Practicing yoga is a great way to calm the mind and focus on the present. However, no matter how much you’ve practiced yoga, you’ll be nervous going into your first few sessions as a yoga teacher. After all, you won’t merely be practicing anymore – you’ll be sharing your knowledge with students who’ll be paying you for quality.
So, what do you do to keep the nervousness at bay? Well, to know all the answers, read on. In this post, we’ll take you through 10 of the best tips that’ll help you get off to a flying start on your journey as a yoga teacher. So, without any further delay, let’s get right into it!
1. Teach for free before you teach for a fee
Teaching for free might seem like a waste of time, but trust us – it’s not. Sure, you might not make any money from it, but it’s bound to enhance your experience of teaching yoga. After a few sessions, you’ll begin to feel confident as a yoga teacher, and that confidence will go on to help you present your yoga lessons in style.
But where do you start to teach free yoga lessons? Well, the best place to start is home. Why not rope your family members and closest friends into it and see what they think of your teaching ability? Of course, not everyone’s going to say yes to your invitation, but even if you get 2 – 3 willing learners, it’ll be worth it.
You can also conduct sessions on the go. For instance, if you’re traveling to the beach, why not start a session there and invite people to join it? Even if you start teaching for a fee, it’s best to conduct sessions initially with 7 – 8 students. Once you get comfortable interacting with them, feel free to increase the group size.
2. Preparation is vital before each session
If you want every session to be as productive as possible, you’ve got to put some effort into the preparation. Put, if your students feel that you’re underprepared, they may look for another teacher. So, what do you do to ensure that you’ve prepared enough for a session?
It all starts with planning everything in your mind, writing it all down, and rehearsing. For the rehearsal, you don’t even need anyone with you. All you need to do is visualize your students in front of you and start teaching. Ideally, you should record yourself and play it back to identify errors.
We also recommend keeping sessions crisp and concise. Too many yoga teachers make the mistake of creating congesting sessions, leading to rushed teaching and half-baked learning.
3. Stand out as a yoga teacher by finding your niche
If you want to establish yourself as a professional yoga teacher, you can’t just think of yoga – you’ve got to spare some serious thought for the business side of things as well. Unfortunately, the competition in recent years has gone through the roof. As a result, you’ll have to compete with numerous yoga teachers, and it can take a long time for you to work your way up from scratch.
That’s why we recommend exploring different yoga niches to find relatively less competitive ones. For instance, many new yoga teachers offer ‘Acro Yoga’ and ‘Kriya Yoga’ lessons. That’s down to the fact that the competition between these two niches isn’t as fierce as in more popular places.
It would help if you also spent some time researching the market to find new opportunities. For instance, if there’s a shortage of athlete-specific yoga in your area, you could focus on the niche and stand out for doing something different from other yoga teachers.
4. Try to maintain a balance between intensity and relaxation in your classes
Physically intense yoga classes can be enjoyable, but only when all your students have some experience of practicing yoga. However, there’s no guarantee that all your students will enjoy physically intense sessions. What about the ones who’ve never practiced yoga before? Won’t intense sessions be too much for them?
On the other hand, too much of a relaxed environment in your classes is also something that we don’t recommend. This would put off students who’ve joined your style to improve their physical health.
So, what you need to do is to keep a balance between intensity and relaxation. Simply put, give your students some space to relax between poses. However, when practicing yoga, let the focus firmly be on the practice and nothing else.
5. Your instructions should be easy for students to follow
Complex and elaborate instructions will most likely lead to confused students. So, make sure that your instructions are easy to follow.
Typically, successful yoga teachers keep their cues simple by using simple instructions such as “stretch,” “breathe in,” etc. Also, remember to keep Sanskrit terminology out of your classes, as it may confuse students who aren’t familiar with Sanskrit at all.
Even when speaking the names of the various poses, it’s best to use the English versions instead of the original Sanskrit versions. For instance, instead of Navasana, you should say ‘boat pose.’
6. Be patient with your students
Teachers want their students to do well – that’s quite natural. However, students need time to follow their teachers’ instructions, and some need more time than others.
So, before you leave a lesson behind and move on to the next one, ensure that you’ve given enough time to your students to practice the previous poses properly. Rushing through the lessons will present you as an inpatient individual to your students, which isn’t something you’d want, right?
Even some beginner yoga poses can be quite difficult for people who are not at the peak of their physical health. So, empathize with your students and, most importantly, be patient with them.
7. Use music to complement your yoga lessons
Music can take your yoga lessons to a different level. However, you must remember to use it carefully. For instance, your students will be distracted if the music is too upbeat and features lyrics.
So, instead of upbeat music, go with ambient music to set the mood. Feel free to use a piece that features Sanskrit meditative chants, which help the mind become focused.
Make sure that the music isn’t too loud, as it may draw your students’ attention outward instead of inward, which would defeat the greater purpose of yoga.
8. Whenever you stumble, turn to the Child’s pose to bail you out of trouble
You’re human, and sooner or later, you’ll err. It’s the same for your yoga class as well. However, there’s a pose that you can turn to whenever you feel like something’s going wrong with the course – the Child’s pose.
For instance, you might forget the next pose as you’re conducting a class. In this scenario, performing the Child’s pose will allow your mind to calm down and collect your thoughts. It will also allow your students the time they need to relax before performing the next pose.
The Child’s pose is incredibly easy, which is why countless yoga teachers worldwide rely on it to bail them out in times of trouble inside the classroom.
9. To be yourself is to be unique
A teacher’s personality can go a long way towards making a class feel unique to the students. That’s why it’s important to bring your personality to the fore in every category.
Many yoga teachers tend to mimic their gurus, which isn’t a good thing in the long run. Put, if you want to be known for authenticity, you’ve got to put your stamp on your classes.
So, be yourself, and let your personality shine through in every yoga class.
10. Consider buying personal liability insurance for yoga teachers
While an insurance policy isn’t something you’d think is important for yoga teachers, the fact is that it can provide financial coverage if a student takes legal action against you.
Remember, yoga involves a lot of stretching, and if a student sustains an injury owing to overstretching, it’s likely that you’ll be the one who’s blamed. In such a scenario, insurance for yoga teachers can come in handy.
So, before we sign off for this post, we’d like to remind you of the importance of insurance for yoga instructors in Australia. Find out more here.