Real Life: 5 Brutal Truth's about Being a Yoga Teacher

truth-about-being-yoga-teacher

You have just completed your 200 hour Teacher Training and received your certificate. You are officially a Yoga teacher, and you can't wait to hit the ground running (or sun saluting as it may be). Before you take the leap into becoming a Full-Time Yoga teacher, I want to pass along some of the lessons (ie: Brutal Truth's) I've learned along my journey, including some things I wish I had learned sooner. 

Disclaimer: These brutal truth's include money talk but I am not implying that money/income etc. is the end all, be all when it comes to deciding on a profession. 

1. Only Teaching Group Classes will Lead to Burn out.

You have to teach a lot of group classes to make an income that will support you. In my experience, you would be teaching anywhere from 12-15 classes a week (that's 48-72 classes each month) to maintain an income that will not leave you feeling strapped for cash. Now, there is not a great chance that one studio is going to have that many classes to offer you, so this means you are going to need to teach at multiple locations. You will spend almost as much time driving to all of your classes as you do teaching them, plus you still need time to plan the classes, about 15-30 minutes before and after class to greet/chat with students, and time to, oh I don't know, have a life? Just because you promote relaxation and balance all day, doesn't mean you experience it. You will burn out. 

2. You should find a "Niche".

As Yoga and Yoga Teacher Training's has become more popular and mainstream, the number of Yoga teachers out there has increased. I live in a relatively small city and there must be Hundreds of Yoga teachers here. I am a true believer that there is room for everyone, as everyone has a unique gift to offer while teaching. However, to make SURE you have a unique gift to offer, I recommend finding a Niche. Now, I don't mean you should pull an idea for your Niche out of thin air, because if you are doing it just to stand out, but it doesn't mean anything to you, it's not going to help. Think about what you are great at, what you believe in, maybe what your hobbies or other passions are, and go from there. I spent the last 8 years working with children and youth with special needs, it's something I love, am passionate about and experienced in, so that's my niche. That is something I can offer that maybe only another few teachers offer, which means my services will be in higher demand. So find your Niche! And then... 

3. Learn to teach Privates or in other settings besides studios/gyms/community centres.

To be blunt - Privates are going to net you a higher paycheck. Alternatively, if you book with a large company who has a budget to spend to promote wellness among their employees, you may also find a different pay-scale compared to your Yoga Studio. Think outside the box when it comes to where and how you bring Yoga to people and you may find it easier to create a sustainable schedule without teaching 60-70 group classes a month. 

4. You are your own business and brand - you have to promote yourself.

You have to get comfortable with self-promotion because you are your business. I'm not saying you should walk around to all the Yoga studios and brag about how great of a teacher you are and make sure they see how bendy and strong you are during classes. But, if someone asks you what you do, I hope you are comfortable sharing more than "I teach yoga". This is your time to tell them about what you offer, if you have a Niche, maybe why you love Yoga, maybe how you started, ask them if they've tried Yoga, promote your website, hand them a business card. Again, there are a lot of Yoga teachers out there, but there is only one YOU, so if someone connects with you in conversation, when they want to attend a class they may remember that connection and come to your class! I'm not only talking about those who have their own businesses either. As much as I really hate to say this... if you are teaching for a studio, you may be the most wonderful teacher in the world, but if no one is showing up to your classes, the studio won't keep that class running because it won't be making them any money. 

5. You are working with the public and you will get "customer complaints".

Not everyone is going to like your classes. Some people won't connect with your style of teaching, some people won't like the music you choose to play, some people may even dislike the sound of your voice. They may let you know this by never showing up for your classes again, or they may let you know in a less subtle way. Try not to take it personally. The people who you DO connect and resonate with will continue to come to your classes and may even follow you around to different studios. Try not to get caught up in any of it - adoration or disdain - both can be really tricky. 

