Many students ask themselves, “Should I become a yoga instructor?” Does this seem familiar: For some time now, you have had a deep passion and a calling to teach yoga training sessions. You simply love all of the different yoga techniques (asana, mudra, pranayama, meditation, mantra, etc.) that it involves, and you just cannot wait to teach your own classes on a regular basis. However, you have also been wondering if you should become a yoga instructor. What are some things to consider before you decide?
Your Skill Set
Right now, you need to be honest with yourself about the skill level that you are at. I’m not saying you have to be super flexible, but I am saying you have to be able to teach other how to be the best they can be in the safest possible way. If you have beginner or intermediate level knowledge, then it might be rather challenging for you to teach complicated yoga techniques to others. Of course, you may be able to teach basics to novices who are at the starting stages themselves. Think about the groups you want to teach and if you would be a suitable guide for them. Most of all, consider that teaching isn’t modeling poses at all. Yoga teachers have to focus on every student in the class. If you are having trouble focusing on your own practice, it may take some time before you are ready to lead a class.
Your Own Techniques
Evaluating yourself honestly can certainly be a challenge, and you might want to get the opinion of an outside partner or your own yoga teacher mentor before you go on to become an instructor yourself. Paul used to tell us to film our classes and make an evaluation. Luckily, he was always constructive and didn’t indulge in petty nonsense. Some mentors have a different agenda and love to tear you down for the purpose of inflating their own egos.
So, the tricky part of self-evaluation is to find an honest mentor and that mentor could be within you, but please don’t indulge in self-criticism. Chronic self-criticism is just not good for mental and emotional health. Not only do you need to evaluate the techniques that you have learned, but you must be honest with yourself about whether or not you are actually able to teach others to do them with the safest possible approach for every student who walks into your class. If you are not ready to teach others, you still might be ready to be an assistant instructor for an established teacher in your area.
Necessary Courses and Certifications
When you want to become a yoga instructor, you are going to have to make sure you fulfill any requirements that the place where you want to teach requests. This means that you will need to have the endurance to get through the courses, and you will also have to find courses that match up with your own time schedule. One additional point to make: Each facility is unique and may require different teachers for different classes. If you are a Restorative teacher, don’t expect to get an audition for the Power Yoga teaching position. If you are an RYT, don’t expect the local Bikram yoga school to open the doors to you, unless you were trained by Bikram Choudhury or one of his approved instructors. One key doesn’t open all the doors and neither does one certification.
If you hate the idea of continuing education for student safety, you should consider something else. New classes, with new faces, are starting all the time. New students might not have any idea what beginner level Hatha classes are. If you want to keep them safe, you have to be sharp, create a safe track record, and watch your students like a hawk. For teachers who just want to “do their own asana practice,” don’t watch students, and refuse to learn anything new, please find another hobby, because larger classes and teachers who don’t watch create potential disasters. “Should I become a yoga instructor?” Absolutely not, if your class is an accident waiting to happen.
Motivation, Dedication and Time
Speaking of your schedule, you also need to decide whether or not you really have the time to become an instructor. You are going to have to spend some time planning out your yoga classes, and students will likely want to speak to you before and after class for some extra advice. Remember, yoga is supposed to be relaxing. If teaching is going to stress you out, it is not worth it.
Fortunately, when you keep all of these tips in mind, you can be on your way to becoming a yoga instructor as soon as is humanly possible. This is good news for you! So, when asking yourself, “Should I become a yoga instructor?” – You should ask, what’s holding you back. When you really want something, you make the leap. In teaching, many people test the water by getting their feet wet. Many yoga teachers start out part-time and work as independent contractors. You don’t have to leave your full-time job to test the waters. If you’re not sure about getting your feet wet, maybe something else is calling you.
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