What is it that separates the thousands (make that hundreds-of-thousands) wanna-be yoga teachers from the extraordinary best teachers you love with a cult following?
Before I bust it out, stand up, do some side reaches, pop a quick down dog, do whatever you need to do to get ready to FOCUS!The good news?
It’s super simple.
*grabs tea *
They’re not afraid to bring their “true selves” into their teaching and turn that into a BRAND. They’re willing to take a stance, be different, and create a unique voice.
Here’s what no one ever tells you about creating a unique voice:
Not everyone is going to like it.
You will lose people.
Since most yoga teachers are the sweetest people on the planet, they want to be liked by everyone. I get it! I want to be liked be everyone too.
Alienating someone seems like the worst thing in the world.
But, you MUST create a unique voice and style to set you apart from all the other teachers out there. One of my favorite sayings from one of my BIG mentors is “don’t be a vanilla cupcake.”
Think about it:
Would you rather be this sweet, well-liked teacher everyone basically kinda likes, but they can’t really put a finger on who you are and what you stand for. They see you name on the schedule and their mind is drawing a blank.
Be the kind of teacher who has 50% raving lunatic fans and 50% people who just don’t vibe with your style. But when people see your name on the schedule, they know exactly what they’re in for, to the extent that they can describe the experience to a friend.
Instead of being generic and trying to please everyone, I want you to find the true tribe of people who will love you and will move mountains to be in the presence of what you’re offering.
This is exactly why in my yoga teacher training, I endorse the perspective that every body is unique. I want to help you uncover your own personal teaching style
See, the best teachers draw from a strong sense of purpose. I’ll be supporting you in my training to discover what’s most meaningful to you — on the mat, and in your life.
Let’s talk about how to do that:
Tip #1: Let Go
Let go of the idea that everyone needs to like your class.
Can you do that for me?
How liberating does it feel?
The reality is that no matter how amazing you are, this is an impossible goal.
Is it possible to teach Yin yoga and Power Yoga at the same time for 60-minutes?
The worst for me was when the studio owner of the trendiest studio I’ve ever taught at called my cell phone after taking my class one day and told me she didn’t like it. She thought I talked too much and too loud, and named one other person who seconded her opinion.
Yet she followed this comment up with, “but you must be doing something right, because I also get dozens of emails from people about how much they die-hard love your class.”
The studio owner was the type of person who really liked a lot of silence when she does yoga – AKA a terrible fit for my particular brand of teaching as I go into a lot of detail about everything.
I love honing my voice, so incorporated some parts of her feedback. But I didn’t change anything about my overall style. Longterm, she ended up giving me even more spots on the schedule. She understood that people had a strong reaction to my class, and agreed that this was a 100% positive thing.
Tip #2: Don’t Oversimplify
I’m not telling you that you have to specialize in one style of yoga from now on and teach that and nothing else in order to “brand” yourself.
If you’re really passionate about one style, then go for it! Specializing in just Yin or Pre-Natal or Power Yoga is a great way to set yourself apart when starting out.
But if you’re like me, picking just one style would seem limiting. I love teaching yoga in all it’s forms. However, when I started out, I committed to teaching a slow, alignment-based, vinyasa flow and made that “my thing.” This helped me master the style and uncover my unique voice quickly, since I was focused.
Once I nailed my voice, I started teaching Yin on Youtube as well. Soon I’ll be layering in Kundalini too.
Your voice and brand is deeper than a style of yoga. Once you’ve got it down – you can do anything. I think my students would agree that whether I’m teaching Power Yoga or Yin, fast or slow, it always feels like a “Brett Larkin class.”Your voice and brand as a teacher is deeper than a style of yoga. Click To Tweet
You don’t need to be “just one thing.” You just need to be YOU.
Tip #3: Flavor Your Class with More YOU
Since teaching yoga is such a sacred act, I think many of us think we need reign in our personality in order to teach effectively.
In my experience, the opposite is true.
Start thinking about where you can let your personality shine.
Note: This isn’t about oversharing with your students or talking about your personal life. This is about adding your unique flavor to a class. For example, a crazy successful local teacher where I live is originally from South Carolina. She super plays up her Southern accent when teaching and it totally works with her playful, casual style.
I’m obsessed with ballet so bring some dance terminology into the classroom as a way to inspire people to move gracefully.
Do you see how STANDING OUT is just about being more YOURSELF and can actually be fun?
Bring your authentic self into your teaching more and more, as this is what your true tribe is going to be attracted to.
If you don’t let yourself stand out, the people who will love you the most will never find you.
Join me in Yoga Teacher Training (or my Bridge program if you already are a yoga teacher). The tools and insights you’ll gain in my training will ignite a spark that will radiate through your whole life. Let me know if you have any questions about either program.