I recently finished my training and have been lucky enough to land a few teaching jobs. Lots of my fellow teacher trainees have been asking what I've been doing so I figured I'd share a few tips just in case anyone else had the same questions!
1. Keep up with your own practice.
Chances are, you decided to become a yoga teacher because you love yoga
. If you sacrifice your personal practice for the sake of teaching, you’ll become resentful and your teaching career won’t last. You may have to develop a home practice or choose a less-than-ideal time to take a class, but you’ll be happier in the long run.
2. Make sure there’s a more senior teacher with whom you can have frank discussions about teaching yoga.
A lot of important information just isn’t covered in teacher training. You might have questions such as, “How much should I charge?” or “How do I build a client base?” or even “How do I leave a job?” These conversations are much easier if they're with someone you trust. Having your own teacher will also keep you growing in your personal practice.
3. If you’re serious about teaching, you can’t be choosy at first. (Take what you can get.)
Most of us want to teach in yoga studios. However, these gigs are tough to land without experience. Scour the internet for any open yoga teaching positions in your area and send out emails. You may even want to consider calling local gyms, recreation centers, etc. to see if they’re interested in hosting a yoga class. You may be surprised at the pay rate at some of these places. Often, gyms will pay a flat rate for a class instead of a per-student rate, which can be a benefit to a new teacher. Even if you don’t stay in this position permanently, you’ll start to meet students who will want to follow you.
4. Choose the studio(s) you want to teach at and practice there. A lot.
I've heard studio owners say that the first thing they look at when someone asks to teach for them is whether that person actually practices at their studio. A hiring manager wants to know that your values and teaching style are aligned with that of the studio’s, and that you believe enough in what they’re selling to purchase it yourself.
5. Assist, assist, assist.
This is another great way to show a yoga studio’s staff that you’re serious about teaching for them. You may get paid little or nothing for assisting, but you’ll gain valuable insight as to how a successful teacher at a particular studio operates without having to worry about leading his or her class. Offering a studio your services for free will also show that you’re committed to working there.
6. Have a demo class prepared.
If a studio is interested in having you teach, they’ll likely ask you to demonstrate a class for them. Have two classes in your back pocket-one basic and one open level. Keep it to a simple, well-rounded class. If you’re going to use music, have your playlist timed and prepped ahead of time. Make sure you’ve done your research so that the class you’ve prepared is in line with the studio’s style. After you’ve given your class, send a follow-up thank you email to the studio owner for the opportunity.
7. Once you’ve landed a job at a studio, (hooray!) don’t expect the 6:30pm class off the bat.
Many new teachers will be offered what’s available, which is often the less than desirable time slots like 6am and 12 noon. Take them if you can. Also offer to sub for a teacher who has a following. It's a great way to gain exposure and show a new group of students what you have to offer.
8. Once you have a class, market it!
Send out emails, advertise it on your Facebook page, blog, wherever! Consider creating your own webpage where students can access your schedule, especially if you teach at multiple studios. If you develop a steady following, your boss will notice, and you’ll be in the running for a better time slot.
9. Harness your yogi powers and be patient.
Success as a yoga teacher doesn’t happen overnight. If a student comes to your class once and never returns, don’t take it personally. If you’ve been practicing for a while, you know that there are a million different flavors of yoga, and what tastes good to one student simply won’t to another. Accept that you may be teaching to one, two, or three students for a little while. But one student who believes in you is worth their weight in gold. Eventually, you will start to build a following.
10. Don’t sacrifice who you are. Speak with authenticity and passion.
It’s easy in this business to try to be someone you’re not to please the audience in front of you. Always keep in mind what drew you to teaching yoga in the first place. You believe in the power of the practice and in serving other people. Speak with authenticity and passion. You’ll attract the right students--the ones who will most benefit from YOUR message-- and stay rewarded and satisfied in teaching.
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