Teaching yoga when you’re a freshly certified teacher can be a nerve-wracking experience; fear and self-doubt often creep in, and we wonder if we are actually good enough to instruct others. You see, it’s one thing teaching a class to a group of close yogi friends who you have lived, breathed and practiced with for a month, but it is completely different to teaching a class of strangers out in the ‘real world’.
If you’re feeling those pre-class nerves, fear not! Here are five effective teaching tips that will help you to remain calm and poised when you teach your next yoga class.
Gently Close the Eyes
The first five to ten minutes are when we tend to feel the most nervous, after this time it’s easier to relax and to ease into the class. Having many eyes on you can be an intimidating experience, and it can throw you off if you allow it to. One way around this (which I highly recommend for all new yoga teachers), is to have students close their eyes at the start of class. You can start by asking students to sit in a comfortable seated position, then introduce yourself and explain the class-type that you will be teaching (all with a big smile, of course). Then, immediately after you can ask them to close their eyes, lengthen the spine, relax the shoulders, and put some weight on the sitting bones. Depending on your preference, you can also ask students to take their attention to their breath, chose to elaborate on a theme for the class, or ask everyone to set an intention. This simple tip will mean that you are under less pressure, and you have more time to gather your confidence and teach an incredible class.
Yoga Every Damn Day
Always teach your class to a friend or family member and ask for some kind critiques. You can also film yourself teaching your class to an imaginary audience, and then watch it back and practice along like you are a student in class. Afterwards, give yourself some gentle feedback on how you did. Was your voice clear? Where your cues easy to follow? What could you do to make your class even better? Practice teaching and also practice as a student, as you will receive a dose of teaching inspiration every time that you take a class. So try out some new styles of yoga, learn with new teachers, or even enroll in one of the many ‘online yoga schools’ which will enable you to watch a variety of classes and yoga talks.
A Trusty Little Notebook
The more time that you spend on preparing and planning your classes, the more confident you will be in teaching them. You should have a special notebook which you use just for your class planning. You can write entire lesson plans in the book, themes, inspirational sayings and cues, and then refer back to your magical yoga notebook during lesson planning or in class.
Child’s Pose is Your Friend
If you’re in a panic and you have absolutely no idea what asana is up next, simply guide your students into a child’s pose, where you can ask them to relax and come back to their breath. This will give you the opportunity to take a peek at your notes, remember what you were teaching or even think of something new to teach.
Think Back to Your First Class as a Student
When you took your first ever yoga class, were you going to it just to judge your teacher? No, you weren’t. It’s most likely that you were going to try something new, to learn, and to leave the class in a better place than when you arrived. Remember that when it comes to your students. They are not there to mark you, so relax, teach to the best of your abilities, and enjoy the process. If you’re passionate, warm and welcoming it will shine through in your class. Incorporate the above tips into your teaching toolbox, and you’ll be sure to feel more calm, centered and confident when it comes to teaching your next yoga class. Good luck.