3 Things I wish I'd known as a New Teacher

Yoga teaching is a learning curve. Here are three things for unsuspecting newbie teachers to look out for. By Paula Hines

Reading time: 3 minutes

It’s the anniversary of me completing my first yoga teacher training. I’d gone from not being sure if I wanted to teach, to being absolutely certain that I would. I had no idea of what lay ahead, but I was so full of optimism. In all the ups and downs of the past 12 years, the positives have far outweighed the negatives, but there are things I wish I’d known at the beginning – some light-hearted, some less so. Here’s just a few:

You will get left and right mixed up
Likewise, at some point in an asana class you will teach a sequence on one side of the body and completely forget to do the other side. This will only dawn on you hours later and you’ll worry that you left everyone in the class lopsided.

Don’t get attached to numbers or students
When no one shows up (if it hasn’t happened yet, it will), don’t take it personally. If your classes are full, don’t take it personally. Neither necessarily reflects your teaching. If you teach for a studio, the people who come to your classes are clients of the business rather than ‘your’ students. If you stop teaching those classes the likelihood is the majority of those people won’t seek you out elsewhere. Students will move on, you will move on. And that’s okay.

Related to this…
People will rave about how wonderful the class you just taught was…and never come back!

I smile whenever this happens because time has taught me there’s a 99.9% guarantee that I will never see that person again.

Be yourself, not a pale imitation of someone else
Be inspired but don’t copy. For me, this relates to asteya (non[1]stealing). Aside from copying being unethical (and potentially litigious in certain circumstances), you’re selling yourself short. Also, people do notice. As someone who has seen their own words cut and pasted into others’ promotional material online, I’ve had numerous people who do follow my work tell me that they’ve recognised it being used elsewhere without permission. When you’re starting out it’s not unusual to parrot your own teachers or those you draw inspiration from, but it’s important to grow out of this. Trust yourself, trust your own ideas and let your voice come through. And if in doubt, to quote a wonderful teacher and author I’ve studied with, Tracee Stanley: “Credit your sources.”


Paula Hines is a London-based yoga teacher and writer. Her book Rest + Calm (Green Tree, Bloomsbury Publishing) is out now in paperback, audiobook and Kindle/eBook. Find out more at:

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