The Grinning Yogi built a bridge for its yoga school graduates to help them thrive as new teachers.

“Our ‘Freshly Minted’ classes are free classes we offer to the community taught by our yoga school graduates,” shared Jamie Silverstein, the owner, studio director and senior teacher of the studio. “We always have a senior teacher along to help encourage and provide feedback as well. It’s a win-win-win.”

With two locations, one in Seattle, Washington, and one in Portland, Oregon, The Grinning Yogi’s Freshly Minted classes have two goals. First, they are part of an initiative of the studio to provide regular access to a broader community. “This includes our multiple classes offered for free or at a sliding-scale, as well as inclusivity scholarships and a vibrant work-trade karmi program,” said Silverstein.

The second goal is to help the yoga school graduates grow into their teaching abilities. Silverstein elaborated it gives them on-going support and opportunities in the world of teaching yoga. Often, teacher training programs end and graduates can feel lost. The Grinning Yogi wanted to build a bridge to keep new teachers from feeling deflated.

Senior teachers are able to provide valuable feedback to the new yoga school grads through the class. This helps boost their confidence. Plus, they learn how to facilitate an entire class for a diverse community of students.

Offered seasonally, the Freshly Minted classes have been met with only support by the studio’s students. Silverstein said they understand the new grads need to get their feet wet. “Students come with open hearts,” she said. “Even if the classes are not as refined as a class you’d expect from a more veteran teacher, they are well-constructed solid classes that leave everyone feeling great.”

The classes have seen success at The Grinning Yogi for a variety of reasons. “These classes are successful because they offer opportunities both to our community of students and our community at large,” said Silverstein. “Plus, who doesn’t want free yoga?”

In fact, she would recommend other studios provide a similar offering. By setting clear expectations and providing support for new yoga school grads, you can continue to help the teaching community grow and flourish.

“A lot of training programs end when the program ends, which can leave grads feeling lost or deflated. We wanted to do better,” said Silverstein. “So, we have a bridge program where people get to teach in our community and grow toward gaining employment.”