As a trainee or new yoga teacher a great way to get extra yoga teaching experience is by offering to be a cover teacher at your local yoga classes. But being a Yoga Cover Teacher for a regular yoga class can be daunting, even for an experienced yoga teacher. This is a topic that is covered in my 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training Course, based in Southampton, but I’ve put together a really easy at a glance guide that should help you through the most tricky of situations when it comes to covering yoga classes.
Start by preparing. Get as much information as you can from the yoga teacher in advance…
How many yoga students?
Demographics? Age, experience, likes dislikes.
Aim to arrive before the yoga students start showing up. This way you have seen the space you will be in and given yourself a few moments to orientate yourself and take those Full Yogic Breaths, to calm any nerves. Trust me it’s normal to feel nervous before covering a yoga class, even after teaching for 8 years I still get nervous if I cover a yoga class here in Southampton.
As your yoga students trickle in you will be insitu, ready to greet and introduce yourself. Find out more about the students you will be teaching that class, which leads me to my next point. If you can’t get inside the room, still be early, wait outside the class room and get chatting.
When chatting before the class ask people there names, repeat their name back “Hi Jane, so nice to meeting you” and then try to use their name during class. This goes along way!
- Introduce yourself publicly once everyone has arrived and ready to start class, remember to introduce yourself using your full name so that they can connect with you through social media afterwards “Hi, I’m Laura Green, I’ve been teaching yoga in Southampton for over 8 years now and I’m delighted to be covering your class today.”
- Ask about injuries, likes, dislikes. Find out more about the type of things they would like to have in class.
- Do they like long or short savasanas?
- What about crow, or sun salutations?
- Get the students to show you the layout they normally work in
- And don’t dwell on resting bitch face (I know you know who I’m referring too!)
Aim to teach them something. It’s okay to say that the yoga class is going to be different, I am not like “Jo” but I’m certain we will have a great session! Ideas such as:
- Use a great piece of music for Sun Salutes.
- Try introducing essential oils in the beginning of the yoga practice. Make sure to ask if the yoga students are okay with this.
- Bring eye masks to use in savasana.
- Try a guided chocolate tasting meditation at the end.
When it comes to cover teaching, success comes down to a balance of charisma and skill. Charisma comes from confidence, a big smile and making eye contact. It’s easy not to feel confident when you are walking into a room full of strangers, half of which have resting bitchy face syndrome because you’re not their usual teacher but trust in your yoga, take a big breath and strut your stuff – you know you’ve got this, you know your a good teacher and they’re gonna have a damn good class with you!
Final note – don’t poach students, word will get back to the regular teacher and you won’t be asked again. But if a student comes up at the end of class and actively asks where else you teach proudly tell them and invite them to attend one of your yoga classes.
If you want any more support in how to have a rocking career as a Yoga Teacher, check out my one:one 3 Month Yoga Teacher Mentorship Programme and I’ll have you flying in no time!