If you're just starting out as a yoga teacher, you might not know where to start when it comes to marketing your services and finding students to teach.

You may be considering whether you should work as a freelance yoga instructor and teach your students privately, or whether it may be better to be employed  at a yoga centre. Although you've done the trainings and put in the hard work and commitment, you may still find yourself apprehensive when you're front of a room full of students. Not to worry! The more you practice giving lessons, then more you'll gain confidence in your teaching ability.

The key to ensuring a successful yoga class, is to plan ahead and to adapt your classes to the needs and abilities of your students. Always remember to stay positive and encourage your students during your sessions.

Here are our top ten tips for ensuring that your first yoga classes are a success

1. Understand your students' motivations behind practicing yoga

First and foremost, you should ask yourself why you practice yoga and why you want to share your passion for yoga with others. Maybe it's because you want to improve your level of physical fitness or because it helps you to stay relaxed and focused.

By thinking about what your own motivations are for practicing yoga, this allows you to put yourself in your students' shoes.

There are a number of reasons students may wish to start yoga lessons:

  • Get in shape
  • Alleviate stress
  • Improve their sleep
  • Improve their mood
  • Find inner peace and purpose
  • Help overcome mental and physical illnesses

Every student will have different motivations for practicing yoga, and as a teacher it's up to you to adapt your classes to each of your students' individual needs. The best yoga teachers will take a keen interest in their students, understand their motivations and help guide them to achieve their objectives.

In order to guide others this means that you'l have to have a good understanding of your own motivations.

2. Choose the right style of yoga to teach

It's much easier to teach a subject that you're both knowledgeable and passionate about. That's why it's important to teach your favourite style of yoga to your students whenever possible.

You may have practiced many different types of yoga or seen different techniques during your yoga teacher training. You would have noticed that your teachers may have had many different teaching styles, whether you were practicing Hatha yoga or more dynamic forms of  yoga such as Bikram or Ashtanga yoga.

No matter what style you opt to teach, the most important thing to remember is to encourage your students and establish a positive atmosphere for them to practice, no matter what their level or motivation is.

Check out our article to learn more about how to find yoga students.

In Canada, the styles of yoga that you are most likely to find in yoga studios and other yoga organisations are:

  • Ashtanga Yoga
  • Bikram Yoga
  • Vinyasa Yoga
  • Kundalini Yoga
  • Yin Yoga
  • Hatha Yoga
  • Bikram Yoga
  • Kundalini Yoga

Whether you're teaching private classes as a freelance yoga teacher or working as an employee at a fitness centre or yoga studio, you can also teach a combination of different styles of levels of yoga.

Get information about yoga near me here.

3. Get the Right Equipment for Your Yoga Class

It's important to make sure that you are prepared with the right equipment for your yoga classes and at-home practice. Luckily, yoga classes don't require a long list of expensive equipment.

Depending on the style and level of yoga you are teaching, here is a list of basic equipment you may wish to have on hand:

  • A good yoga matt
  • A sports bag or transport bag for your material
  • A towel
  • Appropriate yoga clothes
  • A meditation cushion or stool
  • A yoga strap
  • Yoga blocks
  • Yoga chairs
Yoga Props are Useful for New Students.
Yoga props are essential for all levels and styles of yoga. Photo credit: Melissa Venable via Visual Hunt

You may also ask your students to bring their own props and materials from home. It's a good idea to know some brands and equipment that you can recommend to your for their home practice.

If you're teaching a beginner yoga class, then your students will generally expect you to provide basic equipment for the class. Make sure to let your students know if you expect them to bring their own equipment before a class. Always keep a few extra pieces of equipment handy just in case.

4. Selecting a location for your yoga classes

Given that the ultimate goal of yoga is to bring about a unity of body and mind, then selecting the right place to hold your yoga lessons is essential in creating the right ambiance that is conducive to your yoga practice.

For example, you wouldn't consider doing yoga in a busy room with too much noise. Make sure that you select a place where you are sure that your students will be able to maintain a peaceful state of mind.

Check for good yoga classes Toronto here.

Avoid noisy areas for your yoga classes.
Yoga sessions on a busy street won't create the peaceful state of mind necessary for yoga and meditation. Photo credit: Seattle Department of Transportation via VisualHunt.com

Selecting the right location is even more important if you are teaching lessons privately rather than at a studio.

If you are renting a room or a studio space, always visit the rooms in advance and arrive early to set up before a class. This is an essential part of planning to teach your lessons. If you find that there is too much noise, not enough air circulation, or poor lighting that you'll definitely want to reconsider.

