Hey, yoga teachers:
Everyone knows it’s way more fun to just say you’re a yoga teacher than actually teach yoga. I mean, there’s all the sweating and the spandex and the Sanskrit to deal with.
So here’s a handy list to help you make sure the number in your classes drop. That way you can still say you’re a yoga teacher on Facebook and Instagram without having to, you know, actually teach.
1. Never ask their name. If they tell you, immediately forget it.
2. Have everyone sit in an unsupported seated position for the first 20 minutes of class, while you talk about an esoteric aspect of yogic philosophy. Weave in plenty of time to talk about your recent trip to (insert Ubud, Sayulita, or other super popular exotic yoga destination here).
3. Make every class about “Just relaxing” “Just opening your heart” “Just breathing” “Just releasing to the flow” or “Just trusting your inner guru.”
4. Start every instruction with the word “Just.”
5. Speak exclusively in the sing-songy yoga voice. You know the one. Intersperse the yoga voice with loud, vaguely sexual moans. “Mmmmmmmmmm” and then, “good, good.”
6. Arrive at the studio exactly at the start of class. Extra points if you’re still a little sweaty from running up the stairs. Walk in, count the mats and if there are any less than 10, sigh loudly.
7. Leave precisely when class is over. Don’t even wait to turn off the music. Get visibly annoyed when a student asks for your time after class. If they aren’t paying, you aren’t playing.
8. Teach an advanced, vigorous class when the schedule says it’s a gentle to moderate. Alternatively, teach a restorative class when the schedule says it’s a power class. You get the drift. Keep them on their toes.
9. Stop your personal practice, and stop taking any classes or workshops yourself. You don’t need to. You nailed downward dog last year in teacher training, it’s all just gravy from there.
10. Get subs frequently. I’m not talking “I have the flu and I need to take a week off” kind of frequently. I’m talking “I’m going to Hawaii for three weeks” mixed with “I just want to stay home and watch Netflix” mixed with “I forgot I had an acupuncturist/dream interpreter/waxing appointment” kind of frequently.
11. Make sure those subs are up to par on this list. You don’t want someone coming to one of your subbed classes and thinking that kind, considerate and talented teacher is you! Then they’ll come back and that is precisely what you’re trying to avoid.
12. Give adjustments, especially ones involving the sacral area, with no warning and no ability for the student to say no.
13. Never ask for feedback. If someone gives you any kind of constructive criticism, ignore it. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.
14. Throughout the class, use one student as an example of what not to do. As in “Now, everyone, if you want to see what letting the knee drop to the side in Warrior 1 looks like, just take a peek at Fiona.”
15. Make every apex pose one you look super good in, and take at least 10 to 15 minutes to demo it to the class. Even better, hand your phone to someone in class and ask them to snap a pic of you while you’re in it. Gotta keep that Instagram fresh! #stayhumble #soblessed
16. Have terrible boundaries. Give advice without being asked about their diet, their love lives, their mental health, and if any of them confide in you that they are sick or struggling, remind them that if they were better at yoga, they wouldn’t be suffering.
And just as importantly, the 10 top things to avoid, as they will build community and loyalty in your classes and your students will tell all their friends about your classes:
1. Learn your students’ names, ask how they are, and show genuine interest in them as people with varied expertise, experience, and values.
2. Stay inspired by practicing and continuing to study.
3. Create a teaching schedule that gives you time to eat, sleep, practice and be with your loved ones.
4. Be supportive in your language and your assists.
5. Come to the studio early enough to greet your students, even if there is someone else working at the front desk. Stay late enough to say goodbye to your students and answer some of their questions.
6. Be authentic in your teaching. Teach from your own experience of the practice.
7. Create a network of supportive colleagues who inspire you. Ask them to take your class and offer you feedback, and offer to do the same for them.
8. Especially when beginning a new class, build trust in your students by only getting substitute teachers or canceling class when truly necessary. When you do have a sub, make sure they are professional teachers who can teach a quality class that is similar to your own.
9. Build a solid teaching business that supports you, and take your business seriously. Creating a solid business foundation will improve your teaching, guaranteed.
10. Remember that the opportunity to teach the practice of yoga is an awesome privilege, and while it’s not always easy, love got you here.
Author: Abigail Rose Clarke
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Author’s Own