Colorado-based business, Yoga
Grown, serving her community as
the education program manager at
the Responsible Sex Education
Institute of Planned Parenthood of
the Rocky Mountains and she has
spent time exploring medicinal
plants with the Shipibo Tribe in the
Peruvian Amazon. Rachaels
creative teaching techniques are
infused with a blend of tantra,
vinyasa flow, balance and our
sacred connection with the earth;
her classes equip every body with
valuable tools to use on and off the

Like elephant Yoga on Facebook.

Ed: Brianna Bemel

Asst. Editor: Wendy Keslick

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8 Blunt Truths About Becoming a Yoga Instructor. ~ Rachael Car...

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43 Responses to 8 Blunt Truths
About Becoming a Yoga
Instructor. ~ Rachael Carlevale

Sharon says:
April 24, 2013 at 12:09
I am so enjoying getting to know
you by your posts after attending
your Red Tent at DMR. Few people
have the practice skills, business
savvy, interpersonal delight, and
spirit grace that you seem to. I am
not a Yoga instructor, but have
noticed the same kind of caveats
and pitfalls in people wanting to be
psychologists and personal fitness

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8 Blunt Truths About Becoming a Yoga Instructor. ~ Rachael Car...

trainers. Durango is lucky to have


Zoe Helene says:

April 24, 2013 at 14:07
This is marvelous! Congratulations,
Elephant Journal, on discovering a
rare new talent: Rachael Carlevale
is destined to become a yoga star.
She shines so brightly already.


anne says:
April 24, 2013 at 23:26
"Have you thought about how you
would market your classes? Are
you tech savvy? Do you know how
to make a website, flyers and
posters? How will you get students
to your class? And how will you
keep them coming back?" no


Jessica says:
April 25, 2013 at 06:54
"The teacher and the taught
together create the teaching". I
wonder if I don"t have to be a
perfect, never eat Wendy's, Prius
driving, yoga teacher in order to
guide others on a path that has
helped me? What if I have many
flaws but, some how am still able to
help even one person find truth and
joy even if it is on my way to the
GMO factory? I wonder?


Jacqui says:
April 25, 2013 at 08:07
Many thanks for sharing your
insight into the detailed
considerations for becoming a yoga
teacher. I am so grateful to share
my mat with you during your

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8 Blunt Truths About Becoming a Yoga Instructor. ~ Rachael Car...

radiating mind, body, and spirit

yoga classes! You are an
amazingly beautiful yogini, sister,
and friend. Much love and light on
your ever expanding journey!!

adam says:
April 25, 2013 at 09:17
nice grateful dead reference!


Bernie Isacovici says:

April 25, 2013 at 19:22
This article is right on, Before
deciding to embark on a yoga
teacher training, I decided to live a
yogic life. This Took major
modifications to my lifestyle, and
took a long time for my family to
accept. I am now on my teacher
training journey, and could not be
happier. I am happy, because I am
putting everything that I have into it,
and because I love doing it. I also
love interacting with other yoga
teachers, and with students. This is
truly a life-changing journey, and
one must be ready to make serious
changes before embarking on that
journey. Thank you so much for
your article.


Daniel Brewer says:

April 26, 2013 at 04:16
Thank for sharing.


Lora says:
April 26, 2013 at 06:41
AWESOME article Rachael! I'm a
coach and mentor to yoga
professionals (for their yoga biz &
personal lives) who also happens
to naturally be an optimist in life
overall. I really appreciate that you

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8 Blunt Truths About Becoming a Yoga Instructor. ~ Rachael Car...

shared the facts about becoming a

yoga teacher but did it in a way that
wasn't all "doom and gloom" like
other "so you want to be a yoga
teacher" articles do. I think it's
always important to be prepared
and know what you are committing
yourself to. And with those details a
person can choose to look at things
with a sense of hope and possibility
or feel defeated right from the
beginning. Thanks for sharing the
facts for those looking into
becoming a yoga teacher, and for
doing it in a way that is light and
makes room for positive possibility!
I very much look forward to reading
more from you in the future!

