Excited to guide students towards improving strength, flexibility, balance, and mind-body connection after your achievement yoga instructor certification?
This is great news, but exactly how do you get started and land your first yoga teaching job? That’s what this article is. Below, discover a six-step process that will help you get started on a fulfilling career.
#1: Decide how you would like to teach yoga
The most important things first: How would you like to teach yoga?
Part time or full time?
Are you going to teach full time or part time? While this decision will depend on many individual factors (eg, schedule, need for benefits such as health insurance, lifestyle preferences), one of the main considerations will likely be your current financial situation.
In the early stages of your career as a yoga instructor, you may struggle to earn a sustainable income—especially since most places, from gyms to studios to corporate gigs, pay an hourly wage per class, and you likely won’t be assigned to many classes at first.
If you have enough savings to propel you through the initial stages, you can take advantage of yoga as a primary source of income (for example, treat it as a full-time job).
But if you don’t, working part-time may be a more sensible option. This way, you will have at least multiple streams of income (for example, from another part-time or full-time job), giving you a broader safety net.
Where will you know?
In addition to deciding whether you should teach yoga part-time or full-time, you should also choose where you want to conduct your lessons. Here are the three most popular teaching “sites” for yoga instructors:
- Gyms: The gym is a typical landing point for new yoga instructors after teacher training. There’s a built-in student membership, which means you’ll get plenty of people in the class with a wide range of bodies and ages. This provides a great opportunity to quickly hone your teaching skills.
- studios: Unlike gyms, yoga studios are more likely to adhere to a specific yoga approach and classroom style. So it’s a good idea to “pre-check” before approaching any studio. This ensures that you are the right person for what the owners and their clients are looking for.
- Connected: If there’s anything we’ve learned in the past two years, it’s this: Virtual fitness is here to stay. Many gyms and studios now offer online yoga classes as well, and you can take advantage of that if you’re keen on teaching on platforms outside of the classroom in person.
Note that there are plenty of other places where you can also teach yoga. Examples include community centers, school gyms, dance studios, hotels, and even the great outdoors. So, feel free to think big!
#2: Create Your Personal Brand as a Yoga Instructor
There are plenty of yoga instructors around: Why should a particular gym, studio, or client hire you rather than others in the field? Simply put, you have to find a way to stand out from the competition.
One way is to develop a clear and unique vision for your work as a yoga instructor. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What is “why”? Consider and list the experiences you’ve had that brought you to yoga. Was it pregnancy, a desire to get back in shape, a need to recover and center, or something else? Next, think about what kind of teacher this drama has prepared for you (for example, if you want to focus on using yoga to help people return their busy and distracted minds to a calm state).
- Who is my ideal audience? Visualize your ideal audience. Who do you normally contact? Are they athletes, pregnant women, children, the elderly, office workers, etc.?
- What problems do they face and how can I help? Think about the patterns your target audience might develop in mind and body. How can these patterns become a problem? More importantly, how can yoga solve this problem?
Here is an example of how to put everything together:
“As a mother of two, I understand the difficulty of maintaining physical activity during pregnancy and parenthood. That’s why my classes emphasize competence and intent. Careful thought in each sequence goes to maximizing the number of positions in each session without overwhelming students—showing them that movement can be appropriate in their daily lives in a way that makes sense to them, despite their changing bodies and/or busy schedules. There is a lot of attention to core and hips and using body, breath and mind to focus.”
How do you convey your vision?
How can anyone know your vision if you don’t put it out there? Consider doing the following to make your vision known:
#3: Draw a Course for Students
You’re probably eager to land your first job as a paid yoga instructor at this point. But there is still one thing to do: plan a sample class.
This gives any potential employer (gyms, studios, or individual clients) an opportunity to assess your suitability for their goals, training experience, and needs. Here are some tips to keep in mind while planning a class:
- Remember your intent as a yoga instructor: Visualize ideal students and what they need from practice. This will guide you while creating your sequence.
- Keep it balanced: An opening in the movements that will take the spine in every direction: forward and backward, left and right, circular and circular. Also, make sure your plan doesn’t veer too far toward standing, sitting, or just lying down. Adjust your plan until you feel an organic balance. Also, remember to take into account the appropriate transitions between poses.
