How to build your confidence (and resume) as a new yoga teacher

RYT-200 Hour Certified Yoga Teacher. Erica started practicing yoga daily to bring herself flexibility, strength and balance. She enjoys doing yoga on the mat in the room, in nature and at the sea side. Erica brings yoga from the mat to everyday life and it helps her to be balanced, non judgmental and to learn new things. She likes learning and challenges, and encourages students to challenge themselves, learn new asanas, practice and enjoy every minute of yoga.
You've just finished training... now how do you get your first teaching gig? Photo: M2 Photography

You’ve just finished training… now how do you get your first teaching gig? Photo: M2 Photography

by guest author Cailen Ascher, owner of CALMbiz

If you’re currently in, or fresh out of, yoga teacher training, chances are you’re thinking about landing your first teaching job.

When I was first ready to teach, I dreamt about the kinds of classes I’d have, the sequences I’d prepare, and the kinds of students I’d love to serve. Then I was faced with an all-too-common predicament:

No one would hire me  because I didn’t have experience. But, to get experience, I needed to teach…

It’s your basic catch 22.  But don’t worry, it’s not a lose-lose situation by any means!

Here are four easy to implement and helpful ways to build your confidence as a yoga teacher while building a killer resume.

1. Teach yoga classes for free.

After completing my yoga teacher training, I began holding a weekly therapeutic yoga class for my parents in order to work on sequencing, and get a sense of “what works” in a classroom setting for beginners.

Teaching for free gave me an opportunity to hone my skills, develop my voice, and build my classroom confidence.

Think about offering a free 6-week class to your friends, give your spouse or neighbor a private yoga lesson, volunteer to teach a class or two at your local community center or church, or offer to teach your co-workers yoga on your lunch break.

Remember to ask for testimonials from your students – glowing quotes about what a great teacher you are look good on a resume, too!

2. Offer to sub at your local yoga studio

During my yoga teacher training my favorite teacher asked me to sub for her one weekend – I was so nervous! But, it was a great learning experience, and exposed me to an entire body of students I would have never been in front of otherwise. Plus, I got to work through my nerves before getting a class of my very own.

This makes subbing a great way to get your feet wet, before you’re committed to a regular weekly class.

Reach out to your local studios and favorite teachers and let them know that you’re available to sub. It’s a great way to get your foot in the door at your dream studio. Plus, whenever you teach, ask for feedback so that you continually improve your teaching skills.

3.Think outside the yoga studio.

My first yoga teaching job was at a Karate Studio – not your your typical yoga setting!  It gave me the experience I needed to eventually land my first yoga studio job six months later.

Sure, you may have a yoga studio in mind where you’re hoping to teach – and that’s great, but don’t let that determination blind you to other possibilities. You can also find great teaching gigs at gyms, YMCAs, health and fitness clubs, massage studios and sports clubs.

Once you’re teaching at one of these places you can offer discounted private lessons to build your student base, hone your teaching skills, and make a bit of money in the process.

4. Put yourself out there

Lastly, I’m all about putting yourself out there and just going for it.

My teaching job at the Karate Studio didn’t come knocking on my door, I went out there and found it. I talked to the karate studio owner after seeing that there was also Zumba and another cardio class on the schedule. I asked if they’d be interested in adding a yoga class (or two) to their offerings – and it was a resounding “yes”!

Had I not taken the initiative, I would never have had that job come my way.

Approach your local yoga studio, your gym, or another fitness studio, be honest about your experience level, and ask if there’s the possibility of starting a class. You never know if they’re looking for someone to add to their current teaching staff, or if a popular teacher is leaving for maternity leave, and they need someone to fill in.

Be confident, and just do it!

If you’re really ballsy, you could approach them with an idea for a new class that would enrich their current offerings – for example, if their earliest class starts at 8am, you could pitch them the idea of testing out an “early bird class” that starts at 6:30am for people who want to practice before work.

This not only shows initiative, but it shows them you’re a problem solver, forward thinker, care about improving their yoga program, and really ambitious – and who doesn’t want a teacher like that?!

Cailen-AscherAbout Cailen Ascher:

Cailen Ascher is a yoga teacher and entrepreneur, and she shares conscious business practices for yoga teachers at CALMbiz. If you’re looking to expand your reach, and grow your yoga career in 2013, get a copy of her FREE Yoga Biz Resume Guidebook here, or check out Cailen’s one-on-one offerings.

Enjoy what you read? – sign up for Cailen’s FREE newsletter, like CALM Biz’s Facebook Page or follow her on Twitter.

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