Embarking on a yoga teacher training is an exciting adventure, and positive transformation can definitely evolve through the experience, but it’s also good to be realistic when it comes to considering a career in teaching yoga.
Yoga has grown exponentially over the past decade and during that time has
become a highly competitive business. Over the years I’ve seen the industry change dramatically, so before you quit your day job consider all your options. Making sure you have a good foundation from the right teacher training is vital when trying to carve a career for yourself as a new yoga teacher, there are a lot of yoga teachers out there and a lot of noise in this industry. This guide has been created with this in mind. The goal to answer some of the most common questions, worries and concerns, to clear up a little confusion and ultimately help you decide if a yoga teacher training is right for you.
I want to teach but I don’t think I’m ready.
Now I’m about to tell you one of the biggest secrets about beginning your journey into teaching – You will probably never feel 100% ready! In fact, the most common thing we hear from our graduates is that they wish they had jumped in sooner.
We all put up barriers that prevent us from moving into the unknown. Some perceive teaching yoga as scary, but if you’ve been thinking about teacher training for a while, then chances are you’re ready to do it. Maybe those physical, emotional, or logistical challenges are putting up a good fight, but why not consider them as excuses that hold you up rather than a valid reason to hold you back. Sometimes all we need to do is re-frame the challenges and recognise that we all have things standing in our way. It might be, you worry too much about the fact that you can’t do a headstand yet, or your hamstrings are tight. Maybe you’re worrying about what other people will think of you, or you think you’ll be ready once you lose some weight. Perhaps you’re scared about standing in front of a group – it’s ok. It can be scary initially, but with practice you will overcome those nerves (there’s more about that later). Whatever it is, there will always be something.
The good news is that these limiting beliefs are the very things we get to confront and work through on the training, with a group of like-minded peers probably going through the same journey. Sitting at home wondering how you’ll achieve your dreams one day is not going to get you there, being brave and seizing this moment will.
How can I best prepare for the teacher training. Both mentally and physically?
Before embarking on any yoga training you need to have a regular yoga practice, ideally for a minimum of two years, but you don’t need to be the most flexible person in the world, as flexibility doesn’t necessarily make you a great teacher. In fact, I know some people who have limited flexibility in their physical forms that are amazing teachers.
I would advise anyone going on a training to practice a minimum of three times per week, ideally doing a few different styles or at least knowing the difference between a Flow class and a Restorative class. The deeper your practical research before launching into a yoga teacher training, the easier the course is likely to be for you.
If possible sign up to a course well in advance, ask if there’s any pre-course homework, if not read a yoga philosophy book to get into the right mindset by sparking some self enquiry into this vast subject of yoga. Plant some seeds to ignite positive growth before the course even begins!
Important things to look out for when choosing the right course for you.
• Find a course that is affiliated with a yoga studio.
I’d advise to practice a few classes and speak to teachers at the studio who’ve done the teacher training and get some honest feedback.
• Find out how long the trainings have been running.
Quality comes with experience. I would suggest avoiding any teacher training that is only in it’s first 2 or 3 years or isn’t affiliated with a yoga studio.
• Meet one of the teachers who will be teaching you on the course.
This is paramount, investing into a training is a lot of money and you really need to know what you’re getting into. Meet the teachers who lead the training and see you if you have rapport. Take a taster session, it’s always good to try before you buy!
• Find a course structure that works for you.
Teacher training is a pretty intensive experience so be mindful when picking a course if you’re doing it alongside a full time job or looking after little ones. Courses that are spread out over a very long period of time have higher drop out rate, this is because life gets in the way and it’s harder for people to commit to doing every weekend for 12 months, even with the best intentions.
If you are able to leave behind the day to day business of life at home, your full energy can be redirected toward your yoga teacher training. You’ll experience a fast-paced rate of progression, making leaps and bounds in both in the physical practice and teaching skills.
• Value for money.
The most expensive course doesn’t always mean you’re getting the best. Some courses are very overpriced for what you get, especially in London. Ask what you get in return for your investment and make sure you feel comfortable with the response.
• Teaching Opportunities.
Teaching yoga, especially in large cities, has become a competitive business.
Don’t be afraid to ask what teaching opportunities the training facility can offer once you graduate.
Try to find out about the reputation of the training. Do they have trusting relationships in their studios, with their students, and within their communities?
What qualities make a great teacher?
• The greatest teachers are often thought of as the most authentic.
Being yourself is the key – if a teacher tries to mimic another teacher, it just comes across in class as inauthentic. Identify your strengths, as well as acknowledge your limits.
• Be passionate about what you do, plan your classes and consider your sequencing carefully.
Sequencing can make or break a class, and catering for your students level–especially a mixed ability group, is a skill. The art of sequencing is, like any good story, a beginning, middle and a considered ending.
• If you play music, plan your play lists to match your sequences, and know when music adds value or not. Create a safe space for connection and teach with empathy, as you never know what kind of day your students have had.
From a personal point of view, I believe the best yoga teachers are the ones who are committed to their practice off the mat too. Living life on a day to day basis with conscious choices, from the products that you buy, the food on your plate, and making your best effort to live in a more mutually beneficial way with the Earth and all that inhabit it.
New teacher nerves and how to deal with them.
It’s totally normal to feel nervous, public speaking is one of our biggest fears in the UK. It takes courage to start teaching and fear definitely holds people back, but you have to get over yourself and jump in!
Try to choose a training that provides a nurturing environment and a solid commitment to inspire confidence in their students and a promise to get them up to a high standard.
Newly qualified, what next?
At the end of a teacher training, it’s easy to suddenly feel like you don’t know what to do next. Finding a Mentor or being part of a community is a wonderful thing. Ask a senior teacher to mentor you and maybe help assist in some classes, or find a Mentoring program. I recommended a company called Evolution Lab, they do inexpensive group mentoring from fledgling teachers in London.
Finding classes to teach.
I recommend working in a yoga studio on reception, or spend time around a studio helping out, get to know the students and other teachers. You’re much more likely to get on to the teaching schedule this way rather than just e-mailing in your CV. You’ll become a familiar face and will belong to a community which is a pretty special feeling. Overtime you can get on the cover list which can lead into getting a scheduled classes.
Teaching corporate groups can be fun, especially for beginners. It’s gratifying to see people slowly improve, before you know it your students will be popping up into a headstand. Most gyms offer a range of yoga classes these days so try to connect with someone there. Of course you can hire a room and market yourself as a teacher in your local area, this may be slower to build but worth it in the long run.
Building your own website is fairly simple these days and a good way to find private clients which is financially beneficial too.
I hope you have found great value in this guide and have enjoyed reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it for you. My intention is to help reduce some overwhelm you may be feeling and clear up any confusion you may have surrounding your choice. It really is such a rewarding career.
For more information visit teachingyoga.co.uk