Imposter Syndrome Is Normal

Our yoga teacher trainees at Carolina Yoga Company and in my continuing education courses often ask me, “When did you stop feeling like a fraud?” The question makes me smile, because it presumes that I’ve ever stopped. Some days, I still feel like I’m not experienced enough, or perky enough, or whatever enough to lead my students. And I do it anyway. If I taught only when I was in the perfect mood to teach, I wouldn’t teach at all.

Imposter syndrome is real, particularly for women. My best advice is to fake it until you make it. With luck, you’ll feel more authoritative over time. But recognize that some days you won’t. On those days, do it anyway. It can help to imagine you are playing a role—because, in a way, you are. Don’t expect to feel perfectly authentic; do focus on what your students need: a teacher to guide them in breath and movement.

You don’t need to know it all, you just need to have a plan and guide your students. Teaching yoga isn’t brain surgery or landing a jet plane. Keep it simple, smile, and leave lots of time for students to go inward. Don’t fill every moment with the sound of your voice out of a desire to prove your worth! Instead, issue a clear direction, then be quiet and let the students enjoy their practice.

The Professional Yoga Teacher’s Handbook is here with advice to help teachers at every level. Pick up a copy in paperback, ebook, or audiobook format and I promise you’ll find new ways to help your students better!