You’ve completed your yoga teacher training course – congratulations! Going out to teach to the masses can seem pretty daunting; you may wonder if you are ‘good’ enough to lead a class, or maybe you simply get tongue-tied during class.
No worries! In my opinion, this is just another rite of passage that many teacher trainees go through. After all, teaching is very much a form of public speaking, and it can be nerve-racking to talk in front of a group of people while having to remember your sequence and the correct alignment and safety cues, all while monitoring how your students are doing and being mindful of the time.
Sounds like a lot of work for one person!
Let’s take a look at a few ways you can start building your confidence as a yoga teacher.
1. Make sure you have a solid, consistent personal practice and a good understanding of yoga, not only regarding the poses, but also regarding the breath and other aspects of yoga. There is a saying that goes, ‘a teacher can only guide a student as far as he/she has experienced’. Which means your personal experience of yoga greatly determines how and what you will teach. By experiencing for yourself how your body and mind feels, you will be able to better guide your students into the poses.
2. Talk, talk, talk. When you are doing your personal practice, talk to yourself. Basically get comfortable with giving verbal instructions, for example, ‘left leg forward, right leg forward’. It sounds simple enough, but it is a whole other thing to have the image of the pose in your mind and to able to talk it out without actually physically doing it. In the beginning, you may do the poses along with your class as you teach, but you would want to eventually be able to give more verbal instructions without doing the poses so that you can keep an eye on your students and move around the room adjusting them if necessary. Alternatively, you can gather up a few of your friends and teach them. This would be good also because you will have the opportunity to work with different physical limitations, so you will be better able to handle a variety of individuals when you actually go out to teach.
3. Don’t be afraid to look for support from fellow course mates and teachers. Most likely they have been through the same things you have and can share with you their stories on how they overcame their issues. They will also be able to give you advice regarding how you can build yourself up as a teacher and provide contacts or job opportunities in the future.
4. Lastly, meditate. I feel that the thing that scares us most about being up in front of a class is facing judgement. We worry we will mess up, and we worry we will be judged by those around us. Try meditating for a few minutes before your class starts, center yourself, and then go for it.