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Curated By Siblings Amber & Austin Richman

This week on YLP guest blogger and resident Cambio teacher Nikki Arnone shares some insights and advice for new teachers. I can say when I first began my teacher training I was unsure of my own ability as a teacher and my self-doubt far exceeded my confidence but as I have seen time and time again leading teacher trainings, when one overcomes these fears they find that teaching right from where they are, not from where they would like to be, will be of service to someone somewhere right where they are. So please enjoy Nikki's deeper reflections on the trials and tribulations that come along with the terrain and as always if you would like to guest blog for YLP contact Austin at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Finding Your Way as a New Yoga Teacher

 

It’s been almost a year to the day that I began my first yoga teacher training at Cambio, and what an incredible whirlwind it was! I now have nine months of teaching experience under my belt and I love it just as much, if not more, than I expected to on day one of class. Although I know I’ve barely grazed the surface of all there is to know about yoga, I do feel that I’ve become an expert on navigating through that sometimes-treacherous “newbie” territory.

My first few classes all began the same way: sweaty palms, shaky voice, focusing with all my might to remember which pose came next and which cues to squeeze in. I was convinced everyone could sense my jumpy nerves and feared they’d leave my class feeling unfulfilled. Gradually, my nervous butterflies began to fade away and I remembered why I wanted to teach in the first place—pure fun and honest connection to every incredible person that walked in the door.

That comfort didn’t come without getting a bit messy and doing a little experimenting. If you’re a new yoga instructor, there are several areas you’ll need to bravely explore as you step into your new role:

Finding Your Voice

Most yogis will agree that every teacher you come across leads class a bit differently and shares something unique with the room; there isn’t an exact right or wrong way to do it. But to be quite honest, the first few times you’re forced to listen to yourself talk for an hour straight while your students simply breathe and listen can be disconcerting, to say the least.

My biggest piece of advice here is simply to allow your personality to shine through. Shifting into robot mode when class begins is not a requirement, no matter how perfectly you’ve memorized your sequence and cues. If you like to crack jokes, go with it! If you’re feeling a bit quieter or more focused on another day, be truthful to that. Your students won’t mind if you say “left” instead of “right” and they might love it if you take a few minutes to tell a personal story that ties into that day’s practice. What matters is that you share something real with the room; it’s perfectly fine to forget the script once in a while.

Finding Your People

My new motto is one that I struggled to accept at first, but that now brings me peace of mind: “I’m not for everyone!” In any area of life, it’s exhausting and fruitless to spend all your time trying to please every person you meet. Some people love my class and for others, it’s just not their taste. And that’s OK.

Without a doubt, you will have students that attend your class and decide not to come back. Don’t take this personally—you are not for everyone, but you are just perfect for someone. As more students get to know you and your class, you’ll find your regulars and you’ll find your tribe. Talk to these wonderful people, connect with them, and even ask them for feedback. Constructive criticism is crucial to your growth as a teacher, so learn how to take it. Just don’t feel like you need to change everything about your teaching style to please a select few.

Finding Your Style

Personally, I know I tend to focus on physical safety and alignment as well as releasing stress and tension in my classes—this simply speaks to me the most and I feel I can offer something valuable to my students in these areas. But plenty of incredible classes take a more spiritual route or focus more on athletic challenges.

As I've said before, none of this is right or wrong, and what it comes down to, in the end, is truth. Teaching the type of class you love is a great way to translate that passion to your students.

The number one takeaway I’ve gleaned as a new yoga teacher is that tapping into your inner confidence is the best way forward. You don’t have to be perfect or know everything written in the Yoga Sutras to begin teaching and you definitely don’t have to beat yourself up for every “oops” along the way. Despite what the butterflies in your stomach might be telling you, your students aren’t there to judge. They’re there to enjoy class, to learn, to let go of some stress or maybe just to sweat, breathe and smile. So, embrace the beginning of your teaching journey and, most importantly, go forth with confidence!

Our Guiding Principles

Yoga is a way of life and should be accessible to all.

 

Community is important. Everyone is a valuable member and we are here to serve our community.

 

Everyone is perfect just as they are. Everyone has their own path and is at a different point in life.

 

From physical abilities to beliefs, everyone is at the right place at the right time.

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