The Top 6 Reasons It’s Great For A Yoga Teacher To Be A Sub

Here, there, everywhere. Only about half of these are regular classes; the rest are subs.

Every yoga teacher knows that getting regular classes on a studio’s schedule is better than just being a sub right?


That depends.

Today I’m going to dive into the Top 6 Reasons it’s Great to Be a Sub.

Part of the reason I love subbing so much has to do with my personal teaching background. I trained and then worked at a studio which did not have a regular schedule. The teachers were never listed on the website, and each week we were assigned to different classes, based on submitting our own personal availability.

Right from the start of my teaching career, I was accustomed to an ever-changing teaching schedule. This worked perfectly for me, because at the same time, I was auditioning as an actor in NYC. Between auditions, callbacks, voice lessons, dance classes, etc., my schedule was constantly in flux. So not having to work around set class times was super convenient.

Fast forward 6 years. I now live in Boston, and I don’t do a ton of auditioning anymore. I am happily a part-time teacher (seeing as I also run Edge of the Mat and have a content-writing biz), and I have exactly 5 regular classes on my teaching schedule. That being said, I teach, on average, anywhere from 6-10 classes a week, and sometimes up to 12.

What gives? If I’m teaching more classes every week, why don’t I just try to add to my regular schedule?

Because to me, being a sub is a fabulous opportunity, and I always want to leave room for picking up classes. Here’s why I recommend consistently subbing to any teacher:

*You get to mix things up. Think back to when you did your teacher training. Were you following your heart to freedom? Perhaps looking to escape the 9 to 5 grind of an office job? Teaching yoga may not run on a 9 to 5 schedule, but you can get trapped in the same old routine all the same. When you pick up sub classes, there’s opportunity to be in a different place at a different time, which can add some much-needed variety to your week.

*You get to meet new students. When you agree to cover somebody else’s class, you have the opportunity to meet a different batch of students who walk through the studio doors. Many students choose their classes based on advanced knowledge of the teacher, so by putting yourself in front of some new folks, you might be gaining additional students for your regular time slots! This is also a great opportunity to mention workshops and retreats you’re leading.

*You get your foot in the door at new studios. Very often, a new studio will start a teacher off by putting them on the sub list. The more classes you’re able to pick up, the more chances there are for the studio and student population to get to know you. This is a consistent, effective approach to getting those regular classes on the schedule. If, on the other hand, you’re rarely or never available to cover classes, the studio will probably remove you from the sub list after a few months, and you won’t be a familiar name or face. Subbing will often earn you free classes at the studio in addition to getting paid, so you can practice somewhere new as well.

*You significantly reduce the work/stress of finding your own subs. One of my least favorite parts of teaching, to be honest, is being responsible for finding my own subs. I tend to overstress about it, and I L-O-V-E when I can submit a sub request directly to studio management instead of getting my own classes covered. That’s not always the case, so c’est la vie. That being said, when I go out of town for a week, I only have 5 regular classes I need to get covered, instead of 15. I travel often, so that’s a lot less work/stress on my part each time I want to take a trip.

*You’re in control of your schedule. Having a bad week? Friends coming into town for a visit? Occupied with another project? If you’re a sub, it’s as simple as not picking up any classes for that duration of time to keep your regular schedule to a minimum. When my family comes to town for the weekend, I don’t usually sub out my classes. I teach once Thursday night and once Sunday morning. No big deal. Now let’s look at the opposite scenario. Say I just got back from a week’s vacation and I’m ready to make up the lost pay. I can pick up as many classes as I want (at the time of writing this, I’m in the midst of a 12-class week) at times that work for me. Either way, I’ve got a lot of control over when and where I teach.

*You build good karma with other teachers and studios. When you pick up sub classes, you create goodwill with your teaching community and your studios. I will go out of my way to cover for somebody who has covered for me in the past, even if it’s not ideal in my schedule. That coverage establishes a personal relationship with my fellow teachers. Also, studios pay attention to who picks up what classes. If you’re a team player who helps out, that gets you noticed. If you have ever trouble getting your own classes covered, the owner/manager will likely move heaven and earth to get you a sub, because they know how valuable you are to their team. I talk more about building good karma with your studios in the Yogi’s Guide to Teaching at a New Studio.

So that’s it: the top reasons that being a sub is awesome, amazing, valuable, and fun.

Did this article give you any new perspectives on subbing? Leave me a note in our private Facebook group.