The yoga teacher training is over, the exams have been passed – but what happens now? No matter how long your training went; now that it’s over, one aspect of your life that was a fixture for you for some time is missing. The goal you were working towards has now been achieved. It’s no wonder that there is a feeling of “what now”, because not all of us gain absolute clarity about how we want to start our yoga career during the training. But even if that’s the case for you, the following tips can help.
Here are my seven tips for brand new yoga teachers:
Find your voice
Ideally, the participants of your classes will only follow your voice. Basically, you shouldn’t even have to demonstrate the poses, so people in your class can be completely with themselves and maybe even keep their eyes closed. At the latest in Savasana, when everyone is in final relaxation, your voice is what guides them through this last phase of the class. Thus, your voice takes on a very special significance. While it is clear that you do not guide your students in the same voice you would use to chat on the phone with your friends, it should be equally clear that you should not disguise your voice. Therefore, try yourself out: Feel free to talk to yourself and experiment with different volumes and pitches. Seek advice from friends and family. What sounds natural, what sounds artificial? This question leads me to the next point.
Authenticity is important in yoga class. Whoever comes to your class doesn’t want a perfect Instagram fairy or a well-toned superhero in front of them. Whoever comes to your class wants to see a real person. So don’t be afraid to teach yoga as you are. Maybe you have a unique approach, an extraordinary view on yoga? Don’t be too shy to stand by it! If you are very spiritual, but you are afraid of scaring people away, be spiritual anyway! Maybe that’s your niche as a yoga teacher. If you enjoy talking to your students before class, feel free to admit when you’re having a bad day. Whining and spilling your whole private life in front of them is not a good idea, of course, but simply admitting that as a yogi:ni you don’t only have days full of rainbows and unicorns will make you approachable for your students.
Take your own practice seriously
Even if you are demonstrating exercises in class, teaching does not count as your own practice! Why? Because you are holding space for others at that moment. This means that you are not as in tune with yourself as you would be during your own yoga session. You can’t turn inwards and feel as you would in a class just for you, when you are paying attention to a class, giving adjustments, and guiding. Therefore, hit your own mat regularly and dedicate yourself to yourself. The more often you experience the asanas, pranayamas, and meditations yourself, the more vividly and accurately you will be able to guide your students through them, giving your classes that extra something. Plus, of course, it keeps you physically and mentally healthy and makes your teaching better, too.
It’s beautiful to just get on the mat and let yourself be guided by what your body needs at that moment. But it’s also wonderful, especially as a yoga teacher, to take the other position in the yoga studio every now and then and just let yourself be guided. Both variations offer a lot of inspiration. If you like sequences particularly well, make a note of them and use them for later yoga classes. But also, be inspired by your everyday life and the people around you – this way you will collect themes that can be easily woven into yoga classes.
Teach as much as you can
If you are like me, then stage fright is an issue for you. Especially then, it’s important to face this uncertainty regularly so that it loses its dread. Teaching should feel natural to you. Therefore, take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way to teach classes. Write to studios in your area and ask if they need teachers or if you can get on a substitute list. Teach interested friends and family members. Join Facebook groups and network with like-minded people – teaching or substitute opportunities may arise. Maybe you’re already daring enough to organize your own classes, or you want to record videos? No matter what the best method is for you – put what you’ve learned in training into practice and gain routine and confidence!
Avoid the “training trap”
Don’t get me wrong: continuing education is great and necessary. I always see myself as a student and am incredibly inquisitive. If a topic excites me, I want to dive into it as deeply as possible and learn as much as I can about it. It’s also important to stay up to date and keep refreshing your knowledge base. What you should avoid, however, is the thought of not being able to start teaching until you have done this or that continuing education. As a certified yoga teacher, you can start right away! If you feel too insecure, you can certainly find other yoga teachers in the area with whom you can observe or assist. But get started! If you want to continue your education, that’s wonderful, but it shouldn’t stop you from gaining practice in teaching.
Believe in yourself and your abilities
“I just finished training; I can’t do anything yet” – sound familiar? Don’t worry, you’re not alone! It is even more important that you take point 3 into account and teach lots of classes. This will make you aware that you can give something to people. Use the skills you learned in the training, let your personality show, and you will gain more and more confidence in teaching. There will be people who will specifically seek out your classes, you will see.
I wish all new yoga teachers the best of luck in this exciting next phase!