Advice for new yoga teachers
Completing your yoga teacher training course is a fantastic feeling. You’re a qualified teacher now, and your life has completely changed. Much like when you pass your driving test, the best advice is to start teaching straight away and do as much of it as you can. But… it’s a competitive market. With so many yoga teachers out there, gaining any type of employment may appear as daunting as embarking on your yoga teacher training course did all those months ago.
If you’re a newly qualified yoga teacher, read on to find some practical advice and tips for kick-starting your yoga teaching career.
Be patient… and don’t give up your day job
If you remain passionate about yoga and determined to teach it, then it will become an integral part of your professional life. But you must be patient and take incremental steps to achieve a yoga teaching career.
Whether you’re someone who wants to teach yoga on a part-time basis, or full-time, don’t change your personal circumstances too much at this early stage. Even if you’re currently working in a part-time job, try to find yoga teaching opportunities that fit around it i.e. don’t say that you can’t work Saturdays anymore just yet.
Keep to your regular hours and seek yoga teaching jobs that can accommodate your main source of income. Eventually, you will be able to set your own hours, and work on days and at times that fit best with your clients. You’ll need regular customers first, though, and it takes time to build loyalty.
Get your business head on
The best yoga teacher training courses will offer students coaching and guidance on how to set-up and build a yoga business. That doesn’t mean how to run a studio yourself, but rather, how to create a brand and sell your services to the market. While much of the innovation of your yoga teaching enterprise will be driven by you, there are certain basic things you should be doing do get things started.
Register with your accrediting body. Hopefully, you will have gained a yoga teacher qualification from a registered accrediting body. In doing so, you can now register with that organisation and gain access to various benefits. This, in most cases, includes assistance in promoting your services. You can read about the different yoga teacher training accrediting bodies here.
Sort out liability insurance. This is really important, as it offers you protection if anyone ever gets injured in your class. Most organisations that employ yoga teachers will expect you to have insurance. And even if they don’t, you should get insured anyway as its considered good practice. Your yoga teacher training accrediting body will offer discounted insurance to members. You can also explore other options online or ask yoga teachers in your network for the best and/or most cost-effective alternatives.
Create a local support network. Don’t go it alone basically. Attend other teacher’s classes and workshops, as well as social events hosted by local studios. Interact with peers and discuss the ins and outs of teaching yoga. If you want advice on pricing and marketing, or to introduce yourself to prospective employers, this is a great way to do it. Or, if you’d rather meet one-to-one with another yoga teacher, invite them for a coffee and a chat. Yoga teachers are a sociable bunch and enjoy helping each other out.
Beware of online networks. There are some good online networking forums for yoga teachers too but remember that online isn’t everything. With so much ‘noise’ on these channels, it can be difficult to get your voice heard. If you find it disheartening or unproductive, then don’t hesitate to remove yourself. Remember, there’s no rule which says you have to follow other teachers and be part of online communities to become a successful yoga teacher yourself.
Start developing your brand. A good yoga teacher training program will have already got you started on this. You need to think about your social media presence, a basic website, and any supporting literature you may need. Employers want to see who you are and what you’ve done. Part of this is creating a yoga CV and integrating your story into these channels. Even if you don’t have much teaching experience yet, your CV can include relevant soft and transferable skills, your yoga style, or specialty if you have one, as well as your aspirations and any testimonials you’ve received.
Consider further qualifications
With so much competition out there, one of the best things you can do as a newly qualified yoga teacher is to keep learning. Continuing your professional development is exciting anyway. And gaining extra qualifications will help you build a brand niche and stand out from the crowd.
Consider what reputation you want. Do you want to become known as the go-to person for pranayama? The yoga teacher who helps people with sporting injuries. An expert in teaching yoga to children? There’s plenty of options and associated certifications available. Look at other qualifications offered by your accrediting body. And attend workshops to deepen your expertise in a particular area.
Students will become loyal clients over time if they see you have the expertise and/or credibility in teaching a particular style or specialise with a certain type of customer. The other thing you should do is read. New knowledge is emerging about yoga and its impact on the body and the mind all the time. Staying abreast of current research will allow you to add greater value to your students.
Maintain your home practice
Creating a home yoga practice that you can maintain after you graduate is essential. When attending classes as a newly qualified yoga teacher, you’ll find yourself analysing everything, to the point that your enjoyment of doing yoga wanes. While it’s important to continue attending yoga classes, and getting ideas for your own sessions, you must take time to check-in with yourself.
You’ll be surprised how inspirational this time it too. The human mind is a complex thing. Just when you think you’re slowing down and switching off; the best class ideas will pop into your head. Or, that marketing strategy you’ve been working on which has hit a block, resolves itself when the solution comes out of nowhere. Meditation is, of course, a proven way to channel your inner wisdom after all.
Don’t lose your love for yoga by practising it too much after qualifying as a teacher. Use those first few weeks and months after graduating to find the right balance. Schedule in time for your home practice, as well as classes you can attend for enjoyment and with your teacher/business head on. Making yoga a part of your daily home routine will help you become a better teacher over time.