Chuck Culp says:

April 29, 2013 at 12:08
Great article Rachael! I have been
practicing Raja yoga for over forty
years, mostly by myself. Lately, I
have been drawn to share my
somewhat limited knowledge with
others. I have been attending
classes and I am amazed by how
yoga has changed. Teachers who
are openly carnivorous in their
dietary choices

What about

Yama "do no harm". It is hard to kill

and eat a being without causing
harm. Consume dairy and the male
calf still get turned into veal.

Mark P says:
July 22, 2013 at 21:01
Am I the only one who noticed the
"she" references in number (7). Not
all teachers are women!!


Brooke says:
August 14, 2013 at 17:18

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8 Blunt Truths About Becoming a Yoga Instructor. ~ Rachael Car...

Great article! I do my YTT next

month, and after reading this I am
still ready to become a yoga
teacher So, that's good. 0:)

fruitaliniyogi says:
August 16, 2013 at 18:30
I'm surprised to read something so
right on about yoga teacher training
and becoming a yoga teacher. 7
years after my training, I'd definitely
still consider myself a student,
although I've been told I'm a good
teacher too. This is a good article
for potential teachers and
experienced teachers alike.


jesse says:
August 29, 2013 at 15:19
This article was great, people
should only do this from the heart.
If you are looking to make money
then you have not understood
yourself yet.
Im wanting to learn yoga to
practice while in school. Free yoga
for all. It would be perfect to help
me grow more as well and defiantly
help me once I start practing
Be the change you want to see.
Love yall


Yoga Classes says:

October 23, 2013 at 06:00
Teaching Yoga gives us an
opportunity to serve others,
enabling us to really be of help to
others in improving the quality of
their lives. Teaching Yoga also
motivates us to learn more about
Yoga and deepen our own practice.
It encourages us to express the

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8 Blunt Truths About Becoming a Yoga Instructor. ~ Rachael Car...

positive side of our personality.

Online yoga courses are of great
help for those who have a day job
as they are convenient and provide
flexibility. But understanding these
truths about becoming a yoga
instructor is equally important.
It was wonderful reading this
article. Thanks for sharing Elephant

Oceane says:
November 21, 2013 at 09:07
This is a great article. I have
always loved and trusted my yoga
instructors and maybe someday I
will be able to share my own
experience to help others. What
kinds of yoga instructor
certifications are generally needed?
How do they vary?


Huh says:
December 14, 2013 at 16:48
I'm really curious why she's
wearing that style of makeup in the


ciaociao123 says:
March 4, 2014 at 10:31
As I get older, I get creakier and I'm
hoping yoga may be the answer.
Can anyone recommend a class in
south-east or east London that
focuses mostly on the physical side
of yoga and less on the
meditative/spiritual aspects? Or
should I try some programs from a
company like
/quality.htm ? What do you think?


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Adam Sewell says:

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8 Blunt Truths About Becoming a Yoga Instructor. ~ Rachael Car...

March 21, 2014 at 09:14

Great articleexcept Bakasana
has no 'h' and means crane (or
water bird). Kako means crow.

Gordon says:
June 12, 2014 at 19:04
Someone has taught this woman
properly. In listing the first two
items on the list she has effectively
touched on the larger issues facing
Yoga today the perception that
yoga is stretching, poses, or
exercise (in its entirety) and that
the teacher must be living the
There is one thing I'd like to add to
what Rachael has shared. And that
is the phrase "morality" as it relates
to a definition of Yama. Moral, by
definition, implies the concept of
right and wrong. And certainly there
are interpretations (all too common)
that make reference to Yama being
moral. Yet in the complete works of
the Yoga Sutras (where the
concept of yama and niyama are
codified) there is no reference to
"right" or "wrong". Instead the
works of Patanjali offers a method
for reducing human suffering. You
re not "good" if you do it and you
are not "bad" if you do not. Ergo
there cannot be a universal


Katerina says:
August 5, 2014 at 15:50
Being a yoga instructor is not just
about showing your physical
capabilities to students, but about
being a great personality at the first

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8 Blunt Truths About Becoming a Yoga Instructor. ~ Rachael Car...


