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How to Survive the Worst Yoga Class You’ve Ever Taught

Jason Crandell teaching yoga | How to Survive Teaching a Bad Yoga Class | Jason Crandell Yoga Method

We’ve all had the same gut-wrenching, heart-breaking thought at some point while teaching a class, ‘This is not only the worst class that I’ve taught, this is the absolute worst class that has ever, ever been taught in the history of yoga.’ In fact, the qualification “at some point,” is me being generous. We’ve all (yes, ALL) had this feeling more than a few times.

Since you’re a consummate professional, highly-trained in objectivity and managing your emotions, you probably finished class without burying your head in the bolsters or breaking into self-absorbed tears. But, honestly, what do you do with this voice, this feeling of not being fully engaged or clear when you’re teaching? (What do you do when you’re convinced that you just taught a really bad yoga class?)

Well, let’s start by looking at the facts:

It probably wasn’t as bad as you think

Seriously, it probably wasn’t as bad as you think it was. Teaching yoga is a raw, vulnerable experience and sometimes you beat yourself up about it. People often talk about the importance of being authentic. What gets left out of this discussion is that being authentic means showing who you really are and expressing what you truly care about. Wearing your heart on your sleeve isn’t always easy or pleasant — especially if you feel that you aren’t communicating or engaging well. When this happens, your inner narrator may be telling you that it is much, much worse than it really is.

Even if the class was as bad as you thought, well…

You just taught a truly bad yoga class–the worst class in the history of yoga? OK. It’s time to let it go and move on. This is what you’d tell someone else, right? If class was truly lousy, chalk it up to being human. You’re not a robot and even the most accomplished professionals have off days. If you don’t watch sports, it’s time to start in order to get some perspective. Not every top-notch pitcher throws an excellent game every time. In fact, none of them do. And, thankfully, yoga students are infinitely more kind in the midst of an off night than sports fanatics (especially if you live in Philadelphia).

See also 5 Ways a 500-Hour Yoga Teacher Training Will Advance Your Career

Remember that the students are having a different experience than the teacher

Are you ready for some ego-busting news? Students are not hanging on your every word or vibe. Students are paying attention to you but they’re also having their own experience. They are doing yoga, not just listening to you pontificate. Trust that even if you didn’t deliver your most soul-stirring class, your students had the opportunity to breathe, move their bodies and have their own experience. Even more, they probably feel better after class than they did before class.

A few more things to remember when you bomb

-You’re human and you’re teaching a live class. This means you’re going to trip over your words, feel energetically flat, forget the second side of a sequence, and mismanage your time on occasion.

-You have the opportunity to learn and grow from your mistakes. Be as objective as possible about what didn’t work in your class and learn from it. As teachers we’re committed to growing and learning — which means that we’re not already perfect.

-Breathe in the challenges of teaching your class and your flustered emotions; then breathe them out and let them go.

-Be comforted by the fact that all teachers go through this, including the most popular and most well-respected teachers. In fact, my advice is to get used to moments like this because they never stop — you just get better at contextualizing them and letting them go.

See also 5 Tips for New Yoga Teachers

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5 Ways a 500-Hour Yoga Teacher Training Will Advance Your Career

Before we get to the post, a quick, shameless plug for my upcoming trainings. You can join me live at my 500-Hour Yoga Teacher Training in San Francisco, London, or Hong Kong. I also have three separate online teacher trainings, focusing on arm balances & inversions, sequencing, or anatomy.

kneeling | Advanced Yoga Teacher Training with Jason Crandell Vinyasa Yoga Method

It’s hard to make a living as a yoga teacher. Here’s why doing an advanced training is one of the most valuable, meaningful, sensible things you can do for yourself.

Despite teaching yoga for nearly 20 years, I have questionable forward bends, I can’t press into Handstand, and I’m not always perfectly present. But, teaching yoga has helped me mature and taught me a few things along the way. Never taking students for granted is high on this list. I understand that in the modern era of yoga, students have countless excellent teachers to choose from. I also understand that my students have a lot of pressure on their time and their resources—and, when people are stretched thin their own wellbeing gets shifted to the back burner. So, when my students show up, I show up.

