Dec 20, 2019
This is a photo from the first few months of my teaching yoga - way back in 2014! I was extremely fortunate to have an opportunity to teach at my summer camp on the dock at sunset...to date the most beautiful studio I've ever taught classes in! :)
A few months ago, I wrote a post called "Advice for the Brand-New Yoga Teacher." I asked yoga teacher friends to answer the following question: "What advice would you give to a brand-new yoga teacher?" And lots of people got back to me with their awesome ideas and suggestions. And then....life happened...and I never compiled all of their tips to write my follow up post! So here...four months later...it finally is.
Firstly, my friend and teacher Brendine Partyka of Kingston, Canada, reworded advice as "encouragements" and I LOVE THAT. As a life coach I try so hard to avoid giving advice, and encouragements is a much better suited word for what this blog post is! Encouragements for the Brand-New Yoga Teacher.
She added, "My encouragement is to establish a home practice. A place where you play, breathe, move, question, and contemplate. And a place where you intimately connect to the way a body is moved and breathed. When you learn to listen, and connect to growth, you will teach with clarity, confidence, skill, and empathy."
My friend Dee Stockman from the U.K, who was. my classmate at Yandara Yoga so many years ago, was the first person to message me back with some excellent suggestions. She wrote,
"I have a tip to combat nerves at the beginning of class, and I now use it to settle people into my Yin classes always.
I start with reclined butterfly over a bolster.
When I first started teaching, all of the faces looking at me would make me soooo nervous.
The few minutes with them lying down would allow me to breathe and relax.
I don't feel like this anymore and I love to teach my two classes every week.
That's another important thing: it's normal to feel like this but with practice, we gain the confidence as with anything.
I always start like this, it reminds me of how much I have evolved since I started teaching, which was only two years ago."
Nadine Tannir, who is a fellow yoga teacher in Abu Dhabi, wrote:
"Keep the sequences short and give clear cues. Don't be afraid to forget an asana. Try the sequence on family and friends and be gentle and humble, yet firm and professional."
My fellow teacher Maggie Juby, who I worked with in Canada many years ago, wrote:
"I encourage authenticity and meaning. There is no need to teach what you don’t know. Trust in your tool box and speak a language that you understand. Keep it simple and over time it will gradually become more nuanced and colourful. And there is no rush!"
Sticky Henderson, also from Samatva Yoga in Canada, wrote "I would add something about being aware of the cadence of your voice. Each word you speak is a note. Many new teachers use a single melody over and over. Each sentence following the same pattern of notes. It's a good reminder to just speak as you would normally speak."
The final piece of advice was from my Ashtanga friend and Star Wars teacher Frederique Seroude. She said, "My advice is to not follow advice! Just find your voice and your style, let it flow from your bones and let it grow....advice only brought doubts in my mind when I started.
Doubts will come for sure, but they will come from your teaching evolution. The more you teach, the more you learn."