What is confidence really? Well, here's one definition: "the state of feeling certain about the truth of something." Now let's break it down in regards to teaching yoga
We're certain about the truth that:
You're certified to teach based on the fact that you've completed your 200hr training
If you're given the opportunity to teach by someone with the knowledge of your background and experience, they have given you their trust in your capabilities as a teacher
If you've created your own opportunity and students are willingly showing up, they have given you their trust in your capabilities as a teacher
Everyone has a different skill set and unique qualities about their teaching. Some teachers are quicker to learn, and others require more practice. Nonetheless, the truths above apply to anyone who's a yoga teacher. The studio owners believe in you, the students believe in you, do you believe in you? Are you certain about the truth that you are a yoga teacher?
There's a likelihood that uncertainty looms above your head with thoughts like: what do I know? I only have 200hrs of training! What if I say something stupid and people don't like me? Look at so and so, they're such good yoga teachers, I'll never be like them!
And these thoughts may continue as you progress further as a teacher - I want to teach at this or that studio, but they don't know me, I'm just a nobody! I want to teach a workshop or go international, but I don't have street cred, who would pay money for me?
Whether you're teaching yoga or making a souffle, the rules of confidence are the same. Do you have a belief in yourself about the possibility of success? Although they make crappy cars, Henry Ford did have something smart to say - "Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right."
So let's get down to business about how you can create confidence as a yoga teacher:
1. FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT
Ya okay, so you're not the most skilled yoga teacher out there, but neither am I! What we all have in common is the possibility of achieving our highest potential. However, the internal saboteur doesn't always allow us to believe that. So "faking it" lets that part of ourselves know that I'm going to play the part of my greatest self, even if the saboteur doesn't think I'm all that great.
Faking it is not being inauthentic, it's actually a recognition of our worth despite our self-doubting. Fake it enough times, and you'll make it a conscious belief that you are a valuable yoga teacher to your students and the community. Seeing yourself as worthy is having confidence. So I'm not talking about faking a smile or puffing up your credentials, I'm talking about walking into the room powerfully to greet your students, present and ready to serve because you're worth it (Thanks L'Oreal).
Watch this video by Amy Cuddy (Ted Talk) about how to feel empowered instantly
2. TAKE ACTION, NOW!
- To be a teacher, you must have students. To have students, you must take action. Take action and you create the possibility for accomplishments. Accomplishments acknowledges your worth which equals confidence.
An example of taking action: write out 5 steps to get into Warrior 2
- Lift your arms up to shoulder height and step your feet wide, as wide as your wrists
- Turn your right foot out 90 degrees and your left foot in slightly
- Bend your right knee into a square
- Turn your head to the right and look past your finger tips
An example of an accomplishment: wrote out 5 steps to get into Warrior 2
You now have more confidence teaching Warrior 2! Bam!
Now go out and do something. Email that email you've been wanting to email. Teach that class that the studio has been begging you to teach. One action a day will keep the doctor away...
3. STUDENTS WANT YOUR GUIDANCE
I've mentioned this above, that students come to your class because they trust you as a teacher. And if they don't, that's okay too. Not every student and teacher are a fit, just like not every person is fit to be my friend (poor me...) So the students who do show up are there because they want to and are openly seeking your guidance in the practice of their yoga postures.
I have to remember that the students are not my enemies, they're not there to judge me, they've paid money to learn from me, and so I don't need to be afraid and anxious. I can be confident because the students have given me permission to be their teacher. Yay!