confessions of a [newer] yoga teacher

Since I got certified to teach group fitness back in 2008, I’ve had quite a few classes under my belt: Zumba, Spin, Step, BODYPUMP, treadmill classes, weight circuits, stretch, aqua fitness, dance cardio, barre, etc.

A LOT of hilarious things and fails have happened. There was that one time when the mic broke, and I was totally yelling to a class of 40+ steppers in a racquetball room. There was the one time I almost started crying while I was teaching. There were outfit mishaps (a sports bra literally deteriorating during Zumba), amazing moments (like the group huddles after our World Beat dance classes) and so many seemingly small moments that I won’t forget. 

Since I started teaching, I’ve learned how to roll with it, make stuff up on the spot when I need to, and just enjoy being a very small part in someone else’s fitness journey.

When I started teaching yoga (I did my RYT 200-hr last year), it reminded me what it feels like to be a newbie again:

The nervous heat that rises through your chest before you start teaching. Tweaking and changing the playlist until it’s perfect. And, making a decent amount of mistakes.

Tree pose

Some confessions of a [newer] yoga instructor:

-Unlike my other classes, when I’ll have a general purpose and an idea of what I want to happen, I plan your class out to the minute. I still have to use notes, or I might forget half the flow or what I’d had planned for class. If I don’t use notes, we’ll probably go way too fast, finish everything in 30 minutes and then I’m like “uhhhhhh” for the next 45 haha.

-Once I grabbed my grocery list to bring to class instead of my notes. That was fun.

-If I forgot where we’re going or need a second to figure out how to get into a pose, we’ll either do chatarunga push-ups, side planks, or 3-legged down dog to flip your dog. Just hang out in wild thing while I figure out my life.

-I always want to sing during savasana, and I always get too nervous.


-Wondering why my face is bright red? I said the WRONG SANSKRIT WORD and I’m hoping no one noticed (but I’m sure they did. And I KNOW that word). At least I didn’t make something up? “Slowly come into kombuchakasana”

-I keep checking out your leggings to see if I can figure out where they’re from.

-You can do poses I can’t, which is one of the awesome things about yoga. You don’t have to be *perfect* to teach, which I think is something that intimidates students from beginning a teacher training program.

-I’m going home after class to eat half a giant gluten-free pizza and chug a glass of wine. Post-workout nutrition is important.

Wine time

-Yoga teacher training changed my life. I might still be working out the *edges* of my classes and getting into my teaching groove, but I feel very lucky to have had such an awesome experience. If you’re on the fence about YTT, I highly recommend it. Even if you don’t use it to teach classes, it can deepen your personal practice, and your personal experience.



Gym class etiquette

Confessions of a personal trainer

Confessions of a group fitness instructor

My YTT experience

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  1. Jodie on June 14, 2017 at 4:55 am

    Great read! Random thought here: Pandora has a playlist called yoga workout and the songs are relaxing. Even if you don’t use it for yoga.

    Always enjoy your posts. Have a great week.

    • Fitnessista on June 15, 2017 at 11:50 am

      i’ll check it out- thank you!

  2. Kristin on June 14, 2017 at 6:07 am

    This post resonates more than you know! I received my 200 hour last year and have been teaching regularly now since the beginning of the year and have had the same thoughts/things going on in my classes too. I especially like ‘hang out in this pose while I figure out my life’…. so true it makes me laugh out loud!

    PS my friend and studio manager where I teach sings to her students during savasana and it’s an AMAZING experience everytime! I say, go for it!

    • Fitnessista on June 15, 2017 at 11:49 am

      ahhhh i got too scared again last time.. maybe next time 😉

  3. Aundra @ Fit with Aundra on June 14, 2017 at 6:10 am

    “Just hang out in wild thing while I figure out my life.” <— died laughing. SO true. THEY HAVE NO IDEAAAAA. And, I'm sure you've mastered this, they wouldn't know it wasn't part of the plan unless you told them. I always go to a sun salutation if I lose my shizz in the middle of a class. All of those moves are good for them 😉 Thanks for sharing.

    • Fitnessista on June 15, 2017 at 11:48 am

      <3 thanks, girl! liked your post today too :)

  4. Audrey on June 14, 2017 at 6:15 am

    Haha “come into kambuchakasana” I definitely got a laugh out of that one! I’m sure you’re a great yoga instructor.

    • Fitnessista on June 15, 2017 at 11:47 am

      <3 thank you, friend

  5. Amanda on June 14, 2017 at 7:16 am

    <3 this post. YES to "I keep checking out your leggings to see if I can figure out where they’re from." as a longtime yoga student. I didn't realize teachers do the same thing. 😉

    • Fitnessista on June 15, 2017 at 11:47 am

      alllllll the time 🙂

  6. Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious on June 14, 2017 at 7:42 am

    This “you don’t have to be perfect to teach.” So true! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve covered up those oops moments teaching spin class. People usually don’t notice as long as you make no big deal out of it.

