You landed a teaching audition at a gym, yoga studio, or other venue – sweet! Now, how to prepare?
Timing, music, and vision
Find out from the studio owner or manager where to be and when to be there. Build in extra time to find parking if driving. Arriving at least 20 minutes early is a good rule of thumb. Inquire about what style of class they expect you to teach, for how long, and if music is appropriate. I have done both video auditions and in-person auditions, which have ranged from 10 to 30+ minutes (for a 10-minute video audition I did for a gym, I was told to “Skip the breathing stuff”). Make sure your schedule is clear before and after the audition because the studio owner/manager may want to talk with you. This will often be the perfect time to chat about how your vision and teaching style align with theirs. As a note, prior to the audition would also be the appropriate time to find out if there will be any kids, goats, alcohol, paddle boards and so forth involved in the yoga class.
Make a plan!
Prepare your teaching sequence, cues, and your playlist if music is expected. Practice by informally teaching both beginners and more advanced yogis, if possible, to hone your cueing and assists. You may be auditioning in an empty room, to a camera, or in front of a mixed-levels class of several people.
Write down any questions for the hiring manager. You may not be given time on the day of the audition to ask questions, since there may be other people auditioning directly after you; in that case, save your questions for a follow-up call, email, or in-person meeting. Some good questions to start with are:
- How often will I be teaching? (and provide your availability). Some businesses require a minimum of three classes per week, for example.
- Inquire about pay. Sometimes this is just a flat rate, or there may be incentives like pay increases for bringing in students over a certain number for a given class.
- Will you be considered an independent contractor or an employee? Carefully read any new hire paperwork before signing. There may also be a non-compete agreement contained therein. Depending on the terms of the agreement, it could effectively prevent you from working at other studios within a reasonable driving distance.
Prepare ~ your ~ yogi kit
Bring the items you like to incorporate into your own personal practice (note: if you don’t yet have a personal practice, now is THE time to start one!). I like to bring:
- Business cards. This is an easy way to elevate yourself as a professional. Related: Learn why it’s important to have your own LLC as a yoga teacher here.
- A way to create sound: a singing bowl, chimes, a harmonium…
- Mat and props (extra yoga blocks and straps for students; often gyms, pop-up locations, and newly constructed studios do not have these).
- Essential oils, palo santo, sage, incense… anything you like to incorporate, but ask permission before you burn or diffuse something in someone else’s space.
- A watch – I used to be against the concept of the Apple Watch since I’m not interested in having constant notifications and distractions directly on my arm. But now I have one and wear it pretty much only while teaching because it is so convenient. I can control music from across the room without reaching for my phone while assisting and adjusting students. I also use it to time Yin poses, making sure that right and left sides are timed equally. A regular watch or easily visible clock works great as well.
- Phone with a spare cable to connect to speakers, in case there’s no Bluetooth.
- A portable Bluetooth speaker to pair with your phone in case there’s no speaker.
- Any texts that are meaningful to you, if you like to incorporate quotes or passages into your teaching.
The list above is not exhaustive. You may also find that you don’t need so many props. Sometimes simple is best. Confidence combined with calmness is key.
Little things often impress those making hiring decisions. Examples: Cueing a vinyasa flow in Sanskrit in addition to English; inquiring before beginning the audition as to whether there are any injuries or pregnancies among students in the room; gently massaging a relaxing essential oil into students’ foreheads and temples during savasana; putting props away neatly. Do what you enjoy and ask your yogi and non-yogi friends what cues make sense to them, and what feels good during practice sessions.
Remember, you have been offered an audition because people are curious about you and your practice! By preparing well, acting professionally, and staying calm no matter what curveballs may come your way during the audition, you will impress those looking to hire you.