This year, however, YogaKids has trained 51 teacher-educators nationwide, who have taught another 50 teachers in the “Tools for Schools” program, according to Haysman. YogaEd has trained about 200 teachers nationwide, Kalish says. So far, most of Yoga Ed.’s teacher trainees have come through the ranks of the public education system, largely due to a federal Physical Education Program (PEP) grant worth about $750,000. But Kalish believes there is ample opportunity for yoga teachers to become trained and then offer training to school teachers. Yoga’d Up, aimed at 8-12 year olds, has trained about 200 teachers since its May launch, according to founder Fenella Lindsell. Based in the U.K., Yoga’d Up is an offshoot of YogaBugs, a program for children aged 2-7 that has trained 900 teachers in the U.K. and Ireland.
Teaching yoga in schools is a way for yoga teachers to expand their reach—and their income. Pay for these ventures varies widely, and most depend on the initiative of the yoga teacher. Some teachers find funding for their efforts through grants, which they need to write themselves. Others work with parents who donate money to make yoga available in their children’s schools. Some schools, having seen the benefits yoga can offer their students, have raised money to have their teachers trained. One school in Coral Gables, Florida, for example, funded 10 teachers to receive YogaKids training, according to Wenig.
Pay for teaching in schools usually amounts to more than teaching in a studio, according to Haysman, who has taught yoga in schools for five years and codeveloped YogaKids’ “Tools for Schools” program. “In a studio, teachers usually get $40 per class, while in a school I’ve gotten all the way up to $75 for 45 minutes,” she explains. Once the school’s PTA paid her $200 just to participate in a job fair.
“We’re also starting to see after-school yoga clubs popping up,” Haysman says. An Atlanta school is raising money for its after-school club by charging $10 per child, per class. With 30 children participating, the teacher gets paid $150 per class, while the school uses its share of the fees for props and other programs.
Getting Started—and Continuing
Wenig started teaching in schools by volunteering at her own children’s school. “I never imagined seeing a training or certification program evolve,” she says. She recommends pro bono work as a way to get a foot in the door. In addition, training gives teachers credibility, as do lesson plans—such measurements of expertise follow a format that makes sense to school administrators.
The business plan based on teacher training for schoolteachers appears to have profit potential as well. Earlier this year, a venture capitalist offered £200,000 to Yoga’d Up founders Fenella Lindsell and Lara Goodbody, in exchange for 30 percent of their business. Lindsell and Goodbody chose not to sell, but they are optimistic that they will find investors to help them to bring their program to the United States.