So, if you are fresh out of your Teacher Training or considering a move to teaching Yoga full-time, I hope this gives you some insight into what you can do to build a successful career from your passion. It's not all sunshine, rainbows and green juices in the Yoga teaching world, but I must say, I've never been as happy and fulfilled in my work-life as I am teaching and running my Yoga business. 

If you have questions about becoming a Yoga teacher please feel free to ask me in the comments below! 

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How to Clean your Yoga Mat - Tips and Products!

How to Clean your Yoga Mat - Tips and Products!

When people arrive at class and start rolling out their Yoga mats, I often hear one of a couple exclamations... "I left my mat in the car - it's frozen!" (It's very cold where I live), or "My mat really needs a wash". If I hear the second statement, it is often followed by the question - "how should I clean this thing?". We have a pretty intimate relationship with those mats of ours. We lay, sit, roll, and sometimes fall asleep on them, however, we clean them a lot less often than we do our homes, floors, or clothing. So, what is the best way to clean your Yoga mat? Here's a few ideas...

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Making Yoga Accessible for Children with Special Needs - Why it's Important to me

Making Yoga Accessible for Children with Special Needs - Why it's Important to me

One of my offerings through Your Best Yoga that I don't talk much about is my "Your Best Kids" program. This program offers Yoga for children and youth with various and special needs, either in an in-home, private setting (I come to your home), or at school or other community organization. Today I wanted to give a bit of background on why this type of programming is so important to me and how I try to make Yoga accessible to children and youth with varying needs, so they can experience the joy, and many benefits, of Yoga and Mindfulness. 

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Yoga Pose: Eagle Pose Part Two - Lower Body

I'm Baaaack!!! I must say that my vacation really worked to relax and re-charge my system! I am very excited to bring the second part of the Eagle Pose tutorial to you today - the lower body. As I shared in Part 1 (check it out here if you haven't already), this pose can be very tricky. Today I'm going to show you how you can work progressively to move into this position and provide some modifications to help you along the way. Keep reading for tips on moving into this yoga pose and watch the video at the end for some visual cues! 

Pose Difficulty: Beginner - Intermediate

Step One: Warm up your legs with Chair Pose (aka Utkatasana). Chair pose is the first step to moving into the pose so spend some time warming up those Quadriceps with a few repetitions of chair. I like to incorporate it into a flow with some forward bends to equally stretch and strengthen the muscles (see video for a warm up activity). 

Step Two: From your chair pose, keep your Left foot planted, and lift your Right foot off the floor. Keeping your knees bent, cross your Right leg over the Left, like you would if you were sitting in a chair. From here you have a few options:

Option 1: Bring your Right toes to a block (or the floor if the foot reaches) to help keep your balance (best option for Beginners or anyone who struggles with balance)

Option 2: Keep your Right foot in the air and work on your balance here. 

Option 3: Wrap your Right shin, ankle and foot behind the Left shin (see video). 

Step Three: Breathe and feel!

- No matter which above option you chose try and keep the hips level and in one line. 

- Keep bending the standing leg knee and grounding down through the standing leg foot. 

- Keep you gaze soft and steady on the floor in front of your to help with your balance.

- Try to bring your knees and elbow into the mid line of the body.

Try staying here for 5 - 10 deep breaths before untangling your arms and legs - giving everything a good shake out - and then moving to the other side! 

Note: In this pose, you always work with opposite arm and leg positions, so if the RIGHT ARM is UNDER the Left, the RIGHT LEG is OVER the Left.

PS...sorry for the video quality, it's not my best. I wont be using this camera again! 

Real Life: Updates and a little Break

Real Life: Updates and a little Break

Hello!! It's been a minute since I've written a "Real Life" series post (be sure to check out some of the others by searching "Real Life" in the sidebar search option if this is your first time here). These really are some of my favorite posts to write because I get to share pieces of my life with you outside of Yoga. Today I thought I would give an update on how things have been going since I quit my job to focus on my own business and teach Yoga full-time, and also to let you know why this post is up instead of the second half of the Eagle Pose Tutorial that was originally promised (apologies). 

