December 30, 2012

Interested in Teaching Yoga, but Don’t Know Where to Start? ~ Bridget McGahen

If people see the love you’ve grown for your own practice, they’ll want the same for themselves. You will inspire them.

I had an old friend of mine, a yogi interested in teaching, ask me what I did to get certified and if I had any advice for her. So, for all of you yogis out there who may be interested in teaching, here is my advice:

1. Practice on your own and try different styles.

Practice at home, take classes from multiple studios, or follow a DVD. You won’t be a good teacher if you don’t have a solid practice of your own. There are so many styles of yoga (Hatha, Vinyasa, Forrest, Anusara, Bikram, Flow, Power, Ashtanga, etc.). Find one that you love– I mean, really love. One that challenges you and makes you look forward to class. If people see the love you’ve grown for your own practice, they’ll want the same for themselves. You will inspire them.

2. Save up some money.

Yoga Teacher Trainings are pretty expensive. A typical 200 hour Yoga Alliance Certification costs $2,000-$4,000. Advanced trainings can cost more than that. The tuition fee usually doesn’t cover travel expenses; if your training is out of town or at a retreat center, you need to account for airfare/gas and lodging too. If you’re like me, you can’t just drop that kind of money without having planned for it.

3. Start researching training courses.

Pick your studio/teacher/style that you like and see if they offer training. Look on their website. They are typically offered over the summer in consecutive day intensives. For your own sake, don’t just pick one based on the price or timing. You want a teacher and a style that really resonates with you. It’s worth waiting for.

4. Show up and study.

Show your teacher trainer that you are invested in their training by having spotless attendance. Show up early, not on time, so that you can get your mat, props, and study materials situated with time to warm up before class starts. Study hard. They’ll probably assign you readings and have you learn Sanskrit terms and yoga history, as well as a bunch of anatomy. You have to work for it.

5. Continuously work on yourself.

Keep practicing, cross train, work on your personal wellness. Like I said earlier, you want to inspire people! Your students will notice your sense of calm, your health and your fitness level. Be mindful, not obsessive, about that. Try to eat clean and exercise daily. Don’t snack on a Big Mac before class; you’ll lose respect. Help your students to live healthy lives by being a positive example. You’re smart, though, so you know that. You can do this!


Bridget McGahen is a certified Hatha yoga and a fitness enthusiast. She loves Jesus, her husband, healthy things, animals (doggies in particular), yoga, gym time, running, music, Oxford commas and Houston. Check out her website or follow her on Twitter.



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Ed: Rebecca Schwarz




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