You’re standing in front of class, and your hands are shaking.
You love what you do.
You know it’s your calling to be a guide and teacher to others.
But it’s so scary to get up there and do it!
How can you build the confidence you need to share your gifts?
Here are 13 Tips to Boost Confidence as a Mindfulness, Meditation, or Yoga Teacher!
1. Encourage Yourself
Think of how you would encourage a dear friend, then direct that energy towards yourself. Play around with soothing, uplifting phrases like “you’ve got this! You’re going to do great! You don’t have to be perfect.” You can also try doing a self-compassion practice before you teach.
2. Get Grounded
Take a few moments to drop in before you start teaching. Maybe it’s closing your eyes and breathing for a few moments when you start. Maybe it’s cracking jokes. Whatever helps you feel relaxed and grounded is the way to go!
3. Nervous? Say it!
Do you feel jittery when you teach? Share with your students! Vulnerability builds confidence and opens up a space for people to feel more connected to you. Naming what’s real and alive in the moment takes pressure off of you, builds trust, and gives everyone permission to show up in an authentic way. Practice what you preach!
4. Love Your Students
If you feel self-conscious in front of a group, try loving on your “audience.” Imagine your students are dear friends or family members. Send them good wishes. See their beauty. This makes you feel more connected to the group.
5. Laugh at Mistakes
Become playful and lighthearted about messing up. Embrace and expect yourself to be imperfect. Reframe mistakes as learning opportunities and let them point you in the direction of growth.
6. Balance Your Inner Critic
Ask yourself, “Am I selectively picking out and focusing on what went wrong? Can I shift what I’m paying attention to and have a more balanced view of myself?” Counteract negative bias by intentionally taking note of what worked well.
7. Ask for Feedback from People You Trust
Ask for honest, real-time feedback from kind people whose opinions you trust. Approach feedback as a way to get more information rather than taking a test. Ask questions like, “How did that land? What was your experience of my teaching?” or “What’s one thing that worked/didn’t work well for you—and why?”
8. Embrace Where You Are
It’s easy to look at teachers you admire and think, “That’s how I’m supposed to be.” But remember that you’re doing the best you can with where you’re at right now—and that’s ok! Remember that you’re good enough and give yourself permission to show up as you are, in this moment.
9. Lean Into What You Know
You have a huge pool of wisdom and life experience to draw from, so use it! Don’t be afraid to draw on stories, personal experience, and observations from your own life—as well as formal training. It’s all relevant!
10. ... and Give Yourself Permission to Not Know
Don’t know? No problem. You don’t need to know everything and that’s ok. Honesty and humility are key. This takes the pressure off of you to be the “expert” and builds a sense of trust, because it shows students you’re still learning, too.
11. Practice, Practice, Practice
Especially if you’re shy, you might feel hesitant to jump in and teach. Many meditators and yogis are introverts at heart! But the more you do it, the easier it will be. When you have an opportunity, go for it! Have a friend who wants to start meditating? Try guiding them for 5 minutes. Those baby steps will build up momentum and confidence to get you where you want to be.
12. Celebrate Your Wins
Put on music! Do a dance! Give yourself a hug. Celebration generates positive momentum that inspires you to keep going. Make it a practice to write down or share out loud your “wins” with friends and colleagues.
Want to bring mindfulness practice to young people? Join the Inward Bound Mindfulness Teacher Training Program to gain the tools and confidence you need to make an impact! Program starts June 2023. Learn more + apply.
Here’s what Teacher Training graduates are saying about the program ...
“This teacher training gave me the confidence, clarity, and optimism I needed to create my own path as a mindfulness educator. It facilitated a deep, introspective kind of learning for me. The clarity and resolve I gained has gotten me through the hurdles of the past two years, working in a field that still feels emergent and is sometimes met with skepticism or resistance by those who aren’t familiar with mindfulness practice and its benefits.”
—Nina B., Mindfulness Director at MDI, Director of Wellness at Harvard College
“This teacher training helped me become a teacher that’s able to tap into what’s real; what’s happening; what’s alive, and speak from an authentic place inside of me.”
—Sara Shapouri, Teacher Training Graduate, Faculty
“This program basically created my life as a teacher of mindfulness. It was a great opportunity to go very very deep—in getting to know who I am, how I relate with other people, how the world works, how the brain works ... It’s given me this wealth of knowledge and made me be able to be a resource for young people.”
—Ingrid K., Teacher
Inward Bound Mindfulness Education (iBme) is a nonprofit that offers in-depth mindfulness programming for youth and the parents and professionals who support them. Our programming guides teens and adults in developing self-awareness, compassion, and ethical decision-making, and empowers them to apply these skills in improving their lives and communities.