I've always been a teacher of some sort (a nutrition counselor, dance teacher, scuba instructor, a bar trainer), but teaching yoga has been the most rewarding and life changing. My first public class was terrifying. I wanted to get in the car, leave town, change my name and start over so I could avoid the fear and failure that I was forecasting. How was I to lead people through yoga postures, remind them to breathe and sound oh so inspiring while doing it? How was I suppose to guide them into bliss, nirvana, samadhi?! I didn't, you don't. Teaching yoga is not that, Phew. Modern yoga is (many things) about leading people towards being more present in their body. I taught the class, my nerves showed and it was... my first ever yoga class. It went exactly how it was supposed to.
Four years is not a long time to be teaching by any means, but a couple thousand teaching hours has given me some perspective that I wish to share with my fresh-outa-yoga-teacher-training-self of four years ago. Writing this list feels incredible and empowering. It's never too late to be your own guru. I highly recommend it.
- Be 100% you in the studio/gym/classroom/space you're teaching in.
- You have a voice. Use it. Don't change it, just speak clearly, authentically and not too much.
- Remember your students are having their own inner experience on the mat. Honor that.
- Teach the class you love to take.
- Teach the yoga you have a relationship and a familiarity with.
- You're going to teach some shitty classes. They won't be as bad as you judge yourself for. Move on.
- You don't have to teach everything you know about yoga in one class.
- You don't have to reinvent the sun salutation. Just teach good quality yoga.
- Make your yoga accessible, reasonable and inclusive as possible.
- Be a student. Practice yoga. Take care of your body.
- A few (maintenance) poses in your living room while watching Grey's Anatomy (are gold) definitely counts and will bridge the gap till you get on your mat.
- Do not compare yourself to what other teachers IRL or on IG are doing. Do your work. Do your yoga.
- Be willing to change and grow out of old beliefs and cues that no longer serve you, your students or your teaching.
- 200 hrs is just the beginning, a drop in the bucket. Find your niche, your teacher, your style and rock it.
- Value your offering and your content or no one else will.
- Trust the yoga.
Maybe this applies to your life even if you're not a yoga teacher. Maybe as a barista or engineer or nurse or artist you yield the reminder to be 100% you. To be inclusive, reasonable, accessible. That you embrace change and grow out of old beliefs that no longer serve. I hope this is relevant (it feels relevant). I hope you value your offering, whatever that may be and I hope you get to do a little bit of something you love each day.