What It’s like to be a New Yoga Teacher

Hi guys! I’m sitting on the couch, under a heated blanket, watching the rain turn into snow that cancelled classes and gave me a snow day today! I’m feeling extremely lucky to have the extra time and space to relax, write, read, and maybe even bake 🙂

I thought I’d do a post about my experience as a new yoga teacher! I get so many questions about what it’s really like to teach yoga, so I thought I’d “debunk” a few of them. Everyone’s journey is completely unique, but here’s mine.

How long does it take to become a yoga teacher?

I started my journey last June with my 8-week 200 hour Power Vinyasa training. There are so many different trainings out there. Some meet less frequently and take longer to complete, and others are more concentrated and can be completed more quickly. My power training was a magical time. I was immersed in my practice from attending training, to taking classes, to simply reaping the benefits of my immersion on and off the mat. I completed all of my requirements in the 8 weeks of the training, but students have up to a year after the training to complete requirements.

After this training I enrolled in an extensions program which dove even deeper into teaching and provided weekly opportunities to co-teach classes with your peers.

While I was doing the extensions training, I started teaching at the University of Minnesota Rec Center. This was an incredible experience to practice teaching students of all ability levels. I felt a special connection to many of my students, most of which returned week after week and grew their practices immensely.

After I finished extensions, I dove straight in to Yoga Sculpt training! This was a training I’d been wanting to do for over two years, and everything finally lined up to bring it into fruition. This time I didn’t have as much time to purely devote to the training. I had to find balance between classes, my sorority, the classes I was teaching at the rec center, my own practice and fitness routine, and sculpt training and it’s requirements. While it was a lot, it was totally worth it. Everytime I walked into training, I knew I was where I was supposed to be. Just like in my 200-hour training, this group became a second family. I met some of the most amazing humans who changed my life in so many ways. I had so much fun soaking up as much information as I could, and preparing to teach such a fun format!

So basically, I was in teacher trainings from June-December. At the end of December I moved back to Colorado for good, and eagerly awaited auditions so I could begin to teach again.

At the middle of January, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to audition for Corepower Yoga to teach their C1 and Sculpt classes. A few days later I received the amazing news that I would be teaching both formats! I was overjoyed and still feel so blessed everyday that the management team in Boulder gave me the opportunity to teach for them!

How much do you teach and how do you balance it with being a student?

I started out by teaching two classes a week, which took about four hours per week. I was told it would be really easy to sub classes for other people, but at first I wasn’t having very much luck with this between my schedule, and getting asked to sub. I didn’t feel like I was teaching enough to improve at the rate I wanted to be improving, but I stayed positive and manifested a more abundant teaching schedule so I could teach more students and spread my love of the practice.

Then it all happened at once. In one week I was offered another 4 classes. First, my manager at the North Boulder studio where my sculpt class was offered me another sculpt class. The next day, my manager at South Boulder offered me another class, bringing me up to four.

I could not have been more excited, although I still had the goal of teaching at the Fort Collins studio, where I spend half of my time for school. A few days later I walked into the Foco studio. The manager was at the desk and told me she wanted me to teach for her! I was added onto two more classes and was now at 6 permanent classes. I was also getting lots of opportunities to sub now, both in Boulder and in Fort Collins!

Right now I’m teaching between 6-9 classes a week. I love this number because it gives me enough teaching time to find immense growth and get to connect with students. I’m able to feel comfortable with my playlists, and feel confident in my teaching ability.

But how do I balance this with being a full-time student? It’s all about time management!

I use my Erin Condren paper planner and write EVERYTHING in there. Sometimes I even schedule in my laundry and cooking times. I have all my school assignments color coded in order to ensure everything gets done. I make sure I check my planner before I commit to anything else.

I also don’t really spend time watching TV or playing games, and I try to minimize the time I spend on my phone. I make sure all my priorities for school are done for the day before I take some time for myself. But… I make sure that I save some time to take care of myself! To workout, spend time with friends and family, volunteer, read, or journal. If there’s open space in my planner, I incorporate one of these activities.

What’s it like to get paid to workout??

This one’s a bit misleading. When I’m leading a class, I’m focused on helping my students get a good workout, whether that be mentally, emotionally, or physically. I have no intention of this being my workout for the day. Sometimes it can be tiring teaching, especially after multiple classes, but it’s not quite the same as a “workout”.

It can actually be difficult when I’m teaching a lot to find the time for my own sweat sesh, but it makes it even more enjoyable when I do! I love taking other teachers classes and getting inspiration from what they’re doing. I also enjoy working out outside of the yoga studio. I love HIIT. I love running. I love hitting the weights. I love getting outside and hiking. Living an active lifestyle is extremely important to me, so I try to find movement whenever I can!

What’s the most difficult thing you’ve encountered so far?

For me this has definitely not letting my limiting beliefs get the best of me; the feelings that I’m not good enough, not prepared enough, not (insert any negative belief here) enough. I’m surrounded by some incredible teachers and some incredible students and I want to provide a “good” class and experience. But… I have to remind myself that I’m new! Many of the other teachers around me have taught for years– hundreds of classes. I’m new and it will take time for me to figure out what works and what doesn’t. It will take time for me to feel completely comfortable in front of room, get to know my students, and find my unique voice as a teacher. It’s okay to be new. It’s such a special time. I can ask for help and soak up all of the wisdom from those around me, knowing it’s okay to not be amazing or incredible yet, because if I keep teaching from love and passion, it will come 🙂

So there’s a little sneak peek into my journey as a yoga teacher so far. I feel so lucky everyday to have a job that doesn’t feel like work, to connect with so many incredible people, and have a loving supportive community.

Namaste,

AA

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