Every single workshop and every single retreat is different for me and as I have developed as a teacher, so has my approach.
Taking the plunge
Despite all the thoughts like: “Will anyone sign up? “How can I make a workshop and/or retreat special? What if I fail miserably?”, I knew that if I wanted to develop my teaching, I had to push through these barriers and doubts. I wanted to continue to grow as a teacher and I saw myself as someone who would one day lead workshops, retreats, teacher trainings, etc. and I knew for sure that the only way I could feel confident about doing any of these things was to take the first step and just do it, whether I felt ready or not. 😉
Stay true to yourself
It’s important to remember that you can create your workshop and/or retreat in any way that feels authentic to you. This opportunity has been given to you for a reason, either because of your teaching style, the way you teach a particular subject, your background in a particular field and/or your relationship with your students who are likely to attend. So don’t go changing yourself or doing something that doesn’t feel right, because it will probably show.
Choosing the right place
For me, a great workshop and/or retreat will only be successful if you have a space and people that are energetically aligned with the concept (very important !!!!!) Based on the theme I have chosen, I think about where it could be most successful and effective. I also think about the intention behind it: Will the student understand why I’ve chosen this location or venue? That’s not to say that I would never teach a handstand workshop on the beach, where the venue itself is more chill or meditative and less safe for the intended practice. On the other hand, Sun & Sea are the perfect place for a “Let it Go” -Retreat, when it comes down to release from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and get in touch with yourself.
Put it out
The hardest part for me, I confess.
Don’t keep your event a secret! A workshop or/and retreat is a great opportunity for EVERYONE to deepen their practice, not just your own students. Let all students know what you have planned and when and where you are going to give it. You may discover that a student in one area is very interested in what you’re teaching in another. Remember that this is a special occasion. You’re not asking your students to leave their home studio or their teacher, nor are you breaking your loyalty to the studio or/and venue owner where you’re not giving the workshop.
Keep it simple
What to teach? My answer is: Keep it simple and avoid doing too much.
Whatever you are planning, make sure you leave room to explain the how and why of what you are asking the students to do; it also gives space for real conversations to take place between you and the class. These “interrupted” moments are important teaching moments that contribute to the overall goal of the workshop. Think about what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it, so that you can be concise and to the point. These Q&A moments also help to ensure that the class doesn’t feel like a lecture, but more like a ‘lecture and apply’ experience. And you can be sure that the exercises are relevant to their needs.👌
Known vs. unknown
It’s likely that people will come to your workshop or/and retreat because you’re teaching them something new, or at least giving them the opportunity to learn something new so they can refine what they already know. There is an aspect of your event that will be ‘unknown’ to your students, which I think is great, but why don’t you combine that unknown with something known? Integrating periods of known practice can allow your students to feel successful and grounded before embarking on the new thing(s) you’ll be presenting. Speaking on my on behalf, learning new things is great and essential for growth! But it can also be a bit scary and frustrating at times when we feel we can’t grasp the task at hand, so using things that students already know can be very helpful. I’ve learnt from personal experience that when people feel successful and grounded, they feel supported and secure.
At the beginning of each workshop or/and retreat I do a short introduction of myself and the flow of the event. I always ask people to tell me their name and why they have chosen to attend. I call this the “icebreaker”. 😋 I personally love icebreakers because they get people talking, contributing to the space, finding common ground and really connecting with each other. It is very typical that people sign up for the same event for similar reasons. Especially when you’re asking people to do new things and potentially face some anxiety, it’s nice to know that others are in the same boat. It creates a sense of ‘we’re in this together’.
Being aware of my students’ goals allows me to let go of my expectations and focus more on who the workshop is really for: the students! This doesn’t mean that I forget what I’m trying to achieve, but it allows me to find where my goals and my students’ goals overlap.
Last but not least
Nobody is perfect ! If your event doesn’t go as planned, or you feel you’ve made a few mistakes, or you ran out of time, or you didn’t take enough time… it’s OK. There are no mistakes! You learn from your experiences, make adjustments and apply what you’ve learned to the next one!
👉 I’m always eager to collaborate on future projects. Don’t hesitate to get in touch 👉 DM me!
Let’s meet & create unforgettable moments!