When you’re brand new to teaching yoga, there are a million things swimming through your head when you go to teach a class.
Making sure the students are safe. The music. The sequencing of poses. Making sure class ends on time.
So, how do you build your confidence and find your groove?
Today I’m excited to share some helpful thoughts from an established and successful Sacramento-based yoga teacher, Michael Fong.
What would have helped you build your confidence as a brand new teacher?
There doesn't seem to be one main way of building confidence as a yoga teacher other than finding ways to teach as much as you reasonably can. It can be helpful to put yourself in an environment where you feel supported by a community students and colleagues. The most important element of any teacher, new or experienced, is to maintain a consistent practice for yourself. Commit to any area of the practice: asana, pranayama, meditation, study of texts, chanting, etc. Confidence implies that you are grounded. When you are grounded in your practice, you will naturally feel more confident when you teach.
What advice would you give a new teacher who is struggling to feel empowered or grounded?
I would start by echoing what I stated above: practice, practice, practice. Second, it is important to carve out a very clear schedule to assess and commit time for your practice and how much teaching you can manage effectively. Let your calendar be your friend. I believe part of the professionalism of a yoga teacher should be learning how to organize your own life. You want to avoid being the type of teacher that is constantly running late or rushing from one thing to the next. Obviously, life get chaotic at times, but it is imperative that we do everything we can to bring more order into our every day lives. This will not only help you feel grounded when you teach, but you will feel more empowered in your life.
What support or tools did you feel like were missing after your 200 hour YTT?
It is difficult to say what I missed out on during the 200-hour yoga trainings I have taken. There is always so much to learn and I always try to focus on the teachings being offered. I might have preferred to have more structured teaching methodology, a bigger focus on the ancient texts, or simply have the teacher be more present and professional. Anything that I felt lacked in a training was still a really good lesson because I use those experiences to inform how I run 200-hour teacher trainings.
Thank you, Michael, for sharing these insightful ideas. Cheers to all you new yoga teachers who are finding your way! Keep it up :)
PS Here’s an e-book I put together that can help you practice breath cues, too.
This e-book is a great tool for new yoga teachers who are working on memorizing breath cues, sequencing classes, and building confidence. Included:
A printable checklist for tracking your weekly breath cue practice
A printable breakdown of Vinyasa flow sequencing and breath cues for Sun Salutations (A & B)
Short sequences for warm ups, core, leg strengthening, back strengthening and cool down
A journal entry page to help you work through any blockages or frustrations that are holding you back