Recession Blues Quite Real for Yoga Teachers

A few weeks ago, the NYTimes Magazine did a piece on freelance professionals who are suffering under the recession. ( Dristi Yoga blog tipped me off—thanks Dristi!)

The opening anecdote gives a nice, succint picture of what it’s like to be a yoga teacher, recession or no recession. You freelance, you shuttle yourself around the city. At some places all your regulars show up, at others no one comes. You wonder if you might make more money doing something else.

Emily Bazeldon, the reporter, writes: “From Greene Hill, [yoga teacher Lisa] Feuer went to teach a prenatal class elsewhere in Brooklyn; she teaches in Manhattan too, and sometimes she crosses back and forth between the boroughs two or three times a day to get to her web of workplaces. “I spend a lot of time on the train,” she said on the subway to Greene Hill, “and it makes you wonder: If you had a regular job and you didn’t have all that travel time, would you make better money in the end?” She gave a small laugh. “But I love what I do. So I try not to think about that.”

So yes, love is the answer. And the desire to be free of the 9 – 5 shackles. But the article’s outlook is pretty dire.

“Even in her best years, Feuer was never affluent, but with child support she was able to live what she considered a middle-class life. This year, however, because of the classes and students she has lost, Feuer is on track to make as little as $15,000, a 30 percent drop from the past. But because she is underemployed rather than out of work, she is not eligible for unemployment insurance. She also doesn’t show up in the unemployment statistics.”

Yikes! That’s pretty bad.

Times are hard for all freelancers, writes Bazeldon, but when the economy turns (whenever that is), things should pick up again. It’s just hard for the middle-class, used to its i-Phones and coffee shops, to slip into poverty. In the meantime, be extra nice to your yoga teachers—they might be on a steady diet of rice and beans with a side of water. And yoga teachers, creativity might be the answer….

Angel Franco for NYTimes

Angel Franco for the NYTimes. Karl Allen in Manhattan performance (as in performance art) space.

…As in, those with a creative streak seem to be doing better than most  with this best of this batch of lemons. They’re pursuing projects they never had the time for when they were running hither and thither across the city for work. “Defiantly upbeat inspite of grim circumstances” says this inspiring May 19 Times article. An inspiring perspective.

Anyone had a recent experience of losing work then gaining something unexpected and super?

6 Responses to “Recession Blues Quite Real for Yoga Teachers”

  1. 1 Ann Pizer

    Thanks for posting this since I too missed the original article. I took mom and baby classes with Lisa Feuer after my daughter was born. She’s a good teacher- I hate to hear that she’s having such a tough time.

  2. 2 admin

    Hi Ann! Oh that’s so poignant that you know Lisa. So much of her story is in the article, you really get a feel for her (and you *feel* for her, too). I hope she comes shining through, too.

  3. 3 Drishti

    Hi Yoga Nation! So glad you blogged about this piece. We appreciate the vivid picture the article gave of an urban-based yoga teacher’s day-to-day lifestyle. We also totally agree that everyone should be ‘extra nice’ to their yoga teachers right now… 🙂 Thanks for the D mention in the beginning of your article. Bye!

  4. 4 admin

    Hi Dristi, great to hear from you! You are most welcome and thanks again for the tip off. YN

  1. 1 Web Mirror | Recession Blues Quite Real for Yoga Teachers
  2. 2 Twitted by yoganation

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