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  • Jen Paynter

Six Tips for New Yoga Teachers

It’s daunting finishing your YTT (yoga teacher training) and then going to put it into practice.


As someone who completed their training only a couple of years ago I remember the jitters that go with having a room full of eyes looking to you for their next move and the stage fright that can bring!

Never mind trying to keep track of the lefts and rights, mirroring not mirroring and moving from one side of the room to the other. There's a lot going on.


Your cosy little crew of fellow students have vanished and you’re out on your own without familiar smiling faces to encourage you as you fumble your way through.


It can also be a bit of a shock to realise suddenly you’re not only a yoga teacher but also running your own business as a freelancer.


There can be a bit of impostor syndrome as you find yourself navigating what it means to hold space for a room. Here are some tips to help you overcome those initial nerves and feel comfortable in your new role as a Yoga Teacher.


Here are my top tips for new teachers


1 - Keep it Simple

Keep your class design simple, you don’t need to have a 12 part flow to your class leading to a complicated peak posture. Keep it simple and easy to remember, you’ll be more relaxed teaching and be better able to talk and move (particularly useful if you’re teaching online!).


2 - Keep Learning

Keep attending classes as a student. It’s a great way to get inspiration and keep your own body moving. You also get the benefits of doing yoga which again makes you a better teacher. It can also be lonely out there, connect with other teachers and compare notes lesson plans, ideas and experiences.


3 - Be Picky

Don’t accept every job. As a yoga teacher you get paid per class, to make a living teaching you will need to work at several studios or gyms. Before you say "yes" to back-to-back classes check your travel time, be sure to include extra time for after class conversations with students. Also be mindful of your energy levels. An untold secret of fitness professionals is the afternoon nap, if you have a 7am class and a 7pm one be sure to add a kip into your day. Everyone has a limit on how many classes they can deliver each week before they start to burn out.


4 - Take Notes


Carry a notebook with you. You never know when you’ll get an idea for a class theme or read an inspiring quote. The environment and people watching provides great inspiration. You can also keep your class plans in it, if you draw a blank you can always re-purpose an old sequence.


5 - Find a System

Set up systems. Work out your invoicing, and tracking it might be as simple as a note in your diary once a fortnight, or colouring your classes in your calendar by studio. This was the one I struggled with. I was often late with invoices and as a result ended up missing payment for some of my covers because they were last minute and never made it to my diary. I now have regular reminders and a colour coding system in my calendar so I can easily identify classes amongst other appointments. I’m thinking of taking it up a step and changing the colour again once I’ve actually invoiced.

6 - Routine

Make it easy to get your mat to class with a great carry strap. There’s something comforting as a new teacher in particular to be on familiar territory. Teaching on your own mat you have a physical connection to your own practice and a gentle reminder to centre and ground.

Just remember, if everything goes wrong and you’ve forgotten what you’re up to, get everyone into Balasana then check your notes while their heads are down. They’ll appreciate the rest and you get a moment to regroup.


If you follow the above you’ll have a great start to an enjoyable teaching career. Namaste,

Jen


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