How to Start Teaching Right After Your Yoga Teacher Training
During the past few days or months you really put your time and effort – as well as your heart – into training as a yoga teacher. And now that you are a graduate, you are wondering how you’re going to take the next step and actually start teaching. You might be feeling that you’re not ready yet. The pressure might be too high. But, before you start questioning yourself, the best thing you can do is keep your eyes open to any opportunity that comes up. And there are a lot of opportunities out there. And lots of space to create your own opportunities, as well. So, read on and find out how you can start teaching right away, taking it one little step at a time.
Start With Teaching Yourself
This is a great tip I got from a beloved teacher and friend. Put your laptop, your camera or your smartphone somewhere it can see you, lay down your mat, hit “record” and start teaching. Select a single pose, a short sequence or an entire class you would like to teach – it doesn’t have to last an hour and a half. Show the pose or sequence on your mat, while giving instructions, just as if you were leading a class.
As soon as you’re done, hit “play” and start practicing to the recording. This way, you can see yourself as a teacher through the eyes of a student. You can listen to your voice and see if you sound confident. You can find out if your flow made sense, if you rushed through any of the poses and if your instructions were clear enough. Keep your notebook nearby, take some notes and watch your recording again and again if you need to.
Just try to be objective and not too judgmental. Don’t try to find mistakes, or else you’ll end up disappointed. Remember to ask yourself what you did well too. And choose one or two points you can work on improving.
Teach Your Family and Friends
Another great way to gradually build your confidence as a yoga teacher is to start with teaching your family and friends – the ones you already feel comfortable with. These are the people that supported you during your training and they will probably be willing to support you now that you’re done with it as well. Try reaching out to people of all ages, shapes and levels. This way you’ll learn how to get creative when trying to help a student get into a pose.
So, offer a private session to your mother. Invite your buddies over at your place for a 30-minute yoga class and some coffee or a glass of wine. Or organize a picnic at the park and teach them some Sun Salutations or stretches before you sit down to eat. And ask for some honest feedback – let them know that any comment will help.
Keep In Touch With Your Classmates
After finishing your yoga teacher training, try to stay connected to your classmates. You are probably sharing the same “now what?” thought. Arrange to meet face to face or online once in a week, practice together and teach each other. Share your honest opinion on their classes, so that they will do the same with you as well.
Private Classes Can Be A Great Way to Get Started
If you don’t yet feel comfortable to stand and teach in front of a big group, private classes are a perfect way to start. The best part is that you won’t even have to worry about finding space, as your students will most likely want you to go over to their places.
Add your listing on a website for private tutors or take advantage of your social media to reach out for some students in your area. Tell your friends and acquaintances to have you in mind in case they happen to hear of someone looking for a yoga teacher. You may have to start teaching with very little money at first, but once you build experience – and, of course, confidence – private classes can be a great source of income.
No matter how much you study and no matter how many videos you watch for inspiration to prepare your class, there is no way you can teach asana, pranayama or meditation if you haven’t experienced those yourself through your own practice.
Just like with getting any other job, interacting with people and creating a connection or two might prove to be very helpful. You will surely have more chances to find a job at a studio where they already know you, than with just stopping by to drop your CV off.
So network – and not just at your favorite studio. Start practicing at other studios where you would like to teach as well. Get your presence known. Let the studio managers know that you would be more than happy to teach a class for free and ask them to have you in mind as a substitute teacher. Get to know as many people as you can within the local yoga community. And be willing to grab every opportunity that comes up.
Head to the Gym
If you feel that you are not yet ready to start teaching at a yoga studio, heading to the gym to ask for a job might sound easier. It might not be your dream job, but you need to be open to every opportunity, especially in the beginning. After all, you will gain great experience in teaching a large group of students.
Keep Practicing and Remain a Student
Regardless of how soon you will start working as a yoga teacher, the key to becoming good at it is to stay connected to your personal practice. No matter how much you study and no matter how many videos you watch for inspiration to prepare your class, there is no way you can teach asana, pranayama or meditation if you haven’t experienced those yourself through your own practice.
So make sure you stick to your practice. And always remain a student. Taking classes will not only help you in getting your presence known, but will also offer you lots of inspiration. Just remember not to mimic your teachers’ style. Be yourself. Your unique style is what will keep people coming back to your classes.