Teaching yoga can be a joyful and fulfilling way to share the experience with others. However, it can also offer a unique set of challenges, especially for new teachers. According to our 2015 Member Survey, 30% of the teachers that choose not to renew their membership are no longer teaching yoga. Teaching too often may lead to quickly feeling burnt out. Here are a few tips for maintaining a healthy teaching and practice schedule that works for your lifestyle.
Look at the Big Picture.
Are you a graduate student with regular classes and homework? Do you have the needs of small children or pets to consider? Do you work a high-stress job or one that requires long shifts? Your life outside of yoga will determine a lot about how often you teach. Downtime is important, so avoid teaching classes just because you happen to have a certain hour free. Remember to keep adequate time for meals and regular rest.
Make Your Own Practice Non-Negotiable.
If you’re a person who practices yoga every day, don’t start cutting into your own practice time to teach. Whatever your current practice schedule is, commit yourself to it. It might seem like you’re still “doing yoga,” when teaching, but the reality is that you can’t offer your full energy and attention to students and practice at the same time. Take time to enjoy your personal practice, receive teaching from others and feed your inspiration.
Allow Yourself to Say “No.”
New teachers especially fall into the trap of taking every substitute or volunteer teaching offer in order to gain experience and build a following. However, if you’re exhausted or stressed out from running between studios and clients, your teaching will suffer. Offer a smaller number of students the best possible experience and you’ll ultimately feel more fulfilled as a teacher.
Pause and Reflect.
Check in with yourself on a regular basis. Are you leaving classes that you teach feeling happy and proud of your work? Are you dreading your yoga practice or teaching? Do you have enough time for your family, friends and other hobbies? Finding the balance can seem like a daunting task, but small adjustments can make a huge difference. Self-reflecting on a regular basis can help you catch something bothering you before it becomes a much larger issue.
Spend time with your family and friends, take the dog for a walk, write, play a game, go for a run, read a book…etc. Relaxation allows your body time to recover and receive energy so that you are able to offer your best to others. A person can’t serve from an empty vessel, so do things that bring you joy to ‘refill your cup.’