5 Tips for New Yoga Teachers – Article published in OM Magazine

Life has an amazing way of working out when we have the courage to believe in our dreams, trusting that everything will fall into place at the right time. Half a year ago, after returning from my yoga teacher training in India, I dreamt of leading yoga classes. Now, six months later, I’m teaching yoga at Virgin Active gym twice a week and covering classes at other wonderful venues in my local area. For some, it might seem like “just yoga”, but for me, this moment has been a long time coming, almost a decade in the making. It holds a special place in my heart. Being native Polish, teaching in English doesn’t come naturally to me, but when my students return, expressing their love for my sessions, it makes me feel ecstatic! My classes can accommodate up to 38 students, which at first felt scary. To my surprise, I adore it! I’m currently on a steep learning curve, trying to let go of fears and worries and instead, lead from my heart and allow my soul to guide me. I feel immensely proud of myself. As I’ve begun this journey as a new yoga teacher, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on the challenges, growth, and immense gratitude that comes with following this path. Teaching yoga isn’t just about knowing the poses and striking the perfect posture; it’s about finding your true voice and learning how to guide your students effectively. Challenges are part of the process. As a new instructor, I face my fair share of obstacles. From self-doubt to nervousness about giving instructions, every hurdle pushes me to grow. I remind myself that it’s okay to stumble along the way; that’s how we learn and evolve, right? Our imperfections make us relatable and authentic to our students. ‘I’m just human, and I’m not perfect.’ That’s okay. A few classes in, and I can tell that one of the most crucial parts of teaching is providing clear instructions, cues. I realised that it takes time to refine this skill, but don’t let that discourage you. My belief is, the more you practice, the more confident and effective you’ll become in guiding your students. Like with everything else in life: Practice makes you a Master. For me, teaching is a beautiful journey of growth and self-discovery. It’s about finding your voice, your teaching style, and the way of connecting with your students. Creating classes that can benefit a wide range of yogis, from beginners to more advanced students, is actually enjoyable. I often have to spend time contemplating how best to explain some of the more intricate poses and provide simple changes for people who’ve never done yoga before; it’s equally challenging and rewarding. When you finally see your students light up with understanding and follow your instructions, it’s an incredible feeling. What definitely helped me was attending numerous yoga classes over the last decade and drawing inspiration from teachers from around the world, as well as consistently working on my mindset to let go of fear and self-doubt. Your dedication to growth and learning as a teacher will pay off, not just for you, but for all the yogis you guide. To my fellow new yoga teachers, embrace the challenges, savour the learning, and trust the process. After a month of teaching and experiencing intense growth as a yoga teacher, I came up with these 5 tips I would like to share with you, that really helped me ease into the teaching process. • Just do it. Seriously, you know enough to step onto that mat at the front of the class and teach. If you feel you are lacking self-confidence, work on your personal development. Confidence is a state of mind, it means having faith in yourself and your abilities. It is a skill to acquire. • Prepare. The better you prepare for your classes, the easier it will be. Spend time writing and practicing the flow. As Abraham Lincoln said, “If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening my axe”. Write your yoga plan and use your notes. I spoke with many experienced teachers who, despite their experience, still use notes in their classes. • You’ve got this. If you’re feeling overwhelmed when you are at the front of the class, and your heart beats faster… find your own affirmation. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and observe your mind. Affirm; I am here to lead the class. I’ve got this! (It gets easier with every class.) • Find your Style. What drives you? How do you want to be perceived? Do you want to be serious, or are you someone who likes to crack a joke? I find the occasional joke can lighten everyone’s mood; so for example, at the end of the class, I say: “you can join me in a cosmic karaoke party, and let’s OM together”. • Reflect. After your class, reflect on what went brilliantly, and what could be improved? Ask for feedback. Don’t be afraid. People will tell you, and you can learn from it. Embrace the journey, and remember that every step, every challenge, and every moment of self-discovery is a part of your beautiful evolution as a yoga teacher. This article has been published in the OM magazine – you can find the link here: https://www.ommagazine.com/5-tips-for-new-yoga-teachers/

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