Circa 1977 a little blond headed girl turns on the black and white t.v. to P.B.S. to see Lilias Folan teaching yoga. She has no idea what's going on but does the practice with the t.v. and loves it. She feels like she is in dance class without the awkwardness or the clumsiness she often feels in ballet. She enjoys the pace and doing the practice with the t.v. and not in front of others. This little girl is an only child, mostly plays with the boys in her neighborhood, has divorced parents, is being raised primarily by grandparents, walks on her tiptoes and usually has some animal thrown over her shoulder, she is painfully shy and has a had a lot of trauma in her life for such a short life, she often feels like she doesn't belong. This practice feels somehow healing though she won't find the words for it until many years later.
Fast forward to 2019, forty two years later and that little girl (I'm sure you guessed was me) is sitting in her office about to go in and teach a stress management yoga therapy class for intensive cardiac rehab and she is now at forty eight a medical yoga therapist in cancer and cardiac rehab.
The take away I will give you ahead of time, as I tend to be a rule breaker. If you go into a field like this for a career you better make damn sure you love it because it will challenge you at best and your ego will simultaneously heal and be torn apart the day you decide to become a teacher of the practice. You will never feel that you know all there is to know. You will struggle to feel appreciated, validated and at times you will help someone potentially save their life from debilitating pain or depression. It is wonderful and awful at the same time, or as I tell my clients "good and hard coexist".
As I write this I have been a professional in the field since 2001, eighteen years of diligent teaching. It's taken me that long to be able to support myself as a teacher. And I have worked by behind off.
I'm not telling you this to discourage you or to dissuade you from teaching, continuing to teach or from becoming a teacher. I'm telling you this so you can get the honest truth and make an informed decision. If you want to know more about me you can see my videos or read my book but here I want to tell you more about teaching and making that decision.
Here are ten things to think about as you build a teaching career or before you become a teacher.
1. Before you spend money becoming a teacher learn all you can about yoga. It's not like a retreat to go to school. It actually is school.
2. Don't do it for the money. There isn't a lot of money in the field, only a few people can survive only on teaching and even if you own a studio or school it's still really challenging (I've done both).
3. Many days you will be walking on clouds as someone shares how their life has been changed by the practice you shared with them. These are the days that shine.
4. Many days you will stare at an empty classroom because no one will show up. Especially during holiday season and summer. You will wonder if it's you. It's likely not.
5. You must promote your classes.
6. Get comfortable accepting money for your services unless you are independently wealthy. See your teaching as an exchange of energy, money is energy.
7. If you find a good training it will benefit you the rest of your life but whatever you do don't pick a training simply by location or cost. Take classes from the teacher or look at their work online, meet them in person if you can and make sure you talk to some people who they trained. I've known schools that closed in the middle of training and people lost money.
8. Never assume because people practice yoga they are ethical. There are unethical people in all career fields and if you go into this field and you start to grow you will deal with it and it can be soul crushing if your expectations are to high.
9. Be business like, have contracts, treat it as a business. You must protect yourself. Take it from me you may think some people are your friends or that because they are yogi's they will be ethical but that is not always the case. 90% of people are good but 10% are not and they are out there and if you are a kind and benevolent person you will likely deal with them.
10. Show up, day in and day out. Don't overuse subs. If you do have to cancel a class get a sub if at all possible. This depends on your clientele. Be dependable.
If you want more information about what school is like my book is the curriculum that I used to train over 225 people over ten years of owning a school. I am retired from that now but my curriculum in still available on Amazon and other major book sellers online.
Thanks for being here.
Hello I work as a medical yoga therapist, writer, presenter and have been in the yoga world as a teacher since 2001. I've been a practitioner since I was a young girl.
Here I share post I've made over the past eleven years and new post with new musings and teachings from my current work. Thanks for being here.