Occupation Thesaurus Entry: Yoga Instructor

Jobs are as important for our characters as they are for real people. A character’s career might be their dream job or one they’ve chosen due to necessity. In your story, they might be trying to get that job or are already working in the field. Whatever the situation, as with any defining aspect for your character, you’ll need to do the proper research to be able to write that career knowledgeably.

Enter the Occupation Thesaurus. Here, you’ll find important background information on a variety of career options for your character. In addition to the basics, we’ll also be covering related info that relates to character arc and story planning, such as sources of conflict (internal and external) and how the job might impact basic human needs, thereby affecting the character’s goals. It’s our hope that this thesaurus will share some of your research burden while also giving you ideas about your character’s occupation that you might not have considered before.

Below is a sample version of this entry to help you see how an occupation can reveal your character’s beliefs, history, goals, and more.

To view the full entry, visit One Stop for Writers where it resides within the largest fiction-based descriptive database ever created. (Free Trial available.)

Is your character a yoga instructor? We've researched how character personality and talents will impact the story and writing

Occupation: Yoga Instructor

Overview: A Yoga instructor (Yogi) is someone who specializes in helping others create a harmonious union between the body and mind through breathing exercises (pranayama) and postures (asanas). They help clients become more flexible while strengthening their bodies, and to develop a more balanced, peace-seeking mindset through visualization and meditation. While teaching classes (at a studio, health center, spa, in a natural setting, on a retreat, or in a private home), a good instructor will pay close attention to the needs of their clients and design a program that is tailored to them. A class for pregnant women, children, or senior citizens will require specialized stretches…

Yoga instructors also will put considerable time into the business end of their practice (accounting, time management, promotion, client outreach, etc.), choosing what specialties to teach (Ashtanga, Bikram, Hatha, Iyengar, Kripalu, to name a few), creating playlists and routines the group will enjoy, building relationships with clients, evaluating progress

Necessary Training: There are many schools and programs that teach the philosophies and history of yoga and certification in a variety of practices. After becoming certified, many will develop specialties (in specific styles of yoga, spiritual/meditative schools of thought, and working with clients such as pregnant women, seniors, and other vulnerable individuals who will have specific challenges …  

Useful Skills, Talents, or Abilities: A knack for languages, a knack for making money, basic first aid, charm, empathy, enhanced hearing…

Helpful Character Traits:

POSITIVE: Adaptable, adventurous, affectionate, calm, centered, charming, confident, cooperative, courteous, creative, diplomatic, disciplined, empathetic, enthusiastic, extroverted, friendly, generous, gentle, happy…

Sources of Friction: balancing studio sessions and private clients (and finding a work-life balance), needing to travel to multiple locations each day (teaching at a studio, at client’s homes, running classes at gyms and community centers, etc.), illness, a car breakdown, or an injury that puts one out of commission for a period of time, private clients who cancel or ask to reschedule with little notice, clients who assume one yoga instructor is the same as the next, misunderstanding a vulnerable person’s challenges and them being hurt during a yoga session as a result, clients not being upfront with conditions and injuries that make certain maneuvers dangerous

People They Might Interact With: clients, studio owners, gym management, community hall employees, other instructors

How This Occupation Might Impact One’s Basic Needs:

  • Self-Actualization: If the character was unable to find clients with similar ideologies and a true desire for embracing becoming someone more is in tune with themselves and the world around them (and instead doing yoga because it was fashionable, for example
  • Esteem and Recognition: A character who struggled to maintain a steady practice because of too much competition, being undercut on pricing, or other economic factors, may start questioning their own abilities
  • Love and Belonging: Yoga instructors may need to put in long, unpredictable hours in that can impact the ability to form and nurture loving relationships…
  • Safety and Security: It can be very hard to make a steady income and living wage, which could lead to financial struggles.

Common Work-Related Settings: backyard, beach, community center, cruise ship, fitness center, gymnasium, living room, park, spa

Twisting the Fictional Stereotype:

Yoga instructor characters don’t have to always fit into the “young and beautiful” category. Consider how an older character who teaches will not only reinforce the idea of following a passion–they will also have valuable insight into life and may offer a more balanced outlook, which can add something special to the story. Some occupations are more about personality and mindset that physical features, and this is one of them.

Visit the other Occupations in our collection HERE.

How will your character’s occupation help reveal their innermost layers?

Much of your character’s life will revolve around their work, and whether they love it or hate it, their job is a great way to show, not tell, their personality traits, skills, work ethic, worldview and beliefs, and more, so we should choose it with care.

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Angela is a writing coach, international speaker, and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also is a founder of One Stop For Writers, a portal to powerful, innovative tools to help writers elevate their storytelling.
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