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9 Tips for Teaching Your First Yoga Class

tips for teaching first yoga class

Teaching a yoga class for the first time can seem daunting, even if you’ve taught several times during your training.

But don’t worry, we’ve got 9 tips to help you feel confident and prepared for teaching your first class! 

Before we get started, if you’re not already, become a qualified yoga teacher with OriGym today! You can also browse our full range of fitness courses by downloading our free course prospectus here

#1 Prepare and Plan in Advance

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The first of our new yoga teacher tips is to prepare and plan your first class in advance.

Planning your class beforehand ensures that you’re always in control. It can be nerve-wracking teaching your first class, and so having a plan can help you feel more confident.

It’s also important to plan and sequence your class in detail when you have little experience, to ensure that you know exactly what you are doing.

This means that you can focus on the students in front of you, rather than trying to think of which pose to perform next, or the direction that your class is going in.

If you are wondering how to prepare for first yoga class teaching, here are some ways that you can be prepared in advance of your session:

Choose a Theme for Your Class

When planning your class, choosing a theme can help to steer your session in the right direction and give you something to base your plan upon.

Some example themes that you could use include:

  • Time/Seasons of the year
  • Gratitude
  • Love
  • Spirituality
  • Reflection
  • New beginnings

We have a whole list of yoga class themes here for more inspiration! 

Write Your Plans Down

Another of the most useful tips for new yoga teachers is to write your plans down. 

This could be hand-written in a diary or piece of paper, or on your phone or computer.

There are also lots of softwares and programs online to help you plan your yoga class, such as these yoga sequence builders.

By writing your class plan down, you’ll have a physical plan to refer to in case your mind goes blank when you’re teaching! Again, this will give you more confidence when going into your first yoga class. 

Set Up the Room in Which You’ll be Teaching a Yoga Class for the First Time

Before teaching, we would recommend arriving at the venue at least 10 minutes early and setting it up to ensure that the atmosphere is right for your session.

You should also ensure that you have all of the yoga props that you need before you begin, as you don’t want to start and realise that you don’t have enough to go around!

Why Should I Prepare and Plan When Teaching My First Yoga Class?

The more you prepare for teaching your first yoga class, the more confident you will feel, and the better your teaching will be!

After a while of planning your sequences and sessions, it will start to become a habit. Over time, as you get used to teaching, you may no longer need to plan in so much detail. 

Instead, you can just enjoy the flow and see where your practice takes you and your students.

However, it’s important to remember that even some teachers with years of experience still plan their classes in detail. 

They may no longer refer to the physical plan in front of them after teaching a yoga class for the first time, but it can help to know it’s there beside them. After all, even the most experienced of teachers can still have bad days! 

 

Start your career as a yoga teacher today!

Enquire to find out more about OriGym's Ofqual-regulated yoga teacher training courses!

#2 Practice Your Session Before Teaching Your First Yoga Class

teaching first yoga class

If you’re wondering how to prepare for first yoga class teaching, one of the best tips we can give you is to practise your session yourself beforehand.

Running through the session that you have planned in advance ensures that you are confident in teaching it for the first time in front of students.

It also allows you to give it a test run to see if the session flows, which gives you the chance to make changes and iron out any mistakes.

What are the Benefits of Practising Before Teaching My First Yoga Class?

Being confident when teaching for the first time means that you are likely to offer a better session to your students.

This is because you are able to concentrate more on your students and their alignment, rather than sequencing, performing, and teaching postures correctly.

A confident teacher will also rub off on your students. They will get much more from the class, in terms of what they learn, and the advice provided from the instructor.

Some ways that you could practise your session include:

  • Practising in a mirror. This gives you a sense of how you’re going to come across to students, by seeing your reflection at work.
  • Use a timer to ensure that your flow doesn’t run under or over your class time.
  • Practice on close friends or family members to see how others react to your class. 

#3 Teach What You Know When Teaching Your First Yoga Class

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When teaching a yoga class for the first time, and planning your sequence, it's important to keep it simple and teach what you know best!

In other words, stick to things that you are familiar with for your first class. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to perform advanced asanas to show off your skills, if you haven’t taught them before. 

