Teaching & Instruction

a Hasta (hand) of Wisdom for New Yoga Teachers

Are you a new yoga teacher? Are you just starting to build your own class? Do you have butterflies or the desire to hide like an ostrich while teaching?… If so, I can help!!

I’ve been teaching yoga for a full year now. And though it doesn’t seem like a long time, it has been a year full of soul-searching, class-planning, playlist-makin’, and FULLfilling moments!! I’ve learned SO much in my first year, and you will too!!

So here’s my advice…

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1 Center with your students. Begin each class by finding your own breath. You may be full of nerves (as I often was in the beginning) or anxious to get started and quickly move through each asana to get to the end, BUT I highly advise you to slow your thinking, slow your own mind chatter and get grounded. This will help you gather the thoughts you need to help you through class and leave everything else at the door.

76c1ae7cc07473e5eeaa1c55b5627d7c2 Speaking of leaving it at the doorwhatever has gone on during your day or the night before, let it go. Your students will sense any negative energy you bring. It will also affect the way you teach that day. So as you instruct your students to quiet the mind chatter, take your own advice and do the same.

3 Eat as healthy as possible when you have an upcoming class to teach. Nothing’s worse than trying to guide students through a powerful sequence when you feel all bloated and gassy (been there!) and all you can think about is your stomach. Take care of yourself.  There are many demands of teaching yoga, often emotionally taxing demands. It’s important to maintain a clear head and healthy body to lead others through their practice.

4 Don’t worry too much about your playlist. If it fits the type of class you’re teaching (i.e. high energy music for power classes and more mellow tunes for slower flow classes), most people will be fine with what you play. This was (and still is) HUGE for me. I’m frequently worried about someone not liking a song. But most likely, people will jam with whatever you play, or just simply tune it out. Play songs that inspire you and your class will be rockin’.

5 Don’t get upset if no one shows. It happens to everyone, especially in the beginning. Days get crazy, life happens, and there WILL be a class or two with no-shows.  Try not to take it personally. As the class builds, it will happen less frequently.

6 Not everyone will like your class. That’s okay too!  Offer your style of teaching and do your best. We are not designed for everyone to like us. We all have different likes and dislikes, strengths and not-so-strong points. Those who prefer to go elsewhere will find the teacher, the class, that’s right for them.

namaste_yoga_positions_asana_poses_sanskrit_names_binder-r662462d4b0894ad4be5b8f8f2901ca7c_xz8dz_8byvr_5127 Do your best to get off your mat! I know it’s tough in the beginning. You feel more comfortable calling the poses and sequences as you do it yourself. But with time and practice, you’ll feel more comfortable calling without having to do it. And your students will love the attention! It will also help you speak, if you’re not having to practice at the same time. I’ve found I can really get into my head and offer the words needed if I step off my mat. The more I practice with the class, the more I lose myself in my practice and the students wonder, “Is she EVER going to leave half-pigeon?!” 😉

8 Don’t worry about using Sanskrit. Remembering Sanskrit while trying to remember the breath, the postures, the transitions and sequences may be a bit much while trying to maintain energy in your class. Throw a few easy ones here and there. More Sanskrit will come with time and practice.

643966_10151210709753120_865986323_n9 Have FUN! It’s supposed to be enjoyable, right?! If you make a mistake, smile and laugh it off. We all make mistakes!! We all call the wrong arm/leg every now and then. Heck, I once called a sequence TWICE on one side and never called the other side. No worries, loves! Not saying you shouldn’t make the effort to learn from the experience… but the more vulnerability you show to your students, the more they will be able to (and want to) connect with you.

10 …and so, SO important… Don’t forget YOUR practice!!! I can’t stress this enough. Your practice is just as important as your students’. Many of us teachers lose inspiration from time to time, and one way to regain it is through your own practice. So roll out and find your bliss.

Lastly, don’t give up. If you love it, keep at it! If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to run right out of your first class. It’s okay. Just breathe.

Happy practice!! And happy teaching!!

Namaste x x

 

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