How the heck are you supposed to find a yoga job when you’ve just graduated from your 200-hour yoga teacher training?
What have you got to offer? Who would hire a brand new yoga teacher anyway? Trust me, we have all asked these questions (and still do from time to time).
Well first, congrats on finishing your teaching training! That’s a huge accomplishment.
Let’s make a plan to get you that first yoga job.
When I graduated from my first yoga teacher training, I had only been practicing for a couple of years. I had NO IDEA what I was doing. Since I did my TT in Tucson but I lived in LA, I didn’t even get any useful contacts during my training.
Even so, I got my first yoga job in a few weeks and within a year I was teaching 14 public classes per week, plus a few privates.
I used all of the strategies I’m going to share with you — over and over again — to make that happen.
Put them into action and you’ll soon be starting your first yoga job…
11 Tips to Help you Find Your First Yoga Job
Tip 1. Define Your Why
Before you even get started with searching for your first yoga job, it’s crucial to figure out why you want to teach yoga. What is your personal vision for your yoga career?
Your vision will act as your beacon in the dark. It will light your way every time you get frustrated or are tempted to give up.
Go deep with your answer. “Because I want to help people” is a nice starting point, but it doesn’t get into enough detail to motivate you. What results do you envision for your students? How do you think you’ll feel after teaching a great yoga class? How will your day-to-day life look once you are a full-time yoga teacher? How will you be different?
Tip 2. Be Fickle, Play the Field
By trying different studios and teachers, you’ll get the opportunity to meet more people in the yoga community.
Make sure you tell everyone who will listen that you are a new teacher who is actively looking for a yoga job. I know this can be scary and embarrassing. But you need to get used to embarrassing yourself in public — you’re a yoga teacher now!
Practicing with different teachers will also give you a great opportunity to learn more about what you do and don’t like as a student. This will help you to figure out more about who you are as a teacher and what you want to offer the students who come to your classes.
Tip 3. Suck Up to the Studio Owner
Find out who owns/manages the studios you like and go take their classes.
Don’t just go once; keep going back.
Pay attention in class. Be a good student. Ask questions. Introduce yourself after class.
Yoga teachers love an interested, engaged student.
(But they don’t love a stalker so find a balance!)
Ask the studio owner out for a coffee or a kombucha and pick their brains. What do they like in a teacher? How do they decide who to hire? What do they think you should do to land that first (and second, third and fourth) yoga job?
This is called networking. I know it can be scary, but it’s one of the best ways to get your foot in the door.
Tip 4. Good Yoga Students Make Good Yoga Teachers
How do you become a good yoga student?
- Pay attention to how the teacher is teaching
- Pay attention to what the teacher is teaching
- Pay attention to the sequence of yoga poses
Pro tip: Try to recreate the sequence after class and think about why the teacher taught those poses in the order they taught them. What did you like? What would you have done differently?
Tip 5. Would You Teach It In a Park?
The BEST way to get over the hurdle of transitioning from yoga student to yoga teacher is to start teaching. Your first classes won’t be as good as you’d like, so it’s nice to get them out of the way by teaching friends in a casual setting.
When I was a brand new teacher, before I’d even finished my 200-hour yoga teacher training, I started a free class in a park and invited my friends and neighbours. I invited dozens of people and only a handful showed up each week. Don’t worry if only one or two people come, you can learn a whole lot just by teaching.
(BTW. I asked people to pay what they wanted to for these classes. I don’t encourage you to teach for free. This is your job. Treat it like one.)
Remember that your non-yogi friends might be nervous that they aren’t bendy enough or strong enough to come to your class. Yes, they might be worried about impressing you! So make sure you make it clear that these classes are open to beginners and focussed on improving your teaching!
If you have a close friend who IS a yogi, ask them to come to your class. After class sit down with them and get feedback. Remember, the feedback is to help you become a better teacher, so make your friend be honest and accept their feedback with an open heart and mind.
Tip 6. Create Your Facebook Yoga Page
Just because you are brand new to teaching doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare for the day when you are a full-time yoga teacher.
