The training is done and you want nothing more than to finally get started and share your passion with others… if it weren’t for the stage fright that hits you before every lesson?
I know the feeling. Anyone who saw me before my first teaching rehearsal during yoga teacher training probably wondered “did I miss something?”. Is this about more than a simple teaching rehearsal right now?” that’s how excited I was.
In the meantime, several years have passed during which I have taught a lot. I would like to tell you now that during that time the stage fright has disappeared, but that wouldn’t be entirely true. A bit of it remains – fortunately it is usually only really acute right before a lesson or workshop. As soon as I “put on the teacher’s hat”, it usually goes away.
This also brings me directly to my first tip – the first of seven tips against stage fright for yoga teachers.
Take on the role of the teacher
Very important: settle into your new role, get comfortable with it until it feels natural to you. It’s certainly unfamiliar to switch sides, but once you’ve completed your training, you have every right to take on the position of the teacher as well. By the way, when I talk about a “role,” it doesn’t mean that you should get an alter ego. Of course, you should remain yourself and teach authentically. But gradually get used to the fact that you are no longer “just” a student – but this new role belongs to you just as much as the previous one.
Teach a lot
And what’s the best way to get used to it? By diving right in and teaching a lot!
Take advantage of opportunities to assist, substitute for others, and pitch your own teaching ideas to studios near you. The more you teach, the less daunting the task will seem over time. Also, you’ll see that people don’t come to your classes to evaluate you. They come to unwind, feel comfortable, and are most likely to be very less harsh with you when you make a mistake than you are.
Start with friends and family
Speaking of evaluations, no one will be watching you as much as your friends and family members. They don’t mean that in a bad way, they are just curious about what you have learned during your training and how you teach. So practice with them and get their feedback. Because they are close to you, they will be open and honest with you.
Then, when you teach strangers, you can remember: to these people, you are nothing more than a teacher. They come to you to do yoga, not to see how you do in that role.
If you’re prone to stage fright – write about it!
Put your fears and worries on paper, even let your mind wander to the worst-case scenario… and then let go. This helps in two ways: By giving yourself a small timeframe to imagine the worst possible occurrences and then consciously shutting down, you stop the mental merry-go-round. Second, the things you fear may not look so threatening written down on paper.
Meditation with visualization
Reflect on the fact that a lot of things can go well! In fact, it’s the much likelier scenario. Therefore, get into a positive mood before a yoga class by visualizing the course of the class as ideally as possible. Imagine yourself in your mind’s eye, confidently leading your class, giving appropriate adjustments, talking fluently, etc. Then imagine your students relaxing in this class, enjoying the movement and feeling balanced and satisfied afterwards.
Relaxed nerves thanks to Pranayama
To calm your nerves, practice a variation of alternate breathing, exhaling and inhaling through both nostrils when you would otherwise hold your breath.
This variation is especially good for calming nervousness and tension – ideal if your heart is beating a little faster due to stage fright.
If you appreciate yoga not only for its physical aspects, but also for its spiritual ones, it may help you to tune into your class on that level.
Recite a mantra, perform a small incense ritual, connect with your favorite deity… the sky’s the limit! A spiritual practice can give you quite a bit of power.
With these seven tips you are well prepared for stage fright! Never forget to believe in yourself – you’ve made it this far, so you deserve credit even if you mess up when teaching 😊