Just over one year ago, as a freshly certified yoga teacher, I was hungry to snap up every opportunity to sub or teach a yoga class. Eventually I had regular teaching slots, I was teaching different styles of yoga and I still had subbing requests. I was teaching most days and on my time off I was preparing classes. Life was grand and full of yoga, one of my favorite things!
However my life was lacking a personal yoga practice. I found myself not being able to take my favorite yoga classes because I was teaching at the class times. This really sucked because my biggest inspiration came from taking classes with my favorite teachers. After their classes, I would often take notes and weave some of their sequencing or cues into my own teaching. So I tried out some other classes at other times. But mostly I just taught and prepared.
Then one day it hit me. I had a day off, I hadn’t been to yoga in ages and there was a number of classes I could go to, but I wanted to be nowhere near a yoga studio that day. A week later I did make it to a class though but, by then, I couldn’t remember when the last time I took a yoga class was.
Teaching yoga means having to give a lot of yourself. Pouring your passion, energy, knowledge and personality into classes. Keeping the energy levels up for your students. Dealing with people face to face. And that’s why it’s so important to re-energize and reward yourself - with time for yourself. Balance. Isn’t that something we learn as yogis?
So I started finding ways to incorporate my own yoga class themes and yoga teaching I had learned, into my life again. Stoking the yoga fire again, so to speak. And here’s 3 simple tips I have for you that might help you do this too.
Home Yoga Practice
A teacher once told me to practice every day, even if it’s only for 15 minutes. Even if it’s just a breathing exercise. Yes a home yoga practice takes discipline. Do any of you remember your yoga teacher trainer telling you to have a home yoga practice? We’ve probably all tried it and failed at some point or another.
Until you incorporate your home practice into your daily routine, it probably won’t happen. Not regularly anyway. Make it a habit. A daily allocated time slot. (Before, or with, my morning coffee usually works for me). If you need some motivation, dust off that old yoga DVD or try an online yoga class. There are some great, free yoga classes online.
If your schedule is all over place, keep your yoga mat in your car and try find a quiet park between yoga studios and roll your mat out on the grass. Who knows, a short time meditating and people watching may inspire your next class theme.
Look after your Health & your Body will take of You
When we get stressed or busy it’s so easy to eat takeout or, my favorite, leftovers for breakfast. This is probably the worst thing you could do for an overworked body. Our body could never need nourishment more than in these times. You work hard for your money, you should spend it on good food. If AJs and Wholefoods are out of your budget, prepare meals at home with as much fruit and veggies as you can.
Perhaps a massage or an hour getting your nails done is affordable? Then book it. And don’t spend too much time thinking about it. Otherwise you’ll find an excuse not to spend the money on yourself.
Re-ignite that Passion
Do you remember what fueled your drive for yoga in the first place? What made you want to become a yoga teacher and what you learned in your training?
I went back to my old notes from my teacher training and browsed over sentences I had underlined in my text books. I had also written a mission statement and bio (which has been altered about 20 times since then). But the original copy made me smile. My eagerness, and ignorance? There was so much more to yoga than I realized back then. And I have come so far. I was amazed at how much I had learned since then. But I was also amazed at the passion I felt back then. The passion that got me where I am today. Passion is catchy. Your students can feel it. They can also feel when you’re run down and neglecting your own practice. So don’t let that happen. The best thing you can do for your yoga career, even if it’s only a part time gig, is to take care of yourself first. Fill your life with your own yoga so you can pass it on to others.
By Donna V