Just over a year ago, I completed my 200-hour yoga teacher training and became a certified yoga teacher. April 24th, 2016. The time has flown by! I jumped right into teaching and have been at it ever since. Over the last year, I have learned a lot and want to share my reflections with you.
1. CONTINUE TO SEEK KNOWLEDGE.
THE MORE YOU LEARN, THE MORE YOU REALIZE YOU STILL HAVE TO LEARN.
When my teacher training started I had this crazy idea that once I did my 200-hour training I would be a yoga expert. Well, I learned very quickly that I still had a lot to learn. The best way I can think of to explain this is with the analogy of a house. You are in a house and each time you open a door it leads you to another room that has two more doors inside. You become curious about what’s on the other side of the door so you open it up. You learn what is behind the door you but it’s just a room with two more doors inside. This continues infinitely. It’s just a fact you need to eventually accept. You will never know EVERYTHING. But, you can always learn more and grow more as a teacher and a yogi.
Seek knowledge. No matter where you are in life or how old you are or how many yoga classes you’ve taken, continue to seek knowledge. In this endeavor, you have nothing to lose and SO much to gain! There’s plenty of space in our brains for new, exciting information. Every new skill you learn adds depth and breadth to your experiences and will help you become a smarter, stronger and more influential version of yourself.
2. FIND YOUR NICHE.
YOU CAN DO ANYTHING – BUT PICK WHAT EXCITES YOU THE MOST.
I recently had an interview to teach yoga at a studio I really admire. I told the interviewer there were some specific styles of yoga that interest me the most but I was willing to teach anything to get my foot in the door. She quickly encouraged me to do the opposite. She said she would rather wait to hire teachers until she can give them the style of class they are passionate about teaching. Any yoga teacher, she acknowledged, can create a Vinyasa class or a Restorative class or a Hatha class, BUT, will they teach from the heart? Will their passion for the modality shine through as they teach?
Whether it is teaching yoga or some other trade – do what you are passionate about. Stick to what excites you and don’t settle for less. When it comes to yoga, find your niche. Maybe it’s Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Bikram or Prenatal Yoga. There are so many options and paths to explore. I’m still in a bit of the discovery phase. Right now, I know what I like but I also don’t have experience with everything so how can I know if I like or dislike other styles. There’s only one way to find out – TRY DIFFERENT CLASSES AND STUDIOS! Try different styles of yoga and also take the same style classes from different teachers. Maybe it will be awkward to try something you’ve never heard of – BUT – maybe it will be AMAZING!
3. PUSH THROUGH.
WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH, KEEP GOING!
As a new yoga teacher, there are some situations I’ve dealt with that I could have let get me down but I continued to push through.
There will be days when no one shows up to your class.
There will be weeks on end when no one responds to your job applications.
There will be times when people question your authority because you are new.
There will be jobs you take for pennies on the dollar just to get experience. (Which can be worth it, by the way! Especially in the first few months free or donation based classes are a great way to get practice teaching!)
But at the end of the day, it is all worth it! Every time an experience happens you have the option to see it as a failure OR you can learn and grow from it.
*PS: Even if you get the first job you apply to, your class is always full, the studio pays you $100/hr and your students worship you like a God – eventually something will go awry. Be ready to come at each moment with clarity and an open mind. If your eyes are open wide you will see something that will help you learn and grow.
…AND THAT TAKES US FULL CIRCLE BACK TO SEEKING KNOWLEDGE.
At the end of the day, you have control over how you choose to learn and grow.
Keep learning, keep pushing through the hard times, keep your head up and eventually, you will find your niche – and the rest will be history!