How to Take Your Next Step as a Yoga Teacher
Plenty of yoga teachers are happy to teach at a studio or gym and stay put. We want to find a place to teach and uplift students, and that’s that. We want to expand our experience, gain the skills and have fun creating sequences and playing with our students.
So what if we’re just beginning this whole experience of teaching yoga?
There are simple, though sometimes scary, steps when it comes to walking fresh out of a teacher training. If you’re a brand-new yoga teacher, you’ll need to hone your skills and teach for free to loved ones for a bit. Then branch out and teach for free at other places like a church or a community center.
After you’ve built a little resume and gathered references, go confidently into a studio, gym, spa or wherever and hand them your resume, show them your wonderful self and know that any place would be very fortunate to have you as a teacher.
Your first class will be a little bit scary, but I’ve no doubt that you’ll rock it
After being employed somewhere, you might be content to stay where you are, loving your job and happy as a lark to serve in this way.
But then some of us have nudges and inklings. Goals we might not even know about yet. We might not be sure what’s been nudging us, but there’s something there. Some kind of calling to develop the yoga instruction into something else.
Both of these are equally wonderful. Going forward or staying put, whatever you’re doing, I commend you because in teaching yoga, you are playing out part of the world’s awakening, and that’s important and beautiful. Thank you.
Because I know what hard work it can be, here’s a couple of free gifts below - take your pick!
Or maybe you’re interested in a free yoga teacher checklist:
For those of us who feel a nudge or a call forward, the rest of this post if for you.
The truth is that the road is wide open. You can do anything you want! We are in the midst of a yoga boom, and you should enjoy the ride.
What cause in this world moves you? What else are you attracted to? Is it something that pertains to your immediate surroundings? Who do you want to serve, specifically?
This entails looking at what really makes you sad, angry or happy. It needs to speak to you deeply. Within this, you will find your market. I hate to use such business terms, but it’s the best way to put it.
Actually, I’m not afraid to use such business terms. We must never be afraid to think of our jobs as careers. Yoga can and should be a career. It’s a big industry, and without yoga teachers, it would cease to exist.
So let’s get clear on who and what you want to offer your moving meditation instruction to. In what corner can you offer your instruction to further consciousness and love?
Meditation is a wonderful way yo let your subconscious inform you about what ways you are called to teach. Just get quiet and ask the questions. The answers to your questions will eventually come.
Here’s a free course to power up your meditation practice:
There are endless places for your yoga instruction:
pain and inflammation
disease: cardiovascular, diabetes, cancer, thyroid, etc.
What else do you feel called to? Can you add another skill or interest to your instruction? I love holistic nutrition and studying the effects of certain foods on our bodies so I often involve nutrition instruction in my yoga workshops. And of course, on this site.
Or is there a particular part of yoga that you want to specialize in? Does one of the limbs of yoga interest you more than others? For example, I love meditation. Probably because it involves sitting and doing nothing, and I love to be lazy. I also love pranayama. So I like to instruct pranayama meditations.
Getting clear on who you want to serve and what you want to specialize in or add to your teaching practice is the first step, is key. Journal about it. Sit down and let a stream of consciousness come through you as you type or write.
Perhaps there is nothing you want to hone in on, but definitely a certain market you want to serve. Or maybe there’s no market, but a definite emphasis on which direction to go in your teaching.
Imagine what it would be like, the effect you could make. Write it down and get clear about your next goal, your next step.
If you want more, by the fact that you have that desire means you are called to it.
Which way will you scale?
There are two ways to scale: up or down. You could want to do both.
For some, it may private instruction, which is scaling down. A wonderful yoga teacher in my community has expressed an interest in serving veterans and moving toward private instruction.
This will take the courage to step up and express your desire to teach privately. This will take some personal marketing. Go to the places where your market hangs out. Teach a free class, volunteer for a while, and then put up flyers.
What’s important here is your ability to connect and foster relationships. Collect email addresses and start an email list. You might even collect phone numbers or simply friend them on Facebook, Instagram or whatever, and send a message to let them know what’s going on.
This can be tricky if you teach a studio or gym that offers private instruction. But it’s important to remember that if you aren’t paid a salary or own the place yourself, you’re a freelancer. This is the case for a good number of yoga teachers. We are paid per class, and that’s good. It’s actually great because it allows freedom.
