A couple of years ago, Jen Walsh didn't seem like a potential yoga instructor. Back spasms were hitting her daily, and she couldn't even stand straight. Tired of getting spinal injections just to function, she decided to explore yoga.
Walsh isn't one to do things halfway, so she enrolled in an intensive course. "I didn't plan to teach when I began my training, but after 200 hours of it, I wanted to put what I'd learned to use," Walsh said.
Now she teaches yoga six hours a week at two studios. "I love helping other people feel good about themselves," she said. "I know it sounds kind of hokey, but yoga has helped me ... and I like the idea of paying it forward."
Helped her, indeed: Walsh says she has needed no medical attention for her back since taking up yoga, and the healthy lifestyle also helped her lose 50 pounds.
She has no plans to give up her day job as owner of a strategic communications firm, but yoga has helped with that, too.
"I can reduce my stress while working - instead of the other way around."
Plus, she teaches other professionals who want to exercise before or after work, so the hours complement her day job.
Teaching yoga is her perfect side hustle. Could being a fitness instructor be ideal for you, too? Here are 10 reasons it might.
1. You should exercise anyway. We should all exercise, and this is a way to use those same hours to make money.
2. A routine is good for you. You'll be more likely to stick with your exercise routine if people are counting on you.
3. It makes you exercise harder because people are watching.
4. You'll get paid. The median wage for fitness instructors is about $18 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
5. You'll probably get free membership to the gyms where you teach. "I can take other classes for free," said Walsh. "Gym and yoga memberships add up!" And as a fitness instructor, you'll be eligible for discounts of 15 percent to 40 percent on 18 athletic apparel brands.
6. The hours can be good. Other people want to take classes before or after work, so you can teach them before or after work.
7. There's potential to expand. If you love it, you could sell classes to a community recreation center and charge by the head to make even more money. Ten people at $10 a class is $100 an hour.
8. It's another line for your resume. Being a certified instructor in yoga, indoor cycling or Pilates looks cool on your "real" resume because it shows you have diverse interests and talents.
9. You'll be a better singer. Really! The breath control required to talk to your students while you exercise develops your lung strength.
10. You get to listen to great music. Speaking of music, you'll learn about great tunes, because many exercise classes require a playlist.
Walsh cites other, less tangible benefits, saying yoga provides a social outlet. "I meet a lot of great people," she said. "I do most of the work for my 'day' job online or virtually, rather than face to face."
Walsh also values time away from her devices. "I get to unplug digitally for at least an hour every day. No emails, texts, phone calls, et cetera, to scramble to answer."
And her final reason: "It enhances your mood! It's hard to be angry or sad when you're teaching yoga."