For instance, we would advise against including postures such as headstands, backbends, and arm balances into your first class.

This is because these complex poses require more demonstrations and cues, which means more talking and more chances to let the nerves get the better of you!

You should also avoid teaching postures that you can’t perform for yourself. This is dangerous for both yourself and students attempting to learn the correct alignment, and could lead to injury.

Instead, one of our tips for new yoga teachers is to stick to the basics that are accessible to yoga beginners. Stick to the poses that you’re best at to begin with, until you get a feel for speaking out loud and directing students.

Enjoying this article so far? Here’s 3 more that we think you’ll love:

#4 New Yoga Teacher Tips: Invite Friends and Family to Your First Class

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Another of the best new yoga teacher tips that we can give is to invite some familiar faces to your first class.

Having some moral support can help give you the boost of confidence that you need during your class. 

This will help you to relax, be yourself, and offer the best class possible to all of your students.

If the friends attending your class are those made during your teaching course, you could make them familiar with your sequence. 

This means that they can act as extra demonstrators, so that you don’t have to be everywhere at once and can concentrate on teaching a yoga class for the first time!

As well as providing more support for students within your class, the best thing about having familiar people with you whilst teaching your first yoga class is that they can provide feedback.

People close to you are much more likely to be brutally honest, so you know exactly what went well, and how to make improvements for next time!

#5 Tips for New Yoga Teachers: Be Aware of and Prepared for Your Audience

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When discussing how to prepare for teaching your first yoga class, it’s crucial that you consider the audience that you will be teaching. In other words, the type of students you are teaching. 

It’s important to make your classes inclusive, which means pre-planning a range of adjustments, and giving options for all body types and abilities.

Some different types of students you could come across are:

  • Different levels of experience- beginners, intermediate, or advanced 
  • Pregnant students
  • Children- check out our tips for teaching yoga to kids here
  • Disabled students
  • Students with injuries

Knowing your students will help you to choose appropriate poses, with an appropriate level of difficulty, which can help you to build your sequences effectively. 

You may also need to adapt your tone to the needs of your audience. For instance, the ability level of your students could determine the level of explanation needed for each posture.

At the start of a session, you should always ask your students if there is anything you should be aware of, such as injuries or pregnancies. This means that you can then give these students particular attention during the class, offering them modifications and ensuring that they are practising safely.

Remember, you are teaching a yoga class for the first time, so it may take a while to get to know your students, and what works best for your class.

If you don't specify a level for your class, you’re likely to attract a mixture of experience levels, ages, and body types. You should therefore be prepared to teach all of these different types of people!

#6 Be Ready to Improvise When Teaching Your First Yoga Class

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As we have said, it is important to have a plan for the structure of your class. But there are times when improvisation may have to come into play. 

After assessing your audience when teaching a yoga class for the first time, you may have prepared a certain kind of class.

However, when you arrive on the day, you may encounter students who:

  • Have sustained an injury
  • Are pregnant
  • Cannot perform a specific pose

If this happens, your original plan may therefore not be suitable for all students in your class, so you have to be prepared to improvise and adapt your plan!

We would therefore advise preparing some modifications before the class. Modifications are simply variations of poses that can help simplify them for beginners, or make them more complex for advanced students. Some examples include:

  • Starting with baby cobra to build up the flexibility for cobra pose
  • Building up to a high plank with tabletop pose
  • Reducing the depth or changing the angle of a pose

You should also ensure that your studio has props, such as yoga blocks or bolsters, to help support beginners until they have built up enough strength and flexibility to practice without them.

Finally, remember not to panic, as this is the worst thing that you can do when it comes to teaching a yoga class!

Instead, remain calm, relax, and even take a moment if you need to. Then, either offer modifications, or alter your planned class to fit your audience.

 

Start your career as a yoga teacher today!

Enquire to find out more about OriGym's Ofqual-regulated yoga teacher training courses!

#7 Relax and Be Yourself When Teaching Your First Yoga Class

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When teaching a yoga class for the first time, there’s nothing worse than a teacher trying to be someone they’re not. 

