I fell in love with yoga immediately. There was no turning back. Yoga was hard, challenging, and beautiful enough for me to stick around. Sometimes I did not understand the teacher and sometimes the teacher did not understand me. English is my second language. When my friend suggested that I teach yoga, I could not even imagine leading a class in a foreign language to the natives.
I spent days learning instructions. I was lucky that my passion overrode my frustrations. One day I found myself standing in front of yoga students. I was nervous and wanted to run away, but it was too late. I was there and I had to show up.
Public speaking exposes us. We are in a vulnerable position. The feedback is always a mixed bag of love, admiration, apathy, and criticism. So it came quickly, "We can't hear you. We can't understand you. They can't understand you." I will be honest and say that it hurt. Nervousness, which is normal when we do something new, makes us feel smaller and weakens our voice, command, and authority. Coupled with an accent, teaching can become frustrating on both ends. I did not want to quit something that I loved so much so I had to get up to speed quickly. I learned that you have to speak louder and slower than your native fellow teachers. I mean significantly louder and slower.
Fact: as a person with an accent you WILL be perceived as someone with less credibility. People do not want be mean; it is human nature. Accent is interference and you will be perceived as less trustworthy than your fellow Americans regardless of our expertise and greatness. Read more here.
People do not realize that they judge your expertise and likability on your accent. There is not much you can do to change this perception, but you can control your behavior. You have to prove them and show them other qualities to make up for this deficit - be funny, be at ease with yourself, give them great adjustments, take an interest in them. You just have to connect with them differently.
It may take a while for you to build your audience. Be patient and trust that your passion will show through different channels. Your accent will improve over time.