I have been officially a qualified yoga teacher for six months now. Over some lovely messages via Instagram or just chatting to pals and folks thinking about embarking on a 200 hour YTT course, a lot of the time the curiosity is – what happens after?
Do you simply float off into the abyss? Do you forget everything you learnt? Is it easy to find work? Is there a HR department?
It has been a wonderful journey so far with many ups, and some downs too, so I thought I would scribble all my little nuggets of advice down in a blog post. I am aware I have a lot still to learn, but here are a few little things I have learnt in this career so far…
Celebrate every tiny victory
Keeping that little happy dance and celebrating every teeny victory no matter how small is what carries you though. Make sure you give yourself a pat on the back, and keep hold of any lovely feedback or remarks so when you are feeling down on yourself (it happens), you can return to this lovely archive of uplifting comments.
Listen to your instincts
Although it is encouraged that you take on as many classes are poss, always listen in to your gut if something doesn’t quite sit right. It might not be anything against the studio at all – but if it just doesn’t feel *right*, then listen and don’t commit to things your aren’t 100% sure about.
Arrive at class earlier than you think you should
Rule no.1 of teaching is to arrive early – and triple check the times of your class! (I type this an entire hour early for my Frame class, lol) I once left it late and arrived to teach in a big old flap and it felt horrible. I also recently got the time of my class wrong in my diary and actually missed the whole class. It was awful! When you are teaching yoga, feeling calm and sorted is crucial – as you are always passing things on to your students even if you try your hardest not to. Also, students have carved time out of their day to practice with you, so honour that and get your booty to the studio at least 15 mins early to set up, get comfy and feel ready to welcome your students in.
Be flexible, it’s OK if things don’t go quite to plan
I’ve really had to embrace this after taking the leap into becoming self employed. Classes come, classes go – that’s just the way things roll. Don’t take this personally, just ride the waves and always be open to new opportunities, essentially you are always growing, inviting new people into your life and learning from experiences.
It is so important to never become too comfortable, always be looking ever so slightly ahead, what could be the next step? Back yo’self up, have a plan – and most importantly be kind. When money is a pressure, it can be hard to keep cool if you lose a client – however keeping a lovely relationship is key, so perhaps you can pick up work in the future.
Patience is everything
Be patient with yourself, when you I first stepped out of my yoga teacher training, I just couldn’t bring myself to teach. I had lost a lot of confidence and couldn’t help beating myself up about it.
Ease into teaching slowly, teach your friends, teach yourself, and if you don’t feel like it then take some time out to adjust and soak up. Find some balance and you will know the right time to teach. Same patience applies when you get into teaching classes. You learn from such incredible teachers, but forget they have been teaching, learning and developing for yeeeeaars. You have such a wonderful journey ahead of you, embrace not knowing absolutely everything and soak up all there is to learn.
Keep your practice alive
I found that when started teaching, I lost touch with my practice. It all got a little stale and I forgot about the simple joy of practicing yoga. Even if its just once a week, get yo’ booty along to a class. Explore a new teacher or space and feel inspired by fresh ways of sequencing and cueing. Also remind yourself of the beauty of letting go of any expectations, forgetting what you already know about yoga and simply let yourself fall into the asana. If you are jam packed without time to get yourself to class, roll out the mat and have a little wiggle at home. This will help keep you feeeeeeelin’ good, but also inspire creativity within your teaching, reminding you why you bloody LOVE yoga.
Be kind to yourself
Entering the world of the freelance can be a lil crazaaaay. Long hours (mostly via side jobs to make ends meet), early starts, late finishes, a whole new timetable, financial stress, fear of rejection, working weekends (not that I would change a thing) but there is a lot to adjust to. Especially if you have been used to 9-5 Monday – Friday situ. Your ‘day off’ isn’t set in concrete, so you have to create little nuggets of time for TLC. Early nights, allow yourself to sleep in when you can, eat well, paint ur nails, have a nice hot shower, go out for dinner, have a glass of wine. Whatever floats your boat and makes you feel good, get into the habit of regular moments of self care and rest. Like my Grandma always says, don’t burn the candle at both ends!
Try out exercise other than yoga
I can’t remember the last time I went for a run. Before embarking on my teacher training, running was my ting. I loved selecting a corker of an album, pulling on some trainers and heading out for a nice long jog outdoors. I would also try out all sorts of classes at the gym for the fun of it. All these things that made me feel great sort of faded unintentionally as I delved further into my teaching career. So this year, I am going to run more. Try different forms of exercise and get ma heart pumping again. If you have any fun ideas for different forms of exercise in London, let me know >:)
Get social, embrace time between classes
Despite talking to lots of people all day, teaching yoga can be a little lonely at times. When you no longer have work chums that you see day in, day out – you are mostly on ya tod between classes. Try to pencil in coffees, arrange to meet mates on their work breaks and sort out weekend cover every so often so you can get outta London for a few days of R&R with your nearest and dearest.
People just want to have a lovely time
No one is coming to class to judge you. When people book onto a yoga class, they really do just want to have a lovely time. To create space, to breathe, to move. Not to critique your teaching (at least, that’s what we hope!) It totally changed my perspective when I was told that nugget of wisdom. Have fun with it, explore, make mistakes and be open to feedback from your students, as growing and nurturing your passion is all part of the fun.
I hope these are helpful if you are also a teacher, if ya have any nuggets of wisdom to add – I would absolutely LOVE to hear it.