Congratulations! You Graduated Your First Yoga Teacher Training!
You've made great friends, you're flexible enough to administer your own pelvic exam, and you've been reading lots of Elephant Journal articles. You may even be dabbling with veganism. This is an exciting season in your life. During your teacher training you probably had a session on the business side of yoga. It may have been a vaguely awkward moment when your teacher tells you how unrealistic teaching full time is, and how shitty the money is. She's right. She really is. BUT there is hope. If you truly want to teach, you are ballsy and not entirely a shut-in, there's work out there.
5 Teaching Tips
1. Say Yes to Everything
No really, everything.
I don't really care about your commute. You're a new teacher, and you should take what you can get. I don't care if it's in the bathroom at a JoAnn Fabrics, a confessional at a Catholic Church in Cedar Rapids, or a YMCA in Bangor. Take it. Say yes. Get a zip car. Do it. The gigs you want, most of them require a little teaching experience, so go get it. Now is the season of hustle.
2. Spell Check Your Resume
Yes, yoga teachers need that bullshit too.
I wish I could tell you that your "energy" was enough to land you a sweet flat-rate gig at a mid-tier gym. I wish it was enough and someday, when you've been teaching for more than 10 seconds, it will be. But for now, open up that Word Doc, and clean it up. Remember even when you've been teaching for a few years, if you ever want to teach in a clinical setting, or for a corporation, they often want to see an updated resume. Add all your trainings, and intensives. You can get clever, and even break down a few that were part of your 200 hour. Be honest, be concise and don't blow too much smoke.
3. Gather Your Materials
What do you actually need right now?
You don't need a $10,000 website or a business page your first week out. What you do need is a clean professional resume, a picture of your certification on your phone, business cards, a means to collect emails, your Facebook business page, and a few decent asana shots and a head shot. Let's break that down.
- The resume and business cards are self explanatory — people will ask for them and you will have them at the ready.
- A means to collect emails? Start thinking long term. Begin a collection of emails for you future newsletter. The average open rate of a newsletter in this industry is only about 24%. Couple that with the complexities of getting your content seen on Facebook's news feed, and you'll end up with a really vocal migraine. Collecting the emails is a simple way to start to gather your community of potential clients.
- Don't create your business page on Facebook until you know what you want to call it. Once you have 200 "likes", a relatively low number, changing the name isn't simple. You have to apply for a name change, and you are only allowed to do that once. If you are sure about your name/branding then claim your business page, but keep collecting emails.
- Get your picture taken, and not by your buddy with a cracked iPhone 3. It's an easy investment, and will go a long way in making you appear more established when you're applying for gigs. It will also give you some meaningful art for you newsletter and your FB business page. Make sure you feel good about the pose, and that your genitals are covered.
- Why a picture of your certificate on your phone? Discounts at Athleta and Lulu. Those cats want proof, and a pic on your celly/your name on a schedule is usually enough.
4. Teach Your Drunk Uncle
No really, teach your family and friends for free.
Being able to teach non-yoga folks the yogas is one of the most valuable skills you can hone early. Newer teachers often end up teaching beginners and basics classes, which is funny because those classes arguably require more experience to teach. Either way, making yourself available to teach your friends and family, and maybe even a few free community classes at a park is a great way to get comfortable teaching people who spend 95% of their waking hours in 1 of 3 shapes.
5. Don't Neglect Your Practice
The whole reason you took the 200 hour in the first place.
Now, more than ever, you need to recommit to your own practice. It's your responsibility to keep learning, to stay grounded and creative. Otherwise you are a snake oil salesman. Don't balk at price tags for workshops or intensives, because THEY'RE ALL TAX DEDUCTIBLE NOW!!! Which reminds me, keep your receipts. ALL OF THEM.
Need help navigating the fresh seas of yoga teaching? We can help get you set up with the basics: a clean bio, basic photoshoot, business cards and a basic beautiful website.