Learning to Overcome the Biggest Fears as a New Yoga Teacher
We’ve all been there, and seen that: fearing failure is part of the journey as a yoga instructor, all it takes is to build the right confidence and dive deep into this new, thrilling career! Eager to find out how? Then read on to discover all about the topic!
Dear Yoga teacher, I feel you: you have just finished your yoga teacher training and are eager to kick off your new career. But when the decisive moment finally arrives, your mind is soon flooded with a waterfall of "what ifs": "What if I ruin or forget the whole sequence?", "What if no one shows up?", "What if no one will enjoy the class?". Well, take a deep breath and relax, because the truth is that all of these questions and fears are simply part of the journey, as it's completely natural to fear failure when taking the leap as a teacher.
But I'm here to help you and together we’ll explore different ways you can quieten those voices in your head, build more confidence and become a great yoga teacher!
Fear of public speaking
Let’s face it: even the most self-confident teacher can have a shaky voice when showing up in front of a class full of students. As mentioned, the fear of public speaking is part of the process, but it can sometimes be a big deal for some of us. And if you're a little shy and introverted, you might agree when I say this fear can potentially ruin the whole class - you simply feel stuck, almost frozen and fear takes over. And believe me when I say it's completely normal, but let's see how we overcome this fear …
Allow yourself to be vulnerable
We all know the power of the mind, and how it can influence everything, and actually, the key to this problem it's just in you. So start to shift focus on your skills, rather than on your weakness, leverage your teaching aptitudes, the knowledge you've begun to build hours after hours of TTC, and just trust yourself. Ideally, try to start small, begin with teaching yoga to your friends and family, and then try to reach out to studios…
Because it's true, teaching yoga is an art and in order to be a great teacher you need to breathe yoga, so learn to practise ahimsa also on yourself: practice self-love for your mind, give yourself a break from anxiety and just trust yourself, you've got this. So be compassionate towards yourself, try not to have too many expectations from yourself, and if a mistake happens, well remember that yoga is all about progression rather than perfection, so allow yourself to be vulnerable, to make mistakes and take them as new lessons to learn.
Embrace your weakness and show them because it won’t make you a bad yoga teacher in the eyes of your students, it just makes you a real human being.
Fear of forgetting the sequence
One of the biggest concerns new yoga teachers have in their first yoga class is messing up the whole sequence. It goes without saying that once you start teaching yoga, it is normal to be afraid of failing or forgetting the flow. It is very possible to mess up the sequence, especially if it is a little complicated, ... but relax please, you are not the first and you are not the last teacher who has forgotten the sequence. So take a deep breath and see how you can avoid this unpleasant event.
Plan everything in advance
If there's one thing you've probably learned during your yoga teacher training, it's the importance of planning ahead. Improvised play is fine, but suitable for experienced teachers. So ideally you plan your lesson, practice your daily routine and incorporate it into your daily practice. Over time you will find that not only your mind will remember the sequence, but also your body. Just as we learn specific dance steps, our body has memories of certain movements, and if we practice them consistently, each movement will flow with effortless ease.
Plus, I have a gentle reminder: It's okay to bring your notes to your first yoga class, so if you're feeling lost, keep them handy, nobody will judge you for that! After all, the best teachers are those who are still yoga students. Try not to overdo it, of course, and bring your notes primarily for psychological support, but then with time you’ll practice and remember the flows quite naturally.
Fear of falling out of the pose
In addition to worrying about ruining the sequence, one of the most common teaching concerns we tend to have is the idea of falling out of a shape. Especially in advanced ones, sometimes falling is just unavoidable. And yes, the embarrassment that follows is also part of the game and you may be wondering, "If I can't hold the pose myself, how do I expect my students to nail it?". Well, I can't really show you how to keep balance, but I can definitely help you figure out how to deal with this fear!
Allow yourself to make mistakes
One thing we should all be aware of is that, as we said, sometimes mistakes just happen ... And we can't do much about it! As I said before, the first step to building more self-confidence is to be self-compassionate and understand that making a mistake is not the end of the world! So don't worry too much. If you find yourself in such a situation, try to just stay with your breath, which is, as you know one of the most precious gifts our body gives us.
So take a deep breath, focus, and trust yourself before you get into a shape. And if you can't keep the pose simply have a good laugh! After all, who said that perfection is the key to yoga? Embrace your weakness and show them because it won’t make you a bad yoga teacher in the eyes of your students, it just makes you a real human being. This way your students can feel more related to you and therefore more connected!
Fear of not finding a job
Obviously, the natural concern a new yoga teacher may have from the moment their training finishes is that of not finding a job. And we know the yoga business is pretty complex because the number of newly qualified instructors increases by the day... But at the same time, yoga is also an ever-growing phenomenon, so that means there are always students that could be interested in joining your class, you just need to find a way to promote yourself! Let’s find out how in the following section:
Start small and then take the leap!
When looking for a new job, it is quite unlikely that you will find it instantly if you have little or no experience. But what I personally like about teaching yoga is that there are always volunteering opportunities somewhere in the world. For example, I started my career as a volunteer on “workaway.com”, and I’m forever grateful for that because I was able to finesse teaching skills while enjoying life abroad. So get out of your comfort zone and take the plunge!
Plus, the internet is full of sites that can connect volunteers and hosts! After gaining a little experience, your search for a new job will certainly go more smoothly. If not, check out platforms like "yogatrade" and "yogatraveljobs", or if you can't get away from your daily hassle, try making a list of all the studios nearby. Then create a thorough, genuine, and motivational resume and cover letter and explain your passion for yoga and your dream of starting this new career.
Fear that students do not like the class
During your life as a teacher, you'll probably find yourself wondering if your students enjoyed the class or not. And personally, I have to say that when I started off I was also devoured by the constant fear that they didn't like or get the message of my classes. You start doubting yourself, revising your flows and with time you might as well start to dislike teaching yoga all along. But also, in this case, there's a way that could help you find some peace of mind and ensure that everyone enjoys the fantastic benefits of this beautiful practice.
Ask for help and for feedback
As we said, showing our vulnerability is actually a sign of great strength. So if you start to doubt the effectiveness of your classes, don't be scared of asking for help from a colleague, the yoga community is usually full of people who are understanding and compassionate. So you'll surely find a helping hand when in need. And I find it incredibly reassuring. Especially if you work in a studio, it's nice to feel connected with other teachers, because there's always a chance to learn, discover new things and grow.
Plus, I know this might sound quite obvious but actually, asking for feedback at the end of the class is incredibly helpful: it gives you some tranquillity and allows you to understand what to change and how to improve. And ultimately, it could also be the first step toward a meaningful connection with your students.