- Offer to assist classes of teachers that you know, so you can practice your hands on adjustments without the added challenge of also teaching. This will help you to get comfortable touching people. Do this until you feel completely confident with it.
- Practice, practice, practice. Organize at least 2 free classes per week for friends and family. If there is one thing you really need to do as a new teacher it is to get as much practice as you can, as soon as possible.
- Offer to teach a community class at your local studio for donation only and accept donations for a charity of your choice. This way, you will feel fine if the class is not perfect and it gives you more opportunity to practice.
- Every week choose three poses to study in depth. Research everything you can about those three poses and write some good cues to integrate your new knowledge into your classes. As your knowledge increases and your cuing gets more intelligent, your confidence will grow.
- Write down some good guided pranayamas, meditations and savasanas. As your students will practice these things with their eyes closed, you will be able to read through your script, which you have thoughtfully written. This way, it can be really good, and you won’t stumble over your own words.
- Plan your class well ahead of time and make a clear list of the postures you are going to teach. Place this list beside your mat (it is fine to use notes) but just make sure you refer to it when the students are in Down Dog and Child’s Pose, not Tadasana.
- Before teaching, do some calming pranayama yourself, such as three part deep abdominal breathing or Nadi Shodhana, Alternate nostril breathing. This will calm your nerves.
- Visualize yourself teaching with confidence and authority. Imagine yourself teaching a really excellent class and try to see as much detail as possible. As you visualise this get in touch with how it feels emotionally to be a successful and confident teacher. Do this before every class you teach.
- Be very friendly and kind towards your students, checking in with them before class to find out about their injuries and goals. Be willing to spend a few extra minutes at the end of class to go over anything a student might have questions about. Connecting with your students will allow you to feel more relaxed, knowing you are among friends.
- Always take time to prepare for your class well. Also take a shower, dress in clean, flattering clothes and tie your hair back. Look the part!
Vidya Jacqueline Heisel
Director of Suryalila Retreat Centre and Frog Lotus Yoga International,
Yoga Teacher Trainings.
This article was first published in The Om Yoga magazine.