If you’re like many yoga teachers who’ve chosen to turn their passion into your full-time career, you’re probably busy going from studio to studio, teaching as many classes as you can squeeze in your schedule.
While your passion and excitement for this path may have carried you through those first few months (years if you’re lucky), the non-stop yoga teacher lifestyle may leave you feeling exhausted and wondering if this was really the right path for you.
Burnout is the dirty little secret among yoga teachers. We strive to be the best possible teacher (not to mention the best spouse and mother and friend) who always puts everyone else’s needs before your own. But really, to be a great teacher, you need to walk your talk by putting your self first.
And it starts with falling back in love with your yoga practice. Here’s how.
1. Create some white space.
Attempting to add more to an already overflowing plate just doesn’t work–so the first step is to create space!
As a teacher, you only have so many hours in the day, which means you need to make the most of your teaching time (including prepping your classes, traveling between studios, and chatting with students).
Even if you’re only teaching 10 classes a week, you’re likely working many, many more hours!
The fastest way to white space is to optimize your teaching calendar. Be honest with yourself about how many classes + students you can handle. Which classes do you love? Which classes should you let go? It’s OK to let go of anything that’s not serving you!
You can also begin to earn more from teaching yoga by transitioning beyond just group classes into offering private yoga or higher-value workshops and class series.
The goal is for you to work less hours and make the hours you do work more productive. Once you’ve created some white space, you’ll have more time available for your own yoga + self-care practices.
2. Embrace Professional Self-Care
When most of us think about self-care, we might imagine fluffy robes, spa treatments... but today we’re talking about professional self-care.
Professional self-care is about honoring your needs so your actions can move you towards your dream career. It’s about getting comfortable with saying NO! to anything that doesn’t light you up or move you forward.
It may be a matter of saying no to a new class when it is offered, a student who dominates the studio and always wants your attention, or skipping a get together with your teacher friends.
Self-care means you understand what you need, when you need it. You tune into your mind and body so you are fully present to yourself. With that in alignment, when you do say yes, when you do agree to something, you know you’re bringing the best to your students and the world.
3. Practice Non-Attachment
No matter how long you’ve been teaching yoga, you’ve probably done a number of things that most yoga teachers do. From teaching at multiple studios to jumping at the end of class to add just one more class, as a group we have a certain way of doing things.
Instead of following the status quo, for us to really fall back in love with teaching yoga, we need to be willing to let go of what isn’t working. As long as we try to swim upstream, we’re always going to struggle.
Tap into what causes unnecessary stress as you go about your week. Those emotions may be a signal that it’s time for you let go of that class, that student, that studio or whatever else that just isn’t in alignment with you and your teaching.
By letting go what’s not working, you’re opening up space for new opportunities that work with you.
As you work on falling back in love again with teaching yoga, keep in mind that you didn’t fall out of love overnight, so this may take some time. Creating the intention for approaching your teaching with more self-love and compassion, and then following these steps, will have you heading in the right direction.