Subbing is the best way to improve our teaching as new instructors, and keep us on our toes as seasoned veterans. A wonderful way to make some extra cash, help out our peers and enjoy some new experiences. Subbing Yoga can be a little challenging though, as each teacher not only brings our own personality to the class, but we have also often studied Yoga under different schools making one Yoga class to another quite different. We’ve all been there, walking into a class a bit nervous to teach in a new place and being greeted by dirty looks because you aren’t whom they were expecting. Here are some quick tips to help you feel more successful when subbing Yoga:
- What kind of Yoga are you subbing? Ask the regular teacher what style they teach in? If they were trained in Astanga, and you are trained in YogaFit – adding some challenging postures and lots of flows between standing series will usually help. Get as many details about the class as you can. Any poses they really like? Do they like a longer or shorter relaxation? This will help you prepare in advance for the class, especially if you are working in a style that you don’t usually teach (example: gentle yoga vs. power yoga)
- Arrive Early: Arriving early when subbing a class will give you some time to connect with your students and ask them specific questions about the class. You can ask them about any injuries or concerns they may have, or maybe what poses they really like to practice. How is the room usually set up? Do they like the music you’ve chosen and is the volume okay. Where are the lights? Is the temperature adjustable? These are all things we want to consider and have time for, especially if we are teaching at a new studio.
- Have a really great intro: When subbing it’s not only important to tell the members your name, but also what style of Yoga you were trained in. What they can expect from class today, perhaps give them a run down of the beginning, middle and end. I like to let my new students know that I start really slow and end really slow, but not to worry the challenge will creep up and they can expect a strong and balanced class. I also give them permission to listen to their bodies and rest when they need and I save a few minutes at the end of class to invite them to move into any poses they might be still craving.
- Let it all go: From the Yamas and Niyamas, Ishvara Pranidhana: surrender and let it go. You have put the work in, now be present, breathe and enjoy! We might not win everyone over, but I guarantee you will have a few people coming to you at the end of class with a big smile asking you where you regularly teach. Enjoy it! That’s what teaching is all about.