So you’ve finished your 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training - What’s Next?
“How can I get a yoga teaching position at Studio A?”
“What do I need to do start teaching?”
I have to admit that it wasn't easy for me to land my first teaching gig.
I felt I was at a disadvantage because I did my teacher training in Australia, and thus I didn't have a support of local teachers peers.
One thing I realised it’s that it's useful to know the right people - like studio owners; yoga teachers etc. and fact is I didn't know anyone important.
I was even shy about telling people that I teach yoga. How like that?
With my heart in my mouth - what I did first was to blast out my 200 hour certificate on Facebook and asked if anyone wanted to learn yoga, or if they know of any one who’d be interested in a yoga class.
From that, I managed to get a company who engaged me for 8 corporate sessions, and also received request for private classes.
I started a yoga class for my sister and her friends, and weekly we’d go to someone’s house to do yoga and pilates.
I also googled for a list of studios in Singapore, and emailed all of them to ask if they need teachers, or if I can cover for classes if they need any.
The studio that I really wanted to teach in was Yoga Movement because I liked the modern yoga vibe that they encourage. As I connected with the Teacher Manager, I also signed up for a class pack so I can practice with them and get to know the people.
I had to do 2 “mock” classes over 6 months (each mock was about 20 mins each) before I did a final 60 mins live mock, which sealed the deal. I opted for a part-time contract because I was teaching pilates and dance as well, and as a full-timer, you’re tied to that one studio. As a part-timer though, you'd be considered a freelance teacher and I taught roughly around 6-12 classes a week, for the 2 years.
I did wish that I did my teacher training in Singapore as it might have been an easier transition, but I had no regrets at all because my teacher training in Power Vinyasa was the style that I fell in love with and today I’m still passionate about teaching it.
I believed what helped in the end was my willingness to show up and suck, and my conscious decision to want to teach as many classes as I can.
And what is helping me now is the fact that I am also a systematic planner - I created templates and records for almost everything.
As a result, I’ve put together a Checklist for New Yoga Teachers - hope this is helpful in beginning your yoga teaching journey.
CHECKLIST FOR NEW YOGA TEACHERS
1. Get your certificate
For some yoga teacher training (YTT) programs, you won’t get your certification immediately on your last day of training. Some require a little more work like writing essays, or teaching classes or attending classes etc.
MAKE THAT YOUR PRIORITY!
2. Register with Yoga Alliance
Most of the yoga schools are registered with Yoga Alliance and some are not, so check this out before you attend the training. Its not a requirement, but it’s encouraged as it’s internationally recognised, so if you were to move overseas, or wishing to lead a retreat or your yoga school is locally known within your community only.
You will need electronic copy of your certificate, a credit card or paypal account, and start and end date of attendance and name of school (which is usually listed on your YTT certificate.) In order to register, go to https://www.yogaalliance.org/Designations/How_to_Join
1st year fee is $115, (Initial registration fee is $50 + annual fee of $65) Subsequent years, renewal fee is $65.
3. Create a “Certification” Folder
Over the years, there will be more trainings you’ll attend (that you’d want to attend) and it’s helpful to have all these documents in one place.
What I can also suggest in addition to the folder is to create an excel spreadsheet to record no. of hours that you teach - it’s useful especially if you want to apply for E-RYT 200 (Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher) or higher with Yoga Alliance or higher and/or you have intention to continue with a 500 hour training with the same school.
As a freelance teacher of both yoga and pilates, I use the same spreadsheet to keep track of my monthly revenue, for tax purposes.
4. Get certified in CPR
This is not compulsory, but I believe that every physical exercise instructor should take the responsible for their own students safety and welfare by getting certified in First Aid and CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). It shows that you care and have taken one extra step beyond your yoga teaching certification.
In Singapore, there are several First Aid training centers. I did mine with First Aid Training School ; which is located at Bukit Pasoh Road.
The One-day basic first aid training course is only S$107, and if you are a Singaporean, you can use your Skills Future Credits to offset the cost.
