With your yoga teaching certificate in hand and eagerness at heart, you finally feel ready to take on the yoga world after completing your yoga teacher training! With all the new knowledge you’ve gained over your time at yoga teacher training, you’re keen to bring this knowledge to your local studio(s) and finally put what you’ve learnt to practice. A common occurrence that plagues a lot of new yoga teachers is what I like to call the “Yoga Butterflies”. Nervousness is something that all new yoga teachers are bound to experience. I’m convinced that new teachers who do not get nervous teaching must be some sort of superhuman that Professor X from X-men is awaiting to discover – and of course kudo’s to you if you don’t!
Through my experience, it’s become a reality that yoga butterflies are never something that completely go away. Luckily, I’ve discovered a few ways that help me manage the yoga butterflies, which some new yoga teachers will hopefully find helpful!
(1) Be Your Own Inspiration
I was once told that the best yoga teachers are those who are committed to their own practise. While some may agree or disagree with this, I did find it extremely helpful to take some asana, sequences and sometimes entire routines from my daily yoga practise as inspiration for the yoga class I may be teaching that week or day. By practising the sequences, it helped me figure out what transitions flowed well together, what sequences had a good balance for the body, and it helped me to remember the sequences so I felt like I was less stuck at certain points. Even if you’re a high leveled yogi about to teach an all-level class, use your own practise as inspiration! Doing this also made me feel much more prepared for teaching and helped ease the yoga butterflies.
(2) Using a Good Old Fashion Pen and Paper
While practising my daily asana, I would keep a pen and paper nearby and when I was finished completing a sequence I would quickly jot down the movements. It wouldn’t necessarily be the neatest writing, but doing so helped me to remember the sequence without taking my attention away from my daily practise. Thankfully, later in the day I could reference back to my quietly written asana routine, and re-write my entire routine from start to finish. This way if the yoga butterflies would kick in mid-class and cause you to forget something mid sequence or practise, you always have something to refer to!
(3) Arrive Early
Some days you may be lucky enough to arrive at the studio to teach yoga straight from home after binge-watching Netflix in bed. Other days, you’ll be coming straight from work, or dealing with kids, or other stressors that can influence your negatively impact your headspace right before trying to teach a yoga class. Arriving to the studio early gives you time to complete class tasks beforehand, and it also gives you time to ground yourself! While you may not be able to ground yourself completely before teaching a class, it’s better to arrive earlier and somewhat grounded, rather than late and stressed out. Your students and yourself will thank you when the yoga butterflies are kept at bay from the beginning of the class!
(4) Give Options and Variations
One of the yoga butterflies that comes in the middle of class, for myself at least, is when I start to evaluate if students are enjoying the sequences and asana that I have put together. I’ll admit that when I feel like students aren’t enjoying a certain class or sequence, I begin to stress out. It’s important to remember that you’re trying your best to teach and put together the sequences. It’s important to remember that sometimes someone might not particularly enjoy your class, but don’t beat yourself down on this! Some classes are always going to be better than others. There are many contributing factors, such as the varying skill level of students that come to your class, or how grounded your students are when they arrive, etc. Never be too harsh on yourself. Take this as a lesson to see what works and what doesn’t work in the yoga classes you teach! (5) Don’t Get Caught Up in Your Mistakes While teaching my first yoga class, I ended up saying ‘engage your abs’ about 100 times. When I caught onto how repetitive I was being, I joked “let me just say ‘engage your abs’ one more time” and the whole class burst into laughter. The comedic relief took the edge off the mistake I was making and helped make the yoga butterflies fly away. If you realise you’ve made a mistake, make the effort to be kind to yourself and move on. Most the time you’re the only one who notices anyway! I still get yoga butterflies every time I teach, but luckily these tips have helped me immensely in moving past nervousness when it comes to teaching yoga. As per the words of my yoga teacher trainer, don’t stress – it’s just yoga!