2019 will be my first year presenting as a yoga teacher at the Victoria Yoga Conference. I am beyond excited and honoured to be teaching alongside an incredible group of presenters, however I cannot deny the kaleidoscope of butterflies arising in my belly! It seems although I’ve become quite comfortable teaching at my home studio after 6 years, the nerves are still there as I prepare for something new and somewhat unfamiliar. The difference is, now after having overcome this feeling in the past, I have a toolbox of practices learned from both my teachers and from experience that I can pull from to ground and calm my energy. I’ve put together a short list of what I’ve found most helpful before I step in front of a classroom to teach.
Have a Written Class Plan
This may sound obvious, however I am often surprised to hear that many newer teachers think that they are expected to memorize their sequence or worry that having a written class plan will make them stand out as a newbie. Some of my favourite teachers whom have been teaching for decades still show up to class with their notebooks. Your plan does not need to be overly detailed or take hours of time to create, just a simple outline of postures and any key themes that you can reference during class. Having a plan will allow you to arrive feeling prepared, and your students will notice and appreciate when your intention for class is clear.
For me, having enough time to set up and settle into a space before students arrive makes a huge difference in how I feel before teaching. Every studio or setting is different, and depending on the space you may be responsible for only minor details whereas in smaller or home studios you may be responsible for everything. Some things to consider are; setting the temperature & lighting, gathering necessary props, preparing waivers & sign in sheets and being ready to welcome your students when they arrive. As a student, it is much more welcoming to arrive in a space that feels settled, rather than watching as your teacher frantically organizes the room minutes before class is to being (yes, I’ve been that teacher too – not fun!).
Take time for Stillness
This last point really plays off the previous two. When you have arrived for class early and with a plan, you’ll allow yourself a time to spend in stillness before holding space for your students. With even a minute or two in meditation I find that I can calm my energy and am therefore better able to create a safe, welcoming and comfortable space for my students.
Hi, I’m Jacky Challenger! In 2009 I attended my first yoga class in hopes of finding some peace amidst the stress of being a university student. I moved to Tofino the following summer where I met my primary teacher & mentor, Natalie Rousseau. After spending a couple of years travelling and building a consistent yoga practice along the way, I took my 200hr Yoga Teacher Training in Spring 2013. After a few years learning and growing with an inspiring and close community, I took ownership of Coastal Bliss Yoga in Tofino, BC offering daily drop in classes for all levels, beach yoga, private & group yoga, workshops & retreats.