“I’m not Good Enough to Teach Aerial Yoga”
We have heard this phrase for years. And at the AFI we just don’t believe it to be true. Please never let where you are now, stop you from moving towards what you want. You can only start from where you are. It’s simply impossible to start from any other place. This is the most common. And, heartbreakingly, it’s probably the most erroneous. The wish to share the freedom of flight with people is what’s most important.
To teach Aerial Yoga is about sharing your knowledge, your passion, and the care you take while you do it. Your students will feel the power of your caring and the love behind your words. A giggle of humanity if you goof up will lighten any class. And make you relatable (remember your students may be feeling ‘not good enough’ too.) we are human. We are in this together. And to not share what you love would be a great sadness.
“I’m Not Strong Enough”
If your body could do with some strengthening, know that the power will come as you spend time practicing alongside the training videos. Order your hammock, slink it up in the playground, or nearby friendly tree, stream our videos on your smartphone, and follow along.
“I’m Too Big”
A little extra weight, for example, doesn’t mean you won’t be able to achieve the moves. It doesn’t even need to take away from your skill as a teacher. The power in a body with some extra pounds is remarkable. Authenticity is so powerful in how we connect with our people. The curves are beautiful and real. Students love a teacher who is real.
“I’ll Freeze and Will Forget the Sequence”
First, there is a body memory as well as a brain memory. When you teach aerial yoga, what you have practiced remains in your body and will help prompt you. But if you are worried about stage fright, print out the sequences and put them on the floor by your hammock to refer to. We do that sometimes too! (And it’s why we made the font extra large in the manual 😉 )
“I’ll Get it All Wrong”
We all goof up. No human has ever not made a mistake. And this is where you have a decision to make: Push Through with Flair or Own It with a Reframe.
Because your students won’t know where you were going, they most often will have no idea you have flown off course. So you can do a simple re-direct when you notice your diversion. Seriously they will be none the wiser! Just say for example you have forgotten the second side and repeated the right side twice. Then announce breezily, ‘Great work everyone. You’ve worked deeply with that right side. Let’s get our bodies balanced out. We’ll all now practice the left side twice for evenness.’ Take command, just like a pilot would!
Or you can own it, as long as you do it with a smile. We are all human. People love to connect with humanity! With confidence, have a giggle at yourself out loud and offer a reframe. Comment how your joy in teaching allowed you to get carried away tunneling down a different route, but how you want to bring your students back to the theme you had planned in class. You can always offer to follow up on that incorrect route in a subsequent class.
‘I Won’t Know the Answer to Every Question’
Nobody will expect you to know everything. But you can offer to find out and let your student know next time, (or contact them out of class with the answers). Teachers often feel fearful about dealing with a student coming to class with a previous injury. This lack of confidence feels real because it is appropriate. Rarely would a student expect you to be a physiotherapist and know all the answers. When a student tells you of an injury or issue, that you just don’t recognise, ask them to tell you how it affects them. How does it limit what they can do? Get them to describe the pain. If you are unsure, always refer them to a physical therapist. Find a local therapist who wants your referrals (that will be most of them!) and someone who will feedback to you the information you need to keep that student healthy and safe. We recommend inviting these therapists to class so they have an idea of typical aerial movements so that their instructions will be really useful.
Be honest and let your student know when an injury is not known to you. This way they know they need to be sure to work within their limits. All students should sign a waiver form for good measure and on this form be sure to communicate that they must work to their level and within their personal limit. Top up this message with in-class reminders that no moves are obligatory and it is always the student’s choice.
The thing is you have to start teaching from somewhere. And the best time to do that is now. Then, once you are up and flying, continued your professional development with training courses in areas you want to develop.
You’ll Find Your Tribe
We believe that you will attract your tribe. At the end of the day, you will connect with your students who connect with you. An athletic teacher who flips and flies will attract students how love to do those things. Students who love to connect in slow deep ways will gravitate towards a more meditative thoughtful teacher. You are unique and perfect. You have inner resources and knowledge that are your gifts to share with the world. Let your smile shine out this message.