I double down on this sentiment when it comes to yoga teacher trainings—especially advanced trainings. Let’s face it: Trainings are a significant financial investment, especially when you consider the time away from work and potential travel costs. There are so many trainings that it’s hard to know which one to choose and exactly how the training will help your practice and career. And, with the challenges involved in earning a living as a yoga teacher, it’s difficult to predict whether or not the training will give you a positive return on your investment—both regards to your personal wellbeing and your livelihood.

See also 7 Vital Things to Look for in a 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training

If you have these questions and concerns, you’re a smart, reasonable person. I’m with you. I had the same before I committed to an 18-month, nearly 1000-hr advanced studies program 17 years ago. These are rational, legitimate concerns, but bear with me because they pale in comparison to the five reasons to commit to an advanced yoga teacher training (ahem, maybe even mine).

Why Enroll In an Advanced Yoga Teacher Training?

1. Develop the confidence to become more entrepreneurial

When I started teaching, I never imagined I’d say this. But, teaching yoga has been my livelihood for a long time and one of the most compelling reasons to do an advanced training is to develop the knowledge and skill that will give you the confidence to be more entrepreneurial. The truth is that it’s next to impossible to make a living by only teaching public yoga classes. In order to support yourself—and maybe your family—as a teacher, you’ll need the confidence to make entrepreneurial decisions and treat your enterprise as a small business. You’ll need to teach workshops, retreats, trainings, and private sessions. In the future, you’ll want to be able to figure out how to provide online content and pitch content to yoga websites and magazines. You may want to work with the medical industry. There will be countless opportunities for yoga teachers to create a livelihood, but it will be next to impossible to do these things

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20 Insights to Set You Up as a Successful, Skillful, Happy(!) Yoga Teacher

Before we get to the post, a quick, shameless plug for my upcoming trainings. You can join me live at my 500-Hour Yoga Teacher Training in San Francisco, London, or Hong Kong. I also have three separate online teacher trainings, focusing on arm balances & inversions, sequencing, or anatomy.

The phrase, “teachers learn from their students,” is even more salient when your students are seasoned teachers themselves. Recently, my Advanced Teacher Training module in London was drawing to a close, and I asked the more experienced members of the group–many of whom have been teaching for years–to share one piece of advice to the aspiring teachers in the room. As the trainees started answering, I realized that we needed to document and post the conversation. For some of you, this advice for yoga teachers will be new pieces of wisdom that you can apply to your teaching. For others, they will be a nice confirmation and reminder of what you already know. Either way, I truly believe that these insights will help make you a more skillful, successful, and satisfied teacher.

If you’d like to join this brilliant group of students to deepen your practice and advance your teaching, there are a few spots in my next two 100-hour modules in London! I had a great time teaching the first module — there’s nothing I enjoy more than engaging with bright, inquisitive students. I always learn so much and it’s a thrill to see people grow into themselves. I would love to see you there. (Dates are August 5th-18th, 2015 and January 15th-28th, 2016) Click here for all the details.

Advice for Yoga Teachers from Those Who Have Been There

On being true to yourself:
Michael Hoyer
1. “Learn what you need to do hold the space energetically and vocally. It’s a disservice to yourself if you are meek, too quiet, or apologetic about perceived failings. Be a conductor of that symphony of bodies. Move around the room and let students hear and feel your presence.”
Michael Hoyer, USA

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Find Your Voice. Refine Your Skills. Become the Teacher You Want to Be.

Before we get to the post, a quick, shameless plug for my upcoming trainings. You can join me live at my 500-Hour Yoga Teacher Training in San Francisco, London, or Hong Kong. I also have three separate online teacher trainings, focusing on arm balances & inversions, sequencing, or anatomy.

It’s a mantra I find myself repeating over and over again: If you study with me, I want to help you find your own voice. This takes time, and devotion, and practice. My job in the yoga teacher training room is to provide a safe space for you to explore who you are and to provide valuable, compassionate feedback.

When you commit to training with me, you’re really committing to yourself, to your practice, to your personal growth. I’m thrilled to be able to offer a 300-hour yoga teacher  training in London this year that’s split into 100-hour modules. You can come to all three or choose to attend them individually.

Each module will help you shore up areas that need your attention — whether it’s your understanding of yoga anatomy, your verbal communication, your sequencing, or your ability to express yourself effectively.

I put this video together to help capture what it is I hope to offer with these trainings. I hope you enjoy it and hope to see you soon!

(For dates and details, take a look at my 300-Hour Teacher Training page.)

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