I’ve been teaching fitness and yoga for about 5 years now but I didn’t always have a desire to teach. Even after going through my first training, I still didn’t think it was for me. And to be honest on certain days I let Imposter Syndrome take over.
Well, that is a surprise isn’t it, since I absolutely love teaching fitness & yoga. But hear me out, I’m going to fill you in on my thoughts because maybe you feel the same way – and those feelings are totally normal and valid!
The Day to Day
As a current teacher, there are many days where I do not want to teach. And I hear the same from my other teaching friends! Showing up to a class as a student is a totally different energetic experience than teaching a class. Instructing a class is asking you to mentally, physically, and energetically be in a place that some days you’re just not! But that doesn’t mean you hate teaching or that you should stop.
Just this Monday I had a massive stress migraine from a weekend of unexpected stressful situations (aka almost losing my wallet and a broken phone) but had an obligation to teach my Monday night yoga class. I could’ve potentially requested a sub but felt I could still teach if my migraine didn’t get worse. I showed up and was fully transparent with my students that the class would be led a bit slower pace and we’d be diving into a long, juicy savasana at the end.
The students LOVED it. From the combination of my transparency and matching my energy with the style of class I would lead created the correct environment for a great class. Then I went home and went to bed before 8PM.
But this doesn’t always happen – there are many classes where I’m totally off. Where I am just not mentally and energetically ready to teach that day. This is going to happen but most days I still need to show up for my students so I’ve learned a few of my own tricks over the years:
- Take a moment to step away from everything. Maybe that is in the bathroom, your car, or on your couch but you take a few minutes to yourself and focus just on your breathing.
- I then choose a mantra like “I love teaching”, “I want to show up for my students”, “I want to lead an awesome class”. It can be as simple as that and then I begin to repeat that to myself as I’m driving to the class.
- I normally have a coffee or pre-workout with me that I drink during my drive and I’ll choose an upbeat playlist for fitness or a yoga flow soundtrack if heading to yoga so that I begin to get in the right mindset.
- I always aim to get to the studio with plenty of time to set up my space so I am fully ready for my students. If there is enough time, I’ll run through my class sequence to make sure the moves and cues are really top of mind before we begin class.
I shared a bit about my journey into teaching with my last post on the Benefits of Barre but before that I didn’t think too much about becoming an instructor. I was inspired by community classes and the teachers but thought that could never be me.
I’m enneagram 7 and really just took a leap into the Barre training years ago without actually considering it too much & the same happened a few years later when I was living out in San Francisco and signed up for my 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training. But even as I was going through the trainings, I was overwhelmed by thought of actually leading my own classes. It’s super intimidating starting out because you’re being trained by instructors that have years of experience and you think to yourself “I want to be just like them!” But you’re simply not because you’re just starting out. You don’t have the years yet. Here is the secret though, you’re in the fun part!
I’m a hardcore perfectionist and I wanted to start out as the perfect teacher as well. I always want to impress people with whatever I do and I would like to believe that is most of us. Who wants to fail and have people see our mistakes? But when you’re starting out as a teacher, you’re going to make A TON of mistakes! And you’re going to continue to make mistakes, say the wrong thing, not give the best adjustment, or verbal cue, or even the right peak pose for every single student in your classes. What I decided to do a long time ago was to embrace it. Embrace all the awkwardness, all the goofiness, and all the funk because these experiences is what will lead you to your true teaching personality.
Maybe you’re the super soulful, insightful teacher or fun, goofy teacher or challenging teacher. And you’ll find your style with each class you teach. You just have to start.
I might not have wanted to always be a teacher but I can say I’ve always had a passion for fitness and connecting with others. For now, my barre and yoga gigs fill this cup for me. It might not be every day, week, or month that I feel inspired as a teacher but I always feel so grateful to be a part of each students health journey and that is truly what keeps me showing up.
If you’re going through a time in your teaching, maybe you’re a few years in or just starting out, and are feeling overwhelmed or uninspired, I’m always here to chat. And remember that with anything in life there are always ups & downs!