Between the two of them, evolation co-founders, husband-and-wife Mark & Zefea have their share of experience in running yoga studios. When they met, Mark was owning 8 Bikram yoga studios. Together, over the past 10 years, they have owned over 10 studios across the globe in different sizes, styles and formats. Today evolation has 25 independently-owned affiliate studios, and they use their expertise to help yogis around the world manage, open and run their own studios.
Recently, Zefea was asked what’s the most common advice she hears being given to new teachers looking for jobs. What’s often heard is this:
Be yourself! Be authentic!
Of course, this is grand advice. However, not the most practical. What if your authentic self likes to sleep in until 11am? Or your authentic self prefers to attend only your favourite teacher’s class?
With all their experience hiring hundreds of yoga teachers at studios across the world… this is what evolation recommends you do to land a job.
1. Take a class first.
The very first thing we look up when receiving a resume isn’t the candidates Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn… it’s whether or not they have attended a class the studio before.
Imagine this: You have a steady practice at a local studio. The teachers, owner and practitioners see first-hand how dedicated you are to your practice. One day, for whatever reason, the instructor doesn’t show up for class. There’s ten minutes until show time and you’re the only teacher there. You’ve rolled out your mat, ready to practice, and the girl at the front desk asks if you can lead the class. This happens so much more often than you think, and it’s actually how many yogis land regular teaching positions! Even if this doesn’t happen, most studio owners prefer to hire somebody who’s visited the space before.
2. Research, research research!
The biggest rookie mistake? Not knowing the values and vibe of the studio your applying to. If you’re unable to take a class before applying, definitely make sure to do your research. So often we see people applying with an obviously copy-and-pasted cover letter; so general that nothing at all speaks to the studio they’re hoping to teach at. A common line being “I think I would be a great addition to your space!”… Explain why! In your cover letter, mention at least one thing that you like about the studio. Something like, “I took Hannah’s class and loved it!” or “I really enjoyed the communal energy of your space”. Little lines like that will go a long way. Do your homework, research the mission statement, core values, and history before your interview.
3. Ask your own questions.
Don’t just let the studio owner do all the talking. Come prepared with your own questions! For example… “What’s your policy on hands-on adjustments?” or “How do you like to give space for savasana at the end of your classes?” or “What style of class are you looking for? Dynamic, energetic, accessible, relaxed?”
4. Show that you can sell.
Yoga teachers need to do more than just show up, teach, and leave. They need to connect with their students and create an environment that makes them want to come back, and bring their friends and family. Studios can’t survive on drop-ins alone! Show how personable you can be. Smile and all the teachers and students in the lobby, be bright and cheery when introduced. Any chance you have to show off your warm, welcoming side must be taken advantage of, because that’s just as important as teaching a stellar class.
5. Be on time or early.
One of the most important aspects of being a yoga teacher is punctuality. You simply can’t stroll up 10 minutes late for work, if “work” is a scheduled yoga class. Your students have places to be! And so does the studio owner. Set the tone and show them that you take the job seriously.
6. Make use of your audition class.
Audition classes can be intimidating. Sometimes, they’re as short as 15 or 20 minutes. How can you use this time to your advantage? Show all your energetic sides as a teacher! Instead of flowing through 5 vinyasas in a row, try to balance out some warming postures, one solid vinyasa, some motivating peak poses, and grounding, meditative poses. Present yourself and everything you can do!
7. Ground yourself first.
You can’t pour from an empty cup. If you’re nervous, take some time before your interview or your audition class to ground yourself. Find a quiet space for a breathing exercise (like Alternate Nostril Breathing) or a short meditation. Remind yourself you’re just there to serve your students. Feel your feet on the ground as you teach, and feel the rhythm of your breath -- just like you’re instructing your students to do.