Yoga Teachers are busy people.
Yes, yoga teachers, essentially work as independent contractors. While this allows a certain flexibility in building one's own teaching schedule, there are a number of "work hours" outside of teaching a class. If you take into account time preparing content for classes, communications with clients, commuting to and from classes and the administrative overhead of managing invoicing and balancing ledgers, well, it's a full time job to teach.
So as a busy teacher you most likely cherish your time off spending quality time with friends and family, doing your own practice or curling up to read a good book.
Yoga teachers strive to promote a healthy, balanced and peaceful life. But when we get busy, it can be challenging to practice what we teach.
Lately, for me, clutter and owning more material items than fits in our home have not contributed to a calm and equanimous life.
Prior to the birth of our baby we received a lot of pressure from family and friends to move into a larger home. After conducting our calculations, we found that it made much more economic sense to not buy into other's ideals of what makes a perfect home for us.
We love living in a small home, sharing a small home means that we need to work on loving each other more. There are less places for us to run to when there's some disagreement or discontent. Plus, moving into a larger space means that we most likely will end up with more stuff, not less.
More and more, the less "material stuff" I own the more content I am. I feel more free of attachment and the desire to acquire more. As our closets, bookshelves, counters and overall living space become more clear, my mind has followed suit. There is a clarity that stems from having to spend less time managing the "stuff" that I own.
As a busy human with work and family commitments, I simply don't have the energy, interest or the time to spend hours decluttering.
Look up "decluttering" online and you will find copious content and advice on best practices from 10 Creative Ways to Declutter Your Home by the Minimalists to 9 Decluttering Secrets from Professional Organizers on Real Simple.
Yoga teachers accrue specific materials associated with practice and teaching that may not be found in all homes. Below you will find some quick projects geared towards these objects that accrue over time. Please enjoy and feel free to share your comments below.
1. Your Car. Yoga teachers spend at least several hours a week commuting between clients and classes. The more hours you commute is usually directly proportional to the amount of clutter that builds up week to week. Even though you may clean your car on a regular basis, you may be surprised by some things you thought you've cleared out.
Side note - Just the other day my husband handed me an old tin jar of salve that I used to treat students with for a post practice massage. I was shocked to see this product, as I have not bought this salve in years!
2. Yoga Props. If you teach any corporate classes that do not have a dedicated space with props, you may have purchased your own props to use. Check in and see if there are any props in your bag that you are not currently using and either donate them to your students or see if the company will reimburse you for them. Better yet, before purchasing props yourself, request to see if your client has a budget for these items.
3. Yoga Books. Clear off books that have accumulated near your bed or reading space. If you are a total yoga nerd like me, you may have slowly accrued a pile of yoga books and periodicals on your coffee table or dresser. It's time to be honest with yourself when letting go of these items. Only leave one book out that you are presently reading and do the following with the rest. Ask yourself these 3 questions.
- Which books have you never read, and honestly you probably will not read? If you know you don't plan to read it, ask yourself why you're holding on to it. Say good bye to this book for now. If you should ever want to read this book again, then you will most likely be able to find it at your local library, or better yet do a book exchange with another teacher.
- Does this book support your productivity, knowledge, insight into yoga or does it simply make you feel good to own it? If this book does not contribute to your productivity, send this book to a better home.
- Take any books that you have finished reading and ask yourself if you plan to read it again in the future, or plan to refer to it for your classes. If not, it's time to part ways.
4. Massage and Essential Oils. Take 10 minutes to go through your shelf of massage and essential oils that you may have accumulated over the past year. It is a good idea to clear out anything you have not been using regularly as most oils have a shelf life and will go rancid over time.
5. Leggings. Gasp... Dare I say it? Now you're thinking, what the fuck woman, part with my lovely leggings? Have you gone bonkers?
Well, fashion darlings it is time to ask yourself how many pairs of leggings do you REALLY need to support your practice and teaching. This number is going to be different from person to person, just like the concept of minimalism is different for everyone.
If you look into your closet and it is jam packed (even in an organized and tidy fashion) with leggings, it may be time to let some of those lovelies go. Donate leggings or better yet, see if you can arrange a legging swap with your fellow teachers. Don't shop, swap... but of course only leggings that have been gently used and don't have any funky stains or stank, you know what I mean?
If you own a LOT of leggings, this may take longer than 10 minutes.
When decluttering your leggings, ask your self these two questions.
- Are these leggings ACTUALLY comfortable to practice/ teach in?
- Do these support my productivity as a teacher?
Don't ask yourself if these leggings bring you joy or if you think they're still cute because that will just land them back into the pile.
I have found that since I've let go of a large number of leggings, I enjoy practicing more in the ones I find comfortable, and feel more at ease in the ones I teach in.
The more steadiness and ease I feel in my leggings, the more I am able to share this same steadiness and ease in my classes.
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