So, you just finished your 200-hr YTT and you’re ready to start teaching! But then you realize, finding gigs is tougher than you thought and it’s wreaking havoc on your already shaky confidence.
This time in your career will probably be the most challenging, but don’t give up! Remember all the reasons you embarked on this teaching journey and follow these helpful pointers.
Trust me, it will get easier with time and teaching will be one of the most fulfilling experiences of your life. Here are doable, "real world" tips for new yoga teachers:
1. Teach Whenever and Wherever You Can
You probably won't get the primetime spot at your favorite studio, so be willing to take the less popular time slots and start branching out. Try some alternative venues like colleges, gyms, senior centers, and community centers.
Any opportunity to teach at this point in your career is incredibly valuable, so just DO it!
2. Practice With Different Teachers
It’s important to expose yourself to different teaching styles and even different lineages of yoga to keep growing as a teacher. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so feel free to “borrow” ideas from other teachers and incorporate new sequences and cues into your own classes.
3. Explore Different Studios
A bit of insider information from a studio owner: take a class at a studio before asking to be put on the sub list or asking for a time slot. By doing so, you’ll know if you’re a good fit for the studio and it will show good faith on your part.
This will also help you forge relationships with the owners and other teachers who might turn out to be valuable contacts in the future.
4. Be Patient
Building a class takes a very long time. Be prepared to have small classes or even no-shows occasionally. Teaching one or two people is really hard, but it will hone your craft even faster than teaching a large group class. Use it as an opportunity to make them feel special and create relationships with students, which is key to bringing them back!
5. Don’t Take Too Much Credit or Too Much Blame
Don't assume you're a terrible teacher when people don't show up or when you have a small class. Fighting insecurity will most likely be your biggest challenge, so be sure to have a lot compassion for yourself.
On the flip side, keep the ego in check; a packed class is nice but really not the reason we’re in this line of work.
6. Ask for Feedback
While it can be tough to hear, honest feedback is crucial. Sometimes a very small or subtle habit can be irritating to students, like a vocal tick or speaking too softly. Ask your students (or even better, other teachers who take your class) for constructive criticism. It's the best way to improve your teaching.
7. Keep Up With Your Home Practice
You’ll get busier as you begin to add classes to your schedule, but teaching can't take the place of practice. The more you practice, the more you will have intimate knowledge of the poses and how to sequence and teach them.
If you accept a teaching job, commit to showing up for a long time, no matter what. As the Buddha said, “There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth — not going all the way, and not starting.” Your dedication will pay off!
Last but not the least, make sure you always teach from your heart and all else will fall into place. Namaste.