5 Good Habits of a Professional Yoga Teacher/Instructor…
Yes, I consider myself a professional! And you should too, if you want to go from good to great! Teaching Yoga is a huge responsibility and it should be treated as a profession.
Recently I found out that I came in 3rd on the most yoga classes taught at a yoga studio (Corepower in North Denver) since I started in Feb 2010. (Technically 5th, if you count management! But since it was them who humbly bowed out, then I get to say 3rd! Right?) The studio opened 1/5/2007, 3 years before I started and I came in 3rd. I was shocked, I had no clue, really! I do know love working for this chain of studios and I think that shows when you learn how dedicated I have been to them and they to me! If you are reading this, I LOVE YOU LADIES at NDCPY!
That is my number, the day they pulled the statistics I came in at 1792 classes taught, by now it is more than that… I can’t wait to hit 2000 with NDCPY! I am also curious what my number would be if you added 3 years at 24 hour fitness (my first gig), 5 years at LifeTime fitness, 2 years at CPY Fort Collins, 10 months of teaching in Maui, corporate classes, private classes, private 1 on 1 sessions, 6 months with Yoga Pod and 2 months at LCY.
So as a professional this is what works for me:
- Habit 1: I DON’T SUB out my classes!!! Seriously, if I do sub out my classes you know I truly need it! For example, I have taught a Friday night double for over 3 years now and have only subbed it out 2 times… once for being sick and once for my new job orientation at Wholefoods!!! My students deserve my commitment to them… I became a yoga instructor first and foremost to serve the community and therefore I want to be there for them. If that alone doesn’t motivate you or resonate with you, then you need to re-evaluate your situation, teaching yoga should never be a burden on your life! Also, I don’t get paid if I am not there, and for this to be my “profession” then I have to do what I do and I knew this before I signed up!
- Habit 2: Arrive early, even if you don’t have to! I am often 5-10 minutes early to the studio before I have to be. Being prepared and having the yoga studio set up for success helps you feel more relaxed as you greet your students and gives them the comfort that they are in good hands. People come to take a yoga class because they want to be “taken care of” and let go of everything they are responsible for in their lives. So last thing they want to see is you panicking about getting ready!
- Habit 3: Connect with students at the front desk. Smile, greet them and learn something about them so you can ask them about it when they come back. I will confess, names are hard for me to remember, but if I have a conversation with someone I can often remember the conversation and gives me something to greet them with next time I see them. I am a very visual person, a sucker for a good/sad story and an empath. I can visually put myself in their place and then imagine feeling what they feel and as they tell me their stories and then I remember the story, even though names are hard, I can remember a story! The names come to me the more I see a student return and hopefully they continue to return because I make an effort to remember something about them! This may be exactly what works for you, but just sharing what works for me. I encourage you to find out how your mind works, how you learn and retain things and go with it!!!
- Habit 4: Make time for yourself and get your own practice/meditation in and sign up for CE (continuing education), yoga is about constantly learning and feeding the practice. Remember, Namaste is – “The light, the teacher and student in me, honors the light, the teacher and student in you.” Remember you are a student too, you were a student first actually before you started teaching, remember why you feel in love in the first place and keep feeding the need. Even if you can make it to a studio here and there a home practice or meditation is a must. Plus, if you are a pre-planner, then this is a great time to plan out your classes and feel how your sequence feels in your body. If you know how it feels in your body then it is easier to memorize and smoothly deliver your class. Also, studying up on some CE, learning new things, helps keep things fresh and makes for great theming material. I teach some of my best classes while I am in the midst of learning something new! It helps me to retain it quicker and I have had some huge epiphanies while teaching if I share with students my own journey because your students have soooooo much to teach you about how they receive your offering.
- Habit 5: Resist becoming dependent on your notes! You lose your students confidence in you to let them see you constantly refer to your notes/journal. This is like the antiperspirant commercials “Never let them see you sweat!”, only in Hot yoga it is OK to let them see you sweat, but resist letting them see you constantly refer to your notes! This takes us back to Habit 4, practice your own sequence so you know what it feels like in your body and you can remember where you are taking them next because you know how it feels in your body. If it is an “Intelligent Sequence” meaning you planed it out to the “T” to take your students someplace specific, then you should know what is next and honestly at that point no notes are needed. Trust yourself, trust your own practice and you will find no notes are needed. Also, constantly referring to your notes is keeping you from making connections… you are not noticing the person who needs some extra cues and you are definitely not teaching to the room if you have to adhere to your notes just to get through the class. Having the flexibility to change up your sequence on the fly is HUGE incase you have a class that is just clearly not getting it! And it happens! Or for whatever reason 40 people show up to your class that has a 30 person capacity, but you still squeeze them in, you will need to be able to switch things up and modify your plan on the fly to accommodate the lack of room to move! For instance, less Prasaritas and more Virabhadrasana 1 might be in order!!!
All and all, narrowing this down to 5 was actually hard. There is so much more to cover and I could share… but this is a great place to start.
If you are newer to teaching yoga or just feel stuck… maybe it is time to become the student again and sign up for some coaching/mentoring or CE. Reach out to me if you are interested in seeking my help. I do 1 on 1 private coaching/mentoring and have several CE offerings in my online yoga studio to make it easy to learn more from anywhere in the world online!
My next round of “Cultivate Your Inner Yogi Intensive” Teacher Addition starts April 3rd, for the group discussions. The 10 hours pre-recorded modules are ready for you to start today so you are ready for the group discussions. It also includes 3 private 60 minute 1 on 1 coaching/mentoring sessions with me to discuss your needs, your goals and how to build more confidence in your teachings. 15 CE Certificate of Completion when completed.
Please visit my website for more information feel free to contact me at anytime via email ReneeStahl108@gmail.com.
From the light, the teacher and student in me to the light, the teacher and student in you… Namaste’