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How to get started as a wellness practitioner
The world of health, wellbeing and wellness can seem intimidating if you’re trying to forge a career or side hustle, but it doesn’t have to be.
We asked Jen – A2Dominion Communications guru and practicing yoga teacher – for her advice for those who want to dive into the world of wellness.
My first steps
If you’re thinking about working as a wellness practitioner, chances are you already know what it is you want to do. You might find that you can’t stop talking about it, that you’re telling all your friends to try it. Maybe you’re spending most of your free time and a fair chunk of your money on it? That’s how it all started for me with yoga.
I remember sitting in a pub with a friend who wanted to become a freelance writer. She’d taken a course, prepared her CV and was reaching out to previous employers for contract work.
I had recently started my yoga teacher training diploma but felt like a bit of a fraud. ‘How will I know when I’m really a yoga teacher?’ I asked. ‘Just take a step in that direction and keep walking’, she said. So, I did.
Do you know what you’re doing?
Clearly you can’t just decide one day you’re a yoga teacher, reiki master or acupuncturist, and start sticking needles in people or telling them how to do downward dog. Finding out what you need to do to get qualified is a good start.
But before signing up for a costly, longer-term course, you might like to dip your toe in, to make sure it’s right for you. Many yoga schools offer taster sessions, for example, so you can see how you feel about committing to a diploma.
My teacher training diploma took 18 months part time, but I started with a 6-month foundation course. At first, I just wanted to find out more about yoga, I definitely didn’t want to teach. Until the first day of that foundation course – then I just knew.
If it seems too good to be true…
Sadly, even in the world of wellness, there are plenty of sharks out there and lots of misleading information.
Watch out for ‘become a yoga teacher in 2 weeks in Bali’ type courses. Do you think you’d feel confident that you could teach yoga safely to a room full of students after 2 weeks of training? If not, you might like to consider another course.
I know lots of people who’ve used this type of course as a retreat or starting point for further training, but it might not be enough to start teaching – even if it ticks the qualification box.
Teaching is different from doing
If you really love yoga, that doesn’t necessarily mean you want to teach it. If you’re a huge fan of massage, it doesn’t always follow that you want to massage others. Before you fork out on expensive courses and fabulous business cards, make sure you know what it is you’re training to do and have a sense of how it might make you feel.
I love teaching yoga and I’m so grateful that it’s part of my life, but would you believe it can be quite stressful at times? And tough on the body. As much as I enjoy it, after teaching I don’t feel like I do at the end of attending a class. It’s great, but different. It’s worth going into sharing your passion with your eyes open about this.
Keep your day job
Teaching yoga, writing about yoga and publicly speaking about yoga have been a nice little side hustle for me over the years, but early retirement is not on the horizon unfortunately. It’s not surprising that lots of people want to work in wellness – to help others and also as a lifestyle choice.
But that can mean there are lots of people working in the area you’re passionate about and this can limit what you can expect to earn. Don’t let that put you off – plenty of people make plenty of money in wellness– but I’d suggest keeping a regular income while you explore your new career.
Make sure you love it
Over the 15-or-so years I’ve been teaching yoga I’ve dipped into every combination of full and part-time teaching and office jobs, always striving to get the balance right for what I want and need at the time.
Overall, I’ve learned to keep yoga as my passion primarily, and use my income from it to undertake more training, donate to causes I feel strongly about and buy myself the occasional piece of yoga clothing or equipment.
This sits well with yoga’s philosophy around letting go of attachment to the outcomes of your practice. It also allows me to keep a healthy separation between my passion and how I support myself financially. This works well for me, but you might take – and want – a different approach.
All I’d say is make sure you love it and keep loving it. Surely that’s why you’re considering doing it?
Want to follow in Jen’s footsteps?
Applications to our Health Entrepreneur programme close soon. Send your details to our Community Investment team today!