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Yoga Pose: Eagle Pose Part One - Arms Only

Eagle Pose - or Garudasana - is a very challenging balance pose that can look and feel quite intimidating when introduced. The problem is, if you only see the full version of Eagle in all of it's glory, you may never even attempt it, and that would mean you are missing out on the many benefits of this glorious pose. So, to avoid the overwhelm and intimidation, we are going to only focus on the upper body portion of this pose today. I am going to provide some tips, tricks, and modifications to make sure you get all the good stuff out of this stretch without having to think about balancing on one foot! Eagle Pose works to open and stretch the upper back and shoulders. I personally love it for shoulder tension that threatens to turn into a headache as it really works to release tightness from the Trapezius muscles. However, it can also be very tricky to move into if you have tight shoulders and back muscles - kind of a "catch 22" right?! Keep reading for some tips on how to move into Eagle Pose Arms, and how you can modify it to fit for you - wherever you are at in your practice! Make sure to check out the video at the end of the post for helpful visual cues. 

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"Yoga Pretzels" Card Deck Review

"Yoga Pretzels" Card Deck Review

I am constantly looking for ways to make Yoga fun and engaging for the kids I work with. Whether it's using music or playing a Yoga game, when it comes to teaching kids poses, you sometimes need to get creative! I was really excited when I found "Yoga Pretzels" card deck by Tara Guber and Leah Kalish online, because I often bring visuals when I teach, and was having a hard time finding suitable pictures of the Yoga poses online. When I received these cards in the mail I was pleasantly surprised to see that they were not only colorful and accurate pictures of Yoga poses, but there were also cards for breathing exercises, Yoga games, and partner poses included! Considering that I only paid $8.99 plus shipping, for a total of less than $20.00 from Amazon, I felt like this was a great purchase and well worth the money. 

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Yoga for Kids: Mindfulness Jars

Yoga for Kids: Mindfulness Jars

Yoga Mindfulness Jars are a fun and pretty way to help teach kids how to handle their emotions. They can help kids calm down and focus when they are struggling, and are great tools to help start the conversation about being mindful or "watching our thoughts". The idea is, the glitter represents our thoughts and feelings. Here's a little script as to how you can explain the mindfulness jar teaching to your kids, and even more importantly, how you can prompt them to use the jar to help them feel calm. 

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Yoga Music Playlist

Yoga Music Playlist

Compiling a Yoga playlist can be tricky. You don't want the music to overpower or distract from the practice, and it needs to be the right tempo for the type of practice you are moving through. Should you include songs with lyrics or without? Should the songs be recognizable or more obscure? (You don't want someone to be pulled out of focus because a song you play brings up a strong memory for them) Today I wanted to share with you some of my favorite music to play during flow style yoga classes. I have included a list of songs and albums that I often use for my class playlists, and offer tips as to what point of the practice the song would suit best - some songs are great for opening and building a Yoga practice and some are great for Savasana. Keep reading for my Yoga music playlist!  

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Yoga Pose: Plank - Do's & Don'ts

Yoga Pose: Plank - Do's & Don'ts

Ohhh the Yoga Plank - loved by some and loathed by even more. Plank Pose is a strengthening yoga pose that works the arms, legs, and core muscles. It is often practised as part of your Sun Salutation or Flow, so usually you aren't left working in it for too long, which can mean you aren't always in proper alignment. Today I wanted to break the Yoga Plank down a bit more to show you some "Do's" and "Do Not's" while in the pose, simply because it's a very easy pose to be a bit "sloppy" in. Unfortunately, if you aren't doing Plank correctly, you are missing out on some of it's wonderful strengthening properties, but it will still feel like a very difficult pose (maybe even more difficult than if you are in proper alignment). Keep reading for my list of "Do's" and "Don'ts" for your Yoga Plank. 

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