A couple of weeks ago, I reached out to my private Facebook community, Yoga Business Badasses, and asked what their top tips for yoga teachers are. Here is a compilation of the tips that they put together:
1. Don’t be afraid to be quiet.
When I get nervous, I tend to ramble. And what new teacher isn’t nervous? But I encourage you to do your best NOT to talk too much! People are bombarded with sounds constantly: partners, children, pets, coworkers, and all sorts of pings and dings from our devices. Give your students the gift of some peace and quiet: at the beginning of class as they center themselves, as they take the poses so they can really NOTICE their bodies, and — of course — at the end during savasana! – Jennie MacGoy from Breathe with Jennie
2. Take your business online.
Online teaching can be a great opportunity for yoga teachers, as it allows them to expand their work opportunities and get more experience fast. The main advantage of online teaching is that it only requires to have a screen (laptop,TV, tablet) and a WiFi. These days, as on-demand services become more popular, online yoga teachers have an opportunity to help lower the barriers to regular physical activity routine. Many people avoid working out due to reasons like lack of time, lack of motivation, or a lack of self-confidence. I recently learned that 52% of Australian women worry about being judged while exercising in public. These women and many other populations can benefit a lot from online yoga classes, because it allows them to work out from the comfort of their home. You can use Skype or Zoom or any other video chat application that you feel comfortable with. It is recommended to do a trial session with a friend or someone that can provide meaningful feedback. – Yael Oppenheim from FitMyTime.
When we take the time for self practice and to be on our mat, we can find clarity in our whole being. We work out the kinks in our body which often translates to working out the “kinks” in our thoughts. If we’re feeling sad or angry, coming to the mat, breathing and moving through asana often gives us the chance to slow down, re-evaluate our feelings and to think more calmly. Remember why you wanted to teach in the first place, and remember to always be a student and to learn both on and off the mat. – Meghan Pherrill from Balance by Meghan
Learn to cultivate a strong home practice. As a yoga teacher, I sometimes think I should be in the studio more often, not teaching, but practicing. Doing my own “yoga”. Making sure that I “keep up” whatever that means… but ultimately I know that I am. I am living my yoga every day. In every moment. With my family. My friends. The cashier at the grocery store. It’s bigger than just the postures. Yet despite all that, my body still craves making the shapes. So I take the pressure off, connect to my breath, and never skip savasana! – Sarah Meyer Yoga
4. Be okay straying from the plan.
Having a planned sequence is great, but don’t forget to stay tuned in to yourself, your class, your space, and make adjustments. When you feel the urge to add a flow or pose, pause longer, or cue something in a certain way or say something in savasana, do it. So often I make a change or feel drawn to frame a class in a certain way, to focus on a certain theme, and then have a client say after class how it was just what they were needing. We’re not just teaching yoga, we are leading a class. Don’t miss the energy for the sequence. – Tarasa from Yoga with TG
5. Be yourself.
Don’t feel obligated to teach the way your teachers teach, or the way your teacher training taught you to teach. Think critically, ask questions, and learn as much as you can. Don’t blindly repeat phrases that you don’t understand. Strive to understand! Find your own unique strengths and interests, and blaze your own trail. Harnessing your own individuality will showcase your brilliance, and everyone who attends your classes will see and feel your energy and passion. – Kristie, owner of Golden Lotus Yoga Studio in Golden, BC, Canada
6. Remember that you can’t please everyone.
Everyone shows up to their mat with experiences you know nothing about and have no control over. At some point in your teaching you will trigger someone; you will offend someone; you will make mistake; you will have someone cry; you will have someone laugh; and you will not be someone’s cup of tea. And this is all okay: have courage, be kind, and teach from your heart and your experiences. – Richelle Ready from Bloom Yoga
7. Find your niche.
Branching out to find out what it is you want to share & the styles you want to teach will keep it all exciting. Trying to cater to everyone and teach everything is exhausting & in my experience led to quick burn out. With my background in gymnastics, I found that acro yoga & aerial yoga were a great fit for the people I wanted to teach to and the community that was created around the practice. Yes, we can throw in bits and pieces of the styles that resonate with us, but by setting yourself apart as the person to go to for ____ will help put your name out there. – Tara Koenig
As a new yoga teacher looking to make a business teaching yoga, we encourage you to find clarity on who you want to serve. Having a yoga niche in today’s crowded teaching landscape is an important first step to standing out! – Anne & Brandon from The Yoga Nomads
8. Spend time planning your class “intentions”.
I find that this has become the most important factor in my class. It’s what sets me apart from the rest. Throughout the class, there are always ways to be creative and inspiring with it! Creating great intentions, and paring it with a meditation always gets me lots of “ahhhhhsss” at the end of Savasana. – Debbie Barry from Ready to Exhale
9. Give yourself a break on class planning.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel with a brand new sequence every class or even every week. Many new yoga teachers put a lot of pressure on themselves to plan their classes and end up laboring for hours for each class. Then when they have spent so much time on the sequence, they are often reluctant to change it based on the students who walk into the room. Instead, create one or maybe a cycle of 2-4 sequences that you memorize and then refine based on how your students respond. You can even use a more experienced teacher’s sequence as a starting point, just make sure you practice it yourself before you start changing it. Very few students come to classes for ‘fresh sequences’ – mostly they just want to feel better. – Mado Hesselink from Yoga Teacher Resource
10. Take as many opportunities to teach as reasonably possible.
Teach at different studios and locations, sub when you can, and teach different groups of students. You’ll gain more confidence as you learn to teach different populations (different levels of yoga experience, fitness levels, abilities, ages, etc.). – Tiffany Cardenas from Lavender Lotus Yoga
11. Be open to all opportunities in the yoga world.
You never know what style of yoga could really light you up inside! These opportunities could inspire you to create a business, teacher training or an entire yoga community! So stay open, receiving and know that you’re the one in charge of manifesting your dreams! – Brytta Byers from Xanadu Yoga
12. Take your teaching international.
Sign up for Yoga Trade and connect with global teaching opportunities! There are many places around the world that you can teach at on a work exchange basis. This is a wonderful way to practice seva (selfless service) while gaining diverse experience as a new teacher. Connecting with the international yoga and wellness community is also a great way to spark inspiration and will open up infinite possibilities for you down the path. – Erica Hartnick from Yoga Trade
What is your top teaching tip for new yoga teachers??