Screen Shot 2015-02-28 at 12.11.21 PMwith Shannon Handa, RYT-200, RYT-500 Candidate

For example, on multiple teaching auditions I’ve been told: “When you said you received your training from Yoga Garden, I knew that you knew what you were doing”.

Whether you’re entertaining the idea of enrolling in teacher training or you’ve completed your training and are working out the next steps, I’m here to share my experiences with the teacher trainings at Yoga Garden of San Francisco & my journey as a yoga teacher.


Let me just begin by saying, I’m so grateful to be able to share yoga with other people, but more importantly that Yoga Garden gave me the opportunity to do so. In a city where yoga studios seem to be as prevalent as coffee shops, Yoga Garden sets the bar high when it comes to the caliber of teachers, the space created, and the quality of teacher training.


Teacher trainings are an investment and sadly they are all not created equally, so it’s really important to do your homework before enrolling in one. Once you begin to audition for teaching positions you’ll see that where you received your training really does make a difference, not only in how you approach the process, but in how interviewers view you. For example, on multiple teaching auditions I’ve been told:


“When you said you received your training from Yoga Garden, I knew that you knew what you were doing”.


Of course, this was wonderful to hear, but it also made me realize that all teachers don’t walk out of their teacher trainings with the same preparation I was given.


Every teacher that I encountered during the teacher training had different backgrounds and brought their own wealth of experiences. However, I noticed a few things that they all shared in common: they were genuine in who they were, they were generous in sharing their knowledge, they wanted us to succeed, there was a deep sense of respect among all teachers, and they showed up 100% of the time being ready to support our growth as new teachers.


I knew teacher training was going to change my life, but looking back now, I had no idea of the extent of this transformation. The space that the teachers created felt like home, it was safe and non judgmental. Not only did I learn so much about practicing and teaching yoga, but I learned so much about myself. I walked away feeling more connected to who I am and completely owning that.


By being in the 200 hour training, I had realized what I wanted to do and I knew that I found the place that would support me in getting there. I was captivated by the whole experience and signed up for the 500 hour teacher training before I even finished the 200 hour training.


Being in the 500 hour training now, has made me further realize the importance of continuing my yoga education. As a yoga teacher, you’re also forever a student— practicing to teach and teaching to learn. I learned how to further apply my teaching knowledge and gained a stronger understanding of the experience I create in my sequencing.


Now, for my fellow teachers who have completed their training and are beginning their journey as a yoga teacher, I would like to share some valuable lessons I’ve learned. I received my 200 certification a little over two months ago and began teaching right away. I currently teach private, semi-private, group, and corporate classes. My scheduled classes are consistent and my calendar is starting to fill up.


Screen Shot 2015-02-28 at 12.11.42 PMHere are some of the things that I feel have helped me grow in my journey so far:


Just go teach. I’ve noticed for a lot of new teachers, the hardest part is just getting started and putting yourself out there. They feel like they need more experience and aren’t ready to teach yet. In my opinion, you’re never going to feel like you’re completely ready. The only way to gain experience is to just start teaching. I grabbed a group of my friends and taught them in Golden Gate Park. That hour of teaching them was so valuable, not only because I realized how much I knew, but because it got me over my fears of not feeling ready. All of a sudden, I had “experience”. I taught a class, shared what I knew, and gave my friends the opportunity to bring yoga into their day. After that, I felt more confident in what I could offer to people and teaching just got easier.


Be you. Nobody else can bring what you have to the table. Know what you have to offer and share that with your students. It’s vital to connect with who you are as a person and as a teacher, and be that 100% of the time. When you are completely yourself, you allow your students to do the same. Don’t worry about pleasing everyone, people who have something to learn from you will show up.


Put yourself out there. You could be a wonderful teacher, but if people don’t know that you’re out there, you won’t be able to share your teachings. It’s really important to market yourself and create an online presence. Showcase what you have to offer: make a website, Facebook page, Instagram account (to name a few). Create teaching opportunities for yourself by reaching out to people and places that would be interested in what you have to offer. Keep in mind, studios aren’t the only place that yoga is needed.


Show up. Showing up doesn’t only mean being on time (early is on time). Showing up means being confident in your role as the teacher and what you have to offer. New teachers sometimes feel insecure in their new role and question their ability to teach, but this doesn’t help anybody. If you don’t show up for yourself 100%, you can’t show up for your students. You’re not present in supporting their practice, instead you’re worrying about what they think of you. Don’t worry about the complexity of your class, just teach what you know.


Be prepared. Be prepared with an outline of where you want to take your class, but also be prepared to let go of your class plan, if necessary. Always teach to the people in front of you. You might have spent so much time planning a class with plank variations and arm balances, only to see that plan is not appropriate for the class in front of you. Be prepared to let that go and meet your students where they are.


I hope the above has given you some insight on how to continue on your journey as a yoga teacher. I’m eternally grateful to my Yoga Garden teachers who so generously shared with me. I hope to be able to pass on the same teachings to my fellow teachers and students.


If you have any questions or to learn more about me, please feel free to reach out or visit my at http://www.shannonhandayoga.com.


Thank you and Namaste,


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