After all, being authentic is one of the main qualities that makes a good yoga teacher

Whether that’s putting on voices, trying to sound ethereal, or dropping in pre-prepared cliches and quotes, there’s nothing more off-putting for students!

Instead of doing any of these things, remember that it takes time to establish your own voice. 

One of our tips for new yoga teachers is to therefore remember what you were taught, use your own voice, and use teaching cues to take students calmly through the sequence.

As we have already discussed, you should also play to your strengths, by teaching what you know to begin with. 

If you’re wondering how to prepare for teaching your first yoga class, the best advice that we can give is to come to your class feeling relaxed. You’ll then find it much easier to be yourself!

To do this, give yourself an hour before your class to unwind and get ready to teach. Whether you meditate, sleep, or simply kick back and switch off to some TV, do what makes you feel calm and ready to teach. 

#8 Be Prepared for Things to Go Wrong During Your First Yoga Class

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One of the most important things that we should mention in terms of how to prepare for teaching your first yoga class, is to accept that things are unlikely to go 100% as planned.

After all, it is your first session, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself if mistakes do occur- which they will at some point!

For instance, a common mistake that many instructors make, whether they’re teaching a yoga class for the first time or the hundredth, is confusing their lefts with their rights!

If something like this happens, there are a few new yoga teacher tips that you should keep in mind:

Take Your Time When Teaching a Yoga Class for the First Time

Our first tip would be to remember to breathe, and take your time. 

Remember that you’re teaching yoga, not a high intensity workout! So remember to keep calm to maintain the relaxing atmosphere of the class for your students. 

Rushing through the sequence will only create a stressful and tense atmosphere. Even if you are teaching a fast-paced ashtanga class, for example, you should still retain an element of calmness and composure. 

Laugh When Things Go Wrong

Students often react well to teachers who don’t make a big deal if they make a mistake- and one way to do this is by seeing the humour in your mistakes! 

Being able to laugh off an embarrassing situation shows that you are a human who is capable of making errors, even as a qualified teacher.

This can diffuse any tension that may be building within students who are worried that they can’t keep up with the pace of the class, or the other students around them. 

It also helps teachers and students to build rapport, which is great for encouraging client loyalty. 

Correct Your Mistakes Positively 

Finally, if you’re wondering how to teach your first yoga class successfully, you should always try to correct any mishaps in a confident and positive way.

For instance, try adjusting your language. Rather than apologising, or using self-deprecating language, simply correct yourself in a calm, gentle manner, and move on with the sequence.

 

Start your career as a yoga teacher today!

Enquire to find out more about OriGym's Ofqual-regulated yoga teacher training courses!

#9 Always Remain Positive

teaching my first yoga class

As we’ve discussed, it’s likely that things will go wrong when teaching a yoga class for the first time.

The worst thing that you can do in this scenario is panic. Instead, stay calm and positive! This will also rub off on students, meaning that they’re likely to have a better experience and keep coming back to your classes.

A new yoga teacher tip for remaining positive is to smile! This is because smiling has been proven to connect humans with their inner joy, even if they are not feeling very joyful at that very moment.

By smiling no matter how hard the situation, not only are you preparing yourself to feel happy, but you’re also encouraging your students to feel happy too! 

Smiling also allows our bodies to release cortisol and endorphins that help to reduce pressure, pain and, most importantly, stress.

This means that you’re even less likely to panic during your class, so you’re in the right frame of mind to rectify your mistakes, and move on.

Plus, smiling will also make you come across as more confident as a teacher, which will in turn give your students more confidence in you! 

Before You Go!

So, we hope that our article on teaching a yoga class for the first time has given you some useful tips to help you feel more confident about teaching your first yoga class.

If you’re not already, become a qualified yoga teacher with OriGym’s yoga teacher training courses. Enquire today, or check out our free downloadable prospectus to browse all of the fitness courses available here at OriGym. 

Written by Rebecca Felton

Content Writer & Fitness Enthusiast

Graduating from the University of Liverpool with a first-class degree in English, Rebecca’s combined passions for fitness and writing are what brought her to OriGym. Rebecca is a keen gym-goer and specifically enjoys lifting weights. Outside of fitness and writing, Rebecca enjoys cooking, reading, and watching the football.

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