Photo: Brad Young & Lauren Hanna Foster
So you just finished your 200-hour teacher training program and you want to know what comes next.
Well, it’s up to you!
My first gig was teaching at my sister’s sorority in her apartment suite. I had four girls on average each week for four weeks. I made a tip jar and they gave me $5 bills.
My next “paying” gig was at a gym. I taught there every Sunday at 10:30 a.m. for four years. The class started with about three people on average each week. Over the years, it grew to around 20 students in each class (I think we would have kept growing if the room had fit more bodies in it!).
Soon, I began teaching at the studio where I received my certification. From there I went on to teach at three different yoga studios in addition to the gym. Less than two years after my certification, I was teaching anywhere from three to six classes a week, while going to school full-time.
It can seem daunting to begin teaching yoga immediately after you get your certification.
But you are ready. Now.
Not tomorrow—right now! Here’s what you need to do and some things to keep in mind:
1. Get experience.
Teach in your living room, at work, at a park, at a library. Get creative. Invite friends and family. Use social media to get a group to come practice with you. One of the best places to teach yoga is at a gym. It is also one of the hardest places to teach yoga, so it will teach you a lot. A bonus is that you’ll usually get a free gym membership. Be persistent with gyms—go directly to the person that directs the yoga program to ask if they are hiring. If at first you don’t succeed, keep trying! Any place is a good place to teach yoga when you are first beginning.
2. Practice…a lot.
Stay connected to the practice and your reason for teaching. Develop a personal practice so that you can get creative with your teaching. If you want to teach at a specific studio, then practice there often. Studio owners want to hire teachers that are a part of the community and that obviously jive with the studio’s mission. Ask about work/study opportunities so that you can be on a staff level at the studio and really make a presence for yourself. Make sure the studio is in line with your mission statement and goals for teaching.
3. Develop your purpose.
Be clear about why you teach and what you can share as a teacher. Write a mission statement. Hone in on your skill set and share it with the world. Consider teaching a population that relates to your skill set. Love the corporate world? Cool, provide classes to corporate companies. Have a background in health? Teach to health professionals! Reach out to colleges and ask about opportunities to teach at sororities and fraternities. Have an interest in health and eating issues? Consider teaching yoga to a population in need like an eating-disorders group. Do you have an understanding of drug and alcohol related disorders? Teach to those populations! The possibilities are truly endless. Identify your skill set and you will find both your purpose and a multitude of opportunities for teaching.
4. Be professional.
Treat your yoga career the same way you would any other career. Resumes, mission statements, cover letters are all great tools for finding a job. Make a website. I use weebly.com as my platform. Get your RYT designation. Take your role seriously while still cultivating the artistry of this craft. Appearance, punctuality and consistency are all important as a yoga professional. Do more than is expected of you. Show up with enthusiasm. Don’t gossip. Check your sh*t at the door.
5. Be a connector.
Make a presence for yourself in the community by exploring other studios and yoga styles. Be a connector between studios. Make friends. Practice with other teachers. Introduce like-minded people. Collaborate. Have ideas and take action on them.
6. Keep learning!
Be a yoga nerd. Read, a lot. Hate reading? Listen to podcasts and audiobooks. Take workshops, find a teacher that challenges you and work at your edge. Stay humble, while becoming empowered by your learning.
And most importantly…just go teach!
Originally Published on Elephant Journal
by: Lauren Hanna Foster
Lauren Hanna Foster is a recent addition to Philadelphia as a yoga instructor. Teacher, student, yoga blogger and teacher trainer – Lauren leads power vinyasa classes at Hotbox Yoga in Manyunk.