New Yoga Teachers: How to Turn Your Dream Job into Your Dream Career
Today, it’s not a secret: they say the most successful people have habits they keep at, they build routines, they learn how to make their days, weeks, months —and therefore years— better by taking smart action. While the definition of “success” is (and must be) specific to each of us, especially as yoga teachers, habits are definitely an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to reaching the goals we’ve set for ourselves.
Like every other human being, we work better when we have goals, objectives, and a path to follow.
So without further ado, here are 6 habits that are important for yoga teachers so our single actions take us on the path we want for ourselves.
Keep at Your (Learning) Practice
Often, when we hear we should “keep at our practice” like back when we weren’t teachers, we forget about an important thing: continued learning, not just in our asana or meditation practice on the mat, but outside of it.
At the beginning of our learning journey, we’re eager to look for books, YouTube videos, search for our favorite yoga teachers online… And when we become yoga teachers, the reality is that time becomes a little scarce. However, it’s crucial to make time for learning, otherwise you’ll feel like you’re stuck on a hamster wheel, repeating the same things over and over again.
I cannot stress this one enough. It’s crucial to have systems in place in order to save time on repetitive tasks and save mental energy for the important things. Here are 2 things you can do today to feel a little more organized:
Use one calendar for your yoga classes, but also for tasks like emails, social media content, and creative brainstorming.
Keep the Bigger Picture in Mind and Plan Your Teaching Career
This is one of the mistakes we do, new yoga teachers, because we love what we do and we simply enjoy teaching yoga. This works for a year or two, maybe a little more depending on the kind of experiences you have, but in the long-term, this approach doesn’t work. Like every other human being, we work better when we have goals, objectives, and a path to follow.
Besides, it takes time to understand where we want to go, what we like, what works and what doesn’t.
Now, this doesn’t mean we should plan our yoga teaching career the way others do it, working to open a yoga studio or teaching yoga on YouTube. Besides, it takes time to understand where we want to go, what we like, what works and what doesn’t. What matters is to regularly check in with yourself to understand what direction your daily actions are guiding you towards.
Constantly Work on Your “Ideal Client”
The concept of “ideal client” might sound very marketing-oriented to you but hear me out. Your ideal client, or ideal yoga student, isn’t just a client. They’re the person you can serve best because you know them incredibly well. They’re the student who can gain the most from your classes and offerings not because they’re your ideal client, but because you have a clear image and understanding of who the human being behind that name is. Therefore, you can plan your lessons, courses, and more thinking about their struggles, challenges, goals, and dreams, meeting their expectations and needs almost effortlessly (well, after a whole lot of background work).
Knowing your ideal client not only helps your students on a whole new level, but it gives you a lot of confidence because you simply know where to take your classes. You get the feedback you’re after, the kind that touches you and fills you up. It’s rewarding and therefore hugely motivating to know you’re making the difference you seek to make. Besides, this is going to help you see your bigger picture as mentioned in the previous point.
So make time every couple of months to ask yourself again and again who that person is, and let that person evolve as you gain clarity.
Make Time for Connection
One of the mistakes I made when I first started teaching yoga was that I didn’t spend enough time in my community, taking fellow teachers classes, starting conversations on social media (rather than just posting), going on coffee dates with friends from the wellness space at large.
Get to know the people you can direct your students to when they have questions you don’t know to answer.
While I move a lot and never stay in one place for long, and the yoga teacher’s schedule tends to be different from your typical 9-5 job, these shouldn’t be excuses to not make meaningful connections. Now with our unlimited access to the online world, it has become easier than ever to find like-minded people to build strong relationships with. Now, it’s part of my weekly schedule to be social and not has it had a major impact on my mental health, but it’s brought many interesting opportunities both on a personal and professional level.
Last but not least, learn to say “I don’t know” straight away. It’s easy to say in the beginning of your yoga teaching career but can get significantly more difficult as you gain confidence and a deeper knowledge of the practice. Make it a habit from the beginning to acknowledge your blind areas, what you can help with and what isn’t in your scope of practice. Get to know the people you can direct your students to when they have questions you don’t know to answer. For that, refer to the previous point, which will help you build the rich and diverse network we all need for our students to receive the comprehensive support they need.
There you have it — 6 habits to incorporate to your practice as a new yoga teacher. And don’t forget to have fun with them!