I get A LOT of emails from yogis all over the world, asking me for advice about how to become a yoga teacher. I get so many questions about which teacher training to choose, which style of yoga, how to get a yoga job, how much to expect to get paid, training abroad versus training at home and everything in between, so I thought it was time to put this blog space to good use and give you all the help I can right here. I am just a normal girl and I only have my experiences and what I have learnt to share, by no means am I saying that my way is the only way, or that I know everything, I am just opening up this space for those of you who are considering the leap and feel nervous or lost about how/when/where. Somehow I have managed to create a deeply fufilling, stable, soul nurturing and inspired life through teaching and practcing yoga and I am so grateful to be able to share this space with you. I remember how nervous I was before I chose my TT and how I felt like I was guessing the whole time, so I really hope this helps to clear up any uncertainties. Remember that everyone is different and one shoe does not fit all, use this as a launch pad to head off into finding the right course, time frame and style of yoga for YOU! Make your own informed decision. That’s the beauty of life, we are all different.
M A K I N G – T H E – D E C I S I O N
I gave up my acting career at a deeply anxious and quite unhappy stage of my life. I felt unsettled about the direction my life was going and hugely unfufilled, fearful and lost. I always felt a strong connection to something bigger and had faith that this time in my life was all just part of my story, I knew that if I allowed myself to “go there” and journey into myself I would find the answers, I have always been spiritual and hopeful. Through practcing yoga for a while, I realised that yoga would be the practice that allowed me to venture inwards to find the answers. Sometimes I would go to the studio in the midst of auditioning and working a 50 hour a week job, before the class began, I would put myself into childs pose on the mat, lay my forehead to the ground and just cry and cry and cry. It was relief, it was hard, it was sad and it was joyful. I felt like it was home, I was coming home to myself every time I stepped on the mat and so it began!
W H O – A N D – W H E R E
I decided to take the leap and head to India to study with my amazing, inspiring, insightful and encouraging gurus Jamie and Dulce (The Yoga People) When making this decision I had absolutely no idea who The Yoga People were, I didn’t know any other yogis, the only person I had contact with was another teacher of mine Alex Stone who was so helpful and had mentioned them to me. Thanks Alex!
I knew that when embarking on this journey I wanted to do it away from my friends and family, I wanted to allow myself time to reconnect to the most authentic me. So location and space was important for me. Choosing to go away was a must, I am someone who needs time to process things, I am someone who needs alone time and well, I just love travelling! I wanted my teacher training to be a time where I could let it all hang out, digest and soak in. It was the perfect choice for me and to study yoga in India, it is so special. Jamie and Dulce are a huge part of my teaching style, my knowledge, their influence is always there. They are yoga – completely, their wealth of knowledge of all aspects of the practice and the precision in the layout of the course is thought out moment to moment, there is never a second wasted. I couldn’t recommend them and the course enough, it is a strict course and they do not tollerate lateness or missing homework. This course was 200 hours in four weeks, with two days off! I have lots of friends who have chosen to do their 200 hours over longer periods of time and it has really worked for them. I also know lots of wonderful teachers that trained in London whilst working their other job, so it really is about finding what works for you. Whether you do it over 4 weeks or a year, abroad or at home, it’s down to you what is going to be the right fit.
S T Y L E – O F – Y O G A
My first yoga teacher training certification was 200 hours in Ashtanga Vinyasa with progressive Ashtanga (The Rocket) The Yoga People are yoga alliance accredited, which is something you have to decide if it’s important to you or not. For me this was important, if I was going to spend all of this time and money on my first training, I wanted it to give me a worldwide recognized qualification so I was able to teach anywhere. If you want to go on and teach teacher trainings yourself, this may also be worth considering. Check out the Yoga Alliance website for more information.
