People assume yoga teachers aren’t insecure and neurotic like everyone else, but they’re wrong.
Teaching yoga can be scary.
Anxiety is a normal part of starting a teaching career. A part that I feel we don’t acknowledge enough in the yoga world.
As a yoga teacher, I know how vulnerable I sometimes feel sitting on my mat in front of a class. It’s like I am saying: “Here I am. Your yoga teacher. Watch me. Do it like this.”
I’ve developed a way of thinking about this—strategies that I use when I’m feeling insecure and wondering if, as a yoga teacher, I’m a bit of a joke (which I realize I’m not).
I share them in the hopes they will be useful to others along their own journey:
- I accept that some days are ‘good’ and others, ‘not so good’. Some days I leave the studio feeling phenomenal and some days I feel like a fraud. That’s normal. When I feel like crap, I take time to figure out how I can improve and then give myself permission to move on.
- I remember that my students think I’m great and valuable. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be here. They are not sitting on their mats thinking, “Who does she think she is?”
- I accept that not everyone will like my teaching style. That’s OK. It probably has more to do with them than me. I can’t please everyone and so, I don’t worry about it.
- I acknowledge that it takes years of study and practice to become a really great teacher. My prime awaits! Instead of getting anxious about this, I choose to be patient with myself and delight in the life-long learning process.
- I remind myself I don’t have to fit in to any stereotypes. I don’t feel like a bad yoga teacher if I run into a student at the liquor store or, if I accidentally drink too much wine at a potluck (oops!). I don’t feel like a bad yoga teacher if I do any thing else others may consider inappropriate for a committed yoga teacher. I’ve realized it’s all OK.
- I remember my students’ names. I’ve noticed that students love coming to my classes when I remember their names and introduce them to each other. They feel treasured and part of a community, which means higher attendance. I try to do this as often as possible.
- I don’t forget my personal practice! After all, it’s the reason I started teaching and the source of my inspiration. I go to at least one public yoga class per week as a student, and practice every day at home.
- I make eye contact with my students when I speak. Sometimes it feels weird but I’ve noticed how beneficial it is so I do it any way.
- I don’t make a joke if someone farts in class because I may make someone feel even more embarrassed and that’s definitely not something I want to do.
- I am prepared and open. My students seem to notice my mood more than my sequence so, I prepare for class, but stay relaxed and open.
- I don’t limit myself to any conventions. If I feel like doing a Vinyasa hip-hop class, I do it. I like to incorporate things I love into my classes to add a new flavor.
- I don’t worry about my body. Instead, I focus on making my students feel comfortable with themselves and me.
“Change is not something that we should fear. Rather, it is something that we should welcome. For without change, nothing in this world would ever grow or blossom, and no one in this world would ever move forward to become the person they’re meant to be”.
Author: Jackie Kinealy
Apprentice Editor: Bianca Marks/ Alli Sarazen