First things first: congratulations! You’ve finished 200-hour yoga teacher training, submitted your information to Yoga Alliance to become a registered yoga teacher, and now it’s time to get started. And while there’s nothing nerve-wracking about wearing comfortable clothing all day (bye, suits), having a flexible schedule, and experiencing constant Zen, the first class (or first few classes) can definitely enhance the butterflies we feel when we’re nervous. Well, that’s OK! Just remember the importance of staying connected with yourself in order to connect with your students while creating a space that’s safe and comfortable for them. (And of course, check out our five tips below to help you further conquer your nerves!)
1. Be prepared
Not only for your first class but each one after that, come prepared with a specific process of sequencing in mind. In other words, have a practice ready to go—a practice that you’re familiar with. And don’t hesitate to have your notes with you (just place them to the side and only take a glance to remind yourself what’s up next).
2. Stick to what you know
It’s cool, inspiring even, that some yoga teachers can perform some of the hardest poses out there, including the Crane Pose, Firefly Pose, Eight-Angle Pose, and Forearm Stand Scorpion Pose. But don’t try them during your first or following classes. (You’ll get there eventually!) Just stick to what you know. If you’re confident and enthusiastic about the poses you’ve chosen, it will definitely show for your students to see.
3. Watch your students
During the standard 60 to 90-minute yoga class, it’s important to watch your students at every instance. Watch to see if they understood your instructions before you move onto the next pose. Watch to see what they need to hear from you as their teacher. It’ll become second nature over time.
4. Have fun
If you’re not having a fun and enjoyable time, your students won’t either. A major step in eliminating the uproar of nerves is overlooking any mistakes. So what if you stuck your ribs and butt out too far during the Mountain Pose, or that your back hip was facing outward instead of forward during Warrior One? Smile, breathe, and laugh it off! Nobody is there to judge you.
5. Remember why you teach
Our favorite tip yet: don’t let go of the first moment you fell in love with yoga. This is important as you experience the ups and downs, and the trials and triumphs. Because somewhere between Upward-Facing Dog and Half Moon, you realized that your passion for practicing yoga will soon turn into a passion for sharing yoga. Let that passion continue to shine.
At the end of your class, show gratitude by thanking your students, no matter how you feel about it. The more you teach, the better you get, so don’t give up! And if you have any other tips for beginner teachers, please share them in the comment section below!
Allison Barfield is a content writer for Span Enterprises and has been writing since she first learned to hold a pencil, shortly after birth. After graduating from the University of South Carolina in 2013 with a B.A. in media arts she fell in love with marketing. She's been copy writing and managing multiple blogs ever since.