I’ve created this list of 13 tips that I use in my yoga teachings to help new yoga instructors get more comfortable when they begin teaching!
1. Get grounded. Be present. Practice what you preach. Take a few breathes before the beginning of your class or when needed during your class. Energy is contagious and it’s up to you to set the vibe of the room.
2. Figure out what it is you want to give people besides a workout. For myself, it’s getting people out of their heads and into the present moment. It sometimes shifts but set an intention pre-class to set the tone. Come back to that intention throughout the class in different ways.
3. Move around the class. Stand at the front of the class as little as possible.
4. Be hands on. Give an adjustment to someone every child’s pose and savasana. Assist people VERY gently in getting deeper into their poses. If you are not comfortable touching people make space at the beginning of your class and ask your students when they are in child’s pose to raise their hand if they prefer not to be touched.
5. Guide people to move with their breathe. Compliment breathe use. Get the class breathing as one. This will give you more control of the room when moving dynamically. Also, this is Yoga. It’s all about the breathe. It’s EVERYTHING. Constantly come back to it.
6. Compliment the entire class. Tell them how awesome and strong they are. Be their emotional support especially when they seem to be struggling.
7. Learn peoples names and every now and again say, “Great job, _______!” When you notice that particular person giving it their all or even needing that extra push. This is Community and within this community set it up that we are not in this room to compete but to cheer each other on.
8. Give different options for poses. Although, don’t tell them one is more advanced than the other. You don’t want anyone feeling weak or lesser than another. People are stronger than they think they are.
9. Get to know the people coming to your classes. What are they working on in their yoga practice? Is it physical or energetic? Get them to feel comfortable in sharing with you.
10. If you make a mistake in your class, keep going. They probably don’t even notice or care until you start making fun of yourself. The class is about them and not you so talk about yourself as little as possible and rarely use the word “I”.
11. Try not to use your “yoga voice” for the entire class. If you are guiding a more relaxing pose use a relaxing voice. If you have someone in a challenging pose use a stronger voice.
12. Create a class finisher. For example, I use “Close your eyes and bring your hands to your heart. Rub your hands together and place your hands over you eyes. Take a breathe in and sigh it out. Open your eyes in the warmth of your palms and bring your hands to your heart. Namaste.” every single class. My personal favourite teacher reads a quote or a poem at the end. Make it something that leaves people feeling relaxed and like they can’t wait to do that with you again.
13. Last but not least, continue to take yoga classes as much as possible. Take notice to what works and what doesn’t work. Bring this to your classes. Also, home practice! I can’t recommend this enough. At least once a week. This is the easiest way to refine your cues.