Being a yoga teacher is hugely rewarding but it does bring its own challenges. When I first started teaching in Glasgow I was teaching in church halls and other public spaces that I could hire by the hour. At first, it was a success if two or three people showed up for a class so I got to teach and break even for the room rental. It was not easy but I learned a lot of important lessons in those first few months. When I was a new teacher, lacking confidence was one of my biggest struggles. After a few years of teaching it has got a lot easier, but that feeling never entirely goes away. I’d like to share with you some advice I’ve received and lessons I’ve learned along the way that has helped me grow and feel comfortable in the seat of the teacher.
- You know enough - as yoga teachers we love to learn new things and develop our practice, which is great, but you also need to remember that you have enough knowledge within you now. Teach what you know and that is enough. Maybe next year you will have a new perspective and you will teach differently but for now let yourself be comfortable with where you are and teach from that place.
- Your people will find you - each teacher will bring their own style and flavour to their classes. It’s something you can’t replicate because you need to be yourself and let that shine through. If you teach from your authentic self, then people who resonate with that will find you and keep coming back to your classes. Trying to please absolutely everyone and make sure everyone likes you will not be possible and you end up feeling confused. Some people will come to your class and never come back and that’s ok. Some people will come to your class and they will become regular students for years and hey presto you’ve started building your community!
- It’s ok to make mistakes - it’s a normal part of teaching to miss part of your sequencing, stumble on your words or teach something that goes a bit wrong. Truthfully, people won’t remember if you missed Triangle pose on the left side but they will remember how they felt in your class. For example one of my key values is for people to feel at home in their bodies, so as long as I did my best to foster an environment where people felt safe and accepted then I go home happy. If you stick to your key message and values then you know that you have done a good job!
- You are learning in public - it can take years to develop certain teaching skills and in the meantime you are learning in a very public way. You may go to a workshop and learn a new way of doing something – last year I decided to reduce the number of demos I did in class – but you then have to try it in practice to get good at it! Your students will be game for trying new things and open to it if you explain what you’re up to and why it will benefit them.
- Prepare - I always go into class with a written class plan and intention. This gives me confidence in what I have to offer as I have carefully crafted the class ahead of time. If you are trying to wing it then you won’t really have a direction and it’s hard to feel good about what you’re offering and be able to communicate that to people clearly.
So: be prepared, keep learning, keep trying new things, but be confident and trust in yourself and your students will too. This September we are excited to be offering a mentorship for new teachers! Keep an eye for more details! We are also running an abundant yoga teacher immersion in June with will be great to help you feel more confident in your teaching and in running a yoga business.