6 Steps For Success Every New Yoga Teacher Should Know

September 02, 2015


So you just finished your first yoga teacher training. You likely feel as if you just purged a heavy weight that’s been on your back for years, are full of emotions (mainly love) and are beyond stoked, and/or terrified, to get in front your first batch of students. So what on earth are you supposed to do now? Rather than riding the wave of inspiration and excitement from finishing a training, many new teachers talk themselves into putting off teaching because they feel too fresh, are lacking the confidence, or tell themselves they aren’t “knowledgeable enough,” to lead a class. Reality check: the only way to get hands-on knowledge, experience and confidence to teach is to teach. Starting something new always feels overwhelming, but discomfort does not justify avoidance. As a yogi, teacher and human you have the skills and courage to step towards fear with acceptance, flexibility, and steady breath. Here are six steps to getting started as a new teacher:

  1. Commit to a regular practice. Whether it’s at home alone, one-on-one with another teacher, or in a group setting, it’s important that you start and maintain a regular practice. Authentic and passionate teaching is informed by a robust personal practice. It’s during these sessions in your living room that you’ll start to find your voice as a teacher, how you cue and sequence, and what you ultimately want to offer your students. Having your own practice also helps keep yourself in check, so that you can continue to do your own self-exploration and leave your personal business at home, rather than take it into a class with you.
  2. Get clear on your vision . What are you being called to do? Teach yoga full time? Teach on the side? Teachyin yoga to athletes? Teachvinyasa yoga to seniors? Earn a living? Practicekarma? You don’t have to have all the answers right away; this is something we learn over time from trying new styles and ways of teaching. We can learn a lot from our personal practice about what we want to offer – that may even mean that you don’t start teaching, or take some time off, for a few months. Be kind to yourself if you don’t have it all figured out right away. Play around and try new things. Continue to meditate and set intentions for your ultimate vision as a yoga teacher. It will come with time.
  3. Put yourself out there.  When you’ve decided you want to start teaching, put yourself out there and let people know that, yes, you are available (and very excited) to teach. Tell your yoga teachers that you’re ready to get going, and see if they can connect you to any other teachers or studios who may need teachers for their sub lists. Use social media to post any classes you may have lined up, or join a group for yoga teachers in your area as a way of networking. Keep in mind you’re more likely to get opportunities from people who know you than by sending out resumés to strangers. If a studio-of-interest’s manager teaches a class, attend it regularly and remind them that if they’re ever in a pinch you’re certified, insured, and available to sub classes. You can also offer to audition a class for them so they can see your style and if you’d be a good fit for that space. Take one small action every day that moves you closer to manifesting your intention.
  4. Have the courage to say yes. Hang in there. If you’re diligent, opportunities will begin to arise, but know that it takes time. Some opportunities offered to you will seem scary based on class size or trying a new style, but don’t turn something down just because you’re nervous. (If you feel genuinely uncomfortable about teaching a certain class or at a certain space, trust your instincts and pass – it’s okay to sayno). Maybe you’ll get a desperate last-minute call to sub a world-famous yoga teacher’s class of 100-plus students. This is the universe offering you the motivation to tap into your deepest potential to fill some big shoes.
  5. Affirm yourself.  Repeat after me: I am calm. I am confident. I am worthy. I am wise. I hold space. I have grace. I do enough. I have enough. I am enough. If this mantra doesn’t resonate with you, then find one that does (it may change from situation to situation) and repeat it to yourself until you feel steady and strong. Use affirmations that squelch your own limiting thoughts, and repeat them daily. When you stand in front of your first classes secure and confident, you exude positive, loving energy that will fill the room and create safe space for your students. Dare to be amazing.
  6. Have the courage to say no.  Early on, you’ll want to accept any teaching opportunity that is offered to you because you’re excited and want to gain experience. But, as you receive more offers, it’s important to understand that setting boundaries for yourself is healthy. Have the courage to sayno to opportunities that are inconsistent with your intention, or just don’t mesh with your schedule. For example, if you feel called to earn a living teaching yoga, there may come a time when you need to drop one of the two free classes you teach a week so that you can have a day off. Trust that turning down incompatible opportunities will free up the time, energy, and space that you need to become the (amazing) teacher you want to be.


Starting your yoga teaching journey is exciting, fulfilling and sometimes messy. Remember to be kind to yourself, show yourself some compassion and set boundaries so that you have enough time to rest, maintain your personal practice and ultimately grow as a teacher, yogi and human. Good luck!