Graduating from yoga teacher training is exciting. However, figuring out how to take your newly gained skills to the next level can also be daunting. When it comes to finding ways to start teaching yoga right away, there really are a ton of options. Be a visionary and use your resources. Let people know that you are taking or have completed a yoga teacher training. Though it may seem like a numbers game, don’t worry about the size of the class. We’ve all waited for students who never showed up, and we’ve all had classes where only one student came. We learn that these are magical opportunities to grow as a teacher and that showing up and holding space is important even if there are no students to fill it—that teaching just one student is a chance to hone our ability to connect one-on-one with students and to be fully present no matter what. That said, here are 5 simple ways to start teaching yoga right now.
1.Teach yourself in order to refine your craft.
Whether you have students right away or not, keep up the skills you acquired in teacher training by teaching yourself. Find a pose you want to teach, or if you have more time, select an entire sequence. Hit “record” on whatever device you’re using and just teach! Instruct the pose, short sequence, or entire class, as if to students.
Afterward, hit “replay” and practice to the recording. Have a notebook nearby to take notes. You might ask yourself: What did I do well? Did I speak clearly? Was I confident? Then ask yourself what you need to improve: Did I cue using props? Did I rush through any of the poses? You aren’t seeking to be unnecessarily judgmental but rather constructively critical. Try to be objective. Choose a few points to improve on while you locate students to teach
2. Teach friends and family.
Brushing up on your teaching skills by teaching yourself is great, but to best hone your craft, you need living bodies in front of you. Begin with those who are close to you. Reach out to your loved ones and offer them a few lessons. The lessons don’t have to be an hour long or the most intricate classes you’ve ever put together.
3. Use your affiliations
Your interest groups and communities may be curious about yoga and how it could benefit or improve their current activity. They already know and like you, so why not offer them a few classes? What’s particularly great about these communities that revolve around particular interests is that they help you concentrate on aspects of yoga practice that could benefit them the most, perhaps helping you to develop a niche. For example, if you volunteer at a senior center, you could teach chair yoga and some breath work. If you are involved in a softball league, you could focus your class on teaching specifically to that sport. These groups are approachable because of your rapport with them, and the classes you teach them could develop into long-term teaching opportunities.
4. Give back to your community.
Is your local community in need of some yoga? There are numerous places you could teach. If you enjoy the outdoors, you could apply to your city’s parks and recreation department to do an outdoor class on the beach or in a park. You can also inquire at libraries, religious centers, or community centers. These venues may entail more legwork in marketing your classes, and may also require investing in some mats and blocks. But in exchange, you’d be able to give the gift of yoga to your beloved community and gain teaching experience at the same time.
5. Offer yoga in your workplace.
You can start your very own class at work. Deciding on a before-work, lunchtime, or after-work class will depend on the type of practice you teach, employees’ schedules, and company guidelines. For example, if you teach in the morning, you might offer a refreshing and slightly more active class, whereas an end-of-the-day class might be more focused on winding down. In addition, each workplace has its own rules, which you will need to follow regardless of what you learned in teacher training—hands-on adjustments with fellow employees or chanting the invocation to Patanjali may or may not be accepted where you are employed.
Eventually, you will find your students. In the meantime, stay focused on your teaching and remind yourself why you want to teach. If you aren’t teaching you can’t maintain and grow your skills. Start wherever you can, and watch your path unfold.
Written by by Allison Ray Jeraci and published in www.yogainternational.com