Guest post by Rebecca Harris
see Zoe Mantarakis’ companion article 5 tips for new yoga teachers (from an experienced yoga teacher)
1) Go to as many yoga classes with as many different teachers as you possibly can.
I spent the first few months after my teacher training traveling so going to my favorite local teachers wasn’t even possible. I’ve come to look at it as a total blessing. I learned a great vinyasa flow from a teacher in Austin. I loved a meditation technique taught in a restorative class in Alexandria, VA. And I learned some great adjustment techniques from a teacher/studio owner in Denver. I probably wouldn’t have learned all of these things if I stayed in my comfort zone and went to classes/teachers I frequent. Take it to the next level by bringing a notebook with you and write down one thing from every class you went to. This can then become your inspiration book when you are feeling less creative than usual.
2) Alignment, poses, and sequencing is important but theme is king.
This took me a while to figure out. I spent so much time at the beginning creating the perfect flow for each and every class but my students and I weren’t getting the soul feeding we get in a great yoga class. Yes I had beautiful and fun sequences but I had totally forgettable themes. You can teach nearly the same class with a few pose tweaks for a while as long as you change up the themes. Promise your student will LOVE class! Some of my favorite themes to teach are: gratitude, trust, love, being present and life as a practice. Email me if you would like to get a copy of one of these classes!
3) Never let go of your personal practice…it always come first.
It’s what brought you to teacher training and it will continue to ground and inspire you so stick to it. There were moments in the first few months where teaching became more important than my practice and I got a little lost. I’d take a private client on during my normal practice time instead of reserving that time for me. But I learned my lesson and now fit in my practice before clients and I’ve found it makes me a better teacher.
4) Build yourself an online and social media presence now.
More and more studios are expecting teachers to have social media followings. In a recent look at posting for yoga teachers in New York City about 70% of the ads mentioned that social media skills were either required or preferred. For many new teachers getting studio jobs is hard enough, building your online presence gives you legitimacy and a leg up on getting those coveted classes (and might even get you into the door of places you thought you couldn’t teach yet). I wish I would have started an online presence BEFORE graduating from teacher training as I think I’d be further along in the process if I had. Mini-plug: here’s the links to my website, Instagram and Facebook accounts.
5) Figure out what makes you unique and do that.
Unlike the other tips above, I got this right from the beginning. I love teaching yoga to people who have never tried it and are afraid of yoga studios and bendy people. And as an athlete, I love teaching other athletes who want to enhance their performance through yoga. I focus on marketing and attracting these students through teaching in gyms and in-home private classes. If a client calls wanting a style doesn’t feel like it “fits” me, I suggest other great teachers I know.
Rebecca started practicing yoga over ten years ago. She is a Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Illumined in Austin, TX. An avid athlete her passion is to help other athletes enhance performance through yoga and to get those who don’t think they can yoga to get on the mat and try. She teaches workshops, classes and private yoga lessons in the Washington D.C. metro area.