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How To Strengthen Your Confidence As A Yoga Teacher

Does a lack of confidence affect you and your teaching, my love?

If so, let me assure you that you are SO. NOT. ALONE.

Several months ago I asked people what they were struggling with in their teaching, and what they wanted me to write about, and overwhelmingly, people answered that lacking confidence was one of their biggest struggles as a teacher.

And of course, that’s not a yoga teacher thing. That’s a human thing. I am quite sure that every single human being struggles with feelings of worthlessness and uncertainly and lack of clarity and self doubt. Everyone struggles with those feelings. EVERYONE, you guys. It’s part of the human experience.

It makes sense to me, also, that those feelings are amplified when we take on a role as a teacher. As a yoga teacher you stand at the front of a room full of people who are looking to you for guidance.

And they’re looking to you for guidance in their YOGA PRACTICE, which if you haven’t noticed is a notoriously complex, multi layered topic with almost no black and white answers to questions. Yoga is a tradition that is full of grey areas. There is almost NEVER one hard and fast, right or wrong answer. {Well, certainly the way I teach anyway.}

That makes it pretty much IMPOSSIBLE to feel super confident that you have The Right Answer when you are teaching a group of humans with wildly varied bodies, hearts and needs.


Let’s add to yoga’s inherent lack of certainty, the prevalence of social media and the way celebrity culture has weaved its way into our yoga world. This can make the yoga world feel like middle school all over again. The most popular teachers are the ones who can do the prettiest handstands, and have enough free time, frankly, to edit those pictures and post them all over the internet.

Some of the other hesitations teachers have shared with me include:

  • Concern they lack their own unique teaching voice.

  • Fear that they don’t know enough to be teaching at all.

  • The worry that their quiet and slow style of teaching aren’t what people want.

Every single one of those concerns have plagued me as well, and pretty frequently. If you are a yoga teacher and you’re NOT struggling with self confidence, at least occasionally, you’re probably not being honest with yourself.

And yet.

{There’s always an And Yet with me. I’m here to help after all!}

I’ve got some advice to share here because my whole life people have commented that I seem like a really confident person, and that could not be further from the truth.

Just last week I got this comment and question from a teacher I am mentoring:

“YES you’re so right that no matter how many smart strategies I put in motion they will not take flight if crippling self-doubt is still at the steering wheel. Have you had to work at all at pumping up your own confidence over the years, or does it just come naturally?…’cause let me tell you sister, your confidence game is STRONG! In a good, metta soft-edge kinda way of course. “

That was so nice to hear, but you guys, let me set the record straight.

Confidence, especially in my teaching, does not come naturally to me.

There is one thing that does come pretty naturally to me, most of the time, and that has given me a HUGE headstart.

I believe I have the right to exist. I believe I have the right to take up space.
Because of that simple belief I have PRACTICED THE SKILLS that make me seem like a confident person.

This feeling of inherent belonging, coupled with a willingness to be bad at things, is something that has served me more than any other quality I possess and for that I am grateful every day.

Confidence is a skill you can practice. Trusting yourself is a muscle that can get stronger.
You have to DO IT, though.
You have to put yourself in situations where you get to PRACTICE trusting yourself and STRENGTHEN your internal confidence.

Let me say this publicly now: I was not a very strong yoga teacher when I first started teaching. I was the runt of my 200 YTT program. I was really young and really anxious and not very deep in my own practice. Being a dancer and having a lot of body knowledge gave me a leg up on other brand new 200 hour trained teachers, but my ability to impart that information in warm and articulate way was less than stellar.

I was TERRIFIED all. the. time. when I was a new teacher.

But I loved yoga and I wanted to take care of people and I wanted to be a yoga teacher.

So even though I had very little confidence in my teaching skills, and honestly, for good reason, I taught as much as I could anyway.

I didn’t have any confidence in myself as a teacher. What I did have was the belief that I could get better and the belief that I had the right to fail.