As a former talent manager for Equinox in New York City, I was shocked how often new yoga instructors would show up prepared, but lacking teaching confidence.
We would audition new instructors every month in groups of up to 30, and seasoned teachers would let their nerves get to them. Newer yoga instructors wouldn’t even remember to say their names or what type of yoga they were teaching.
While teaching confidence is created through time and repetition, there are some actions you can take right now to set yourself up for success.
Use These 4 Tips to Gain Teaching Confidence as a Yoga Instructor:
1. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat
Teaching confidence is created by repetition, so get those reps in!
If you’re a new graduate of yoga teacher training, try teaching some small community classes. It will give you the opportunity to get teaching skills under your belt and learn which cues work best for your students.
You can even use the same sequence or playlist a few times so you can feel confident delivering it to a bigger crowd.
And as for that sequence? Repeat that several times yourself at home! It will make it easier to remember the poses. You can even do it while saying the transitions and Sanskrit pose names so you feel fully confident with your new words. Practice creates progression!
2. Let Go of Perfection
We proudly coach our students and tell them, “Believe in yourself!” “Take a risk!” “Enjoy the journey!” Then when we speak to ourselves, we start a downward spiral toward Perfection Land.
To be of great service to our students, yoga instructors can become so perfection-driven that it makes us forget everything. So, give yourself some grace. Allow yourself the room to grow that you often offer your students. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be a step in your progression.
Teaching is a journey, just as your asana practice is. And just like in your asana practice, there is no perfect. Detach yourself from the goal of “being perfect.” When you let that go, you can connect more deeply to your students and your eyes see them more clearly.
Every now and again, remind yourself that they’re not looking for you to be perfect – they’re looking for you to be human.
3. Reframe the Situation
Low teaching confidence often goes hand-in-hand with negative thoughts or judgment. Instead of projecting a judgment statement on a situation (like “they’re going to dislike me”), reframe it into a question (like “what can I learn if they dislike me?”).
By retraining ourselves to look for opportunities to learn, we can release the habit to pre-judge things negatively. This is a practice you can take off the mat throughout your day.
If you find yourself having negative or judgmental self-talk, immediately reframe it into an educational question. Pretty soon your “this isn’t going to work” will turn into “how can I make this work in my favor?”
4. Strike a Pose
A Harvard study by Amy Cuddy suggests that hitting your “power pose” right before a big meeting or interview for 120 seconds creates immediate confidence.
Well, as yoga instructors, every class is a big meeting and interview so that works for teaching confidence as well!
The responsibility to deliver to your students and be of service to them can feel heavy. So do what the experts say – put your hands on your hips, stare in the mirror, and hit that power stance.
Do mantras work better for you? Here are 10 Powerful Mantras Every Yoga Teacher Should Use
Your Teaching Confidence Will Come With Time, Commitment, and Heart
Becoming a yoga instructor can be a life-changing event. You learn a whole new language, 100 poses and anatomical cues, and work on your communication skills.
But, most of all, you offer your heart. It can be nerve-wracking and intense, but with these tips you can also enter it from a place of love, confidence, and contentment.