You are free to have your own private students, as long as you’re using ethics and etiquette. We never bite the hand that feeds us. Maintain respect. Of course, you don’t want to advertise your services at the studio or steal students that might want private instruction at a studio where you teach.
But naturally, when you teach yoga, you develop relationships. It’s part of the teaching. So you may get their information without aggression if they’re willing to give it. It’s likely you already have it. If that’s too uncomfortable, just use social media and message them.
Of course, you don’t want to get a legal pad out and take names. Just smile at them and pop your phone out, any time you talk to one of them. Don’t tell them to get in a line to write down their information. (LMAO).
When you communicate with them, whether it be through text, email, or social media, let them know what you’re offering with kindness and love - all the good intentions. We are only here to serve. Let them feel that intention.
For private instruction, you’ll want to email, text or message the students individually.
My favorite masseuse in the world just left the spa where I teach to freelance his services. He also has pursued passions and found his talent in myofascial release. He’s amazing. And I’ll gladly pay for his services in or out of the spa.
He did this same thing: he had a plan. He got my number. He sent me a nice text on the holidays, and when it was time, let me know he was going freelance. I’m sure he has a list of clients that he emails and texts, asking when they would like their next scheduled appointment in the comfort of their own homes.
Some might want to scale bigger. This is the way I’ve been called. I wanted to teach yoga, meditation and nutrition workshops. I wanted to go online and teach people all over the world.
In this direction, relationships are still so important. I love my community. I want them to know they can trust me, and that I’m going to give them my very best each week. That I’m here for them if they need me.
Teaching on a bigger scale, as in teaching workshops, might entail going to different studios, gyms or even workplaces. Maybe even schools. Wherever your niche or market leads you.
Even if you want to go the private route, you might need to go the workshop route first, especially if you are specializing or catering to a certain market - this will allow you make those connections with the people who need your services.
For example, the amazing yoga teacher I was talking about earlier who wants to teach vets and go the private route could go to V.F.W. halls to volunteer or even teach a healing workshop there for free. This is a chance to make wonderful connections and serve these important people individually. How beautiful.
I’ll say it again: one thing I know is so important for both types of scaling is relationships. Have an email list. Whether you go private, stay at the studio, teach workshops or go online.
And don’t make these relationships for the sake of business. Make these relationships because it’s beautiful to be connected, because it’s lovely to serve and love other people. Because this world can be a lonely place, and we all need each other.
Think and live outside the box:
When crafting your brand and speciality, do something different. Stand out. Whether you go online and teach YouTube videos, teach healthy cooking classes that incorporate mindful movement, mix yoga with dance, whatever it is.
Make a logo. Brand up, baby. It’s going to take some serious meditation and daydreaming and observing the world and thinking. It might take a whole year, but truly I say to you, make your mark in your own way. Let your imagination take off.
Create your own tagline, and again, live by your own rules with respect and love to those you serve. Make it all beautiful and funky.
Being different and standing out is not dying your hair and getting a weird tattoo. Just be you. Have your own style and let that emerge out of the most basic truth of who you are. To do this, you only need to presence. Let your truth and spunk and personality flow out of you.
In other words, don’t be anything you’re not. You’ll be different if you’re you. Out of the box is your own personality. That’s the safe spot. Stay there. Use your favorite colors and love authentically, allowing yourself to learn and grow in the process.
Your whole intention of teaching should be bound up in your brand, in what you say and do in a yoga class, in your marketing. Everywhere you take your career, there is your intention backing it up with the power of your soul and love.
You’re so very important in this world and for this world. And your work is beautiful and important too. Let yourself shine. Don’t be afraid to be honest and direct in your communications. Have faith in your work, confidence in your abilities. It’s okay to shine.
And don’t ignore any other callings or inklings. Even if you make a mistake; we all know now that mistakes are the best learning material to doing what we’re meant to do.
Acknowledge and breathe out any fear that’s there. Replace it with love and then go forth to make your mark in this industry. Thank goodness you’re so different and unique. This world needs you just as you are.
Comment below about moving forward in teaching yoga or with any other tips!
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