The room should be quiet and have a good acoustics to be able to hear your instructions or if you want to play music during the practice or meditation session.

When giving private lessons, you may also wish to

  • Give lessons outdoors
  • Give lessons in a rented studio space
  • Give lessons at your home
  • Give lessons at the student's home
  • Give lessons at another location (gym, fitness centre)

5. Wear Yoga Clothes Adapted to your practice

Wearing the appropriate clothing during your classes is absolutely essential. You wouldn't wear a flapping skirt or jeans while going for a run, so the same goes for yoga. You won't be able to sit comfortably in the poses, if you're worried about ripping your pants.

When it comes to selecting the right clothes, wearing overly tight or loose clothes, will affect your balance and flexibility. It's also important for you to be able to breathe freely in your clothes during your practice.

We would recommend the following attire which is most suitable for your practice

For women:

  1.  A high-cut tank top that is not too tight or loose, and allows you to breathe freely
  2. Yoga leggings are an essential, and should be comfortable enough to allow you to move from one pose to another. Shorts are also an option, in a comfortable and stretchy material.
  3. A sports bra is a good option as it provides support will still allowing you to move freely. Opt for a material that is waterproof and let's your skin breathe.
  4. You may wish to bring a sweat band or hair tie to hold back your hair, as well as a pair of non-slip socks and gloves.
  5. As you'll be doing a lot of forward bending in different positions, avoid low-cut tops.

For men:

  1. A comfortable t-shirt or tank top, that is not too loose or tight.
  2. Cycle short or judo pants
  3. Non-slip socks and gloves, as well as a hair tie or sweat band

Remind your students to remove any jewellery or hair accessories before their practice.

Encourage your students to wear more form-fitting than loose clothing, as this will make it easier for you to evaluate their alignment and positioning and make any necessary adjustments.

A shirt is not necessary for men's yoga lessons.
It's important to wear the right clothing when practicing yoga. Photo credit: ξωαŋ ThΦt (slowly back...) via Visual Hunt

6. Setting up your yoga lessons

It's important to plan your  yoga session in advance, to have an idea of the sequence of poses that you'd like to follow. You can modify this as you go along, based upon the level of your students, but it's always a good idea to have a plan or an idea of the basic sequence you'd like to follow to make sure  that the class runs as smoothly as possible.

Always begin the class with a thorough warm-up session, to give you a chance to stretch out your muscles and prepare your body for the session.

Once you've done gone through the breathing exercises and warm-up session, it's time to start your sequence of asanas. The sequence should follow a rhythm, starting off slower and easing into more dynamic and challenging poses. Always remember to insist on breathing techniques, inhaling and exhaling in sync with the different poses.

Once your students have worked up a sweat and gone through your sequence of poses, you'll want to end the session in a relaxing pose such as child's pose or corpse pose. Leave some time for your students to meditate and enter a state of relaxation and mindfulness to truly benefit from the practice.

Begin yoga classes with relaxation techniques.
Yoga offers students a break from their busy lifestyle. Photo credit: Kamila Gornia via Visualhunt.com

After the session and meditation, you may wish to get feedback from your students, in order to ask what they liked about the session, and ways that the session can be improved. Remember to set a price per session that is reasonable for both you and your students.

7. Practice and Yoga on a Daily Basis

Good teachers never stop learning. Remember that learning yoga is an ongoing process. Even yoga teachers that have been practicing for decades are still learning new things every day.

It's important to stay up to date with your yoga teacher training classes. There are a number of reputable institutions and training courses available in Canada, such as Vibe Yoga Studio, Sivananda Canada, and the Yoga Tree. Following a yoga teacher training is a great way to consolidate your learning, obtain a certification, and build up your network.

Most importantly, remember that a good yogi practices yoga every day in order to ensure that both their mind and body are in a state to practice yoga. A great piece of advice to share with your students, is that it's better to practice for a 20 minutes every day than for 2 hours very rarely. Remember that consistency is key!

So now that you've seen how to best prepare for teaching a yoga class, go out there and start finding students to teach!  You can find students through Superprof by advertising your teaching services online.

But if I want to learn yoga how do I pick the right yoga classes near me? If I'm searching for yoga classes near me in Canada, I find them on Superprof. They have hundreds of teachers teaching different styles of yoga all over the country.

Check out more tips on how to plan your yoga classes and how to guarantee successful yoga classes for your students.

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Yvette is a freelance Canadian writer living in Paris. She spends her time between Toronto and Paris and likes to travel and learn. She's the proud mom of two strong minded women and enjoys her free time giving back to her communities.