Figuring Out Your Next Steps As a Yoga Teacher and What You’ll Go Through in Between
They say that 5 years of your professional career amounts to 1 page of your CV. What they forget to mention are the things you go through in between and what you have to do to get to the next one.
With this in mind, my 3 years of teaching with the fourth in the making, I am more than half done with my first page. Because of this, I find myself thinking of the possibilities. Do I keep going with the flow or do I claim my destiny and chart the course on my own? One thing for sure is that I cannot be everything.
Do you remember your first year teaching? The nervousness, the drive to reach more people, that exhilarating feeling when you realise that you’re getting through to your students, you feel fulfilled. I know I did. I also know that to maintain this feeling I have to soar higher. Where to? Didn’t know. All I knew was that I stumbled more times than I could count before I came close to making a decision. So here are the lessons I took away from those moments.
Taking the Next Steps
1. Acknowledge How Far You’ve Come (Believe me You have!)
Affirmations to start you off on your journey are something I wish I would have done more in my earlier years. I relied on the compliments of friends and family but I thought that letting myself know that I was awesome was corny. What that does is that you get high off other people’s praise for a moment. Quickly after that, you regress to how you see yourself. Be it good or bad, Its your default. Because mine was on the negative side my accomplishments were thrown into the shadows. As a result I always thought I needed to learn more. Hopefully this doesn’t have to happen to you. Even if you’ve only had 6 months of teaching under your belt__ that is 6 months of class prep, marketing your classes and upkeep with your students. Teaching is more of an experience game than earning degrees. You take the certificates as something to show for but you still need to show up. Don’t take your day-to-day operations for granted. ideas come out of that everyday.
Let your students organically tell you where you should go. Maybe you spot the pattern right away or maybe you need to guide yourself there by making a profile on your perfect student.
2. Look at Your Students
A common denominator that I have noticed with all my students is that they come to me with a problem. A condition they were born with like scoliosis, a former accident that they have survived from, anxiety issues including depression. These students were the ones I felt the most motivation to help. When I saw that, I started to look into yoga therapy and health coaching. Let your students organically tell you where you should go. Maybe you spot the pattern right away or maybe you need to guide yourself there by making a profile on your perfect student. Let your students from your past and present pave the way for your next few years.
3. Profile Your Future Self
I was having a conversation with my friends from my first teacher training. Jenia was a fitness and yoga Instagram star while Diana just started her company. It was the perfect focus group. Everyone was at a different point in our lives. One was settled with a growing business, while the others were at the precipice of theirs. Diana finally asked, “What’s your endgame?”. What she meant was, “What aspect of this job do you see yourself doing long-term?”. That last word hit me. It meant something sustainable that won’t interfere with your personal life so much, Something that gave you a home but allowed you to roam as well. In the end I came up with 6 work trips a year, private students, and a studio. I gave myself professional goals without a definite framework. It gives you room to grow in different directions instead of using vision boards that box you into a desired image. It is surprisingly effective.
I wrote an article last year on complimentary and supplementary courses to augment your yoga career. It was a 2-part piece that showcased available continuing education. The thing is that knowing our options isn’t the same as understanding how to choose them. I am on research mode for my next certifications. Which signifies that my search engine be it facebook, google or instagram has been very happy to help but I have to be careful. Careful that my choice isn’t a sham or would lead me to something that’s only nice-to-have as opposed to something I really need. I need something that will give me private classes, allow me to create workshops or lectures, and will uplift a studio’s credentials. The goals I have for my long-term self determine my choices. This way it becomes a system instead of decisions based on emotions.
5. Create a Criteria
I often talk about some of the bad courses I fell for during my first year. classes I paid for that amounted to nothing. It made me feel angry, frustrated___most of all helpless. It also drove me to write so that others don’t share my mistakes. I know not all of us can afford the big yoga teacher trainings which is why we fall for the bad ones. But just because we are thrifty doesn’t mean we have to invest cheap. Which brought me to the creation of my criteria. The 3 C’s ; Credentials of the teachers, Credits acquired after, and cost. Who your teacher will be is like going to Yoda. make sure he or she is legitimate. Which means you look at her professional profile. What do you get after you graduate? does it cover your priorities. lastly, look at the price. Believe me, It is better to have money in the bank than invest in something incomplete. I saved 2 years so I could take my 200H TT. Not only did I have credentials on paper, but they prepared me to teach, sequence my classes well, moreover therapeutically adjust my students. It cost me an arm, a leg, with my left kidney but I have no regrets.
There you have it. My ongoing journey for the next trip to come. I have gotten it down to 2 schools for the 500Hour, and I have made my decision over the short courses. Hopefully with a couple more meetings and a family discussion__ I can set everything up.
Recap time! If you are currently teaching, you are already doing a lot. Let your students Steer you in the direction you need to be while profiling the kind of teacher you want to be long-term. Do your research while keeping your priorities in mind. Lastly, When choosing a course don’t forget the 3 C’s.
Teaching yoga walks the line between going with the flow and being systematic but you can use the flow to chart your course.
Good Luck Momoyogis!