With nearly 60% of Australian yoga teachers identifying as “self-employed” it is timely to explore some less considered revenue streams. It is common knowledge that yoga is taught in yoga studios, gyms, Pilates spaces, online, in a corporate environment, and private home studios.
However, there are other avenues to explore:
- Yoga students may be eligible for health insurance rebates
- Yoga teaching and yoga therapy can be included in the aged care and NDIS sectors
- Private addiction and rehabilitation clinics offer yoga & meditation as part of the therapeutic healing journey
It can be tricky to navigate these avenues if you are unfamiliar with the systems and processes in place. Let’s set out some guidelines to build your awareness and knowledge around these options.
Health Insurance Rebates
Unfortunately, yoga is not claimable under Medicare. Furthermore, in 2019, yoga (among other modalities) was removed from general private health insurance policies as part of the federal government review into natural therapies. There are still some private health funds that continue to offer yoga as part of ‘extras cover’. However, yoga must form part of a person’s health management plan as recommended by a medical or allied health professional.
The private health insurance funds that do offer rebates for yoga as part of someone’s health plan will often require the yoga teacher or therapist to be a registered member with Yoga Australia. Participating health funds will require a yoga teacher to issue a detailed and signed receipt, often including the teacher’s Yoga Australia membership number.
Residential Aged Care
Residential aged care is the term used to describe a facility where older adults live because they can no longer live in their own homes due to their care needs. In the past these were called ‘nursing homes’, or in more recent times ‘low or high level care facilities’. The current terminology is ‘residential aged care’.
Yoga is often offered in residential care settings as part of their exercise and lifestyle activity programs.
As a yoga teacher looking to run classes in this setting, you would be expected to understand health and mobility issues experienced by older adults in a care setting. You would be well placed to have extensive knowledge of chair yoga, anatomy and physiology, the ageing body, and dementia.
In a residential care setting you would find a very diverse set of abilities within the class you teach. Some adults may be cognitively intact, but frail and only able to move whilst seated, or in a wheelchair. You may also have some very strong and able bodies participants living with dementia. It will require extensive skills, knowledge and training to feel confident to provide an enriching class for all the participants.
There are no particular rules around running yoga classes in residential aged care. However, you may be required to show your Yoga Australia membership, insurance papers and first aid certificate. The facility would look very favourably at a yoga teacher who understands the ageing process, and has completed further education in this field.
If this interest you the best way to get involved is to contact the facilities in your area, arrange to meet the manager, and drop off a copy of your resume and credentials.
Some facilities may ask the participants to pay you directly for each class (for example the participants bring $15 each week). Other facilities may have a set lifestyle budget and you would invoice them a flat rate for the class (for example $90 per class).
Community Aged Care
Many older adults (that is, anyone aged 65 and over) receive funding from the Federal Government to receive care and support services to stay living at home. This program is currently known as ‘Home Care Packages’. Yoga can be an eligible service under a person’s Home Care Package, but must be prescribed and monitored by a physiotherapist or exercise physiologist.
If this interests you then get in touch with private physiotherapy clinics and let them know what you offer. This is a particularly useful connection to establish if you are a yoga therapist. You may be able to hire a room at the physiotherapy clinic for one-to-one, or small group sessions. You may be able to visit someone in their own home as part of their physiotherapy plan.
The physiotherapy clinics would require you to be insured, be up-to-date with first aid training, and most likely, require you to be at least a Registered Level 1 Teacher with Yoga Australia.
You would also be expected to have sound knowledge and skills around working with older adults, and understand the varying abilities and conditions that can impact them.
You may be required to register with the organisation who holds the funding for the older person receiving the Home Care Package. This would entail completing forms, providing insurance details, and a valid ABN.
Other community avenues that you may consider include working in community health clinics, or local community centres. Do not be afraid to get in touch, and reach out to these organisations. They may not require a yoga teacher right now, but these situations are very fluid and can quickly change.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is funded by the Federal Government. The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) is an independent agency who oversee the implementation of the NDIS.
NDIS provides support to people living with permanent or significant disabilities in our community. NDIS funding ensures people can access the services and supports they need to enjoy their lives and live well. NDIS covers people aged between 7 – 65 years, after which they would transition to a Home Care Package.
The NDIA understand the importance of people participating in ‘community, social and recreational activities’, and ‘exercise physiology and physical wellbeing activities’. Yoga classes and yoga therapy may fall under either of these two groups.
You have two options to get involved. The first is to become a Registered Provider. There are rules and compliance matters that you need to adhere to, and a detailed application process. The good news is, that once you are accepted and registered, you become part of the wider NDIS community: Your services are listed on the Approved Provider register. As long as participating in community, social and recreational activities is on their plan people can access your services as needed.
To be considered as a Registered Provider you must demonstrate that your service provides Core Support: Your service helps a participant to complete daily living activities, and helps them work towards meeting their goals. Your service must represent value for money, be effective and beneficial, and be related to the person’s disability.
As a Registered Provider you can promote your services on the myplace portal, and you can freely display the ‘I heart NDIS’ logo and use the ‘Registered NDIS Provider’ tagline.
You do not have to be a Registered Provider though. A person (or their plan manager) may reach out directly. For example, you run a weekly yoga class in Chelsea. A woman in her 50’s who receives NDIS funding to help her manage anxiety and engage with the community, contacts you to see if your yoga class might suit her needs. You contact her plan management agency to check if her plan includes yoga and meditation, you explain your service, and the costs. They approve this and you invoice them directly.
The upside of not being registered is that you do not need to go through the intricate registration process. The downside is that you won’t be known to the wider NDIS community, can not use their logo or tagline, or be found on the myplace portal.
Whether you are a Registered Provider or not, hourly rates are capped and you cannot charge more than the upper level for the corresponding item number. You may be submitting your invoice through a portal (if you are registered), to the individual attending your class, or to the plan manager. You will be required to include a valid ABN on your invoices, along with the relevant item number.
Not sure if NDIS is for you? Why not do some research on the Registered Provider list. Select the ‘Exercise Physiology and Physical Wellbeing” group and get in touch with a provider in your area. You may be able to work for them, or with them, and explore your options.
Here is the link to find out more about becoming a NDIS Registered Provider https://www.ndis.gov.au/providers/becoming-ndis-provider
Here is the link to search the ‘Exercise Physiology and Physical Wellbeing” group providers https://www.ndis.gov.au/participants/working-providers/find-registered-provider/provider-finder
Drug & Alcohol Rehabilitation Facilities
Many private rehabilitation clinics offer yoga, mindfulness, meditation and relaxation services. These may occur onsite, or the participants may be driven to your studio. There are no specific regulations or registrations needed to provide yoga in these facilities and clinics.
It is worth noting that you may be required to provide mats and other equipment.
In most circumstances you will invoice for a flat rate, regardless of how many participants attend each class. A flat rate between $80 – $150 is acceptable and would include set up, and pack up time. Some private facilities may pay you more.
To get involved, do some research online. Find some local clinics and reach out to them. Rehabilitation clinics can offer recovery from a wide range of addictions, including:
It is important to consider the following requirements when exploring ways to expand your teaching options:
All of the above-mentioned industries also employ staff. Have you considered offering these businesses sessions for their staff? These dedicated people often go above and beyond to deliver their support and care. You may put together a mindfulness meditation program for the care staff in a residential or community setting. Or, a 20-minute lunchtime asana class for the staff at a rehabilitation clinic. The possibilities are endless once you begin to explore outside the box. Through yoga you can help change lives.