A Shout Out for New Yoga Teachers

Posted by on April 4, 2013 in Teaching | 2 comments

A Shout Out for New Yoga Teachers

Being passionate about yoga you decide teaching would be a dream come true. “Do what you love”, they say. So you do. You finish your 200 hour training. Certificate in hand, you walk out the studio and now you can officially teach.  You get hired. You stand before your flock of yogis as “the expert”. Then things begin to feel wrong. The confidence you felt amongst fellow teacher trainees is replaced with fear. Fear of judgement, fear of embarrassment, fear that you are not worthy yet to teach.

Philip Urso of Live, Love, Teach, writes this about many new teachers:

“The majority of teachers were not practicing yoga while teaching it. Quite the opposite. They were practicing a whole range of other strategies, from pedantically protecting themselves from embarrassment, to subtle attempts to manipulate their class to like or love them. As such, they were teaching fear.”

How do you move into teaching yoga authentically without fear? It is another journey one must take as a teacher. To teach yoga, you must delve into your story. You have to dig into uncertainty and discomfort. You have to teach from a place of vulnerability and truth.

On my own path, I found that one teacher training was not enough. Baron Baptiste’s teacher training level 1 started the process of self exploration but did not get me out of my fear of judgement enough to help me teach authentically. An advanced teacher training from Aimee Bohn took me to another level of comfort, confidence and truth. The final key that unlocked the teacher in me was working with Jessica Boylston-Fagonde, the owner of Brand Thyself, a company geared toward helping yoga teachers and wellness professionals. Working with Jessica helped me find and define my voice.

To be an effective teacher, you must have a consistent offering. Your students feel safe when they can rely on receiving the same core message in your class. Your class will attract people that respond to your unique offering. That was the final key. To teach with confidence, I had to know from where I was teaching and to offer that each time. It is scary. You are offering your true self. But by being open to be sharing yourself, you are allowing those in your classes to share their truest self.

The process of self discovery never ends. As teachers we must continue to put our selves on the line, delving deeper into the practice of both yoga and living authentically. Someone once inspired you enough in class to set you on this journey. Keep offering yourself and inspire others to join the journey of living their truth.

At the end of every class I take or teach, I bow to the teachers of my past, present and future and I bow to my students who inspire me to keep standing before them sharing myself and that which I am passionate about. I am so very grateful to be able to do this everyday. Namaste .

2 Comments

  1. My favorite example of remembering to practice yoga while teaching was the morning I’d lost my key to open the studio! I called for backup, but she showed up 40 minutes later. By that time, I had no students willing to hang around to practice for a wee bit (which I understood). But, I had to constantly remind myself that s*** happens. Breathe.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience!

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