You know yoga, you love yoga.

You're probably a yogi already... or you want to be.

Since you discovered it, you've committed yourself to a standard of mastery in this ancient practice. 

You know the value of what yoga can bring to the lives of others. You've done yoga teacher training, and been inspired to teach by your own yoga teachers. 

Countless hours of yoga practice and internalization of yoga philosophy make you overqualified to deliver an excellent training program to teach yoga.

This article will help you fill your yogic training programs with students, allowing you to focus your energies on what you do best; yoga teaching and yoga trainings.

Considerations for Becoming a Yoga Teacher

As a yoga teacher, you first need to decide how you're going to organise your teaching. 

Are you going to work in a yoga studio and be employed by a yoga school or, are you going to try and work for yourself independently?

There are obvious benefits to both sides.

On the one hand, being hired by a studio might afford you some comforting securities; a fixed income, mandated super contributions and holiday and sick leave.

On the other, as an entrepreneurial and independent yoga instructor, you are completely in charge of your own destiny.

What you might be sacrificing in security you pick up in earning potential, schedule flexibility and teaching autonomy. 

This is an important decision. Your personal working preferences, responsibilities, geographical location as well as the types of training and experience you already have will affect the choice you make.

For example; it might matter what type of yoga classes you learned to teach in your yoga teacher training programs.

Whether or not you can find an employed position teaching yoga as an instructor of  Vinyasa yoga, Hatha yoga, Iyengar yoga, Ashtanga or in the disciplines of Anusara, Ashram, Power, or Bikram... what you know how to teach might affect your decision to teach independently.

Whatever you teach, it's important to be accredited.

Being a registered yoga teacher with a yoga teacher certification is the first critical step in gaining the credibility that will lead to a client base of students who want to take your yoga classes. 

Yoga Teaching: Deciding how you want to work as a yoga instructor
Become a yoga instructor and set your own schedule as a freelancer.

Before we even look at the structure of our yoga class we need to decide how our yoga school is going to operate. 

If you're thinking about trying to find some employment as a yogi, it would be a good idea to search for yoga studios and yoga classes near me; find a few websites for local studios so you can browse through some career pages.

It also wouldn't hurt to give these studios a call.

You can also find job listings for yoga instructors with a yoga certification on websites like Seek and Jora.

One thing of key importance to consider is that many yoga centers don't offer salaried employment; they just hire their yoga therapy instructors on contracts, or as freelancers.

What this can mean is that - even if you find one - a yoga teaching job doesn't necessarily promise security. This is one of the reasons why being a freelance yoga teacher is a viable option in Australia.

Yoga Teaching: Setting Up Your Yoga Lesson

Whatever you choose in the end, it won't much affect the structure of your yoga class.

Yoga classes have a nearly universal structure:

  • Some relaxation via breathing exercises to help isolate the mind from the tempest of daily life.
  • A warm-up
  • A sequence of poses and forms, smoothly transitioning through each while maintaining a particular breathing pattern.
  • A final meditation period.

Click here for an example of how to structure a one-hour yoga class. Each phase will, of course, be adapted to the yoga discipline you're teaching.

A Raja yoga session will be different from a Power yoga session, which will be different again to a yoga Nidra session.

It's important to note the skill levels of each student in your class. You'll likely have a mix of both beginners and those who are more advanced.

It's your task to guide, train and encourage all your students. Engage with them before and after classes to develop a connection that encourages them to return time after time to your class.

The more you know about your students and their ability, the better you can be as an instructor for them.

Yoga Teaching: Planning Your Class

Teach your Yoga Trainees all the poses!
Choose the best yoga postures for your yoga classes. Picture via Pixabay, CC0 Creative Commons

We've already looked at the yoga class as a whole; now let's take a look at each phase of the yoga class in detail.

Some of the most popular and widely taught types of Yoga are:

  • Kundalini Yoga
  • Bikram Yoga
  • Hatha Yoga
  • Vinyasa Yoga
  • Asthanga Yoga

If your interest is in being employed as a yoga instructor, knowing how to teach one or multiple of these yoga disciplines will give you the best shot.

As a freelancer however, you decide what you teach. You may be able to fill a less saturated niche. For example; Prenatal yoga, Hot yoga or Partner yoga may be options to consider.

Whatever you teach, experienced yogis agree that the start of each yoga session should start with a quiet period.

This essential part of the yoga class will allow your students to relax and unwind.

Encourage them to return to the moment, and to forget the day they just experienced or are about to start experiencing.

Guide your students initially with calm vocal instructions, reminding them to begin focusing on their breathing, and asking them to start increasing their awareness of their bodies.

