Having led Yoga Teacher Trainings and presented at various Yoga and Fitness Conferences for the last 8 years, in addition to an accumulated 17 years + in the industry, to be a fabulous, amazing, confident, skilled, inspiring, motivating… insert the blank Yoga and/or Fitness Professional it comes down to these three things. Just like wellness/weight loss comes down to diet, exercise and sleep despite a booming billion dollar industry, it can be a lot more simple than you think.
Get certified, do the trainings, take workshops, accumulate continuing education credits, read all the books, watch the videos, engage others in conversation, learn, learn and learn some more. Education will get you everywhere in this business! And it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Sure your initial certification might, but keeping your skills updated can be as easy as combing the internet for free articles and videos (just always be sure to use a reliable source). Take other teacher’s classes, follow your favourite educators on Instagram or go for coffee with your peers to talk about your experiences. The best teachers in the world continue to learn as our knowledge about anatomy, alignment, the body and the brain continue to evolve. Create balance here, and never get stuck in the mire of education before moving on to step 2 and 3. It is the combination of all three that will ebb and flow throughout your entire career and life.
You MUST have a self-practice. Why did you want to build a career in Yoga in the first place? I know it wasn’t for the money. Whether to help others create a fit and healthy lifestyle, a passion for movement or mindfulness work or maybe something you can’t quite put into words, it’s important that you carry this with you, especially on the more challenging days. But more so, in particular with Yoga, when you are teaching you are not practicing. Even if you do the entire class on your mat (I feel another blog post brewing..) you are not experiencing the practice in the same way because you are talking and not breathing, and worried about what your class is doing not your own movements. You need that time alone on your mat to work through flows, or play with free flows, to have emotional breakthroughs and breakdowns and to sit in quietness. Taking other teachers classes is a fantastic way to combine education and self-practice, but nothing can compare to you on your mat, moving and breathing in your own way. Self-practice is it’s own category for a reason, it deserves it’s own time and attention. You will learn so much about Yoga in this way. Still the best compliment I’ve ever had in my life was another teacher taking my class said she could tell I had a self-practice.
Rip off the band-aid, push past your fear and get out there and start teaching. No matter how you feel right now after your basic certification, provided you have read all your material and practiced at home you have what you need to start teaching basic classes. Start small, gather a small group of friends or family members first and then maybe branch out to having them invite a few more people you don’t know. The more often you teach, the more your confidence will grow, and I promise you, you will learn as much from your students as you will from your trainings. Your students will help you understand what cues work best, or when you need to keep adjusting what or how you are trying to communicate something. Their smiles will encourage you, and when they take lots of breaks in class will help you to better understand pacing with flows or challenges. As you connect more with your students they will be happy to share feedback with you to continue to grow your skills and become even better. Will you make mistakes? Absolutely! But you will learn and grow from them along the way.
You may find at times you spend a little more time on one step from above than the other but ultimately we are looking for a blend between all three. Yoga is a practice, which means that it will constantly be tuned and tweaked and adjusted over a lifetime. Every teacher needs a teacher and a student to continue to build their skills. If not the luxury of each day, each week incorporate a little from each step. You, your students and the managers where you teach will all notice the difference!
A great way to work on education + self-practice: The 2019 Yoga Conference and Show in Toronto is the premiere Canadian Yoga event! Whether you are a teacher, student or just a little interested there is something for everyone! I will be presenting the following workshops, hope you will stop in and say hi!
Yoga as Self-Care for Chronic Pain
Thurs. March 28th 6:30pm-8:30pm
Being Trauma-Sensitive, Creating a Healing Practice
Sat. March 30th 8:00am-10:00am
Post-Traumatic Growth, Moving Beyond Healing
Sun. March 31st 2:00pm-4:00pm