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Teaching Yoga

How to Nail Your First Teaching Audition

Feeling a little anxious? Here's what you need to know to stay calm and collected.

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You’ve made it through your 200-hour yoga teacher training and, although you may feel anxious and uncertain as to whether you’re ready, you’re willing to get out there and start teaching. The only thing standing in between you and your first official job as a yoga teacher is an audition at a studio.

If you are asked to audition, you’ve likely already submitted a resume, so think of this as the interview phase. It’s an opportunity to show off your teaching skills.

As the audition draws closer, there are several ways to make sure you’re ready, which, in turn, eases your anxiety.

11 tips for a successful yoga teaching audition

Know what is being asked of you

Sometimes the audition involves teaching an entire class with a group of students at the studio, while other times it’s a condensed or a short section of the practice (i.e. warm-up, peak pose, or cool down) for the studio owner or manager so they can experience your approach to sequencing and cueing. If you don’t know what is expected of you, be sure to ask so you can prepare properly.

Practice, practice, practice

It’s natural to feel nervous, but even if you are 100 percent confident, it’s still essential to practice. Write down your sequence and practice-teach it multiple times. Actually say the cues out loud, not just in your head, preferably with friends or family. Don’t worry about getting too complex or including advanced postures—choose simple asanas and a sequence that you feel comfortable cueing. Know all the necessary variations for each pose and when to cue them. This will make you feel all the more ready when you step into the studio.

You can always write your sequence on a sheet of paper or in a notebook and keep it at your feet or near your mat as a reminder if that helps you feel more confident.

Wear comfortable clothing

This is not the day to wear your latest leggings splurge. The last thing you want is a distraction like an itchy seam, a tag sticking into your back, or a wardrobe malfunction of any sort. Wear something comfortable that allows you to move but also expresses your personality and personal style. If you regularly wear malas, choose your favorite one. If you’ve never worn a mala in your life, don’t start at your audition.

Be mindful of timing

Keep an eye on the clock and start and stop on time. Many yoga studios run a tight schedule, so it’s important to demonstrate your time management—which for many studio owners is just as critical to who they put on their schedule as actual teaching ability. Being mindful of the time illustrates that you won’t be responsible for complaints from students for starting or ending class late. Also, some studios have less than 15 minutes between classes, so there’s very little time for students to pack up and leave before other students are wanting to set up their mat. Wear a watch or keep your phone (on airplane mode!) within your sight so you can easily keep track of the time.

Use your voice

Many new teachers haven’t fully developed their teaching style yet, and that’s OK! No one expects you to be perfect. Just be yourself, whether that’s bringing humor, openness, or spirituality—they want to see who you are as a teacher. That’s the whole point of the audition!

Teach what you know

Are you an anatomy expert? Do you know Sanskrit like the back of your hand? Maybe you’re a natural at weaving a theme throughout the practice? Focus on your strengths and allow them to come through during your audition. Don’t get so distracted by what you think the studio wants that you forget to teach what you know best.

Maintain eye contact

Connect with whomever you’re teaching. That doesn’t mean try to read into their expressions. Instead, pay attention to how they’re moving and responding to your cues. This is all good information that will help you modify as you go through your audition—and this practice will continue to make you a better teacher.

Practice what you preach

As a yoga teacher, you understand the power of your breath, so use it to your advantage. Take a moment to center yourself with a few deep breaths before you walk into the audition. Breathe with your students during the warm-up. Set your intention and/or repeat your favorite mantra and take that mindfulness with you throughout the audition.

If you make a mistake, teach on

You might make mistakes. Who doesn’t? We’ve all mixed up our lefts and rights or said something that didn’t make any sense whatsoever. The important thing is that you just keep going. If humor is part of your teaching style, laugh it off. No need to apologize. Simply correct your cue and move on. It happens to the best teachers, so don’t let it throw you off.

Try not to worry about the outcome

Part of yoga is understanding and practicing aparigraha, or non-attachment. Give the audition your everything. But don’t become so obsessed with obtaining the position that you take the outcome personally—whether or not you’re offered the gig. Sometimes it’s just not a strong fit, for countless reasons.

Remember: Becoming a yoga teacher is an act of service

Remember, you’re there to offer your teachings, your voice, and your experience of yoga. You were invited to audition because the studio has an interest in sharing your approach to yoga with their students. Everyone is rooting for you. Trust yourself and let your voice be heard. This will get easier with experience. You’ve got this!