25 Jul New to teaching yoga – Find your style!
When you first start out teaching yoga it can be hard to know which style of yoga suits you best. Here are some things I learnt along the way that helped me to find my own style of yoga.
My yoga class title is ‘Hot Yoga’ on the schedule, but there is so much more to my class than the title suggests.
When I first started teaching yoga I wanted to be a Vinyasa style teacher, with fast paced sequences and giving people a good workout. As the months went by and I learnt about my own style of yoga teaching and learning what worked for me, and my students, my style seemed to change without me even realising.
Listen to your students
It wasn’t until one day that I overheard the owner of the studio I teach at explaining to a new member what my class is like. She said something along the lines of “You will really like this class, it’s a really gentle flow class, perfect for a Friday night!”
It was at that moment that I realised my style had changed, and people liked it! By this point I had my regular students who came week after week and I really got to know them and what they liked.
Don’t be afraid to ask your students what they would like from a yoga class or hand out a questionnaire. If you work for a studio then ask the person who checks people in and out of the classes if students have an comments after your classes. My yoga studio owners are very good at finding out what people like about a particular class, or teacher, so they know how their clients feel.
If you are teaching at a yoga studio, it would also be really good to pay a visit to the other teachers at the studio to see what their style is and see the type of students in the class. This is a good idea because you may see some of your students in this class as well, or you might find you have a completely different demographic in your class and will therefore know their needs are different.
Timing is everything
If you are starting up classes that are on a Monday morning at 6:30am, don’t expect to be teaching a ‘Power Flow’ that contains lots of backbends and headstands. It’s really important to think about the time and day that you are teaching as this is going to reflect how people are feeling and what kind of poses will be suitable for the class.
My yoga class is on a Friday night at 6pm. I know, from my students feedback, that people have just done a hard week of work and it’s finally Friday night. They want to wind down and let the stresses of the week melt away, getting them ready for their weekend ahead. So I try to reflect this feeling throughout my yoga class. At the beginning of my class I invite students to let go of the stresses from the week using a short breathing practice before moving through a gentle flow class and then ending with some deep, slow stretches. This works for my students and many of them leave saying “I needed that!”
Feel the flow
When I attend my yoga course weekends, I get to speak to other teachers about their classes. Most of us are pretty established with at least one yoga class and everyone seems to have found a style that suits them now. Quite often people have said how they started off teaching in a particular way, or trying to carry on the style of a previous teacher for the students sake and it just didn’t work. If you find you are teaching and it just doesn’t feel right, then it’s not the right style for you. I believe yoga teaching can be quite meditative if you find a way of teaching that fits with you. The class flows beautifully and effortlessly – well, most of the time, other times you all have a good laugh when you mix your left and rights up and forget your head from your foot!
My final tip is to be you! There are so many great yoga teachers out there, but your students come to you, because they like your style. Of course, some people won’t and so they won’t come back, that’s not a big deal – you can’t please everyone!
Once you relax into teaching, you can really let your personality shine through and this is what is going to make people stick around. At the end of the day, you are the one giving these people a lovely yoga experience, so make sure it comes from the heart and you believe in what you are doing and saying and you will find your style finds you!