by Annie Carlin
So I had my first ever yoga job interview last week. Learning how to operate in the yoga world as a potential employee is a new and fascinating experience. Also, I started a new policy analyst job about 8 months ago, so I feel qualified to do a little compare and contrast here. First off, I should say that the yoga job interview process is a lot more fun…at least once you actually get there.
When I got the call to come in for an interview for my policy job, I barely had time to blink. “Can you come in tomorrow?” they asked. “Well, uh, I guess…” was my reply, frantically checking my calendar and leave balance. I was lucky enough to still be employed at my former place of work when I received that call. Yoga studios, on the other hand, seem to be in no rush – happy to wait until I have a day off or am working at home, even if it means waiting weeks. In my situation (my day job as a policy analyst is my primary income source), this kind of accommodation is welcome, though if you were counting on yoga teaching as your main source of income, this might be frustrating (or maybe I’m just an impatient New Yorker who needs to chill).
The standard operating procedure seems to be to ask me to teach a half hour audition class, but for this interview, no such request was made. I pride myself on not being dumb, however, and arrived in my best yoga teaching clothes with some ideas tucked away. Sure enough, as I started talking about what types of modification I liked to use when teaching larger-bodied students, the interviewers (the yoga director and her assistant) suddenly proclaimed,” let’s move this to the studio!!”
Aha! I knew it!! Can’t get anything past me…
What followed was a pretty hilarious scene where I tried to teach the decidedly not plus-sized assistant plus-sized yoga, but I think I won her over with my invitation to play with ardha chandrasana at the wall and proptastic child’s pose (bolster on top of the shins so hips can easily rest on something in they don’t reach, and block under the head so you don’t get hot). I often joke that I’m not happy unless I’ve managed to pull out every prop in the room when I practice and teach! On top of the support from the props, I gave the assistant and nice smush (gentle downward pressure on either side of the sacrum), which is always a big hit with everyone. Note, I’m not above using yummy assisting tricks like the one above to score a job!
I did get a little frustrated when the yoga director asked me to run the assistant through sun salutations and then asked why I wasn’t modifying them much, to which I replied that I probably wouldn’t be teaching them at all in this weather to the plus-sized folks (which did seem to satisfy her). I can say with authority that there was no smushing, proptastic or otherwise, at my policy interview. There was also a lot less laughing and rolling around on the floor.
The upshot of all of this is that I seem to have landed myself a 10 week series of plus-sized yoga classes, a community class, and promises of lots of opportunities to sub. Not to bad for the first time out! I also made sure to discuss not being pigeonholed into only teaching plus-sized yoga and the director seemed receptive. I’m nervous and excited and writing sequences like crazy, but won’t really know how well what’s in my brain translates into my classes until I get in there in a couple of weeks! Wish me luck!!
NEWBIE chronicles the journey of a new yoga teacher. From teacher training to building a business, follow Annie Carlin as she details the highs and lows of finding her place amidst one of the worlds oldest practices.