Nowadays yoga is becoming more and more popular, and maybe you are also playing with the idea to teach. Honestly if I think about my journey I have to say it was destined to happen.
I went to my first yoga class around 2007, and afterwards I just could not live without it. The more I practiced the more essential it became in my life.
I do not wish to make this a personal story, however making a career as a yoga teacher is not easy. It might look like so, but it needs a lot of dedication, respect and endurance.
Since I teach, time to time shy and kind people are approaching me to receive some tips on starting on this path.
So here are my advices, from my heart, no bullshit. This is not a business plan, more like a little guidance. Do not take it too seriously :)
1. Practice, practice, practice
If you decide to do a teacher training, you need to know your own body the best. Practice as much as you can. Visit as many teachers as you can.
Before I started my teacher training I tried to visit a class every day. Yes, every single day. Home practice is also very important; however you might end up with a nice stretch instead of really challenging yourself.
Yoga taught me how to be comfortable in the uncomfortable. If you never challenge yourself, you will never evolve. It is that simple.
2. Surround yourself with yoga people
This will help you so much. You can learn from each other, share your experiences and lift each other up when needed. You can visit the classes together and this makes it much more fun.
Community is so important, and sharing experiences make them more valuable. If you are long enough in this "crazyness" you will find your tribe, with whom you can have even your own yoga language. This is the best part of it! You should hear how we talk with my yoga people. A squib would not understand.
3. Visit festivals, workshops
When you finish a teacher training, you will realise that it only gave you the basics. You will not be able to teach only based on that experience. You need to be inspired and yoga festivals and workshops are the very best for this.
Seeing a teacher being passionate about their "thing" is amazing and touching. This will charge you up every single time when you feel overwhelmed. Because yes, when you teach a lot, it can get overwhelming. It is a lot of giving. Giving of your knowledge, personality, kindness and care.
4. Choose a training which will make you happy
Do not only choose your training based on the paper. Do you like the people who do the training? The location is nice? Is the direction of the yoga for you?
If you can, travel and learn. Meet as many people from different nationalities as possible. See different styles. Widen your view, meet new people, open up to the world.
5. Choose to be dedicated
If you plan to teach yoga because you think its easy money, think again. You will give a part of yourself to your students every single time you teach. In my honest opinion I think it is more important to have a giving and accepting personality than technical knowledge. Technical knowledge will come eventually anyways.
The more you practice the more you know. But do you have enough to give?
6. Take the advices but ignore the negativity
You will never ever make every student happy. It is not possible. Unfortunately in the western society people think about the yoga teacher as a service provider. They come to your class with needs and expectations. But I say just do your own thing. You are anyways the best in that. Your tribe will find you.
7. Connect with nature and people
This might surprise you, but if you teach yoga you work with people. Therefore you need a very good sense of communication. After years of teaching in a blink of an eye you will know if a student is searching for challenges or looking for relaxation. In my opinion a good teacher gives the opportunity for both. It is hard, but when you teach you become one with your students, you keep an eye when they feel exhausted and change your teaching accordingly. If you see they want to push their limits you give them the chance.
This comes with time and practice.
8. You will fall, make a mistake during your class and that is perfectly fine
Do not have too high expectations towards yourself. I see in Austria people are raised in a way that they take every single rule super seriously. If you make a mistake, like you forget what you did on one the right side when it comes to the left side (yes this can and will happen) just go on. Give them a joke. Make your yogis laugh. Its only yoga anyways right? I am a Hungarian, teaching in German, and I have a lot of English native students. Sometimes (okay many times) I feel I am saying stupid things, I am wondering if they understand me. In the very beginning I said instead of Kinn (which is chin in German) Kind (which means child). So I said instead of put your chin on the mat, put your kid on the mat. One very polite lady came to me after class and told me about this mistake. It was a good laugh, nothing happened. Do not take yourself too seriously.
9. Just like in relationships people remember how you made them feel
Here I would like to talk a bit about acceptance. Yoga is all about acceptance. This applies to mistakes as well. The most important of course injury prevention, but NEVER EVER force a student into a correct position. Give them the good hints. Tell them what sensation they can feel in a pose. Always approach them gently. Without pulling and pushing them.
10. If you really want it, do not give up
It takes a lot of dedication, especially if you want to teach more classes during the week. You will need to learn continuously as there is always space to evolve to. Teaching can be exhausting. Your body will tell you when it is too much.
I think in the beginning the teachers are busy doing the sequence themselves to demonstrate, but do not be afraid to stop walk around, only adjust with your voice and focus your attention on your students. This will give you a break and you can take much better care of the people you are teaching.
Yoga is magic, it is wonderful and limitless. If you feel this is your path, go for it, and do not let anybody change your mind. If you think the market is full, think again how you can be different, why people should love your classes. This way you will not have a problem, just put your heart in it.