Developing your own personal teaching style
How to find your inner voice as a newly-qualified yoga instructor. By Kelsey Taylor
Whether you have just completed your first yoga teacher training or have gone on to undertake further development, sharing your new knowledge in a comfortable and authentic manner takes time and practice. Teaching styles vary and are influenced by an individual’s life experience, personality, and confidence.
When you start to teach any new class, it might feel a little daunting, especially if there are other yoga teachers in your area, but don’t be tempted to compare yourself to them or imitate their style. Everyone has different preferences: one teaching style might be beneficial for one student, but not another. It’s good to know that whilst a student might attend your class for the first time because it’s convenient, the reason they return is you.
Your teaching style will continue to evolve so don’t be in a rush to figure everything out all at once, what is important is setting time aside on a regular basis to know who you are as a teacher, listen and observe how teaching makes you feel and modify when something doesn’t feel authentic.
Connecting to your inner voice can be explored time and time again, through your own yoga practice. Regular meditation and self-enquiry will allow you to connect with and honour your values, beliefs and personality. Simple questions to explore are: Who am I? Why do I want to teach? What do I enjoy about teaching? How can I support my students?
Listen and observe
Every time you teach it is an opportunity to learn, grow and develop. Sometimes you will feel good, and you will want to recreate the magic, whilst other times things do not go as planned, you may feel out of your comfort zone and vow never to repeat the experience.
What to be aware of
- How do you feel before, during or after a class?
- What do the words/language you use feel like?
- How do your students react?
- Go with your gut: don’t be scared to say ‘no’ if a teaching opportunity doesn't feel right.
We naturally offer our students modifications to improve their experience. Making small adjustments can help us feel more comfortable with our teaching. Some modifications evolve organically, whilst others will be conscious as we react to what we know and observe within ourselves.
Managing conscious change
- What and why do you want to change?
- Don’t be scared to try new things.
- Practice in private before you try in a group.
- Ask for feedback – but be aware you are not going to please everyone.
These reflections will allow you to stay true to yourself, teach from the heart, feel confident, and attract like-minded students.
Kelsey Taylor is a senior yoga teacher and teacher trainer based in Staffordshire. She runs courses and training on women's hormonal health and wellness. Find out more at: flowwomenswellness.com
First published in November 2009, OM Yoga magazine has become the most popular yoga title in the UK. Available from all major supermarkets, independents and newsstands across the UK. Also available on all digital platforms.