Almost six months ago, I signed up to do my first yoga teacher training with Conrad Paul who owns Yoga Professionals. Today, just a few weeks after passing my practical assessment, I taught my first paid yoga cover class. I’ve taught small groups of people before informally and done one to one sessions, but this was my first actual job as a yoga teacher which was pretty exciting.
I still have a few more theory exams to go to be fully qualified. However, to be honest, I still feel like I have a lot to learn. Despite the fact that I’ve been practising yoga for years, teaching is something quite new to me and there were close to 30 people in this class — all of mixed ability.
Do I feel ready to teach yoga?
When I stayed in the Sivananda ashram in Tamil Nadu in India for three weeks, there was a one month teacher training going on at the same time. I remember thinking how intense it must be to train in a month and I often wonder if people feel qualified to teach afterwards. With this in mind, all the Sivananda yoga teachers I’ve been taught by have been excellent.
Today as I was teaching, I felt like the class went well. But, I did wonder at the end if it was hard enough. Was it too relaxing? Did I offer enough variations? Did I give enough adjustments? How is it possible to give everyone attention in a class of 30? Honestly, I have even more respect for Mysore style teachers now — to be able to cater to sometimes 30-40 students and make everyone feel special is a talent.
So, going back to my original question, ‘Do I feel ready to teach?’ I would have to say that I feel my training has now just started. My course has certainly given me a foundation, but I now need to learn by teaching as much as possible and developing my own style. I’d also like to do another teacher training in perhaps restorative yoga — but I should take things one step at a time. I’ll improve more by practising my teaching, and of course, doing yoga regularly myself.
What I struggled with and what came naturally?
After about half an hour, I had a slight moment of panic (which I really hope no one picked up on!) when I realised that I’d missed some of the asanas from the opening sequence and I’d been going too fast. I quickly had to improvise so I’d get the timing right again. Apparently, this is a really common thing to happen to new yoga teachers. I just need to slow it down in future.
The guided body scan at the end came pretty naturally and I felt the tone of my voice worked well for it. I also got everyone to chant ‘Om’ and ‘Shanti’ at the end which initially I was unsure about, as the class was taught in a gym. However, the energy in the room felt pretty good as everyone was chanting.
What to teach?
Although my own yoga practice has led me to try out a variety of different yoga styles from Sivananda to Ashtanga to name a few, I’m not entirely sure what I want to specifically teach in the future. Today my class was a mixed ability relaxing hatha class. I played Deva Premal, Password and I made sure there were 10 minutes at the end to relax in Savasana.
I have another yoga cover class next Thursday which I’m looking forward to — perhaps I’ll introduce more strengthening and some pranayama exercises. I feel like I’ve learned so much just from teaching this one class — the main lesson being — teach what you know and enjoy doing it.
For any other newly qualified yoga teachers out there, you might find the following article useful.
Image source: Yoga Cara Teaching Training website