Today is the official 3-month mark since I taught my very first yoga class! What an amazing journey it has been so far – filled with lots of learning experiences along the way. Looking back at this year, I’m so happy I decided to make the jump and go through Hot Yoga Teacher Training [Read My Journey Through Teacher Training]. I also made the decision to leave my corporate job and focus on doing the things that I love full time (modeling, blogging, and yoga!). This has definitely been one of the best years of my life 🙂
With being a new teacher comes lots of challenges and learning experiences. Although I haven’t been teaching very long, I have learned so much about not only being a teacher, but also about myself. Here are the top 5 things I have learned from my first few months as a yoga instructor:
1. You are going to make tons of mistakes – and learn a lot from them!
In my first few months of being a teacher, I have made SO many mistakes! I have mixed up the sequence order, I’ve led certain postures on the wrong side first, forgot postures, I’ve messed up the heat, said the wrong Sanskrit pose name – If you can think it, I’ve probably done it. But you know what? Everything ended up okay at the end of the day. I have learned so much from making those mistakes, and I’ve worked hard to not made the same mistakes since. In fact, I believe they have made me much stronger as a teacher.
Being a new instructor in front of a large group of students can be super intimidating, and you don’t want to mess up or sound like you don’t know what you’re talking about. But I’ve come to realize that it’s okay to mess up, and people aren’t there to judge you. Students appreciate confidence, as well as your ability to laugh at yourself every once and a while. My advice is to sub and teach as much as you possibly can. The more you get the words out, and the more experience you have, the more confident you will feel. If you truly love what you’re doing, you will only get better with time and practice!
2. I realized how much I apologize on a daily basis, and I’m working on changing my wording to sound more confident
During teacher training, one of the most important lessons we learned was not to apologize for making small mistakes during class. While it’s of course important to be apologetic for certain things in life, making a mistake while teaching yoga isn’t one of them. We are all human, and it’s okay to stumble on your words every once and a while. I always appreciate my supportive CorePower Yoga teachers who (lovingly) call me out on my apologies during class.
As women, I think we sometimes get in the habit of saying “sorry” too often. When I first started teaching and accidently said left foot instead of right, I used to say “Sorry, I mean right foot”. Now I’m working on saying “rather lift your right foot” and move on. I am trying to change my voice to be more confident and to speak without apology for small things that I have no need to be sorry for.
3. Your own personal practice may be impacted by your schedule
As someone who has a very strong personal yoga practice (I take class almost every day) my teaching schedule came as a bit of a shock to my practice schedule. I was scheduled to teach classes that were at the same time as my regular practice classes, and I realized that I would have to re-arrange my schedule to make time to teach and take a class for myself. I also found that if I taught a class, got super sweaty and then went home to shower, I was much less likely to come back in a few hours to take another hot and sweaty class. Because of this, I now am very diligent about taking a yoga class either before or right after I teach. It took a bit of an adjustment period, but I am now able to practice and teach almost every day. Plus, it pushed me to try instructors I had never taken class with before and added a little variety to my weekly schedule.
4. Things do not always go as planned
I had to learn this one very quickly. Things will definitely not always go to plan. Students will show up late to class or leave early and disrupt your flow, your music won’t work, the heat will break, you will forget the sequence mid class, etc. The best advice I’ve been given is to not panic, breathe, and to just go with the flow. Don’t allow one thing to throw off your entire class. Acknowledge the problem, maybe even smile or laugh it off, and then let it go.
5. Be yourself and learn to develop your authentic voice
While it is great and super important to learn from other instructors, it is also important to develop your own style and voice. If a student wanted to practice with a certain teacher, they would go to that teacher. People are coming to your class for a reason, so allow your personality to shine.
You also don’t have to be a guru to give advanced life lessons or advice. I tried so hard at the beginning to come up with these very deep and intricate intentions for class, however I soon realized that the personal experiences I shared with my class resonated much better than the ones that weren’t authentic to me. Know that you won’t be able to please everyone, and there will be people who don’t like your class. That’s totally okay! Don’t allow it to hurt your feelings or bring you down. Teach from your heart, speak your truth, and let the true you shine through!
Yoga and fitness instructors – I would love to hear what you’ve learned from being a teacher. Let me know in the comments section below!
On a side note – can we talk about how cute this outfit is?? This brand is called Pheel Apparel, and I am obsessed with these leggings with built-in leg warmers! The high waist is super slimming and keeps me in during even the most intense workouts. I was totally blown away by the fabric and quality of this outfit! The lightweight, moisture wicking material is so light you will forget you’re even wearing it.