My experience in the past few years is that it takes a lot of work, self-promotion and marketing to be a yoga teacher or run a yoga studio. Like other jobs, there are a lot of people applying for the same jobs, as a number of yoga studios have discovered teacher trainings are a great way to make money. Don't get me wrong, I think that it's incredibly hard to run a studio. The expenses on just the building alone and utilities can be astronomical. And the insurgence of corporate run studios churning out teacher trainees, even advertising "become a teacher in one week" makes it really difficult for the smaller studio to compete. Or does it?
While the rise of the corporate chains have brought more locations, more exposure to yoga and more opportunities for those teaching, smaller studios often have more seasoned and experienced teachers, a variety of styles of yoga and often more pay to teachers. However, these generalizations don't always dictate experiences. While attending a class at one of the chain studios, with teacher who probably had six months of experience, I experienced a deep savasana at the end of one of the classes where I went into that alpha-state of pure consciousness and non-attachment, true bliss. And at a studio, a teacher with a lot of experience insisted I go into a headstand after I explained about my constant neck injuries resurfacing afterwards, insisting on instructing me the "proper way" and that I had been practicing it "wrong." And yes, I was injured afterwards.
When I was seeking my teacher training the first time, my values were how can I do this quickly and least expensively. I also didn't want to wait on a waiting list to get in. The cheapest and quickest took place over three months. 90 days. And then I was done. My values were different that what they are now. Now, in my second teacher training, I want to learn specifically from a specific teacher that has amassed a large amount of knowledge over decades on the teaching and practice of yoga. The training takes place over a period of two years. My values have shifted. The first time, I needed to finish quickly and least expensively. Now I value the learning process over a period of time. I will actually end up paying less that I paid for the original teacher training and I get the value of paying that over two years.
There is a value in each and every experience in life. Whether it is learning something, the hard way, the easy way, whatever way or having an experience that you normally don't have. When I open myself up for something new, I am inviting myself to take a step into the void and experience something that ultimately shows me something. Wherever I find myself practicing. If it's in a gym, corporate studio or a converted garage, I open myself up to the experience.
And in terms of competition, I read this in my classes sometimes, it was a letter from Martha Graham to a friend:
"There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is; nor how valuable it is; nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. "