4 Science-Backed Tips to Create Confidence as a Yoga Instructor
“For me, confidence has been a journey, not a destination.” – Jessica Williams
One of the most common struggles I hear from new yoga instructors is lacking confidence. While confidence is created through time and repetition, there are some actions you can take right now to up your public speaking ante. Create more confidence in yourself by following these four science-backed strategies:
- Repeat, Repeat, Repeat. Confidence is created by repetition, so get those reps in! If you’re a new graduate of yoga teacher training, try teaching some small community classes. It will give you the opportunity to get teaching skills under your belt and learn which cues work best for your students. You can even use the same sequence or playlist a few times so you can feel confident delivering it to a bigger crowd. And as for that sequence? Repeat that several times yourself at home! It will make it easier to remember the poses. You can even do it while saying the transitions and Sanskrit pose names so you feel fully confident with your new words. Practice creates progression!
- Let Go of Perfection. We proudly coach our students and tell them, “Believe in yourself!” “Take a risk!” “Enjoy the journey!” Then when we speak to ourselves we start a downward spiral toward Perfection Land. In the course to be of great service to our students, yoga teachers can become so perfection-driven that it makes us forget everything. So, give yourself some grace. Allow yourself the room to grow that you often offer your students. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be a step in your progression. Teaching is a journey, just as your asana practice is. And just like in your asana practice, there is no perfect. Detach yourself from the goal of, “being perfect.” When you let that go, you can connect more deeply to your students and your eyes see them more clearly. Every now and again, remind yourself that they’re not looking for you to be perfect -- they’re looking for you to be human.
- Reframe the Situation. Low confidence often goes hand-in-hand with negative thoughts or judgment. Instead of projecting a judgment statement on a situation (i.e., They’re going to dislike me), reframe it into a question (What can I learn if they dislike me?). By retraining ourselves to look for opportunities to learn, we can release the habit to prejudge things negatively. This is a practice you can take off the mat throughout your day. If you find yourself having negative or judgmental self-talk, immediately reframe it into an educational question. Pretty soon your “This isn’t going to work” will turn into “How can I make this work in my favor?”
- Strike a Pose. A Harvard study by Amy Cuddy suggests that hitting your power pose right before a big meeting or interview for 120 seconds creates immediate confidence. Well, as yoga instructors every class is a big meeting and interview! The responsibility to deliver to your students and be of service to them can feel heavy. So do what the experts say -- put your hands on your hips, stare in the mirror, and hit that power stance. Two minutes is a good investment in feeling like the confident leader you were meant to be.
Becoming a yoga instructor can be a life-changing but nerve-wracking experience. You are learning a whole new language, hundreds of anatomical cues, and working on your communication skills. But, most of all, you are offering your heart. It’s intense but it can also be your new chapter toward love, strength, and contentment. So next time you feel less confident, use one of our tips!
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