Start your online marketing now, if you haven’t already. Build your Facebook Yoga Page, invite yoga friends, students, and your mom to Like your page.
But it doesn’t end there.
This is social media. Use it to be social.
Share blog posts and events by your teachers, by the teachers whose classes you like, and from the studios you want to teach at. Share events your think your students would benefit from attending. Create short videos or mid-length posts sharing yoga tips or yoga philosophy.
Remember, you don’t need to be an expert. Just share your point of view, or even share something your teacher taught you, and give them credit by tagging them in the post.
Start building your yoga community online and you’ll be better prepared when it’s time to start your first yoga job.
Tip 7. If You Don’t Know, Ask
Asking questions in yoga class shows you are paying attention and that you are there to learn.
Teachers LOVE students who ask smart questions.
Coming to class prepared to ask a question is also a good way to make sure you are paying attention in class, that you are focused, and are thinking about what the yoga teacher is teaching.
Asking questions shows the teacher you are interested and dedicated and it also makes them notice you. Again, you need to strike a balance. Don’t be the student who commandeers the class by constantly interrupting the teacher. Choose your questions and your timing wisely.
This is a great way of getting to know a person who might give you your first yoga job, your first subbing gig, or give you a chance to assist in their classes.
Tip 8. Ride the Sub Way
Once you have taken a few classes by studio owners and managers, tell them that you have completed your yoga teacher training and that you would love to sub classes at their studio.
Studios are always looking for substitute teachers.
No one is going to offer you a spot on the sub list out of the blue. You have to ask!
It helps if you can answer the sub requests quickly and fill in on short notice. Usually, the first teacher to reply gets to teach the class.
Tip 9. Don’t Give Up Your Yoga Practice
As these tips start working for you, and you are teaching more, it is going to get harder to find the time for your home yoga practice. But, to be a successful teacher you must also be a dedicated student.
Practicing at home is one of the best ways to refine the instructions you offer in class and find new ways of accessing your muscles.
What do you need in your body to help refine the yoga poses? The chances are good that some of your new students need the same thing.
Tip 10. Do One Thing a Day
Instead of trying to pack your yoga job hunt into a marathon session on Saturday afternoon, spread it out into a daily activity.
Each day, make sure you do (at least) one task to move you closer to your first yoga job.
Mention to an old teacher that you’re looking for a job, add another yoga tip to your Facebook page, research a new studio in your area, answer an email, offer a free lesson to a friend…
Spending 15 minutes per day on your yoga career will get you farther faster than if you spend 7.5 hours once a month.
Every day, right after you do that one task, take 30 seconds to congratulate yourself for moving forward. Celebrating your small wins is a powerful way to motivate yourself to keep going.
Tip 11. Stay in the Game
Searching for a yoga job is going to be hard at first.
You’re going to need a level of persistence you’ve probably never experienced before. Plus, you’re going to need to develop a thick skin. Both of these traits are vital for a working yoga teacher, too, so there’s no time like the present to develop them.
Don’t give up on your search and don’t give up on the work. If you keep trying, you will land that first yoga job!
Bonus Tip: Teach One Thing Well
When you finally land your first “real” class, you’re going to be nervous. Pick one yoga sutra, one common misalignment, or one anatomical action to focus on during each class.
Keep it simple.
Learn it. Practice it. Teach it. That way, you won’t overwhelm yourself trying to remember every last instruction for every pose and you won’t overwhelm your students by peppering them with disjointed instructions.
My first yoga job was subbing for a studio owner for 12 Sundays in a row. I decided to teach one Yoga Sutra each week, even though I had NEVER taught them before — and didn’t even really know that much about them. This forced me to learn the sutras well enough to teach them to a group of experienced students.
Talk about a challenge.
Now Go Get Started
Getting your first yoga job is hard. Seriously, it may be the hardest step of the yoga journey and it’s one you probably don’t feel ready for at the end of your teacher training.
It takes work to become a more confident teacher and it takes a lot of effort to get that first yoga job.
The good news is: you can do it. It just takes patience, effort and practice.
♥ Happy adventures, Stephen & Jane