By: Claire Hannum, Travel & Wellness Writer
Becoming a wellness leader can feel like a dream come true. After all, how many other jobs are there where you get paid to change people’s lives while doing something you love? Whether you’re looking to become a yoga teacher, pursue meditation teacher training, get certified as a fitness trainer, or even lead a support group, there are so many wonderful ways to help others through wellness.
As you embark on your training, there are a few truths you’ll want to know. We’d love to share with you a few lessons we’ve learned from dozens of wellness practitioners over the years.
1. You need to own the scientific facts.
There are plenty of powerful scientific facts behind the benefits of wellness practices. It’s important to share this information, but you have to do so in a way that’s engaging. Get too technical, and people’s eyes start to glaze over. Make the facts exciting, however, and students will be lining up to take your class.
2. You need a voice that’s up to the job.
As Unplug Meditation founder Suze Yalof Schwartz says, “There is nothing worse than meditating with a drill sergeant.” No matter what type of wellness course you’re teaching, you’ll want to think about what kind of impact you make on the room. You’ll want to make note of your volume and find a sweet spot that’s not too loud or too soft. You’ll also want to be sure that you speak with an air of confidence.
3. Confidence doesn’t come automatically.
No matter how well you know your stuff, getting started as a wellness leader can be nerve-wracking. Thankfully, confidence can be built over time, and the way to make it happen is to just get out there and practice. Teach as often as you can and get honest feedback before you dive into teaching for a living. “Practice makes perfect” is a cliche for a reason - the more you lead, the more comfortable you’ll get!
4. Make it personal.
And no, we don’t mean making it personal about you. As a wellness leader, you’ll want to make your teachings personalized to your students. You don’t want to be the type of teacher who storms into class sharing negative details about your life or bringing down the mood. Sharing about your own experiences is only beneficial if you’re sharing a story that unites the room as a whole. If your students leave the class inspired and eager to tweet that brilliant snippet of wisdom their teacher just shared, you’ll know you’re on the right track.
5. Time is valuable.
Starting and ending wellness classes or sessions on time is incredibly important. Everyone’s time is valuable (including yours!), and most people’s days are jam-packed with obligations. Make sure they can fully relax into their wellness experience without worrying about being late to their next event by respecting the clock.
6. Don’t be afraid to have fun.
“The teachers that have the biggest followings are not only amazing at getting you to be able to sit with yourself for long stretches of time,” says Suze. “They also share their valuable pearls of wisdom in a fun and engaging way so that you’ll remember it.” When your joyful energy lights up a room, your students will return to your classes again and again.
7. Walk the walk.
Practice what you preach. When you’re guiding a wellness class, it is not about your practice, it’s about your students. Hold space for your students during your classes, and show up for them emotionally. “The best teachers are the ones that make you feel different just by spending time near them,” Suze says. “They have that glow of present moment awareness, compassion, focus, joy, and a sense that nothing can cause them stress.” When you walk through life this way, others are sure to notice and benefit from it.
8. Be open to feedback.
No matter how long you’ve been a wellness leader, try to stay open minded about feedback so you can continue to improve at your craft. Take as many classes and trainings as you can so you can remember what the experience feels like from a student’s perspective.
9. Don't do it for the money - do it for love.
As Suze says, “meditation is a super power.” The same rings true for many other wellness practices. Wellness can make such a powerful difference in the lives of the people around you - and of course, for yourself. Sharing this with as many people as you can is the ultimate goal of being a wellness leader, and it’s how we can change the world. You can certainly make a solid living teaching wellness, but many others incorporate their wellness training into their existing careers and into their daily lives, and that’s just as wonderful of a goal too.