Book Review: The Art and Business of Teaching Yoga by Amy Ippoliti and Taro Smith, PhD

If there’s one constant piece of advice that I’ve been getting, it’s been this:

Doing yoga is a powerful thing. TEACHING yoga is powerfully different.

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I had my first experience with Amy Ippoliti when I took one of her classes on Glo. I really enjoyed her vibe: A maximum amount of strong, impactful yoga, a minimal amount of nonsense, and most importantly, a sense of humor. When I decided to look further into her experience as an instructor, I could see why she seemed so knowledgeable! Having started Yoga in her teens, Amy has been sharing her experience and wisdom with the community for years. Writing for publications such as Yoga Journal and Prevention, she has also been featured in countless write-ups by institutions such as Self Magazine and Newsweek.

In 2016, Amy co-wrote The Art and Business of Teaching Yoga with Dr. Taro Smith, with whom she also co-founded 90 Monkeys, an educational resource dedicated to helping yoga professionals improve their skills and business acumen. As many of us in the community know, there isn’t really a roadmap out there for building a successful career out of Yoga Instruction. Despite thousands of potential yoga teachers entering the market every year, very little is said about how to actually get out there and do it. How do you manage to make a living out of this practice? How does one grow their client base, handle the intricacies of social media, market themselves effectively, and somehow still maintain a balance between the financial and spiritual aspects of the practice?

In The Art and Business of Teaching Yoga, Amy and Taro break down some of these challenges for both beginners and established instructors. Throughout the book, critical subjects such as marketing, networking, and finances are discussed in depth. The often dizzying challenges of setting prices, obtaining liability insurance, and managing your finances are all approached with the same calm, practical voice as Amy uses in her classes. A quick explanation here, an example there, and you're well on your way. The sometimes sticker subjects of being a yoga Instructor are covered as well: dealing with multiple ability levels in mixed classes, setting healthy professional boundaries, as well as teaching through a personal “funk”.

“To be a yoga teacher is to embody what it means to have well-being in life, and in turn to impart that understanding to others,” writes Amy. “Trust yourself and your own authentic seat as the teacher. Carve out and claim the time to care for yourself, do your practice, and kindle your own fire. Then watch how your enthusiasm and energy can light up another’s fire. This is how we help wake up the world.”

I encourage you to check out Amy’s website. I also encourage you to join the over 6,000 yoga teachers, studio owners, and teacher trainers who utilize 90 Monkeys, the online and in-person educational resource for Yoga professionals.

The Art and Business of Teaching Yoga by Amy Ippoliti and Taro Smith, PhD can be found on Goodreads. I encourage you to purchase books from independent bookstores if at all possible. Your local library is another fantastic resource and I hope you give them your support.