- Planning for different objects and injuries: To be clear, poses such as cat/cow may not be suitable for clients with wrist problems. An alternative solution is to plan an alternative where students can put their forearms on blocks instead. Taking the time to plan ahead for adjustments helps create an accessible space where everyone can enjoy a safe and supportive yoga practice.
- practice, practice, practice: You cannot simply put your plan on paper; It is likely that gyms and studios will ask you to take a course in real time so that they can judge your teaching and time management skills. That’s why you need to practice your sequencing to make sure it’s appropriate for the time you planned (for example, if you can actually complete everything in 45 minutes).
No. 4: Approach gyms, studios, and potential clients
You’re finally ready to tackle gyms, studios and individual clients! Here are a few different ways you can go about it:
- Go in and ask at the office (gyms and studios): Start by looking at the gym/studio website to see if there are instructions for applying. If not, sign up and ask who does fitness group programs and how best to contact them at the desk. Meet them in person if you can, introduce yourself, and if they’re interested, get their contact information so you can follow up in more detail about your experience and availability.
- Send an email (gyms, studios and individual clients): If you cannot meet in person, send an email introducing yourself, briefly stating your experience and availability, and offering to come in person for an interview at their convenience. Keep your language relatively formal. And if you have your yoga website ready, include a link under your name or as part of your signature file.
- Take advantage of your platforms (individual clients): You may have already gained quite a few subscribers/followers on your newsletters or social media platforms. This is an excellent opportunity for you to advertise your services. Let’s say you’re on Instagram, for example. You can simply post a post detailing your schedule – and your followers can contact you if they are interested in taking your lessons.
Cover your legal grounds before working with any student
NB, Before you start working with any students, make sure you cover your legal bases. Here are a few things that will help you manage your liability if a student in your class is injured and decides to file a claim:
- Disclaimers and Disclaimers: Any student you teach must sign a waiver and release for reimbursement acknowledging that they are taking care of themselves in class—and waive their right to sue you. This must be signed on paper or electronically upon initial contact with the student, and then submitted in a safe place for reference.
- Liability insurance: Gyms and studios usually have their own liability insurance, but note that this covers their liability liability—not yours. If you wear a suit, your gym/studio insurance company can blame you. Hence, it would be wise for you to do so Carry your own liability insurance.
- Incorporation and separate accounts: Incorporation as a LLC or S-Corp Hijab will save you extra responsibility. In theory, the suit would be against you as the owner of the business and holding its assets, and not against you as an individual with personal bank accounts and assets (for example, your house and car). This is another reason to keep your yoga income in a separate bank account under your business name.
#6: Keep Taking Classes
Getting your first job as a yoga instructor is excellent, but there is also the issue of keeping it so that you can improve your skills and, if desired, earn a sustainable income from doing what you love. And for this, you will need to further develop your craft.
How? By taking a wide range of yoga classes from different teachers. This will help you:
- Get inspired: choose a large group of teachers you will occasionally study with; This ensures that your understanding of yoga is not only deep but also broad. Every teacher has something to offer you. Note your likes and dislikes in each class – this knowledge may help guide your future classes.
- Find Mentors: When you find a teacher you like, whether in a regular classroom or online, introduce yourself. Ask about their background and path. You may find ideas in trying this landmark to guide your journey. And if the time is right, you can also ask if they would be interested in mentoring you.
- Learn More About Gym/Studio Owners: Most gym and studio owners prefer to have trainers who exercise in their spaces. So, go out there and expand your connections. Who knows what opportunities will come your way?
Getting your first teaching job as a yoga instructor doesn’t have to be a daunting experience. Take one step at this time.
Decide how you want to work, articulate your vision, plan a sample yoga class to showcase your expertise, and you’ll be all set to impress potential employers and individual clients before you know it. Just don’t forget to cover your legal grounds before making that first paid class!
And just one final note: Expanding your skill set can help make your training more comprehensive and useful, enhancing your value and desire as a yoga instructor.
Here are three great skills improvement opportunities to consider: