There are tons of posts written for students about how to find the perfect yoga class, but how about how to teach one?
When I first started out teaching I tried to emulate my mentors and then figured I should create a class based on what might draw students in, but not until I dropped all the copycatting and “shoulds” in relation to teaching did my classes really take off.
Once I followed my heart and taught the poses I wanted to teach, played the music I wanted to play and incorporated the props I wanted to did my development as a teacher begin- and my tribe started to grow.
Here are a few of my favorite tips on how to teach a class that students will flock to like the holiday sale at Lululemon.
Would you take your own class?
Ever go to a new class or one where someone unfamiliar was subbing and within two minutes you knew you weren’t going to like it and wanted to jet outta there? Hopefully, you were respectful and stayed, but it probably wasn’t a class you wanted to return to.
Make sure you’re teaching a class that you’d want to personally take, if you’re faking it students will pick up on it right away. Infuse the class with your personality, but not ego, with fun but not foolishness and with wisdom but not superiority.
Going the extra mile to really let students know you and the path you walk will draw them back week after week.
Teach the class they’re expecting to take
Make sure that what you’re teaching is what they were expecting from the description, and ultimately came to learn. If your class is described as a level one slow flow, beginner, vinyasa class they aren’t expecting to do 15 rounds of quick sun salutations followed by a sequence of warrior 3, half moon and handstand.
If you ask for requests at the beginning of class and someone is jonesing for a more advanced pose that you know most other students can’t do, teach all the poses that open you up to that peak pose and then offer a few modifications for the less advanced- everyone’s happy!
Solve a problem they might have
Most students come to class for a reason, they’re stressed, recovering from an injury, need more flexibility or just want that infamous yoga butt.
If they’re coming to you for a solution to their problem make sure you give it to them. This can be directed toward each student in each class or in a general sense of one class offering.
If you continually have people who show up in your class recovering from an injury then think about starting an injury prevention/rehab focused class. If you have students who come and have no interest in philosophy and just want to get in shape then focus on that.
But only if it interests YOU!
I created my Xen Strength Yoga with Weights method after turning 40 and realizing that plain vinyasa yoga wasn’t enough to keep me in the kind of shape I wanted to be in. I had no desire to go to the gym so I added weights to my flow- luck would have it there was an entire audience of people out there, both men and women, who wanted a more physical practice.
Now I still teach classes where I chant and do a dharma talk, and most of my students will go to both types of classes- they’ll just switch out a weights class for going to the gym instead.
By creating Xen Strength I solved a problem for them- they can get flexible and build muscle in one class without leaving the yoga studio- and they were so grateful they continue to come back week after week.
Figure out what lights you up and teach that, whether it’s Ashtanga yoga, hybrid yoga, yoga with music, aerial yoga or anything in-between. The more you love what you do, the more that will attract a huge tribe of people who love what you do.
Got questions? Hit me up at Danielle@daniellediamond.com
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