As a new teacher, teaching your first yoga class can be exciting, humbling, and terrifying all at the same time. At this point, you are comfortable with your yoga, and you are ready to share your knowledge with others. The tricky part is teaching a subject is different from learning it. Here are nine things to keep in mind while teaching a yoga class.
1. Be Authentic
Your teaching is a reflection of your practice. Practice what you teach. Always teach from your own dedicated experience and realized knowledge. Students can sense when your words are not your own. People, in general, thrive off human connection and by being you, that connection is created, strengthened, and appreciated.
If you copy or borrow someone else’s words, you miss the opportunity to express the real you. We all have something special to share with our unique gifts.
Lots of people make yoga a part of their daily lives, but not all of those people choose to become a yoga teacher. You can motivate yourself by focusing on why you decided to become a teacher in the first place. Keep in mind that this was the path you chose and work towards achieving your full potential.
2. Project Your Voice and Keep it Simple
When you first start out teaching, it can be difficult to have your own, unique voice. Nothing is worse than a student in the back row of a large yoga room who has to strain to hear you because you are not loud enough. You can spot them in class because they are craning their necks, looking to see what their neighbor is doing next.
When teaching a meditation, ensure that your softened tone is still audible by sitting among the group or encouraging students to gather closer together.
People have enough on their plates without being bogged down and confused with complex instruction and poses, a different language, overuse of yoga jargon and Sanskrit wording. Just showing up for students is an incredible accomplishment. Always remember what it is you want to communicate to students and be true to what made you want to teach yoga. Remember, it is ok to make mistakes as long as you learn from them.
3. Focus on What You Know
Yoga is a diverse field with many different styles and teachers. You cannot possibly know everything. Focus on what you are comfortable with and make it easier on yourself and better for your students. If you specialize, it will make it easier to adapt that class to students’ needs. Become an expert in one type of class before expanding your repertoire.
4. Don’t Apologize
Being humble is nice. As a new teacher when you lose your train of thought or give a wrong cue, the phrase – I’m sorry – immediately spills out. Apologizing is a big NO NO.
The students may not even notice when you forget some dialogue or say something wrong. If you realize you missed something, take a deep breath and re-center. Return to your notes and focus on the next posture or sequence. Make a joke out of the situation.
5. Be Ready to Adapt and Finish the Classes On Time
Versatility is a desirable quality in a yoga teacher. You need to adjust to the students’ pace. They are each developing in their way, and you can help them grow and learn by modifying the class to suit their needs. You give yourself and your students a better chance at doing well in the classroom when you are prepared to adapt.
Being punctual shows respect for your students’ time. Students want to know they can rely on getting out of class when they expect to, and they also want to experience a full class. Doing this shows professionalism and will be appreciated by those in your class as well as those who run the yoga studio or space.
6. The Class is About the Students
Teaching in a classroom means imparting knowledge. It is not about you. If you focus too much on evaluating yourself, you won’t be honoring the students.
They came to learn and enjoy the class, and they deserve your full attention.
7. Get Certified and Never Stop Learning
Remaining curious will serve you well in your business and personal life. Even if your entire world revolves around yoga, there is always something more to learn. Stay educated by going to workshops, checking out new classes, teachers, online courses, books, videos, etc. Stretching your mind in new and unfamiliar ways will help you become a more flexible and an experienced yoga teacher.
Doing different styles of yoga classes and teacher training is always a great way to improve your yoga practice and teaching. Whether you are interested in teaching your loved ones, earning an income as a yoga teacher, or solely being called to deepen your practice, teacher training is one of the most effective ways to gain knowledge and deepen your yoga practice.
8. Teach as Much as Possible and Ask for Feedback
The best way to become a better teacher is to teach. Take what you can get, wherever you can get it. Early mornings, late nights, weekends. Teach as much as possible. Seek out opportunities to practice teaching on family, friends, and co-workers. Offer karma help in the studio whenever you have some time and offer to sub for yoga classes.
Feedback is one of the most valuable tools for growth. Many people will want to give you positive feedback, and that feels good but be sure to ask them to get real with you and explain that you want to grow and improve your teaching skills. Pay particular attention to the constructive criticism.
9. Have Fun
You can’t effectively teach what you love without having fun. Enjoy the teaching experience, and teaching yoga will become your passion instead of your job.