On the surface, the life of a yoga teacher appears to be one of pure bliss. They drift from yoga studio to private client, jet-set to tropical islands to lead retreats and of course, post plenty of pretzel pose pictures with a gorgeous sunset in the background on social media.
The reality behind the scenes however, is very different.
Here are seven tips you should know if you want to succeed as a yoga teacher, that you won't learn in teacher training.
1. You will have to hustle.
You will have to approach every single gym and studio in town to get classes. I highly recommend printing out a few yoga resumes and dropping them around every remotely yoga-related place or studio in your area, or as far as you're willing to travel.
Ask at the desk to speak to the manager (they likely won't be available but do it anyway), then ask if you can leave your resume for their attention. Fun fact: I landed my own unique vinyasa class on the regular schedule this way.
2. Not everyone will like your classes.
Teaching mixed-level classes is so much harder than teaching to a specific level class, so do expect some fall out.
People often make assumptions about yoga if they have never been to a class before. I've had people tell me that my classes are too hard, when I had thought it was a nice balanced flow. And I've also had people look at me like I am sending them to sleep.
My advice? Take it all with a grain of salt and don't take it personally. Allow your teaching to evolve naturally, and trust me when I say that eventually the vast majority of people will love it.
3. Charge what you are worth.
Unfortunately good karma doesn't pay the bills, so you are going to need to charge what you are worth and without feeling guilty about it. Value yourself. Yoga teacher training is expensive, not to mention the time and hours you spend working on your sequencing and workshops. Set your prices and stick with it.
4. Create an online presence.
Being online is so important in this industry now, but I think this is still underestimated by many teachers. You really do need to put yourself out there.
But you don't necessarily have to blog everyday or create yoga videos. Something as simple as a nice, clean website and keeping in touch with students via a Facebook page, is a great start. You can create a sense of community and it's also a great marketing tool.
Fun fact #2: I sold out my first workshop with online marketing only.
5. Don't let your personal practice slip.
Your practice is where all the magic happens. Not only will it keep you more grounded, but it's the place where creativity takes place. You might find as you rush from one studio to the next that your practice is the first thing to slip. Make sure to schedule time and space for yourself — your body and mind will thank you for it in the long run.
6. Say yes to every opportunity.
I learned a lot from subbing every yoga class I could. I started teaching in the summer when a lot of teachers were either away teaching at festivals, or elsewhere around the world. This opened up many opportunities for me to teach.
Teaching as much as possible is honestly the best way to learn, you'll find your voice, see how different peoples' bodies work, learn to play with sequencing and grow as a teacher and a person.
7. Trust yourself.
Teaching yoga is so incredibly rewarding, and the good far outweighs the bad. I still feel like I learn something new almost every single day. It's an amazing feeling to be of service to others — to help and inspire. That moment when your students float blissfully out of class — you know that this is what you were meant to do.
So trust in yourself, your voice and your heart. Know that you're always doing the very best you can, and that is more than enough. Be authentic and unique — find your own voice and the students will find you.