I can’t believe it’s been over a year since I finished Yoga Teacher Training. And in many ways I still can’t believe that I’m a yoga teacher. Me. A Type-A, neurotic, marathoner who can barely touch her toes. A yoga teacher.
But I am.
It’s funny, after I graduated college I thought I was going to take the fitness scene by storm as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor. It was going to be my survival career while auditioning as an actor.
Things didn’t exactly workout that way. But now, 5 years later, I am more passionate and feel more confident as a yoga teacher than I ever did teaching group fitness. That’s not to say I don’t miss teaching zumba and bootcamps. But I never would’ve guessed teaching yoga would suit me.
I won’t pretend I know EVERYTHING there is to know about being a kickass yoga teacher. Nor am I a full time teacher.
After finishing up your 200-hour YTT, you’re probably feeling a lot of things. Tired and sore for sure. But also most likely fired about and nervous that you have the power to freaking teach yoga.
So, now what?
What Do You After You Finish Yoga Teacher Training
▶︎ Start teaching your friends. ASAP.
I made it a point to start teaching right out of the gate. Before I felt polished and ready. First, I emailed a group of friends that I thought might enjoy free classes or private sessions.
Those first few classes scared me shitless. But let’s be honest, if I messed up, flubbed my words or lost my place, whatever. I was teaching my friends and fo’ free. They were a very supportive, receptive audience.
Looking back, I’m happy I started teaching right away instead of waiting until I felt more confident. Because that won’t be for another 10 years…
Plus, by the time I did teach my first class to paying individuals, I didn’t feel like such a newbie.
▶︎ Create a playlist to pick songs from.
On Spotify I created a playlist where I dump all the songs I want to use in a future yoga class. This way when I’m creating a fresh playlist, it’s easy to find all my favorite yoga songs. (Pssst check out one of my yoga playlists here.)
And on the topic of playlist, choose songs you love. Even if you’re nervous while teaching, hearing songs you love playing while you teach will get you pumped.
▶︎ Keep a teaching journal.
I have a cute journal where I write out all the sequences I teach. After class I also try to take the time to write what worked, what didn’t work. When you’re a new teacher you’re trying out new cues and sequences. Sometimes they work. Other times you realize that THAT did not go well.
Note that. And any feedback you get from friends or managers. I like to review my notes of things I’m working on before teaching so I actually remember to work on them.
▶︎ Create your own opportunities.
I’m one of many (many) yoga teachers in Manhattan. It’s a saturated scene.
Instead of waiting for teaching opportunities to come to me, I created Holistic Happening as a platform. It also lit a fire under my ass to get my act together as a yoga teacher and FAST. We held our first event 3-weeks after I finished teacher training.
I’m not saying to copy what I’m doing with Holistic Happening (I mean duh, don’t! That’s my biz!) but find what speaks to you and how you can weave that into your own thing. Leanne, who I graduated YTT with, has been wildly successful with her company Brew You Yoga. She teaches yoga classes at breweries and that incorporate wine. And you know what? It works, cuz it’s totally her — all about balance.
Advice from other yoga teachers
▶︎ From Megan:
My best advice to beginning yoga teachers is to own your own voice. Yoga is in so many ways a truly authentic practice and trying to be someone else (like your favorite yoga teacher) when you teach will never work. People will be drawn to your practice because of YOU and YOUR personality. Read Megan’s blog.
▶︎ From Jill:
It can be a challenge, but maintain a personal practice. And, sub/guest teach as often as you can. Experience new studios and classes to help find what and where fits you and fills your heart. Then, teach that. Don’t try to replicate those that inspire you. Teach authentically. Read Jill’s blog.
▶︎ From Jessica:
My biggest tip would be that if you want to teach, don’t delay! One of the best ways to improve and grow as a teacher is to just do it – the longer you wait, the harder it will be to make it a part of your life! Read Jessica’ blog.
▶︎ From Beth:
Decide if you want to focus more on online programs, in-person programs, or maybe both. If you want to teach in-person classes, work on getting involved with your local yoga community. If there aren’t any regular classes available, see if you can sign up to sub when you’re needed. Get your name out there so when an opening does come up, they’ll think of you. Read Beth’s blog.
▶︎ From Karlie
My best advice is to TEACH! Teaching yoga is the only way to improve, grow, and find your teaching vibe.
I’ve recruited friends and family to teach free classes to. I’ve asked current yoga teachers if I could teach them a class and they could give me feedback after. I’ve applied for any yoga job I can which always includes a demo and extensive feedback.
It’s amazing how much you improve each class. And everyone loves free yoga.
PS: If teaching makes you nervous the old adage is true: fake it till you make it! Read Karlie’s blog.
Your Turn: For any yoga teachers or fitness pros out there, what nuggets of wisdom do you have for new teachers?