5. Write your yoga bio/resume
I’m a firm believer in resumes or at least a short bio and I sent both in to studios that I was interested to teach in.
I’ve written many resumes in my days (in my past life lol), so it’s like a normal resume but with the content geared to skills that can be transferred to teaching. Be sure to include your past education and training.
However, your bio is more important! Write a statement about you, your story and your teaching style. And this can easily be part of your “About You” section, if you plan to create your own website in the future.
At the same time, if you have the intentions to teach privately, I’d also recommend to a create a waiver form. PS. Email me if you like a copy for reference.
6. Create a list of professional yoga contacts
* Potential studios that you’d like to teach in. (Write to them and ask them if they have a position open for teachers or ask if you can be placed on their cover/sub list if there's no opening slots.)
* Colleagues from training. (Start a small group online or face to face, where you can have a weekly meet or call to share or practice teach and get support.)
* Teachers you’ve met, people you admire. (Ask them out for lunch, ask for advice, practice yoga with them.)
* Connect with a local Yoga community like Beyond Teacher Training with AMI Power Yoga
7. Take a class
It's important as a teacher to show up as a student of yoga. Taking classes will help ground you and at the same, give you inspiration for class sequencing.
Also connecting with the yogis at your studio will help you get your presence known ie you are “seen" in the community.
Look around too for new studios, workshops or community class to attend.
8. Start teaching at least once a week even if it's for free
It will take time to get a yoga gig, in the meantime, be in action and practice teaching to your family, friends or colleagues.
Also most studios will ask you to do a 20-30 mins “mock” so having a regular practice teach sessions will go long way in bolstering your confidence.
Email/call your peeps and let them know you are yoga teacher and would like to teach the people you love first. And ask who like to do yoga with you.
You can organise weekly class, or invite your buddies over for an afternoon of yoga, offer private sessions.
If you are not comfortable asking them for money especially since they are your guinea pigs, you could teach for free. Alternately you could charge a token amount S$5-$15, because you want them to also take responsibly for their own practice too.
Ask for feedback from those you trust.
9. Get liability insurance
A yoga teacher’s worst nightmare is someone getting hurt in class and whether or not it’s fair, the teacher is held responsible. This is one of the reasons why the First Aid/CPR certification is important as per item 4. A waiver form is sometimes not sufficient because the student may not disclose their full health condition.
Most studios would have insurance that would cover their teachers, but if you are teaching private or corporate classes and if you have intentions to lead retreats or teach overseas, then having a professional indemnity / liability is advantageous.
Sarah Lim from Manulife Financial Advisor has been really helpful in recommending me the insurance as well as is very forthcoming with information. She’s an insurance broker, so she would be able to advise you what’s best. I’m not receiving any commission for recommending her, but she gets my thumbs up for service and knowledge. You can email her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
10. Social Media presence
In this current day and age, social media like IG, Twitter and Facebook has become am important marketing tool, in increasing your presence in the yoga community.
And some of you may already have an active social media presence, and some of you may be noobies.
However I do know of some teachers in Singapore, who are not on social media, and there are always a waiting list for their classes.
It does takes a lot of time and energy to maintain a successful social media account. For a start, just open an account so that the name that you want can be reserved.
I created a brand for myself called Soul Aktive, started a Facebook page and had an existing Instagram account in my personal name, that I use for blasting classes, events and inspirational quotes. I'm not big on posting yoga pictures as I wanted to show the the real authentic me.
I also started a blog which you're on right now.
Today - I have re-created myself as AMI Power Yoga and this Soul Aktive blog will slowly be integrated into www.sophiexsanders.com because it's time be a stand for ME.
WHAT IF I DON’t WANT TO TEACH AT ALL?
Sure. Not all, who takes the training end up being yoga teachers, but taking action on some of the steps will benefit you in the long run should you do decide to take the leap to explore a different path in your life.
P.S If you are not teacher yet, and you are interested to becoming now, and not sure how to go around doing it - check out my Top 4 Tips on Choosing the Right Yoga Teacher Training for you!