Greatness in any expertise comes after a lot of exercises, and that exercise has to begin somewhere. A couple of weeks ago, I received a letter from a yoga instructor who was at that starting point.
She was just about to teach her first class, and although she was a good student in her instructor training, she experienced scared enough to ask jokingly me, 15 mins before class time, if I could teach on her beave. I did not. Instead, I stopped all that I was doing for a moment so I could easily tell her what I thought would help her the most at that moment. Take it easy “oh, you'll do well” would not have worked.
It turns out that the course went well and was followed with very positive reviews from the learners. Here is a list of some tips from what I had told her.
1. Remember why you teach.
How do you complete the phrase, “I teach yoga because …”?
Each instructor's motivation to teach is exclusive, but they likely all have one thing in common: a wish to share the advantages of the exercise with others. After finishing an instructor training, starting instructors seem to have so much information diving around in their hands that they lose vision of the main reason they began to teach. Getting a moment, ask yourself if you love yoga and if you really love to share it with others really works.
2. Keep in mind what yoga is.
What is it that makes what you are teaching a yoga practice? It's important for instructors of all stages to know the answer to this, though not many of them seem to ask even themselves the question. Right now, at the starting point of your teaching profession, create the addiction of telling yourself of your answer to this whenever you need to explain what you are teaching others to do on their yoga pads.
3. Teach what you know.
In every training, I am asked whether it's ok to teach things you can not do yourself. The answer is yes and no. If it's something you can not do because you have a broken leg, then, yes, it's okay, assuming you were able to do it before whatsoever broke your leg happened. Otherwise, no.
When I'm asked this, I reply with a question, “Why would you want to teach something you do not know?” There is such pressure on all of us, yoga instructors or not, to get to the next step. That mindset is beneficial in a space where advancement is needed. But, in yoga exercise, the work is intended to point our mind to the ideal situation, not to the nonexistent feature.
4. Be ready.
Great instructors constantly adjust their teaching technique to suit the learners who are available. Managing such adaptation becomes another character after some time, but that does not help the new instructor a lot. So, I teach them to be prepared for their sessions in advance.