Completing a yoga teacher training course is only a small step on your journey to develop and improve as a yoga teacher. As well as learning to put your best foot forward, you must strive for continuous growth and betterment of self.
Life is growing more hectic with every second, followed by a mounting stress level. All around the world, people are looking for an ‘inhaler’ that would provide release from daily life hassle. People are drawn to yoga for its ability to give them a chance to connect with their body, soul, and nature. In hopes of finding peace, people are willing to pay a high price. Right now, teaching yoga is one of the Top-100 jobs in the US.
Becoming a yoga teacher is a big step. It takes time, commitment, hard work, and dedication. But now that you’ve completed your YTT, you might be wondering – what next? Where do I go from here? Sure, certification is the first step towards your goal. But how do you actually become a competent and reputable yoga teacher?
Life After Yoga Teacher Training: First Steps
On paper, building your career as a yoga teacher may seem effortless. However, making it as a yoga teacher takes continuous work. You have learned and excelled in your yoga training, and now you’re in the mainstream, hoping to generate income from your yoga capabilities as a certified yoga teacher.
Create a Yoga Resume
Just as with any other job, you’ll need to be able to showcase your experience. Bear in mind, the requirements for yoga resumes are a little different. A typical yoga resume should include:
- Proof of successful completion of your yoga teacher training. A certification in any field shows that you’re willing to pursue education in a specific area for your ultimate career.
- Your experience. Even if you haven’t had a job in the yoga industry yet, you should include the scope of your personal practice, involvement with the local yoga community, and yoga-relevant education. You might also include information about your yoga teacher or guide.
- A sample of your teaching. It’ll add more credibility to your resume if you include a video of your teaching. This is a great way to show your physical training, sequencing capabilities, and teaching techniques.
- References. A yoga studio or a gym might want to hear from your teacher or YTT facilitator. If you already have some experience in the yoga field, you should include the owner or manager of the studio where you worked previously.
- Testimonials. Testimonials are a great way to show your potential employers and potential students how great you are at teaching. Don’t be afraid to ask your students for feedback!
Approach Established Studios
As a new yoga teacher, start by approaching well-established yoga studios. Studios with an existing customer base will have more opportunities to offer. And don’t dismiss small studios! Small studios often have a loyal following and a welcoming atmosphere. At the start of your career, you might work as an intern or studio reception.
As you build confidence with studio owners, it will be easy to know about any job openings in the studio. You could also shadow more experienced teachers. Slowly developing your teaching style will allow you to grow into a mature yoga teacher. Working in an established studio can boost your career and teach you about new developments in the world of yoga.
Cover Yoga Classes
Yoga teachers are human too! Inevitably, we all need a break. In case of illness, vacations, or family emergencies, yoga studios usually ask other teachers to cover the class. Approaching your local yoga studios, gyms, and even individual teachers will give you the opportunity to get on the cover list. From there, you can grow as a teacher and create a professional network.
Teach Private Lessons
Besides being employed by a studio or gym, you should look at creating your own customer base. That way, you can teach private yoga classes. Private lessons can be taught individually, or to a group of people. You need to arrange a spacious and serene place to teach your yoga classes. Some people prefer to practice at home, in which case you should be able to commute there. Thankfully, private lessons usually pay better than group classes, covering expenses such as room hire, equipment, travel etc. Marketing your courses in different ways will boost your career and income.
Establish Social Media Presence
Did you think life after yoga teacher training is limited to yoga studios? Think again! Technology has broadened the horizon for anyone who wants to show their significance in any field. Using Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and other social media, you can make tutorials, initiate discussion about yoga-related topics, give advice and encouragement, and connect with yogis around the world.
Build a Yoga Community
Once you get your foot in the door, it’s time to think about creating long-lasting relationships and building a yoga community. For many people, the social component of yoga is an important element of the practice. Practicing with like-minded individuals promotes confidence and encourages people to look forward to the next yoga class.
