- There are 36.7 million U.S. yoga practitioners, up from 20.4 million in 2012.
- 80 million more Americans will likely try yoga for the first time in 2016
- AND there are two people interested in becoming a yoga teacher for every one current teacher.
With the rise of practitioners follows the rise of teachers. It's only logical. Yoga teachers begin as yoga students. It would be odd if a teacher never set foot on a mat, right?!
I get approached a lot about how to become a successful teacher. I am flattered to get asked for advice and I am happy to share. However, my first question back to them is always, "Why do you want to be a yoga teacher?" We all, as students, have a passion for yoga. We get on our mat daily. We find our yoga home. We have our favorite teacher. My purpose in asking this question is not to deflate their desire, but to get them to really think about why. What is your passion? Can your passion as a student carry over into becoming a teacher? If someone is really interested in taking the step forward into training, into living yoga 24/7, AND into building a business, they must know the answer to this question.
I've studied with MANY different teachers and you can tell the difference between someone who is very passionate about teaching and someone who is there to just because it's the "cool" thing to do.
My advice is always this~
- Be yourself! Don't become a teacher because someone else makes it look glamorous. You will be quickly disappointed. Teachers must teach from passion, not for validation. Stand on your mat and teach from your heart.
- Educate yourself! Find a training program that resonates with you, outside your current practice. You MUST be trained even if you do not enter a 200 hour CYT program. Surprisingly I get a lot of push back on this. This is a sure indication that people have no idea what is involved in teaching. It's not about memorizing a sequence and sounding fancy with sanskrit! It's about providing a safe and healing practice for your students. If you have never looked at the dynamics of the human body and how it moves, you are doing a disservice to your students. Out of those 80 million new students that will try yoga for the first time this year, a large percentage of them will never return for a second time because their experience was less than favorable. I hear it all the time. "No I won't ever go back, the teacher I had pushed me and had no idea what my abilities were and I hurt myself!"
- Be ready to work! You've got to be a do'er. When you work for yourself, you've got to be accountable. It's not about just showing up 10 minutes before class and teaching a sequence and going home. It's not the glamorous part-time hours with full-time pay! You are a one man show, in charge of everything! Including prepping for classes, driving time between classes + clients, answering emails, promoting your classes AND MORE. It adds up! You must be in the mindset of business 24/7. It's grassroots baby! Even if you work for a studio, many times you are in charge of promoting your classes.
- Finally being a good teacher isn't about putting yourself on a pedestal doing the most perfect or difficult pose. It's about having good energy and sharing what you know authentically and being of service. It's taking the time to know your students and loving what each person brings to their practice.