The Business of Yoga - Part One: The First 5 Steps Toward Teaching Yoga
An Introduction from the Editor
So you've gotten your yoga teacher certification, you want to get your name out to potential clients, maybe teach at a studio, but how do you even know where get started? Well lucky for you, we have Lauren Eckstrom as a resource! Lauren is a successful instructor in California, has been featured in The Ultimate Yogi (you know, the 12 DVD set) and, using the following tips, has built a reputation and a following as a fantastic yoga instructor.
Lauren's put together this first-time yoga teacher's guide to success for YogaTravelTree.com to pass along to you! So for the following four weeks, she'll take you deep into the big bad world of business, and give you some guidance as you begin your journey teaching yoga.
Part 1: The First 5 Steps Toward Teaching Yoga
After completing your first teacher training, you embark on the wonderful journey of building a career as a full-time yoga teacher. This can be both a scary and exciting time. It’s important to remember you are a new teacher and building any career takes time, patience, dedication, and most importantly, compassion toward yourself. In this series on building a career as a yoga teacher, let’s begin with the 5 steps below which will help motivate you to establish your voice as a yoga teacher while increasing your exposure to the yoga community in your area. Remember, this takes time and before you begin teaching full-time you will benefit immensely by first getting to know your community as well as your voice as a teacher. The mind always desires a short-cut but patience and persistence are key as you take your first steps toward building a long-lasting yoga teaching career.
- Teach for Free or Donation: After completing your first training, consider establishing a weekly time and place where you can practice teaching yoga to your friends and/or family. Gain experience teaching regularly and practice your class sequencing along with simple hands-on-adjustments in an environment where you feel supported and encouraged as you build your confidence and discover your teaching voice. Getting into the rhythm of teaching regularly is essential and will help you build class sequences you feel excited about and confident with.
Create Studio Relationships: Where do you practice regularly? Who do you regularly practice with? Do you know the studio owner or manager? Take time to introduce yourself and let them know you are a certified yoga teacher. Building personal relationships with your teachers and studio owners/managers is critical in gaining exposure as a new teacher. Studios desire teachers who understand their studio culture, the studio’s particular style, and of course, a teacher who might be familiar to the existing student base. Introducing yourself in-person is an important step when relationship building. Never underestimate the importance of meeting face-to-face.
Substitute Teach: Once you establish studio relationships, inquire about the studio sub list. Studios maintain a steady list of available substitute yoga teachers and this list is used by the studio when a teacher is sick, traveling, or otherwise unavailable. Often times when new classes become available, studios pull teachers from this list to fill those classes permanently. At first, it might not seem like a “big deal” to be placed on the sub list, but this is the first step toward gaining a permanent class so take subbing opportunities seriously and sub as often as possible.
Audition: Many studios and gyms will ask you to teach your first class free of pay as an “audition.” This is an industry norm and management is looking to gain understanding of your teaching style. Teach a class that reflects your approach as a teacher - do not try to impress management during your audition with fancy sequences or complicated poses that are outside of your usual style. It is more important to portray your authentic voice as a teacher with confidence, capability, and understanding of the practice.
Volunteer Your Time: Another wonderful avenue for gaining experience is through volunteer opportunities with local organizations. Depending on your personal interests, local community, or previous job experience consider reaching out to a local organization, spiritual center, school, or charity and inquire regarding volunteer opportunities.
Next week we’ll discuss strategies for building class attendance once you establish a regular, weekly class schedule!
Lauren Eckstrom is a Yoga Alliance certified yoga instructor based in Santa Monica, California. With background and training in Vinyasa based Power Yoga, her classes combine creative sequencing with a focus on safe, sound alignment. Lauren also caters toward students rehabbing from injuries so her breadth of teaching includes advanced yogis, brand new practitioners, and yogis dealing with a therapeutic approach to the practice. She specializes in Power Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Gentle Yoga, Yin Yoga, Yoga for Beginners, Pranayama and Meditation.
In 2012 Lauren associate produced and was heavily featured in The Ultimate Yogi with Travis Eliot, a 12-disc, 108 day all encompassing yogic lifestyle program.
Lauren currently teaches privately and leads group classes at The Yoga Collective, Tru Yoga and Yoga Vista.