Creating a community is essential if you want to get to know the people in your group, share your thoughts, and address your needs and interests. Once established, a yoga community does not have to be limited to a studio or a particular location. Members can also meet for celebrations, picnics, yoga events, etc. Below are some great ways a teacher can encourage their students to build an active yoga community.
- Get to know each other. Allow students to introduce themselves, let them interact with each other. This way, they get to know each other more casually and share their experiences.
- Celebrate together. Celebrate an achievement, a birthday, or a holiday together in the class. It will enhance the team spirit, and people will be more interested in doing things together. Even sharing some drinks and snacks is an excellent idea to encourage interaction with one another.
- Encourage participation. Let your students speak up in class. Ask them for honest feedback or let them share their thoughts. This approach will allow for new ideas and inspiration to flow, as well as inspire everyone to participate in class.
- Attend local events. Keep an eye on local events that may be suitable for your group of students. Learn about your students’ interests and encourage them to attend relevant events together. Yoga calls for selflessness and generosity, so you could attend charity events, relief activities, an afternoon of planting trees, etc. Tag along with your students and encourage them to work together as a team.
- Conduct workshops. Another great way to connect is to facilitate workshops, where your students can interact in a more informal setting. Such events make it easier for new students to integrate. You could also let your students invite their friends and family to broaden the spectrum. It will not only create bonds among people, but you will also help your community grow stronger.
- Embrace social media. Social media is the fastest way to build a yoga community. With the power of the internet, you can reach a large number of people locally and globally. Establish a social media presence on a platform (or platforms) or choice. This way, you can host challenges, or encourage people to share their stories. You can also use social media to promote your classes and build a bigger audience.
- Show appreciation. Last but not least, show your appreciation to anyone who attends your classes and workshops. You can do that by giving them functional gifts (e.g. free water bottles, yoga equipment, t-shirts), discounts, or even offering them free classes. It is a great way to invite more people to become a part of your yoga community and encourage them to spread the word.
- Support your students. Most of the yoga students join the classes to relieve stress, increase their focus, or alleviate their health issues. So, you should strive to support them. Help them achieve their goals by using correct yoga terminology and focused practices. Keep yourself healthy, calm, and active. Your skill to implement the Chakra System and meditation will be a plus point in gaining the confidence of your students.
Building a yoga community is not about quantity, it’s about quality. It’s more valuable to have a small tight-knit community than a large group of people who don’t interact with one another. Do not rush to implement all ideas at once, this will help you grow slowly and sustainably.
Maintain Your Personal Practice
Once you start teaching yoga, your personal practice might fade into the background. However, maintaining your personal practice as a yoga teacher is essential to a successful teaching career.
When yoga becomes your job, finding time to practice can be a real challenge. But keeping your personal practice alive is key to being a good yoga teacher.
- Gain confidence. Personal practice will help you to find your teaching voice. As you move through the poses, you learn to articulate these transitions. Personal practice is a great way to discover what kind of teacher you want to be. You discover something new about yourself every time you step on your yoga mat, even if you’re repeating the same sequence. The more you practice, the more confident you’ll feel as a teacher. As a result, your students will benefit more from your classes.
- Never stop learning. Whether you are a trainee, a new yoga teacher, or a professional with years of experience, you never stop being a student. The further you come in your journey, the clearer it becomes that continuous learning is a part of the process. Maintaining your personal practice is also an excellent way to relate to your students.
- Increase your value. Most new teachers leave their yoga teacher training with the basic level of yoga education. It’s important to understand that the 200-hour training is only a foundation. To be a good teacher, you must build on that foundation through the continuous pursuit of knowledge. Personal practice, along with additional training and independent study is the best way to increase your value as a yoga teacher. Make sure to attend workshops, visit different yoga students, go on retreats, and seek out yoga literature. But the most impactful resource of information comes from our very own performance on the mat.
- Track changes in your body. Our bodies transform every day, and getting on the mat helps us realize this. As well as keeping you fit, your personal practice as a yoga teacher helps you understand adjustments and recognize potential restrictions. Identifying limitations will help you care for yourself and keep away from an injury when you are teaching. At the end of the day, we’re only human. Our bodies, so wildly diverse, are more vulnerable than we imagine. Daily personal practice will assist you to connect with your students and their problems on the yoga mat.
