Yoga is more popular than ever. New yoga studios are opening every minute. People are feeling good, looking good, and getting excited about sharing their love of the practice. Teaching yoga has become the new “IT” job. It gives you the opportunity to travel and connect with loads of people. As a yoga teacher, how do you not get lost in a sea of teachers? How do you stand out? How do you get people to come to your class and share your classes with others?
What you need to figure out is what you want to offer your students and how you can best serve them. The best quote I ever heard was “You +Yoga = What?” What is your unique quality that makes yoga with you an extraordinary experience? It could mean a fun inspiring class or a great relaxation meditative practice. What do you want to offer the world through your yoga teachings? There are 10 tips that helped me get clear and focused on how I can serve my community through my Yoga teachings.
1. Maintain A Regular Yoga Practice
Set aside at least 3 times a week to roll out your mat. It can be as little as 10 minutes. Schedule it into your everyday tasks like grocery shopping and doing laundry. We all spend time to maintain our automobiles, bikes and homes, so why isn’t maintaining your health and well-being equally important?
2. If You Can, Take Your Yoga To A New Location
It may help you change your perspective. Practice in a park or at the beach or even in a different room in your home. Try practicing with your eyes closed or try a practice with no sun salutes. Expand your consciousness to include poses you see your students struggling with. Bring these poses into your practice. Figure out ways to teach harder poses more effectively.
3. Connect With Your Students
Create a Facebook Fan page. This is a central landing point where your students can find you and ask questions. It increases your opportunity to serve more students. You can also ask your students what they might like to see in your classes. Pose questions and be social outside the classroom.
4. Have A Class Plan
but be prepared to deviate from the plan if you need to. In your plan, make sure to use poses you can modify. Get a pen and paper or better yet a journal and bring it to your mat. Work out your flows in person. It is also good to have a go to class in your teaching arsenal so when you are tired or stressed or subbing at the class last minute you have a class that always works. It's also great to keep notes after class about questions that came up or things that didn’t work in your class so you can examine how to improve them.
5. Be Prepared! Get Good Training
Learn how to truly teach an all levels class. Make sure there is something in your class for everyone. Take time to figure out how to modify poses by trying these poses in your own personal practice.
6. Connect With Your Students
Be early to your classes and stay after so that students know they can come to you with concerns or questions. Be accessible and approachable as a teacher. Meet students where they are at because snobby, self-righteous and judgemental yoga teachers end up with no students. You want to empower not diminish in your teachings.
7. Be Encouraging To Those Who Are Struggling
A kind word or compliment goes a long way to building someone’s confidence and making a person who may be feeling a little out of place in a yoga class like he/she belongs or is accepted. Your students want to be seen by you. It can be scary for people to enter the studio. Making them feel welcome goes a long way in helping your students get on their mats regularly.
8. Smile While You Are Teaching
and say please when you are giving directions.
9. Create Great Themes For Your Classes
Have a focus and direction for your students.
10. Most importantly, Be Yourself
If you are zany and funny offer that in your classes. Explore your great sense of humour or rhythm or attention to detail with your class. When you put something out there that is uniquely you the people who are drawn to that will show up to your classes. There is something magical that happens when you connect with people who are truly interested in what you are offering. It makes you shine brighter in that moment.
The seat of the teacher is a powerful place. Please take it seriously. You owe it to yourself and your students to be prepared and to bring your A game to class. Remember you signed up for this. I know that life is busy and sometimes you are just tired, so change your perspective. If you are feeling tired, do a handstand or a headstand or eat some dark leafy greens to reinvigorate. Connect with that person in the room who is stoked to be in your class and draw from their energy and excitement. Be in the moment, because that moment is so powerful! Remember you have something extraordinary to share with the world!