An article contributed by Susana Lopes, Member of Norsk Yogalærerforbund.
Where to start as an International Yoga Teacher in Norway?
Many international yoga teachers have approached me in Norway asking questions about how to start giving classes in Norway, the requirements and, most of all, if it is possible to live in Norway as a full-time yoga teacher.
Teaching Yoga in Norway can be a great way to support yourself as also in many countries around the world, but do not expect it to happen overnight. Here are some tips I used as an English-speaking Yoga teacher to help me become a full-time yoga teacher in Norway.
1. Know the requirements you'll need
Most yoga studios, wellness centers and gyms will ask you for some type of Yoga Teacher Certification and will want to know your relevant teaching experience, so have in hand a curriculum with some photos of yourself and your yoga classes if you can. Although the yoga teaching profession is not regulated in Norway (as it is not in most countries), a detailed explanation of your studies and experience will be well appreciated by someone that does not know who you are and where you came from. Present yourself with a positive and familiar attitude, that always has helped me. English is perfect if you do not know Norwegian, as the majority of people in Norway know English and are used to English-speaking classes.
Some of the main sections you should include on your CV are:
Personal summary and contact information
Yoga related qualifications – adult yoga teacher, senior yoga teacher, prenatal and pos-natal yoga teacher, yoga for children teacher, etc
Hobbies and interests
Any other experience you have working for example in yoga retreats, summer camps, cruise ships etc.
2. Present yourself to your local yoga community
I started first by contacting other norwegian yoga teachers in my local community, not to ask for work but especially to present myself and know about their own experience of giving yoga classes in their own country. That also helped me understand what forms of yoga and classes most students were used to. For example, when I gave classes in India, the spiritual and philosophical part of yoga was very much appreciated in classes, in Norway, the most technical explanation of yoga was the most appreciated part. So that helped me understand how to introduce my Hatha Yoga classes to my students and gain their interest in Yoga philosophy as well.
I also was looking for places where yoga classes were given. So look for yoga studios in your area, gyms, hotels, and wellness centers. That helped me also understand what was already being offered to students or what was yet missing.
3. Choose which environment you'd like to teach in
There are many paths that you can take as a Yoga Teacher. There are many teachers who travel from place to place offering specialized workshops or retreats. Some teachers prefer teaching at resorts or cruises. Some teachers want to spend a long time in Norway and rent a space where they build their own yoga studio (by themselves or with other yoga teachers) and start creating their own courses or membership programs. Other yoga teachers look for yoga studios, gyms, and wellness centers. hotels in their city and seek out employment opportunities. You need to find out what is it that you like best and also the income you need to support yourself in Norway.
If you are interested in teaching Yoga full-time, it’s helpful to have an open schedule with a lot of availability so you can pick up as many classes as possible. It can also be helpful to be certified in different styles of yoga so that you can offer a variety of classes, or diversificate the form of yoga you give, for example into more slow classes and more sequence/dynamic classes. This will help you create and build interest in your different classes and open more hours in your schedule.
Another way to add more classes to your schedule is to add more skills in your teaching, for example, being a senior yoga teacher, prenatal yoga and postnatal yoga teacher, yoga for children teacher. That way you can diversificate more your revenue.
Also, you can diversificate by teaching in a yoga studio and also teaching in a wellness center, hotel or gym. So for me, flexibility, as in yoga, is a strength to be able to support yourself as a yoga teacher. If someone asks you for exclusivity they need to pay for it accordantly.
Never forget to take good care of your body and mind, there is always a balanced amount of work that you can do without losing your precious mental and physical health. You are giving a lot to others and yoga classes can be very demanding if you are the teacher so you need to be and feel well to be able to deliver.
5. Understand how payment works
Yoga Instructor salaries can vary based on experience, skills, the place you are working and your location. The experience level is the most important factor in determining the salary. Naturally the more years of experience the higher your wage. But the average yoga teacher will be paid between 300,-kr (as a teacher just starting to teach) to 800,-kr per hour (as an experienced teacher). Of course, you can even do more than that depending on if you are organizing your own courses or if you are being paid a salary.
If you are building up your courses then you can always research what other teachers are doing in your local community and balance your prices with their prices and never think that, because you are lowering your prices you will get more students. People in Norway will always give value to your experience, knowledge, and practical demonstration and advice you give in classes, and will always be willing to pay more for a good teacher than another teacher that does not transmit the same security and knowledge.
6. Show off your skills & market yourself!
After you understand the country and the local yoga community you are moving to, it is time to reach out to the owner of the studio, gym, or other to see if there are any job opportunities as a teacher or a substitute teacher, or any available place to rent. You can go personally, as people will always appreciate to know you better, or send an email to them introducing yourself, your experience, and your interest. You can even start just by convincing some friends to join you in an informal lesson and start your own group this way!
Then you will usually be requested that you teach a demo class. Your demo class is your a great opportunity to show what makes your style unique and why you would be a great addition to the team! Plan your demo-class ahead of time so you don’t draw a blank if you start getting nervous!
Once you’ve started teaching make personal relationships with your students! It’s a great way to make friends but also to give your students a reason to look forward to each class. Find out what your students are interested in learning and tailor your classes so that they feel like they’re progressing and learning something new week by week.
If you’re teaching yoga full-time, it can be easy to become stagnant so try to draw inspiration from other teachers as well! The key is to market yourself and to be confident in what makes you special as a yoga teacher and before you know it, you'll be teaching in Norway!
7. Be in contact with a Yoga Teacher’s Association
Membership in the Norwegian Yoga Teachers' Association is available to all yoga teachers regardless of the yoga tradition. This way you will be able to network with other teachers and get help with rules and regulations in Norway. The association is also the "yoga industry's" mouthpiece in relation to authorities and the media.