by guest blogger and Art of Teaching 200hr Yoga Teacher Training graduate Kate Barry
So where we left off I’d just told you all about how teaching my first class went – all of the nerves were involved in that! Since that first class I’ve run a couple of 5 week blocks of classes and while I wouldn’t say I’m totally over the nerves I am becoming more comfortable teaching and a little more confident in myself.
Last week I started another block of classes and split the levels so I’ve got a beginners class then more of a level 1 class. This has been great in the sense that I know I can play around with a bit more challenging poses in the more experienced class… but it’s also been a challenge for me to teach absolute beginners. Taking it slowly and stripping it back to basics is actually harder for me to teach. I love a full on flowing class and like to teach my classes with an element of that too, but with the beginner level class I really need to remind myself to Slow. It. Down.
I learn something new about teaching after each and every one of my classes and I hope I’ll always keep aware of where I could do better and where I’ve already improved. These are the main things I’ve learned about the non-physical aspect of it.
Don’t take it personally – Through the few courses I’ve run I’ve got quite a few regulars who book into the next course right away when one course finished. There have also been others who haven’t come back. But such is life, some people will like my style of yoga and some won’t. I took a Kettlebell class once before and didn’t like it… was it personal to the instructor? Not at all. I have to learn that the same is so in yoga and there will be people I resonate with and people I don’t. So when I start to doubt myself and think maybe I’m doing something wrong I try to catch myself – maybe we shouldn’t really believe everything we think anyway?!
Chill out – It’s no secret I’ve struggled with nerves since starting teaching. They are slowly easing off now and I look back at the first few classes where I was full of anxiety and think if I’d managed to lighten up a little it would have made it all a little more enjoyable.
Learn to leave the mat – Ahhhhhhh the dependency on demo-ing everything and staying nice and safe on the mat! I find I can rely on doing every pose to physically show my students what to do instead of learning to talk them through it. While I think with beginners it can really help them to see someone in the pose, I realise that sometimes I rely a little too heavily on demonstrating instead of getting comfortable with talking people through a pose while I can walk around and offer adjustments etc.
Don’t overplan – I’m a major planner by nature. But sometimes the best made plans don’t work out. So it’s all good in theory to have a class plan laid out but what if someone comes in with an issue or injury that skews that plan. I ran a trial class a couple of weeks ago for people to have a taster and see if they wanted to sign up to the course. Within that class there were multiple different injuries so things had to be changed around a bit – I’m learning to be a little more flexible with my plans.
So onwards I go with my yoga teaching journey. There is so much more to study and learn but I also realise that much of it will come down to time and experience, it’s all a process… and this is one process that I am super grateful to be going through.
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About the Author
Kate has been practicing yoga since 2013. With a grateful love and appreciation for life and the world we live in she has a passion for yoga, both on and off the mat.
Read more about Kate's Journey to Becoming a Yoga Teacher:
Part 1 - The Decision
Part 2 - A Week In To The Training
Part 3 - Midway Through The Training
Part 4 - Completing the Training
Part 5 - Teaching My First Yoga Class