Choosing Ashtanga vinyasa as my first training, I have to admit, was completely by chance and man I was lucky! The only “style” of yoga I had heard of or thought I had practiced was Vinyasa which derives from Ashtanga vinyasa. And to answer your questions, I wasn’t very strong at all, I was pretty weak and had bad technique, but I wanted to learn, I had drive. I highly recommend doing your foundations in Ashtanga vinyasa, it gave me great depth in the traditions of yoga that maybe another training wouldn’t of. It gave me a huge amount of discipline that I didn’t know I had within me until tested. The primary series is a very healing and grounding practice and it gets through you, it turns you inside out and the tranformation happens. It is a great place to learn. It is a rigorous training and perhaps the most hardcore style of yoga so it’s certainly not for everyone, I would literally look like I had been dunked in a pool of water all day long, I was sweating so much. My body was aching, there were aches and pains everywhere, but you keep going. It is all part of the practice. Mindfully moving your way through the practice. Breath by breath. My experience in India with The Yoga People was nothing short of life changing, I was ready for it, I wanted it and I worked for it. There are so many styles of yoga to explore, if you are considering a teacher training you have probably already found a style you love, so go with that, follow your heart and if you still aren’t sure try an Ashtanga vinyasa class before signing up for it!
T E A C H I N G – I N – T H E – R E A L –
W O R L D
As soon as I got to London after my teacher training, I sat on my laptop for which felt like forever searching and searching for studio spaces I could hire for my first classes back in London, spaces that were affordable so I could atleast break even.
Marcus Lord Veda (another Yoga People student, and amazing teacher) gave me a great piece of advice on my return from India, he said don’t rush into trialing for studios, he said practice on your friends, gain loads of confidence with different bodies so that when you do go to trial you smash it!
So I took that advice and set up my own classes, putting the big studios on the back burner, I invited every single friend of mine on facebook to my weekly event “Secret Sundays” I really owe it to my amazing friends who came week after week, paying £10 each per class, it really was such a great start and I learnt so much. So many of those friends had never done yoga before and now two years on, they are balancing in handstands, they are so inspiring and I cannot thank them enough for helping me at the start of my career and supporting my classes. I would take lots of photos before and after class, which is often frowned upon in different yoga articles, but for me, photos were a way of sharing to those who had never been, what I was doing. Yoga can be daunting for people who are new to it, fun photos of us enjoying ourselves after class made people think, that doesn’t look so scary and so they would come along the next week and it would grow and grow. People shared photos, tagged me on facebook and instagram and from there my classes got busier and busier. I was practicing teaching a lot and going to other teachers classes all the time, I was studying and I was always sharing what I was learning. I grew confidence and went on to trial in the studios I now have permanent classes in. I have taught all over London since I got my first 200 hours certification, I have taught at some incredible events, I have around 13 permanent weekly public classes which are usually fully booked, and around 7 weekly private clients. I am so lucky to teach some of the food worlds biggest names including Deliciously Ella, Madeleine Shaw and the Hemsley sisters and have been included in some wonderful articles. I host online yoga tutorials for Youtube channel “Useful Yoga” which has been mentioned in The Guardian and The Evening Standard and now has over 125,000 subscribers! I have also filmed a 14 day yoga challenge for Grokker. I have continued my studies and last year completed 100 hours of advanced training in Yin Yoga and Chakras with The Yoga People and have just booked in for another advanced training with them in Mandala Flow in India, March 2016.
M O N E Y
“When you vibrate in yoga, you live a luxurious life” I remember my teachers telling us that their teacher Larry would say this. And I agree! When something I own breaks, I get a call randomly from a friend asking me if I would like their old one because they are about to buy a new one. Synchronicities like this happen all the time. When you give out it really does come back.
When you first start teaching, the pay might not be so great, you might teach for free and you might struggle to make it your only job. I had two jobs for about six months, but trust that over time, if you want it, with a lot of work and patience you will start to make a good living. I don’t have a lot of things, I don’t have a dog, or a car, or much material possessions, I don’t have fancy watches or a big computer, but I have PLENTY, I have enough to live how I want to live, most of my money goes to travelling and studying and more importantly I make a living doing what I believe in and that makes me feel really RICH. You will find that doing events, photoshoots and gaining private clients will probably be your highest earners.
T H E – F U T U R E
I wish you all the luck in the world on your journey and hope you found this post helpful. Being a yoga teacher is an amazing blessing, it is a privilege that I feel honoured and humbled to be living. To guide people through their practice, to even be a small spec in their journey, wow it is so unbelievable. There are hard times and crazy early mornings. There are moments of pure bliss as you feel so connected to something higher, there are life long friends to be made, there are crazy adventures to be had and there are millions of bruises and face plants to experience. There are lonely times, there are times you wish you had a normal job and then it all comes back around again and you say Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for this life. Thank you for being a part of my journey. This a blessing.