How do I get involved in yoga service?

  • Train to work with trauma or other specific needs. Take a trauma-sensitive training. Lots of people have experienced trauma, both those in public classes and those served by a variety of non-profits; people are all different and trauma survivors are no exception. But if you’ve never worked in a social service setting, a 2-3 day training can provide an excellent orientation to issues that may not be obvious.
  • Train to teach yoga. This should probably be first! Make sure you have the resources/training/tools to teach a class. A 2-3 day trauma-sensitive training will likely orient you well to the issue of trauma and trauma sensitivity, but it will not train you how to teach a yoga class.  If you are not yet a certified yoga teacher, you may want to partner with one – or ensure you have a solid idea of how to lead a class as well as liability insurance.
  • Connect with other teachers or non-profit/social service staff. Striking out on your own to teach yoga in a non-traditional setting is challenging. There is no obvious group of teachers or colleagues to bounce ideas off of, or to sub a class for you.  Plenty of experienced yoga teachers have not had training in trauma-sensitive yoga or taught in non-traditional settings, so connecting with others in this specific field can be helpful. In cases where a yoga non-profit is able to place you with a class that is already up and running, you may have a built-in group of likeminded teachers – but this is probably not the most common scenario in yoga service.
  • Plan well.  Find a class time that works for you, to ensure a sustainable class, or set a clear timeline as to how many classes you can commit to teaching and stick to it.  Find an organization  that (or ensure that any organization that recruits you) has the staff time and resources to designate space, time, and promotional efforts to an ongoing yoga class. Certainly you can’t plan for every possibility, but adequate planning for those factors you can control will help avoid a situation where yoga starts up with a bang, attracts a group of regular students excited about its benefits, and then drops off when one of the details doesn’t work out.

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