Your first yoga class has come to an end, and during savasana, you have visions of becoming a yoga teacher. You are overcome with euphoric feelings of ditching your day job to become a full-time yogi. A few weeks go by and you are intoxicated by the thought: it is all you can think and talk about. Finally, you stop daydreaming and complete yoga teacher training (YTT). Once you receive your yoga certification, the doubts set in: “Should I teach yoga? How do I teach yoga? How do I become successful?” These thoughts are completely normal! We are here to help you become doubt-free and use your yoga certification to inspire those around you.
All experienced yoga teachers started somewhere. There will be ups and downs and you will learn from your mistakes. Staying positive and seeing each teaching engagement as an opportunity to learn will make you better in the long run.
Tips for New Yoga Teachers
Fear is a Two-Way Street
“The beautiful thing about fear is that when you run to it, it runs away” – Robin Sharma
As yogi Julie Bernier stated, “action cures fear.” Starting something new and unfamiliar always raises doubts and fears but we only get better by going towards our fear.
Now that you have gone through yoga teacher training and earned your yoga certification, you are the expert on how to teach yoga. Your students are not there to judge you; they are likely looking for your approval and guidance, and are more nervous than you. More importantly, your students will be focused on their own performance during class, so be sure to focus on yours.
Start with a friendly audience
“When one teaches, two learn.” – Robert Heinlein
Practice teaching to family and friends after completing your YTT. Teaching to those who you are comfortable with is a great way to calm your nerves and work out some of the kinks in your sequence. Give your friends and family a survey after class and welcome their feedback. Another way to get comfortable with teaching is to ask a yoga teacher you admire or have worked with regularly to shadow one of your classes: they can give you tips to make your yoga teaching more effective and engaging.
Get creative with sharing your practice
“A good teacher is like a candle – it consumes itself to light the way for others.” – Mustafa Kemal Ataturk
Now that you have your yoga certification, it is time to share your gift! Try hosting community classes in your neighborhood or for your apartment building or create a Facebook group for classes at your local park one night a week. The more practice you have, the more confident and effective you will be as an instructor.
Never stop learning
“Always be a work in progress.” – Emily Lillian
Once you have your yoga certification, it is your responsibility to stay relevant and to keep learning more. Your continuing education credits will help with this, but more so, your curiosity will help you offer more to your students. Whether you are sharing insights into the philosophy of yoga or breaking down a complex asana, the more you know, the more confident of a teacher you will become.
Get comfortable with the type of teacher you are going to be
“Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self.” – The Bhagavad Gita
Do not waste your time worrying about how you think you should look or act to be a yoga teacher. Yoga is an inclusive practice and your expertise is meant to guide your students. Decide what type of instructor you will be. Will you lead your class, or go through asanas alongside your students? Will you avoid teaching poses that you yourself cannot do or that cause you pain? You do not need to be an advanced yogi, have mastered inversions or complex poses to be a successful yoga teacher. Be comfortable and confident in who you are and how you teach, because you are awesome. Your students will feed off this energy and thank you for it.
We believe that teachers are truly special and magical people, and guess what? You are one of them! Everyone gets jitters when embarking on a new journey. Once you go towards your teaching fears and face them head-on, you will realize what you can accomplish and overcome. Enjoy the process and the journey, after all, that is what it is all about!
The Cody library can provide you with plenty of teaching inspiration as many of our videos are filmed in a class setting: check out Patrick Beach’s Energizing Vinyasa class or MacKenzie Miller’s Organic Free Flow. To us, you are an inspiration!