I am a woman instructor. As such, I have had the opportunity to meet other women instructors and observe their teaching styles. I have also noticed some behaviors that are common among female instructors, but which can sometimes hurt us in our careers. Equally importantly, it’s important to note that these tendencies aren’t necessarily bad or undesirable—they’re just habits that might not serve us as well as they could otherwise. With this in mind, here are seven mistakes almost every woman instructor makes:

Trying so hard to be perfect they confuse their students.

There is a difference between perfection and excellence. Perfection is not attainable, but excellence can be. You can aim for excellence in your teaching and still feel like you’re not quite there yet. Perfection involves feeling completely satisfied with the outcome, but that’s not always possible or even desirable; it makes more sense to strive for excellence and accept the occasional failure along the way—especially since failure can actually be an opportunity to learn something new!

Struggling with their own confidences in the classroom.

Confidence is the most important ingredient for success. If you don’t believe in yourself, how can your students believe in you?

No matter what subject or topic you are teaching, if you don’t fully understand it, your students will know. You cannot be a good teacher of something that does not make sense to you. This may be hard for some women to hear because they have been taught their entire lives that they do not get things right away or are not as good as other people at certain things. This is toxic! It is another form of self-sabotage. To find success as an instructor, women need to accept who they are: smart and capable of learning new things every single day!

Having too much fear of failure to take the risk of being themselves.

Fear of failure is a common problem for many people. It can lead to people not taking the risks they need to take, and this is especially true for women instructors. We are so afraid of failing that we will say or do anything in order to appear perfect or well-liked.

The result? We end up suppressing who we really are and lose our authenticity as individuals. This is a huge mistake!

Not keeping balance between time, energy and money (with a cost/benefit breakdown).

  • Time and energy are finite resources. Money is a limited resource.
  • Setting goals: what you want to accomplish in the next year, 6 months, 3 months or even the next week helps you prioritize your activities and gives focus to what’s important so that you can avoid misplaced priorities.
  • Prioritizing: deciding which tasks are ‘musts’ or ‘shoulds’, etc., based on their importance relative to other tasks makes it easier for us as instructors to say “no” when needed, because we know what needs doing first. Being flexible also means being able to adjust one’s plans slightly when necessary for unexpected events such as unplanned guests who stay longer than expected (elderly relatives visiting from out of town), traffic holdups, sick children at home…

Not taking care of themselves (including mental health).

One of the most common mistakes that women instructors make is not taking care of themselves. This can include a number of areas: mental health, physical health, spiritual health and social health.

It’s important to be aware that the way we treat ourselves determines how others will treat us. By taking care of yourself in all aspects—your mental, emotional and physical well-being—you can inspire your students to do the same.

You must take time out for yourself every day so that you have energy to share with others throughout the day. This includes getting enough sleep; eating healthy foods (not just when they’re convenient); exercising regularly; meditating or praying daily; doing yoga once or twice per week; spending time with friends who are supportive and nurturing; engaging in activities that bring joy into your life (even if it’s watching TV!)

Avoiding conflict and difficult conversations.

You can’t teach unless you ask for the money.

You can’t teach unless you’re willing to take a stand.

You will be asked to do something that makes you uncomfortable or even makes you feel unsafe, and your first instinct might be to refuse or run away from the situation. But if you want to be an instructor, this is something that has to change—and it’s not just about being able to say no politely when someone asks something unreasonable of you; it’s also about being able to ask for what you need in order for your students’ learning experience with you (and therefore with yoga) to happen more smoothly and efficiently.

Not learning from mistakes as an opportunity for growth.

Mistakes are inevitable, but they aren’t fatal.

Mistakes are an opportunity to grow and learn.

Your mistakes are not a reflection of your value as an instructor.

Remember that you are your best asset; invest in yourself!

Your most important asset is you, not the class or your students. You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else.

Here are some ways I personally invest in myself:

  • I get enough sleep and make sure that I’m eating good food (no processed or fast food).
  • I exercise at least 3 times a week, usually by walking for 40-60 minutes each time and sometimes mixing it up with other activities like yoga or swimming laps at my local pool. It’s especially important for me to do this since I also sit at a computer all day as part of my job, which isn’t great for your posture!
  • Sometimes I’ll go out with friends on Friday nights, but other nights we just stay home because sometimes it’s nice just hanging out together without having any plans at all!


Remember that you are your best asset; invest in yourself!