This period should last for about five minutes, and you can play some appropriate music during this time if you wish.

Now, incorporate Pranayama; the actual yogic breathing exercises.

The goal of Pranayama is deep, rhythmic inhalation and exhalation. This helps:

  • let the stress of the day escape
  • oxygenate the blood and muscles, preparing the body for the poses.

When you feel a calmness in the group, begin warming up. This is an essential step to preventing injuries.

After the warm-up, the main phase begins; the asanas (yoga poses).

The sequencing and execution of the asanas will be different depending on the yoga discipline being practiced:

  • In Hatha Yoga, hold poses for 3 minutes.
  • Bikram Yoga incorporates a series of 26 postures in a room that is heated up to 40 °C
  • In Ashtanga Yoga, there is a cycle of set poses.
  • Vinyasa Yoga is more freestyle. It also encourages creativity
  • Kundalini Yoga is the most calm. It relies heavily on mantras and chants.

Pay attention to your students so you can help them with their difficulties and encourage them to progress.

Yoga is about developing the mind body connection. It's important to achieve this development at a slow pace, subjective to the student.

Leave enough time for a meditation session at the end of your lesson.

Afterward, ask your students questions about their experience. This will help you improve your yoga teaching skills as well as encourage reflection and engagement.

 

Yoga Teaching: Preparing for Your Yoga Lessons

As well as increasing flexibility and strength, yoga is a practice for relaxation, embodiment, and wellness. 

The point is, where you teach your yoga classes needs to be conducive to these pursuits. 

Booking 25 clients might sound excellent, but if all you have access to is a tiny studio, no-one will rebook with you after that experience. 

Also, the larger your class is, the more you'll be spreading yourself thin.

Many people come to value their connection to their yogi as much as they value their connection to yogic practice.

Fostering these long-term relationships promotes your own success in the industry, as well as contributing to the value of your job and your own fulfillment and wellness.

Make sure you have enough space so your students can get the most out of the session.

If you want to find out more about how to become a yoga teacher and be the best yoga teacher you can be, read our article.

You also might consider holding yoga classes outside; in the park, at the beach or in your big back yard. Weather permitting of course.

But preparing for your yoga lessons isn't just about the location and the space you plan on teaching.

It's important that you remember, as an advanced yoga teacher, what it was like for you when you started out learning yoga.

Maintaining this perspective in your teaching style will help you better connect with the students in your yoga schools, and address any problems or discouragement that are sure to occasionally arise.

And don't forget, make sure your yoga class structure is perfectly planned.

Yoga classes in a park can be more relaxing that in a yoga studio
In summer, save on costs by holding your classes outdoors.
Photo credit: Matt Madd via Visual Hunt

Whatsmore, you need to make sure you have the right equipment.

For group classes, it will be expected that you provide yoga mats, especially for beginners classes. 

For help with pricing your yoga training program, check out our informative article.

The Right Way to Develop a Client Base

Become a Yoga Intructor: Get the word out about your yoga lessons.
Yoga Teaching: Build a client base through clever, clear and wide-reaching advertising. Photo credit: gruntzooki via VisualHunt

There are numerous methods that can help you attract new yoga students. Here's how you can find yoga students:

  • Tell your friends, colleagues, and families. It might feel strange at first, but it's time to go all in. You might be surprised at how many of those closest to you will use the opportunity to give practicing yoga a try.
  • Print leaflets, business cards, and fliers. Distribute them locally where you plan to teach your class. Look for strategic places to drop these pieces of marketing material. On windscreens, mailboxes, community or university bulletin boards, etc. Make sure the material is clear on what you're offering when you're offering it and how much it's for. Try and make it stand out too!
  • The third: the Internet.
    There are many sites (like ours) that will let sign up and create a profile for free. Sites like Superprof will help you advertise and improve your marketing through information in articles like this one. Superprof, as an example, will also provide you with enough space to advertise your past experience, detail your classes and share your availability and prices.
  • Word of Mouth. 
    This is hands down the best way to grow your client base in the long term. The hardest part will be attracting your first clients (that's why tapping your personal network is a good way to start!). From that point, provide an excellent service and people will not only come back regularly, but they'll also spread the word to their network. Say hello to the snowball effect; you'll soon have more inquiries than you have time for. Be patient, the good word can take a while to get around to the yoga community. In the meantime, busy yourself in refining your service and your advertising material and strategy.

You are now equipped with the knowledge you need to become a yoga instructor. It's time for you to get started in this fulfilling career.

If you need a yoga instructor yourself, consider using Superprof to find one. Superprof has hundreds of yoga tutors in all of the different disciplines, all over Australia for yoga classes near me.

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Jake