So you’re ready to spread the yoga love near and far. You’ve taken the plunge and completed a life-changing journey through yoga and yourself. You have your RYT200. Congratulations! Have a few bliss balls and a tall glass of kombucha to soak in the good vibes before the business bursts your bubble (only at first!).
Yoga teacher training equips you with a LOT of knowledge and preliminary trial teaching experience that'll help you when you go out into the real world when your training ends. But there are still some things that can't quite be taught—only experienced and learned. Here are some of them.
1. Finding a class to teach will be harder than you think.
Sure, there are studios popping up everywhere overflowing with students and different types of classes. Surely, it can’t be that hard to find a teaching job, right? Well, it is.
A lot of studios already have a full calendar of classes, and an even fuller roster of substitute teachers. As a studio owner, once you find the perfect balance of classes, adding an additional class can be risky as there’s no guarantee it will bring in new students rather than cannibalising existing full classes.
And I’ll let ya in on a not so little secret: most studios aren’t in it for the money and often are making just enough to keep the lights on. This isn’t to discourage you—just understand that it might take longer than you'd hoped or thought to find a class to teach. Once you realize this, you'll be in a better position to understand the next points below.
2. To borrow Nike’s famous saying, JUST DO IT.
So with the understanding that it will take longer than you might think to find a class, just do it. Say yes. Say yes to teaching a class at a studio, or health club, or an apparel store, or YMCA or anywhere. Check your ego at the door and set your expectations free.
Remember, the amazing teachers at your favorite studio have likely been teaching a long time, and in this biz (like any other), experience matters. So, accept that a position as a sub for the Saturday 6am basic yoga class even though you want to teach advanced Vinyasa and you are not a morning person.
Or maybe you really want to teach Power yoga, but the studio needs a Sunday evening Yin yoga class. Just. Say. Yes. Once you have your first class on the board, others will eventually come. Have faith. Put it out into the universe and it will come back to you, with a little (or a lot of) work!
3. It will be months before your first class is full.
“If you build it, they will come.” That's the saying, right? You may have landed your first class, but where are the students?
It will take a while before you have full classes. Depending on the venue, you may only have a handful of students each class. Try not to take it as an indication of your teaching. Always be open to feedback and change things up until you find something that brings in your regulars and then eventually, maybe a few newbies.
4. Don't quit your day job.
Many yogis get their RYT200 with dreams of spreading the yoga vibes near and far all day errrday. But unfortunately, yoga glow, positive energy, and karma aren't quite currency in our society (and they won't pay your mortgage).
So keep your day job, and teach a class or two when you can. As you grow as a teacher, so will your roster and maybe one day you can quit that day job...just don't do it straight away.
5. Find the balance between effort and ease.
Like you learn in yoga asana, you have to find the balance between sthria and sukham. So while the business of being a yoga instructor can be tough, and you have to work pretty damn hard, it is worth it. Just don’t overextend yourself.
Find the right balance between working hard to make it, and that feeling of hardly working when you’re in front of your class. This will keep your energy up and your passion at the forefront.
6. You do you...you're the only one that can.
This is probably something you heard at teacher training, but it's super important to remember! When I first started teaching, my boss/mentor told me before my first class to teach what I know in my heart and to just be me.
It sounds so simple but she made me realize that I couldn't be her, or any other amazing yoga teacher that I've had in my life. I could only be me. This is common for new yoga teachers. So just do you...you're the only one that can.
Know that you can do it, and that you are prepared, but that it will take time to build the teaching practice of your dreams. What important lessons did you learn when trying to find your first yoga teaching gig? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
Image credit: Odette Hughes