Aldo says:
August 12, 2014 at 05:06
You took the thoughts out of my
mind, Rachael. Such a blessing to
hear you express your view. It rang
very true with my own views about
Yoga and it's 8 limb approach:-)
Aldo:-) Perth


drmsyogi says:
August 14, 2014 at 22:58
Crow pose is "kakasana"


raven says:
August 17, 2014 at 03:35
No offense but anyone who has
any understanding of Bhagavada
Gita would not be affiliated with
planned parenthood in any way..
That was enough to scare me
away. Yikes!


Andrea says:
September 17, 2014 at 11:18
You really make it seem so easy
with your presentation but I find this
topic to be really something that I
think I would never understand. It
seems too complicated and very
broad for me. I look forward to your
next post, I will try to get the hang
of it!


Tara says:
October 4, 2014 at 16:30
"No one wants to spot their
seemingly enlightened
teacher..pulling into the nearest
pro-GMO fast food joint". Ummm, I
wouldn't want a teacher who is a
sanctimonious judgmental jerk

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8 Blunt Truths About Becoming a Yoga Instructor. ~ Rachael Car...


YogaLondon says:
November 18, 2014 at 13:32
Some people may think that being
a teacher is sort of glamorous but
they're not always aware of the
time sacrifices: waking up before
6am for an early class (got to take
advantage of the high demand
morning rush) the afternoons with
little to do, honestly, who's taking a
class that part of the day, and the
late evenings (again, high demand
Yoga is amazingfor the right
personality type.


jim says:
January 16, 2015 at 01:17
the gita is the indian bible not a
yoga text. westerns get everything


Brett says:
January 21, 2015 at 21:45
The 80/20 rule mentioned in this
article is so true. 80% of success in
teaching yoga is entrepreneurship
and business savvy. I made a little
course called Yoga. Money.
Business. for those of you
interested in just the
business/financial aspect of
teaching yoga and what the
numbers actually net out to.
/how-much-do-yogainstructors-make/ I also have a free
mini class for those considering
yoga teacher training with helpful
hints. As the article says, anyone
will take your money for teaching
training, so its best to really think
about if its right for you.

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8 Blunt Truths About Becoming a Yoga Instructor. ~ Rachael Car...

Valerie says:
February 4, 2015 at 18:52
Nice article! I am in a teacher
training in the Shambhava lineage
nice to see you were trained in it
too! I tried out a bunch of different
teaching studios before deciding on
this one, mainly because they
seemed to be the only ones really
living their yoga.
I'm a little nervous about getting
attendance, but I AM tech-savvy
and I'm sure it will all go well.
Shanti shanti shanti!


Rutu Goklani says:

March 5, 2015 at 20:59
Nice one! Also important to get
trained the right way Think about
training in the Himalayas @


Sophia Lorenn says:

December 2, 2015 at 00:00
Thanks for sharing such great
information. Yoga changed my life
a lot, and still changing it. As a
yoga instructor I recommend to
choose the best yoga instructor
training wisely. Cheers!


Robin says:
January 1, 2016 at 06:10
I came across your site because I
am interested in learning to
become a yoga instructor. The
reason I would like to become an
instructor is that I want to learn the
disciplines and practice to help me

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8 Blunt Truths About Becoming a Yoga Instructor. ~ Rachael Car...

to change the way I live my life.

Eventually when I retire i would like
to become an instructor. Any
recommendations on where I
should begin to look for training?

ranjan bora says:

January 25, 2016 at 11:45
thank you , i am following the same
8 point you given on your lesion, i
have all most 10 years of
experience in yoga,and start to
teaching ,honestly ,but people
asking about certificate so recently
i have dun a certificate course from
a yoga institute,i am teaching free
of cost , now i want to charge fees
to survive my self . advise me ,
regards. Ranjan bora ,

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