1.The ease of self-promotion
Having been a writer since before I can remember I am used to the art of self-promotion, if not very good at it. From the moment I suggested to one young couple that they join me for my morning yoga practice I recognised that I was at it again.
Yet this was something different. I started a free class in order to consolidate my teaching methods and gain some much needed practice, kind of like a self-imposed PGCE or TEFL (both of which I have done) but much more fun and less restrictive. By the very liberated nature of my own class I found that I was easily able to promote myself casually in conversation and soon my class began to fill despite it being earlier than other classes and on the beach. I used this to my advantage and invited people to get sandy, a quirk they loved.
By taking that step and inviting people to join me I began to find that self promotion wasn’t all that hard. A few quickly made flyers, with some creative wording, and the permission of a bar or two to post them up meant that I was in business; self-promotion was no longer a scary concept, just a fun experiment.
Following on I found that by teaching for free I gained massively in the confidence department. By offering classes to people I had already built a rapport with meant that I wasn’t afraid to teach them and so increased my skill gradually in a comfortable zone. This meant that when two Russian girls,who had been recently training in Rishikesh, asked to join I was a lot less nervous than I would have been had they turned up day one to a scheduled class in a school with a bigger reputation. There is a certain advantage to being a non-entity, no expectations.
As a person who in the past would blush at the slightest thing and get flustered speaking in front of large groups, teaching for free gave me incredible freedom. I realised that often the nerves portrayed in social situations were, for me, just reactions to the pressure of wanting to get it right, of being observed and feeling inadequate. Teaching for free came with no expectations, it was just an experiment and mentally I managed to become a much more confident teacher.