No shortcuts/building classesApril 8, 2019
Sometimes it seems like her “glow up” happened overnight or his “come up” was easy or breezy.If we pull back the curtain on the person who inspires you a lot, the person who you <3 and follow and triple snap on everything they post, it’s likely you’ll see plenty of failure, rejection, and mistakes. You will see resilience, will, and challenging choices.You’ll also see a kind of discipline and devotion to their path that can’t be reflected on a two dimensional screen.
When I realized that I wanted to do this work, teach yoga, create a sustainable wellness community by owning a yoga studio I desperately wanted a short cut. I wasted time looking and wishing for one.I haven’t found a short cut to my dreams that I would trust. I have discovered best practices that are rooted in integrity, relationship, and commitment to actually doing the work.When I began teaching yoga and I’d have 0-4 students in class… I so wanted to skip that part and hoped for some fast track way to fill up my classes.
Thank goodness I never found a short cut. I would have missed out on so many honest, real, and grounded lessons and relationships if it were any other way.
12 years of teaching yoga and two years of studio ownership. Some of the best practices to build a class have been:
- Commit: Most studios have a time commitment of 6-12 months for new teachers/ classes on schedule. Set your own internal commitment to align with that if not more. Gaining a class is a commitment, not a stepping stone or just something to do.
- Be intentional: Incorporate a theme into your class. Teach with a peak pose in mind. Share stories and poems- points of connection in your class. Do everything with intention. If you use music, create playlists that support your theme or the energy you wish to cultivate in your class. Students know when they’ve experienced something especially crafted, tended to, and thought through vs thrown together at the last minute. This doesn’t mean that you doggedly stick to your plan if the real live students in front of you need something else, it means that you honor the seat of teacher by knowing why you make each choice you do when you lead a class.
- Before your class: Your yoga class doesn’t actually start when the schedule says it does. It starts when you begin preparing for it. It starts when you pull into the parking lot. It starts before and as the first student shows up to check in. Make sure you arrive at least 20 minutes in advance to greet + check in with your students before class starts even if there’s desk support where you teach.
- After class: Barring an emergency, don’t disappear to the bathroom or jet after each class. Ask students how they feel and if they have any questions. Always remember to thank your students collectively and/or individually. This shouldn’t be a huge time commitment, no more than 10-15 minutes.
- Be a student in community: This may seem redundant,yet it is really important. Practice where you teach.
- Show up: Minimize your absences. Students and studio owners need to trust that you will show up for your classes. Consistency goes a long long way in building community.
- Social Media: If you don’t share your why for teaching, valuable content, what you are teaching and where, how will students (present and potential) know? Also, it’s not always the number of “followers” you have, it’s the quality of engagement. There’s value in small active/engaged numbers vs. big numbers of “lurkers”, especially if your goal is to build your local classes, events, and workshops. There’s so much we can say about social media… more on that soon!