You’ve earned your yoga teacher certification. Yay!
But now there’s a room full people who are staring at you while you feel the first pearls of sweat running down your face and your mind is going in overdrive:
Wait! Did I shave my armpits this morning? Gaah! What if I mix left with right? Shit, I didn’t ask if there were any beginners. How long have I been standing here? Did I download my playlist from spotify? What if someone has done yoga longer than me?
I’ve been there dear yogi! Here are my 3 essential tips to make you feel more confident & calm during that scary first (second, twentieh, four hundredth) class.
1. Don’t Try To Be Everbody’s Favourite Teacher
Ok let’s get this out of the way first:
You are NOT everyone’s favourite yoga teacher.
Did that scare you? Did you just think ‘But Eliza, I DO want to be everyone’s favourite teacher!’.
It’s only your EGO who wants to be this cool, lululemon wearing yoga teacher goddess that draws dozens of people each class.
And guess what: your ego shouldn’t be driving you to teach yoga in the first place, if you ask me.
Yes of course it’s wonderful to have a class full of people who are collectively blissed-out after savasana and then tell you what wonderful teacher you are.
But it shouldn’t be your motivation.
You are here to serve and you get to enjoy the process of doing so!
Focus on your students when you teach, instead of how well your pants are fitting. Look at them, ask yourself what they would need that day. Feel the energy of the room and dare to teach the class that they need.
Even the most amazingly sequenced class doesn’t feel good when the teacher is just there to pump up their ego.
Shift your focus and watch the magic happen!
2. Laugh About Your Mistakes
Now I’m not talking about belly or snort-laughs every time you say left instead of right or up instead of down.
But if you say an accidental ackward or funny word (I could write a book about the weird things I’ve said in yoga classes) like ‘shitbones’ instead of ‘sitbones’ laugh about it!
Take a few seconds to acknowledge the weirdness of that word, laugh about it and then move on.
If you try to ignore it, two things will happen:
1. your students will likely want to laugh about it but are afraid to do this, so they’ll start to have those terrible internal giggles that are not helping their concentration, and
2. you will blow this word up in your head and probably say it again!
So just be relaxed about it. Some days our words just don’t flow. (Do a shoulderstand and fish pose at home if you notice this is happening)
3. Step Off Your Mat!
This is sooooo hard I know! But I find it super important and helpful, both for your students and you as a teacher.
When you stay on the island of your mat, you feel like at least you’re not mixing left with right or forget the next pose in your sequence when you’re doing the poses with the group. That’s true.
But here’s the downside: you’ll not be able to connect to your students as well, plus they will miss adjustments.
And connecting with your students will make you a more confident teacher, as you will feel like you know them better.
Now I’m not saying you should never show anything. Not at all! I actually think demonstrating is super useful and in Vinyasa yoga it’s what you’ll do most of the time, especially if you have beginners in your classes.
But try to find a balance between adjusting your students, walking around while you’re observing (and giving cues ) and demonstrating.
Start with stepping away from your mat for just a bit when your students are in child’s pose. Walk around and notice if anyone isn’t able to sit down on their heels. Offer them an alternative or prop, then give them a gentle assist of guiding the hips down and relaxing the upper back.
Walk back to your mat & pick up the flow. Next class, try again and add an assist to someone’s downward facing dog.
This might take some time and yes you might mix up some poses, but THAT’S OK.
Really, trust me on this. Your students will smile with you if you mix up and smile about it. See point 2 : )
Now go out and try this! The students who need your classes will come to you, that I know for sure.
If you would love more guidance in your teaching career? Join my bi-weekly Group Call for Yoga Teachers or book a One Hour Mentorship Call with me.