Well, it’s been a little over 6 months since I completed my 200-hr teacher training at Kula Yoga Project (you can read more about that here), and I wanted to give you an update on how I’ve been doing. While I’ve been mainly focused on my interior design business over the past few months, I’ve been pursuing yoga teaching opportunities part-time, and a lot of exciting things have happened. I got (and lost!) my first yoga teaching job, I’ve worked with over a hundred students, and I’m building connections with a new circle of friends and yoga teachers. Keep reading to learn all about my experience as a brand new yoga teacher, and how it’s changed my life:
Are you teaching?
I got my first job teaching yoga shortly after graduating. Nikki Villela, the director of Kula’s teacher training program, had sent out a few leads for studios that were hiring teachers. I was nervous, but I put together a brief yoga resume, and auditioned at 2 places. I was added to the sub list at one studio, and I got a 3-month contract to teach 1 class a week at a nice studio in Harlem. I was super excited about my first opportunity to teach a real yoga class, but it has definitely been a challenge for me.
I was really nervous during my first few classes, and spent most of my energy just trying not to blank out and forget the sequence I had prepared. As a new teacher, I was grateful for the extra support the studio offered. We had optional monthly meetings to go over teaching concerns and discuss the ‘pose of the month’. I started to get more comfortable with sequencing, and was really beginning to enjoy teaching! But after 3 months, I was only averaging 7 students a class. Unfortunately, it was not enough to meet the studio’s needs, and my contract wasn’t renewed. I was pretty upset at first, but it’s actually been a great learning experience. Now that I have a little experience under my belt, I’m less nervous, and I can see the areas I need to improve on to become a better teacher. Fortunately, there are a lot of opportunities to teach yoga out there.
In the fall, one of my fellow teacher trainees, Andrea, started a volunteer program teaching yoga at a shelter in Brooklyn. I’ve been teaching a class there every other Wednesday, and it’s been amazing. It’s a completely different experience than teaching at a big yoga studio. My classes are much smaller, and most of the students have very little experience with yoga. So it’s been an opportunity to really connect with people and TEACH YOGA, as opposed to just running through the script. I’ve grown fond of my regular students, and it warms my heart when they tell me how much they appreciate the class, and how it’s been helping them feel better. Even though I don’t get paid, it’s honestly one of the most rewarding things I’ve done.
What has your experience been like so far?
Money-wise, I still have a long way to go to be making money as a yoga teacher. What little I made teaching over the summer, I’ve since put back into more yoga classes. A 200-hr teacher training program is a great foundation, but you’ll need to keep studying and get a continuing education to hone your skills as a teacher. It takes time to build up a student base, and group classes alone probably won’t be enough to cover the bills. Many people teach yoga part-time, and the most successful teachers I know offer a variety of services like workshops and private lessons in addition to teaching group classes.
I was lucky to get a few teaching positions quickly, but it’s not always so easy. You have to be proactive and reach out to a bunch of different studios to find a position. You have to go on auditions, and take classes to get familiar with each yoga studio. It takes a lot of time, and can be difficult to manage on top of everything else in your life. I haven’t had as much time as I would like to focus on yoga, but I’m definitely aiming to pursue more teaching opportunities in the upcoming year.
In what ways has this experience changed your life?
I know it sounds like a total cliché, but yoga teacher training has transformed my life in so many ways. It’s hard to put into words, and I’m only beginning to understand what that means. As a shy person, stepping into the role of “teacher” is forcing me to come out of my shell, and makes me stronger and more confident in all areas of my life. Yoga means “union”, and as cheesy as it sounds, I definitely feel a more personal connection with nature and our planet lately. It makes me motivated to eat healthier, waste less, and be kinder to those around me. It’s changed the way I approach interior design as I strive to incorporate more eco-friendly and recycled materials into my projects. 6 months later, I’m so happy that I completed my 200-hr yoga teacher training, and have dipped my toes into the world of yoga teaching. I’ve got a long way to go, but I’m loving every step of the journey.