So You're Ready to Sub a Yoga Class
Working with so many new yoga teachers, I have had many questions lately about subbing yoga classes. Why would you want to sub a yoga class? How do you go about subbing a yoga class? What do you do when you sub a yoga class?
Why Would You Want to Sub a Yoga Class?
Subbing a yoga class can boost your career as a yoga teacher in more than one way. You have the opportunity to build a relationship with a new studio (or other organization). Not only are they testing you out, but you also discover whether or not your teaching style aligns with their mission. You get the opportunity to meet new students and will naturally start to build a following. Even though you would never solicit these new students while you are subbing, the students will remember you and look forward to other opportunities to take your classes.
Let's not forget that when you are subbing someone else's yoga class, you are growing as an instructor. You are gaining one more teaching hour and every one of your teaching hours matters very much. You get to practice writing a class sequence and then teaching it. You are enjoying an opportunity to work with different bodies and notice how they respond to your cues. You get to learn from these observations and make subtle shifts in the way that you teach different poses and the words that you choose when teaching.
You get to practice writing a class sequence and then teaching it. You are enjoying an opportunity to work with different bodies and notice how they respond to your cues.
Another big benefit of subbing a yoga class is that it is often the first step into landing a weekly class on the schedule. Most people want to find out how you mesh with their community and learn more about your teaching style before they commit to giving you a recurring weekly class. This doesn't mean you've somehow failed if you sub for awhile and don't get offered a weekly class. It isn't so much about judging whether or not you are good or bad, but it has more to do with identifying the type of class that you would be best suited for and whether or not they have a need for that at the moment.
Quick story. I remember at my studio, we had one phenomenal sub who I would have loved to have on the schedule weekly. It didn't work out that I was able to offer her a weekly class though because her teaching style was power flow all the way and we had more of a beginners community. With an ashtanga class on the schedule already along with my three power flows, there was not a need for another.
How Do You Go About Subbing a Yoga Class?
How you get on a sub list depends on where you want to sub. Let's start with studios. If you want to sub at a studio, you need to first know the studio. As a studio owner, I can tell you that this is very important. I cannot tell you how many people who never even came to the studio sent me facebook messages or emails looking for employment. They never taught at my studio. Yoga studios are all about community and studio owners have to protect the community. It does not matter what a wonderful yoga teacher someone is if they don't have the community's best interest at heart. The best way to know the studio and the community is to visit the studio. Take a few classes.
You need to speak with the person who hires yoga teachers. In studios, it's likely the owner unless it is a larger studio with a manager. You can ask the front desk staff who hires and when they will be in the studio. I think it's best to go meet this person face-to-face. Warmly and authentically introduce yourself and express your interest in getting on the sub list. They may or may not schedule an interview and an audition. If they interview you, whether its formal or not, it is important that you know yourself.
Knowing yourself means knowing your own teaching style. When you are asked, "what do you enjoy teaching?", an answer like, "everything" is not what the interviewer is looking for. Even though it is probably true and we all love teaching everything in yoga, that is not enough information for the interviewer to know how you would serve the studio community. An example of an answer with enough detail would be, "my classes are mostly slow flow. I like to hold the poses long enough to build some heat while maintaining a focus on the breath and keeping the emphasis on safe alignment." Another example of a detailed answer is, "my hatha classes are light-hearted. My classes aren't the kind that encourage silence. In fact, I laugh with my students often throughout the class. The emphasis is on accepting what we find on the mat with a sense of ease and self-love. I love teaching beginners and breaking down the poses in a way that is fun and welcoming to newbies."
Another example of a detailed answer is, "my hatha classes are light-hearted. My classes aren't the kind that encourage silence. In fact, I laugh with my students often throughout the class. The emphasis is on accepting what we find on the mat with a sense of ease and self-love. I love teaching beginners and breaking down the poses in a way that is fun and welcoming to newbies."
If you want to get on a sub list at a gym, that is typically a simpler process. You would just ask the front desk who makes the group fitness schedule and work to get in front of that person. Once you meet the right person, you provide your availability to sub and ask if they have room for anyone else on their sub lists. Many gyms have higher turnover rates and will likely be grateful for a new yoga teacher.
What Do You Do When You Sub a Yoga Class?
More Information on Online Yoga Teacher Training
Steph has over 25 years of experience in yoga and movement. Her understanding of yoga and the human body has been influenced by lifelong dancing and holistic health. She found her life’s purpose in helping people become happier and healthier through her own healing journey. Steph assists her students in knowing the joy and wonderment of integrating the mind and body through accessible yoga. She encourages an authentic and life-nurturing practice, one that brings greater consciousness to each moment and every movement of the body with a heavy emphasis on breath.
With a masters degree in counseling, Steph brings awareness, acceptance and a down to earth approach to her classes. She studied with Maty Ezraty and later completed her second 200-hour training with Nancy Candea at Yoga Impact in New Jersey and her 300-hour training with Chris Loebsack at Boundless Yoga Studio in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. The perpetual student, Steph has studied with Leslie Howard, Travis Eliot, Bryan Kest, Donna Farhi and countless others. She has extensive training in pelvic floor yoga, restorative yoga, yin yoga, power yoga and accessible yoga. Most recently, Steph was certified as a Grand Master of Meditation through Swami Vidyanand.
Steph founded Yoga and Ayurveda Center with her husband. She later launched Online Yoga School to support her local trainings and has recently launched a virtual yoga studio to accommodate the international community of trainees.
When she isn’t on her mat, Steph can be found volunteering, enjoying her husband and children, dancing and cooking. She currently enjoys serving on the board of World Yoga Federation and Meditation Alliance International and previously enjoyed serving on the Education Committee of Yoga Alliance and places a strong emphasis on inclusivity in her teacher trainings.