Starting out as a yoga teacher is scary beyond belief. I remember leaving the safety of the corporate world to embark on a degree in Physiotherapy as a mature student. This was a leap that took incredible courage, but in retrospect, there was even more fear when I decided to become a yoga teacher.
The big thing about being a yoga teacher is you have nobody but yourself to rely on. There is no “boss” or “team”. You are the “boss”, you’re the entire “TEAM”! Public speaking is the other stomach churning issue you have to get over on a daily basis. And there is the ever looming question: how am I going to break in this massively over subscribed industry?
Well, I am here to share my top tips: these helped transform me from no classes and zero income to a thriving yoga business, where I travel the world teaching yoga.
The first step is to gain a few classes to generate an income. To make this happen, many yoga teachers walk from studio to studio with their CV’s in hand hoping someone will see it and think, “At last, a yoga teacher wants to work here!” I’d hate to be the bearer of bad news, but in a busy city this is the most inefficient way to get work. Most studios will only think, “Ah so sweet!” After which your CV will promptly be put in the bin.
It works far better if you practice regularly with your favourite teachers and build a relationship with them. Express your desire to teach and then ask for guidance and support. Once you feel ready to start teaching, the next step is to tell these teachers you’d love to help them out with any covers they may have for you. It’s also worth asking them how they got started, and if they have any tips for you.
Basically, community is the way to get a foot in the door. Teachers that are established have strong relationships with the studios and might be able to pull strings to help get you on the cover list at the very least.
When you start teaching there is a lot of fear. You feel like a fraud, and you worry the students will see through you in a second. To compensate, you try and think of all the things your teacher said and did that made them so believable. You talk in their tone of voice, you use their cues and try to exude the same ‘all-knowing’ wisdom.
The problem with this is that you are YOU, and not that teacher! The other issue is that people have good bull-shit detectors. So this is only a recipe for disaster (trust me, I tried). You’re far better off being a honest and open version of yourself. Talk about what you know, and if something happens that is outside of your current understanding, be honest about that too. Learn from that moment and just carry on doing your best. I guarantee that even with a small amount of knowledge, you will build a far more successful business being yourself, than trying to be someone else that knows more.
This is crucial to your success. All social media is simply rented space. Those followers can be taken away from you in a single second! But, your email list is like a sacred little black book that you can tap into when you gain another class, run a retreat or release a new online class. It’s a beautiful way to share what you love directly with someone that has given you their personal contact. Consider using a mail service to send personalised emails to your list. For example, I use Mail Chimp, but you can do research and figure out what works best for you.
It is very rare to meet someone that has a clear idea of what their ultimate vision is for their future. However, without this you will be confronted with a great deal of options that might not lead you do this destination. There is an inspiring quote that says, “build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs”. Be laser focused on what your short and long term goals are, and then refer back to these when faced with decisions.
When I’m mentoring yoga teachers, they often come to me asking for advice when they are unsure of what to do. The question I always ask them is, “What is your vision?” But very few people actually know how to answer this question. If you’re clear on this it will stream-line your every step!
Be bold, aim for the stars and then let go of the outcome. Just enjoy the journey to where ever this magical pathway may lead.
If you’re about to embark on this journey I’d like to wish you every success. Speaking from experience, the voice of doubt and uncertainty will rear it’s head again and again. There will also be set backs along the way. Don’t let anything stop you from pursuing your dreams. When your visions becomes reality, you’ll look back with tears in your eyes, in complete disbelief that you’ve managed to create such a remarkable life for you and those you love.
Now go, your students are waiting…………….