My First Time Teaching Yoga In Person

On Sunday, I taught my very first in-person yoga class (that wasn’t to my friends). I’ve been teaching yoga for longer than six months at this point, but I genuinely felt like I was teaching yoga for the first time ever.

For the last several months, I have been teaching free yoga classes online on Sundays at 11 am ET; however, this Sunday kicked off my Power Yoga classes at the OneLife in Olney, Maryland. It’s the same time, and it’s still however I choose to sequence the class, but it’s definitely a major difference from what I’m used to!

Virtual Versus In-Person Yoga Classes

I didn’t think that it would be such a learning curve for me, seeing as I’ve been teaching fitness classes in person for a few years now, but somehow things are very different when you go from learning and teaching an entire format online versus teaching it in-person.

Here are some of the key ways that I found it to be strikingly different to teach yoga in person versus teaching yoga online: 

People Can See You… Unfiltered

I know that this is a bit of a “duh” moment, but it’s so weird for me! We are socially distanced and everyone is wearing masks, but I realize that I am so much more self-conscious teaching yoga versus teaching indoor cycling classes (the only other format I teach in person). 
Are they looking at my armpits? Are they looking at my feet? 
It’s such a strange feeling for me because I’m not generally a self-conscious person. In fact, I consider myself to be a walking hot mess 99% of the time. I genuinely do not care for the most part. But then, here comes live yoga classes with my armpits and toes out for the world to see, and all of a sudden I feel nervous! In fact, in preparation for my toes being exposed to the world for the first time – with the exception of this blog post – in over a year (it’s not like I’ve been going to pools or beaches or wiggling my toes in front of non-strangers), I gave myself a pedicure and painted my nails for the first time since… well, I don’t even know when. 

You Have to Find a Good Spot for the Microphone Transmitter

This was something I hadn’t even almost considered. I knew I was going to have to wear a microphone to teach yoga, as I have to wear a mask to teach plus my voice is too soft as it is. What I didn’t know was that I was going to have to find a good spot to hook up that big ol’ microphone pack and belt! 
When I teach indoor cycling, it doesn’t really matter because I’m not lying on my back or stomach or side. This is, of course, not the case for yoga. 
I’m sure I’m going to find a good spot to clip it or hook it in the weeks to come, but I hadn’t figured that out by the end of Sunday’s class!

You Have to Pay More Attention to What You’re Wearing

I straight up wore the wrong top for class. Now, if I was just taking the class, or even just teaching it online, things would’ve been just fine. Unfortunately, the combination of the quantity of fabric, placement of a little side tie, plus that daggone microphone transmitter, just did not work. 
I can see now that I’m going to have to have my own power yoga outfits. I’m thinking simple tank tops that fit close to the body, and maybe a couple of extra pairs of high-waisted leggings that are super stretchy (the PowerHold leggings from Fabletics are the reigning champions when it comes to my leggings). While I love wearing flowy material for yoga, I just don’t think it’s going to work out for these classes because there’s just too much going on!

People Are Sitting There, Looking At You

So… the main thing that’s different about teaching in-person is that, well… you’re in-person. That means that everyone lines their yoga mats up so that they can look right into your armpits eyes, and there’s no escaping that! With virtual classes, you may or may not be able to see any of your students. When they’re sitting right there in front of you, there’s no escaping it! This was one of the things that made me feel like I was teaching for the very first time. I don’t know why this was one of the most stressful parts for me!

Know Your Left From Your Right, Then Say The Opposite

This might seem obvious, but when you’re teaching online, you don’t have to worry about telling the students to do the opposite side from what you’re doing. This makes teaching yoga slightly less stressful with virtual classes, as you can focus more on the actual cueing (the hardest part, in my opinion). I realized fairly early into class that I needed to make sure I was saying the correct side because I absolutely did not start out class doing this the correct way!

Not Being Able to Make Adjustments is a Real Challenge

While I have never been able to offer assists to my virtual students, I have been able to cue adjustments over the computer. Unfortunately, this is much harder to do in-person – especially when you don’t know anyone’s name! I can’t walk around the room and offer personalized assists or adjustments, so I now know that I have to be even more specific with my cueing. I know that I was able to cue corrections for some folks, but the faster-paced nature of power yoga definitely makes this challenging. Nonetheless, I’m up for this challenge! It’s going to make me a better yoga teacher overall, and it will help me get more comfortable with teaching in general.

Learning How to Use the Fans and Lights Is Going to Take Some Practice

Frankly, I had no idea what I was doing with the fans or the overhead lights. I figured out how to use the ceiling fans (there are multiple settings), but the lights really tricked me. Fortunately, I have about 45 minutes in between my indoor cycling class and my power yoga class, so I can take the time to learn how to use them. Plus, there’s a class that starts at the same time as my cycle class, so I can pop in and ask that instructor how to use this equipment!

Final Thoughts

I’m really excited about finally having my own class on the club’s schedule, and while I was a bit nervous, I really enjoyed it! I got great feedback from my students, the studio is really nice, and I’m getting more and more comfortable teaching yoga each week. While I had some moments where I felt a bit anxious or panicked, I survived it! 
I’m trying to practice self-compassion and not be too hard on myself, and this is helping me to avoid nitpicking everything I did “wrong” on Sunday. I know where I have room for growth, how I can minimize distractions for myself (ehem… my clothes and microphone!), and that most of my students aren’t noticing the same things I’m noticing about myself!  
This is such an exciting new endeavor, and I cannot wait to teach again this Sunday!
Have you ever taken a power yoga class? Have you ever taught an in-person yoga class? Do you take classes virtually? Online? Both? Neither? Please share your thoughts in the comments! Did you know that you can take virtual classes with me on Recess?

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