- Lead by example. Find harmony with your body, and then you can genuinely teach others through your own experience. If you are aware of your own health and how your body feels on the mat, you’ll be able to assist your students better. This added knowledge supports other bonds: relation to yourself, relation to your apprentices. Mindfulness is contagious, so your students will be able to concentrate more on their own practice.
- Supercharge your practice. As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect. Becoming a yoga teacher should not stand in your way of developing your personal practice and reaping the benefits. Stop viewing your personal practice as a chore and make a commitment instead! Even a short breathing session or a few quick sun salutations will definitely help you in the long run to maintain your successful yoga career.
Keep Things Fresh: Reinvent Your Practice
To prevent career fatigue, it is very important to keep your practice fresh and dynamic.
No matter how much you enjoy teaching yoga, it’s difficult to maintain the same level of enthusiasm and enjoyment as you did in the beginning of your yoga journey. When you’re new to yoga, it’s exciting and invigorating. But as time goes by, there will be days when you can’t bring the same energy to the table.
- Find a new studio. Yoga is closely linked to mental health. If you are getting bored or annoyed during yoga, it means you are not getting the mental and emotional benefits of the practice. If you practice at the same studio every time, you are likely to get stuck in a routine. Try different studios, and experience different teachers and approaches to yoga. The results may surprise you!
- Move around. Even without changing yoga studios, you can shake up your practice. Many of us are creatures of habit. We like to use the same yoga mat, same water bottle, same towel… Unconsciously, we tend to gravitate towards the same spot within the room. While it can be helpful initially, your focus will falter after you reach a certain stage in your practice. If you usually practice in the back of the studio, try finding a place in front of the teacher. If you have been sitting indoors, try outdoor yoga. Even something as simple as changing the orientation of your mat can make a big difference to your practice.
- Deepen your knowledge. Learning more about yoga is a valuable use of your time, and a great way to inject excitement into your practice. It expands your horizons and enhances your experience. Depending on your level of experience, this may mean attending workshops, reading books, or finding a course that furthers your career as a yoga teacher.
- Step out of your comfort zone. If you are constantly repeating the same poses, you are going to grow weary of them. Instead of creating mental peace and a sense of calm, the practice would be breeding annoyance. Thus, look for new postures, new sequences, and even different yoga styles. Yoga offers so much variety, you won’t find it difficult to be inspired. Diversifying your practice will require your full presence and utmost concentration.
- Combine meditation with physical practice. Meditation has the power to make things right. To start with, we often focus on the physical part of the practice (asana). However, you won’t last very long if you don’t embrace the meditative practice. When you combine yoga movement with meditation, you will be able to see things more clearly. And if your practice is in a slump, meditation will help to improve your yoga experience. When two things like asana and meditation come together, the result can be overwhelming. Don’t give up! Just as our body gets stronger and more flexible with practice, so does our mind.
- Dedicate yourself to your practice. When we are passionate about something, we tend to dedicate ourselves fully, without holding back. You can’t overlook the fact that dedication is what it takes to achieve the things you want. If you are only teaching yoga for the sake of earning money, you will quickly lose your passion. If you dedicate yourself to your yoga practice, you will find your sense of purpose. Yoga will feel less like a chore. Instead, you will look forward to every lesson and personal practice.
- Smile! Did you know that smiling has a therapeutic effect? When we feel happy or content, the brain sends a signal to our body, which makes us smile. But it actually works in reverse, too! When we smile, our mind feels calmer, and our body relaxes. Next time you teach, try to remember this. It may sound silly at first, but as keep doing it, you will see the benefits arise.
We’re here to tell you – it’s worth carrying on! Giving up may result in feelings of guilt, the fear of missing out, and a decline in the quality of your teaching. Instead, you need to reinvent your yoga practice and enhance your own yoga experience!