If you've ever worked before ever in your life, you know that you take on a few roles besides simply your given job title. Maybe you're asked to do a task that does not quite fall under the realm of your job description, maybe it's an unspoken responsibility. Regardless, if you are employed, there will be times when you will have to do something that falls above or below your pay grade, no matter what your job title is. In my own work experience I've understood that wherever you work, and for whomever you work for, you are a part of a team, and if something needs to get done, it needs to get done. If your are a yoga teacher you understand the number of roles you take on besides "yoga teacher." If you're thinking about becoming a yoga teacher, just know, you will be taking on A LOT of other job titles; some of them kinda sexy, others not-so-sexy, but none the less still rewarding.
Ametuer Office Administrator- If you’ve ever been to a yoga studio chances are you’ve seen your yoga teacher struggling to register every student into the computer scheduling system, collect payment, take phone calls, attend to each and every students’ eager questions and needs, and control all of the pre-class chaos. This will make you a master multi-tasker.
Janitor- I told you teaching yoga was glamorous! Be prepared to sweep/mop/wipe down the floor, ect. (especially after a sweaty class!) Be prepared to pick up after your students; trash, clothing, towels, mats, water bottles, anything and everything they leave behind. Believe me you’ll be surprised at what they forget. We’ll attribute their forgetfulness to “yoga-brain,” which means you taught a kick-ass class! Also be prepared to restack you’re perfect pile of blocks after class. No matter how politely you ask there will still be times when the props are tossed in a disheveled hot mess. So make peace with your endless prop arranging and rearranging the bright side of this is you’ll be on top of your organizational skills and great at games like Tetris.
Marketing Expert- People will take your yoga class, but in order to attract a larger crowd it will take a little bit of elbow grease. Whichever mode of marketing or self-promoting you choose you’ll have to get the word out someway, somehow about your amazing yoga class. Whether you dabble in social media marketing, launch your very own website, or simply converse with your students after class, rely on networking, word of mouth or a combination of it all; you’ll have to put yourself out there in someway or another as a teacher. So don’t be shy, figure out what makes your yoga class unique, turn up your charm and let the world know all that you have to offer as a teacher.
Part Time DJ- This only applies if you choose to play music while you teach. But if you do, note that taking the time to thoughtfully craft a playlist is an artform that takes time and patience! Be mindful of the content of the songs you choose to play (listen to all of them in their entirety) and try to create a playlist that compliments the progression of the class you teach. For example you probably wouldn't play a song with a fast tempo when you start the class in a quiet meditation. Remember music can either enhance a class in a really amazing way and sometimes it can take away from the experience. Use your intuition when it comes to compiling a playlist.
Student- Before you are a teacher you are first and foremost a student and out of any of your other jobs or tasks or responsibilities, this by far is the most important. The best teachers are forever students. They are always learning and know that completing a teacher training is not a means to an end. Approach each and every moment you spend practicing yoga, meditating, reading, thinking, or writing as a chance to learn something new. Take initiative in your growth as a teacher and give yourself every opportunity you can to learn something new. Know that that learning can be anything. It can be in the form of formal continuing education like workshops and advanced teacher trainings, or studying yogic texts both scientific, spiritual and everything in between. Learning can also be in the form of experience. Take time to reflect on your classes after you teach. What happened when you introduced a new posture? How did your students respond to certain cues? Be an observer of your own personal yoga practice. Do you tend to fall into a routine when you practice on your own? How can you switch it up? Are you taking the same studio classes over and over? Try a new class, a new studio, a different style of yoga. How does your practice and your approach to your practice translate off of the mat...in your teaching? In your habits? In your life? These questions are important to ask yourself periodically. And while maybe you have the answer to some of these questions now they’re important to revisit in your career as a teacher because just like you, the answers to these questions are always evolving. As a teacher, how can you ever expect to relate to and connect with your students if you yourself are not still a student in one way or another?
So while being a yoga teacher has earned its reputation for being a glamorous, coveted job, just know that there are some parts of the job that are not as appealing. However, I can say from experience that the mundane, boring, unsexy tasks and responsibilities I take on as a teacher will never sway me from what I do. My passion far outweighs any amount of prop re-arranging, trash handling, MINDBODY customer account chaos I could ever encounter. Good luck to all the new teachers out there and if you're thinking about it becoming a teacher, my advice is GO FOR IT.