How do you overcome performance anxiety when you first start teaching yoga?

Q:

How do you overcome performance anxiety when you first start teaching yoga?

A:

So, you’re considering yoga teacher training and a career change. You love yoga, but you also have a fear of public speaking. The thought of getting up to teach in front of a class is terrifying. Or perhaps you’re all finished with your yoga teacher training and, while the student teaching practicum went well in the loving environment of your YTT, you still feel super anxious to teach your first class in an actual studio. (Or maybe still you're just wondering, "Am I qualified to take a yoga teacher training course?")

I don’t blame you. This is totally normal. For beginning yoga teachers, performance anxiety is both common and natural. Here are a few ways to overcome it:

Start Each Class With a Soothing Ritual

This might be a group chanting practice or something funny, like getting everyone to jump up and down and shake like silly monkeys. Perhaps it’s a deeply soothing pranayama routine or a life-affirming mantra you chant with your students. Whatever it takes to soothe you at the beginning will help calm those butterflies and get you going and flowing. (Read about more ritual ideas in Morning Rituals for Yogis.)

Forget About Comparing Yourself to Others

Don’t compare yourself to other teachers or students. You are you, and you’re bringing your own unique energetic imprint to your teaching. There will never be another human like you, which means there will never be another yoga teacher like you. Share your own strengths and your own weaknesses. Your students will appreciate you for who you are.

Listen to Your Practice

You’ve probably been practicing for a long time now. Let it inform your teaching. Stay committed to your own practice and allow it to teach you how to teach others. Stay true to your personal practice, and you’ll naturally feel more comfortable as a teacher when you do.

Enjoy the Process!

It’s all a practice. The more you do it, the less performance anxiety you’ll feel. Stay the course. It will be worth it! (Read on in 3 Things You Must Do Before Teaching Your First Yoga Class.)

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Written by Aimee Hughes
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Aimee is a yogi and writer who's been practicing yoga daily for nearly two decades. Since a journey to India when she was 20, the practice has been her constant companion. She loves exploring the vast and seemingly endless worlds of yoga. Aimee has also written a book called, "The Sexy Vegan Kitchen: Culinary Adventures in Love & Sex," available on Amazon. Full Bio