    • Fitnessista on June 15, 2017 at 11:45 am

      exactly! i don’t think anyone notices.. but i always feel a little embarrassed

  7. Caitlin on June 14, 2017 at 8:27 am

    Thanks for sharing! This post is encouraging! I just got my CPT and am starting to look into positions. The nerves are real!

    • Fitnessista on June 15, 2017 at 11:45 am

      yes, it’s scary at first but you’ll get into it!

  8. Michelle on June 14, 2017 at 8:45 am

    Oh my gosh Gina, loved this post! Totally do the legging thing that you do…I probably come off as a total creep.

    • Fitnessista on June 15, 2017 at 11:45 am

      same haha! “i’m not looking at your butt, just looking for a logo or something”

  9. Emily @ Pizza and Pull-ups on June 14, 2017 at 9:25 am

    I really appreciate you mentioning that you don’t have to be able to do all the poses to teach. I have been wanting to/thinking about getting my yoga teaching certification for a while now and have felt a bit intimidated or afraid that I have not come far enough in my own practice yet. Thanks!

    • Fitnessista on June 15, 2017 at 11:44 am

      YES. don’t be afraid to go for it!

  10. Jamie @ on June 14, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    kombuchakasana…BAAAAAAAAAAAhahahahaaaa!! I tend to make up words and call it “Jamienese” so you could probably add this to your own language of “Ginanese”

    • Fitnessista on June 15, 2017 at 11:44 am

      hahah YES

  11. Traci | The Petite Chef on June 14, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    Haha, love kombuchakasana. Some of those words are ridiculous so I don’t think anyone expects you to know them all! At least, I don’t.

    Totally agree that you don’t need to know everything to teach. I actually love when yoga teachers are real and tell us flat out they can’t get into a certain pose. It makes them seem more…real? I feel encouraged and like we are all on the same path to learn and improve (though obviously the instructor will be able to tell me how to get there/safe positioning/etc).

    • Fitnessista on June 15, 2017 at 11:44 am

      hahah that is very true
      i agree! it makes me feel better when a yoga teacher is real and doesn’t make practice seem unattainable

  12. Tati on June 14, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    Hey girl! Can you please keep showing your meals and your girl’s meals quickly on Snapchat like you mentioned the other night? This mama has been stuck in a meal rut and now that summer is approaching I want new ideas. I was just looking on your Pinterest and everything on there looks amazing! xo

    • Fitnessista on June 15, 2017 at 11:43 am

      yes i can definitely do that! things this week have been pretty crazy but i’m trying to get us all back on a routine

  13. Bethany on June 14, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    This makes me want to take a class!

    • Fitnessista on June 15, 2017 at 11:43 am


  14. Kelly on June 15, 2017 at 7:24 am

    kombuchakasana! hahaha! hilarious. I’m kind of a newbie to yoga (hot yoga), and I also have a really hard time, focusing and meditating. The singing at the end, is sometimes funny to me :\ #whydontigetit

    • Fitnessista on June 15, 2017 at 11:42 am

      haha it was weird to me too at first

  15. Leigh on June 15, 2017 at 8:39 pm

    Hi Gina,

    I love your blog! You inspire me and I’ve learned a lot from you through years of reading your blog. This is a topic I know you have dealt with personally but I’d love to find out more about your thoughts and advice on how to restore a damaged metabolism. If you have any books or articles that were helpful I’d love that info.
    Keep up the great work!

    • Fitnessista on June 17, 2017 at 2:58 pm

      thank you so much for reading for so long <3 my naturopath is the one who really helped me. (dr flynn at the wellness way in wisconsin.) i also read "making babies" which helped a ton, too. nutrition is so important, and slowly adding in calories so you can get used to a new/higher amount.

  16. Kayla on June 16, 2017 at 8:47 am

    TOTALLY relate to all of this — I did my YTT last summer and have been teaching classes ever since. It’s SO different than the group classes I’ve taught where I can just kind of wing it (when in doubt do some burpees or bicep curls, right?) For yoga I need to plan out every class and have 5 alternate endings depending on how long my sequence actually takes.

    It’s def gotten easier though. I’m not so terrified of losing my place and I know how to recover if I completely flub something.

  17. Fiona @ Get Fit Fiona on June 16, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    I’m seriously considering doing YTT this fall – which is so exciting and completely terrifying at the same time!

    • Fitnessista on June 17, 2017 at 2:47 pm

      that’s how i felt, too, but you will love it!

  18. Julia on June 16, 2017 at 2:44 pm

    “Kombuchakasana!” LOL. Gina, that was a priceless moment in written form. I loved your acknowledging being an expert isn’t necessary to teaching, particularly yoga, where we’re all on a different journey.

    • Fitnessista on June 17, 2017 at 2:47 pm

      hahah glad you got a kick out of it 😉 and yes, so true. xoxo

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