April 22, 2011

How Do I Get Hired as a New Teacher? ~ Coach Vyda Bielkus

Vyda Bielkus answers YOUR questions about Life, Relationships, Career, Health and More….

As a coach and yoga teacher, my students, clients, friends and family continuously gravitate to me for answers about their most pressing life’s questions and dilemmas. The questions range from the more straightforward, “should I quit my job as a bank teller to become a yoga teacher?” to the more tricky and complex, “I am in love with my boyfriend, but he says he wants an open relationship. Should I dump him or stay?” In this weekly column, I’ll bring to you inspired answers to your most pressing questions.

Often times those closest to us do not have the perspective or information necessary to help us make an energy shifting decision and choice for change. A good coach relies on knowledge, intuition, and facts to help you come to a place within yourself where you can confidently move toward the right action step for you.

Maybe you have been struggling with something for a while, or perhaps you don’t know which approach to take with something. This is your chance to gain a point of view that might not at present be readily available to you. A coach is not a therapist and does not prescribe or diagnose. Coaches do not see others as broken. Coaches hold individuals as whole and fully capable.

If you are interested in gaining valuable and insightful ideas for issues troubling you in your professional or personal career, then send me an e-mail.  Submit your question and any details pertinent to your dilemma. I will not publish your name and the information you tell me is confidential. I look forward to engaging with you in a coaching conversation.

For this inaugural column, I have included a question I was recently asked by a client. Learning is about relating with each other. Happy reading.

Dear Coach,

I just completed a yoga teacher training. I can’t seem to get hired at studios because I don’t have any teaching experience. How/where do I start teaching?

First of all, congratulations! Completing a yoga training is a dedication and investment in yourself. Moving from student to teacher can be a fun and inspiring journey. Where it may be a challenge to get your pada (foot) in the door at established studios, there are a variety of ways to start teaching. Here are some things to consider as you set out to make your mark on the yoga world!

Photo: Carolyn Coles

1. Stare down the fear.

The biggest block to teaching is fear. And most of this fear is the fear of not being liked. It’s why inexperienced teachers cling to their notes like a security blanket or hide behind the yogic beats of their favorite musician. Teaching puts your people-pleasing skills out there on parade for everyone to see. Scary, but it doesn’t have to be. The only way through the fear of teaching or telling others you teach is to do it. It’s like yoga. Yoga does all it promises to do, but you need to do it. Same with teaching yoga. Teaching yoga will dramatically change your life, but you need to stare down the fear like the matador against beast. You must tame the fear by practice-teaching it away.

2.      Give it away.
One of the best teachers I know told me she used to gather people in her living room every Tuesday night for a free yoga class. At first it was just her close friends and family, but word quickly spread. Let’s face it — people love to get things for free. As the demand for the spots for her tiny in-home studio grew so did her confidence. Find ways to give your teaching away.

As karma goes, when you give something away it comes back to you tenfold. Teaching gratis classes let’s you sharpen your teaching chops on willing and appreciative students, who will not care if you forget the left side of warrior II. Some ideas to try:

  • set-up a weekly free yoga class for your girlfriends at your home or at one of their homes. Pitch it to them as the alternative girls’ night out.
  • Ask a local church or community center if they would like to offer a free yoga class.
  • See if your fellow employees at the corporate company you work at would like a free lunch time class.

You get the drift. Very rarely do people say “no” to free yoga.

3.      Be a local superstar.

Photo: Lululemon Athletica

Becoming known in your community is a great way to get noticed as a teacher. Every community has local gatherings/events and most of these are looking for offerings and services. Perhaps you live in a community that is big on farmer’s markets. See if you can offer 30-minute yoga sessions at a corner of the market.

Local schools, bookstores, beauty salons, health restaurants/markets are other great places for making connections. The key is looking around your neighborhood and seeing how you (and yoga) could offer them something they are not doing already.

4. Craigslist.

Yup it is true. When I asked a popular studio in L.A. how they find their teachers, they said Craigslist. Although studios do post to Craigslist, it is a great tool for new teachers to connect to gyms, YMCA’s, and corporations who are looking for teachers. Often times these organizations are desperate to get teachers on to their schedule and do not have the restrictions that you might find at studios. These are great entry points for the new teacher.

5. Be ready at a moment’s notice!

Being flexible (pun intended) can get you a teaching gig. A woman I knew was a devout student at a studio I worked with and had recently completed a teacher training. One day the scheduled teacher got into some car trouble and was not going to make it to her class. The woman happened to be their and volunteered to teach the class. She did a great job. The students were happy and the owners were happy. After the class, she was added to the roster of substitute teachers.

Approaching studio managers and owners with your availability and flexibility to be ready to sub a class with little notice can get you noticed. If you are friendly with teachers at your favorite classes (and if you aren’t, smile and introduce yourself next time after class), let them know you could sub for them if they ever needed coverage. Being available when others need help endears you to them and is a win-win for all.

Remember:  as with most things in life, the experience you will have as you set out to teach will be the attitude you bring to it. As you put out the energy and take some of the steps above the opportunities to teach will begin to open up. And slowly but surely you’ll build solid roots to blossom into the teacher that is already inside of you, just waiting to be unleashed!


Vyda Bielkus: With over a decade of business development within the yoga world and a deep commitment to personal self development, Vyda Bielkus co-founded B1 Community (B1), to teach people tools to help them make healthy changes.  B1 offers virtual health coach training programs and world-wide retreats combining yoga and coaching to help people realize a life of dynamic growth. As a consultant for yoga teachers, health/wellness businesses and practitioners, she helps her clients find success by reaching beyond their limitations.  Her coaching clients rely on her ability to shed light on the dark to bring out the best in themselves. Send your burning questions to [email protected]

Read 5 Comments and Reply

Read 5 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Elephant journal  |  Contribution: 277,736