• Financial Policies & The Realities of Teaching Yoga


    This has been a topic that I’ve wanted to address for a long time, but I hesitate because it’s a topic that significantly stirs up people’s emotions or just comes out sounding whiny.  LOL.

    As I compose the workshop offerings and 2016 teacher training, I have decided how to address the finances of teaching yoga in a simple way which I will adopt as an official declaration of Shivatree Yoga’s mission:


    • You enjoy yoga; I enjoy teaching yoga. 
    • You want to practice yoga regularly because it beneficially impacts your life. 
    • I want to teach as my sole occupation because I believe in its benefits.
      •  If I try to divide my time between some other “real job” and teaching yoga, I do not have the time or energy to develop workshops, retreats or teacher trainings…which are programs that stimulate positive self-evolution more readily than drop-in classes. 
      • These programs also establish consistency, community and lasting friendships…people that help keep each other on track and support one another in times of need.
    • You should be able to study yoga without straining the resources you have to provide for your basic necessities…what I like to call “taking food off the table.”
    • Yes, I chose this profession and all of its financial implications, but I should be able to teach yoga without struggling to “put food on my own table”.


    I will put price tags on most every event that I offer.  HOWEVER, I DO NOT WANT TO TURN ANYONE AWAY because of financial constraints…the only exception is for retreats, which I’ll get to in a moment.  For example, the 2016 teacher training is $2,500 but if you can honestly only pay a portion of  that, PLEASE attend the training.  Pay what you can, and in some instances perhaps we can negotiate a partial trade.  I would rather have five deeply engaged people in the program and meet costs rather than two people who were able to pay in full.

    DO NOT feel embarrassed by offering what you are able to pay…I’m a yoga teacher…we have often lived paycheck to paycheck, I washed clothes in the bathtub for a couple months upon moving to the big island, and for many months we will most likely be camping on the property that we just purchased.  I’m not embarrassed to admit that; just remember, the yoga teacher is usually the poorest person in the room, so have no shame!  =)

    So why are retreats an exception?  Because by offering discounts or trades I am paying out of pocket, which I cannot do…I have to reserve at least 8 rooms in advance and make a deposit without having any guarantee that those rooms will be filled.  If we get 16+ people, there is a profit; if we get 8 people, we break even; if we get less than 8 people, I’m throwing up because we lost a big chunk of money.  Ha.  Will I keep hosting retreats regardless of the profit?  YES! 

    Why?  Because retreats provide a necessary respite from daily life, one that refuels you in a way that allows you to go back into your daily routines with more energy, enthusiasm and gratitude.  I don’t see it as a vacation and I bet most previous participants would agree, it’s a time devoted to self care.

    By the way, it is really helpful and essential to have EARLY deposits and RSVPs to retreats, otherwise I may not be able to afford the deposit by the required deadline (unless there are consistent profits from retreats), which is often four to six months in advance!  I know it’s really hard for us here in Hawaii to make early commitments because we tend to go with the flow.  With that in mind, I’ve also written another financial policy which is this:

    For retreats, trainings or  deposits exceeding $100:  When you submit a deposit for a program or event, if something arises to prevent your participation, you may use the non-refundable portion towards any future class, workshop, training or retreat with Amanda. If you submit more than the non-refundable portion (or event doesn’t declare a non-refundable portion) and cannot participate, the remaining balance will be refunded to you within 30 days AFTER the event concludes.


    For pre-paid classes under $100:  You may apply the payment towards a different event OR a request a refund to be returned within 14 days following event.



     I recently came across a well-written article, whose author respectfully addressed just this, click here to read.


    If you have benefited from any of the information shared on this website, please consider making a donation to support its ongoing development in addition to compensating Amanda for the investment of her time.  Mahalo!



3 Responsesso far.

  1. […] Pay what you can without “taking food off your table” (see financial policy here) […]

  2. Jessica R Castle says:

    I am having a hard time locating a way of contacting. I just moved to the island to work for Pacific Quest. I will have every other week off. I would love to become a certified yoga teacher. Since I will only be available every other week I was wondering if there was a way to work something out.

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