Are you already looking forward to a teaching break during the holidays?
Lamenting how little time you have for your own practice?
Do you feel like you’re running around every day from class to class?
Skipping meals or eating in your car in between clients?
Welcome to the life of a yoga teacher.
If you’re a new yoga teacher and in your first year or two of teaching, it can seem really hard to catch a break. You’ve worked your ass off to build out your schedule, nurture your relationships with your community, and you absolutely love, love, love what you do.
But you’re also starting to feel signs of burnout.
I totally get it.
If you love teaching yoga as much as I do, every cell of your body knows that this is the work you’re meant to do. But no matter how much you love it, you have those days where you feel like you’re struggling to keep your head above water.
You, my dearest yoga teacher, are not alone.
Since you’re a yogi and wellness advocate, you’re already keenly aware of the importance of self-care.
Some of these tips may seem super obvious and simple, but when you get busy and life happens, revisiting these basic principles will help you thrive even during the busiest of seasons.
SELF-CARE SURVIVAL GUIDE, PART 1
The biggest lesson I learned from my mentor during teacher training was this ONE phrase. He told me, “Make sure you take time to practice.”
“Phish,” I thought, “of course I’m going to practice!”
I couldn’t imagine not taking practice. After all, won’t I be practicing when I’m planning a class?
No. Planning a class is different from unadulterated self-practice.
A self-practice that consists of just breath, posture, and drishti. A practice that doesn’t require you to stop and write down the sequence.
This is probably the main reason why I began practicing primary series. Because the series is always the same, I can flow with my breath, forget about teaching, and drop deeply into my own personal journey.
Block off time for your practice that is JUST FOR YOU.
2. Eat at the same time each day.
This one is difficult, especially if you’re still in the middle, or just freshly out of the build phase in your business. Your schedule is super busy and you have tons of classes. But suddenly you find that you’re eating bars in your car, or worse, skipping meals.
To nourish others, you need to be well nourished.
Aim to eat your meals at the same time each day. Yes, that means breakfast, lunch, AND dinner. I always find lunchtime to be the most difficult to manage. It’s always the lunchtime classes that throw me off. Do I eat before or after class?
This boundary is based on when you eat your breakfast and dinner; which is why routinely eating ALL your meals at the same time is vital.
Honestly, I still struggle with this on occasion; especially when I begin to add variants like new clients, meetings, and appointments to my schedule.
Take a good, hard look at your schedule and block off your lunch hour.
Find a place that isn’t your car to eat.
During clement weather eat outdoors in the sun.
Eat unhurriedly. Take your time to pause and relish your mid-day meal.
Rest after eating. Take a 5-15 minutes rest after your meal without screens. Don’t go checking out your favorite Instagram yogis. This is time for you to take a break from anything related to your work.
Read a chapter in a (fun) book you’ve been trying to finish, meditate, or take a short walk.
Build a buffer in your travel time between classes and clients so you’re making the time to nourish yourself in the middle of your day.
3. Take a yoga class with another teacher.
When you start to feel uninspired, take a class with another teacher. Even if you have a very strong self-practice, it can be eye-opening to branch out and take classes in a studio. No matter what your experience may be, there’s always an opportunity to learn something new from stepping out of your routine and taking a public class.
4. Spend time with other teachers.
Even though you’re working with students and community, you may feel oddly isolated or in a yoga bubble. Connecting with other teachers opens your heart. You’ll come to understand as you share in your own stories and collective experiences the joys and struggles of your teaching journey.
Recently, my heart has been calling for this kind of support and the divine answered. I’m so grateful to join the circle of moon sisters that make up Love Yoga Light. Love Yoga Light is a circle of wellness educators who work together to foster a coalition that supports the community they live in. Once a month, LYL hosts an open circle that’s available to all women who “want to offer care to other guides and be inspired by their sister lighters.”
Visit Love Yoga Light for information on their open circle events.
5. Manage your business.
I had to include this one for self-care.
This one is a must for yoga teachers.
Because you’re more than a teacher. You are a business owner.
Self-care is not just about pampering yourself and having more time to play. It’s also having peace of mind, and it’s tough to feel peace of mind if you’re scrambling to keep your finances in order.
I know you’ve heard it before, time and time again. Block off time every week for your administrative work.
I know this feels like complete and utter drudgery, and you’d rather block off time for that much needed massage for your aching body, but think of this time as self-care. Yes, self-care.
When your business and finance matters are in order, you’ll feel less stressed out and you’ll sleep better at night. And you know how much of that yoga glow comes from a restful night of sleep!
While managing your books is outside the scope of this post, here are the top things you can do to move you in the right direction.
Track and audit classes with paychecks. Keep track of your studio class rosters and do a bi-monthly audit with your paychecks.
Track your expenses. Use Genius Scan or a similar app to capture your receipts and expenses in real time. Organize your expenses so you apply them to the correct chart of accounts during your bookkeeping block every month.
Plan ahead. Make sure you’re setting aside money to pay your estimated taxes every quarter.
Hire a professional. If there’s one business expense that’s worth every single penny of your hard earned income, it’s this one. You’re a pro at teaching yoga. Hiring another pro who’s good at what they do is one way to keep the energetic exchange of prana—in the form of money—flowing.
Dear one, I hope this post is helpful to you.
If it is, please tell me what’s the biggest take away you’ve received from today’s post?
Also, what are YOUR self-care practices to keep yourself nourished as a teacher?
Thanks for reading this, and may you stay healthy, joyful, and thrive this holiday season.