Advice for Aspiring Yoga Teachers

Starting something new can be exciting but is also challenging and usually at least a bit overwhelming. And that can be especially true with something as nuanced, varied, and high-profile as teaching yoga.

So what are some of the things you can do to light up your students? Let’s look at some top tips for beginner yoga instructors.

1. Keep Yourself Balanced

If you’re frazzled and exhausted, you won’t have the energy to lead an effective class. If you’re not having your emotional needs met, how can you hope to be available to meet your students’ needs? If you’re not practicing yoga for yourself regularly, how can you lead your students in a good practice? A lot of instructors are not sure how to teach a restorative yoga class or how to teach a beginner yoga class effectively. If you’re experiencing that, take a moment, and you’ll see that it comes back to your sense of balance.

As hard as it can be, especially when life gets busy, make sure you’re taking time to care for yourself. A little bit of self-care may be the least selfless thing you can do. When you’re more fulfilled, balanced, rested, and equipped.

2. Demonstrate and Explain

Thinking about how to teach a restorative yoga class or how to teach a beginner yoga class to accommodate different styles of learning?

You will have some students who are more visual; others will be more auditory. To make sure that you’re giving them all that they need to have a successful practice, make sure that you demonstrate poses so that the visual learners can see and that you describe those poses in enough detail so that the auditory learners can do them. 

If you’re teaching and both you and your students are comfortable with touch, you can manually make adjustments to your students; the kinesthetic learners will especially love this.

3. Cater to Your Class

You could have people of all different abilities and experience levels in your class, along with people with different histories of illness or injury. 

How you teach a beginner yoga class will largely depend on your students as the class plan you developed may not work well. Keep an eye on how things are going, and, if need be, adjust the plan to meet your students where they’re at. They’ll feel more successful during—and get much more out of—a class they can accomplish.

4. Keep Learning and Practicing

Well, this is good advice for even experienced yoga instructors. The more you learn—about what works for you, about different approaches and practices, about different perspectives on teaching—and the more you put that knowledge into action during your practices, the more effectively you’ll be able to teach. 

You’ll have more knowledge and wisdom to pull from, and that knowledge will be in your body after putting it into practice. When thinking about how to teach restorative yoga or other types of yoga, remember that if it’s in your mind and body, it will come out in your teaching.

5. Own Your Classes

From the class plan to the music you play to the words of wisdom you impart, be you. I’m not saying that you should never borrow sequences or ideas from other instructors; as I stated in the point above, we need to keep learning, and a lot of times, that means borrowing things that work from others. 

Rather, what I’m saying is that I’d wager you’ll find a great deal of pride, accomplishment, and authenticity when you design your beginner yoga and restorative yoga classes. Plus, when you’re doing what’s true to you, it’ll come more naturally, and your students will respond to it more positively.

6. Speak Smartly and Sparingly

Plan what you’ll say. You’ll have moments in class where you have your students’ full attention. You have the opportunity in those moments to say something profound, something that could change their days—or even their lives. Whether you are thinking about how to teach beginner yoga classes or how to teach restorative yoga classes, that point is still salient. 

Those are some high stakes in both settings, so don’t leave it entirely up to chance. Have some ideas about what you’ll say. Maybe a broad topic you’ll talk about for the day or a guiding quote. But leave room for improvisation. Some of the best things that have ever come out of my mouth during my classes weren’t rehearsed (though many were related to the broader themes and ideas I had planned to talk about).

And when the words aren’t coming, don’t force them; it’s okay to be quiet. Those moments of stillness just might be what your students really need to process their thoughts or connect with their bodies. Let those moments happen.

If you’re looking to teach restorative yoga or beginner yoga classes in a more personal setting, such as one-on-one online video sessions as you build your practice, sign up to become an online yoga instructor on our easy-to-use fitness and wellness platform today.

As for more tips, like how to set intentions or how to theme classes, or whether to use music, check out Becky’s article. As Becky writes in this advice article for new yoga instructors, “teaching yoga is both a science and an art. There’s a world of difference between simply leading a practice of and teaching a yoga class that lights up each student and inspires them with new ideas to take off the mat.”