Calling all yoga teachers, this post is for you.
I’m not going to waste your time with this one, but instead – teach you how to manage and savor your time, and as a result – learn how to create space for your personal practice, while simultaneously helping your students create space in theirs too.
Doesn’t that sound epic?
Journey Junkie Happenings:
Here’s the deal yoga teacher babes, it’s impossible for us to show up, teach a class, and help others create space if we aren’t doing the same for ourselves.
Yoga is not a fake it till you make it story. It’s the truth, it’s the raw version of yourself, and because it’s so damn authentic – you must show up for yourself and your students!
There’s no other option. Period.
There’s one problem though – how the hell do we, as yoga teachers, manage our time in order to create that magical experience? How we do consistently put forward our most authentic self? How do we carve out time for our own movements? How do we teach yoga, yet still stay sane?
As usual, I got you.
Because in all honesty, I finished yoga teacher training, I took every opportunity that came my way, and in the end – I became burnt the fuck out.
My energy was blah. My voice was inconsistent with no true message. My practice ceased to exist. And in the end, two parties suffered – me and the students.
I tell you this not to scare you, but instead to help you learn from my journey and in turn, implement direction and change within your own.
With that said, below are 5 HUGE lessons I learned from a year of teaching yoga. Take what you want from this, add what you need to, but please – never stop practicing, never stop learning, and never forget why you became a teacher in the first place.
1. SAY NO
When you first become a yoga teacher, the thought that runs most through your head is this –
How the hell am I going to find a permanent yoga class?
So when a permanent gig presents itself, the immediate reaction is – OF COURSE. And when the second and third and fourth gig come along, you again react with – OF COURSE.
And then without intending to, you’ve created a hella intense yoga teaching schedule for yourself.
Now, let me quickly insert a disclaimer here – If you’re a yoga teacher attempting to live off the trade, then please go for it, like full throttle go for it. But if you’re like me, working full-time or even part-time, then this is where shit gets tricky.
On one hand, you want the experience, you want to create connections, and you want to make some extra income. There’s no harm in this.
But on the other hand, you want time for your own yoga practice, you want to meet a friend for dinner, or maybe you want to enjoy a mani/pedi.
Do you see why this whole teaching yoga as much as possible thing can get tricky?
When this happens….
LEARN TO SAY NO.
Be picky. Be selective. Choose the class time slots that work for you, not the studio. Create a yoga teaching schedule that inspires your personal schedule. Choose classes that you enjoy teaching or challenge and grow you as a teacher.
This whole saying no thing was a challenge for me in the beginning, hence the burnt the fuck out statement up above. I took everything that came my way – donation based classes, subbing opportunities, back to back teaching, you name it – I taught it.
And that’s where it started to crumble.
Please yogis – be selective, choose your teaching opportunities with care, and most importantly…
2. PLAN YOUR CLASSES
The word plan means to prepare, organize, manage, or basically – to be ready. It means you set aside time, intelligently craft a class, and do the work necessary to provide your students with an epic experience.
Now – there are people who dislike planning and find their groove within the present moment. If this you, then please – keep doing you (and I envy you).
But for the majority of teachers – we need a class plan.
Here’s my modus operandi when it comes to planning my yoga classes:
- Create a class either the day before or day of – depending on your schedule.
- Review the class a few times, scan your notes, and get comfortable with the sequence.
- Physically do anything that isn’t making sense in your head…. If you can’t communicate it, the students can’t perform it.
- Keep all of your class notes in one notebook so they’re available for future use or when you don’t have time to create a new sequence.
- Create playlists and have your playlist chosen before walking into the room.
- Take inspiration from other yoga teachers, online blogs (like this one), or sequence the class yourself. It doesn’t matter how the sequence is born, but more importantly how it flows together.
If needing direction on how to craft a yoga class, read this post here.
3. CREATE A HOME PRACTICE
I’m going to be perfectly honest – I struggle with my home yoga practice.
And I always have.
I’m a studio kinda girl, it’s just my thing. And I adore my home yoga studio, so it’s hard to choose home over The Body Electric.
But if I’m being honest with myself, I don’t practice as much I used to or as much as I’d like to. And while teaching yoga twice a week is part of the problem, it’s also my lack of committing to the mat, stepping my feet onto it, and moving my body through any type of sequence.
I share this with you because it’s not all yoga butterflies and unicorns. Everyone has their challenges and mine is creating and maintaining a home practice.
So with that said, let’s all start and sustain time on our mats. It’s not only beneficial for our personal well-being, but also for our student’s well-being.
Below are my how-to get your ass on the mat pointers:
and cue myself to take notes here….
- Prepare your space the night before – unroll your mat, place props on stand-by, lay out your outfit, mala beads, etc.
- Set a time to step onto your mat and stick to it. This is where the challenge sets in for me.
- Remove as many distractions as possible – electronics, bright lights, family members, partners, etc.
- Jam out to some music and get lost in the moment.
- Keep a notebook nearby – afterwards jot down the sequence or any yoga epiphanies you experienced. This information is perfect to share with your class.
4. STICK TO A SCHEDULE
This one is for your sanity mostly, but also for your personal yoga practice.
Let me explain my situation….
I teach yoga Monday and Thursday evening after work, this means that I can no longer attend my favorite yoga classes on those nights. So instead, this is what my weekly personal yoga practice looks like –
- Monday – 7 am primary class at the studio (this is a new one for me, but I love it).
- Monday night – teach at 7:15 pm.
- Tuesday – 6 pm class at the yoga studio with one of my fav teachers (I gather a lot of inspiration from this class).
- Wednesday – either attend 5:30 pm class, practice at home, or do another type of movement.
- Thursday – teach at 6 pm. I either practice in the morning or take the day off.
- Friday – 5:30 pm Rocket class at the studio (if I’m in town) or take the day off to rest/enjoy a happy hour drink or two.
- Saturday & Sunday – I’m all over the place with wedding planning and to-dos, so for now, my weekend practice has taken a backseat. But if I’m around, I like to take a hot class on Saturday morning and then choose from whatever fits into my Sunday schedule.
I share with you my personal schedule so you can understand that while it’s necessary to be fluid and flexible, it’s also necessary to have a schedule and stick to it. Find classes that inspire and grow you as a yoga teacher and student, then show up to them, as consistently as possible.
Set a date with yourself. Show up. Do the work.
Then let this work trickle down into your teaching and onto your students, they will feel it….
5. WELCOME CHANGE
And lastly, welcome the change that is happening in your life.
Don’t fight it. Don’t stress over it. Don’t bitch about it.
Instead – be thankful for the opportunity to lead people through an intimate and life changing experience. Treat your role as a teacher with the utmost respect and care. Don’t ever doubt your work – mistakes will come and go, but growth is the only piece that stays, it’s the only piece that matters.
Yoga teachers, please remember –
Keep stepping into the unknown.
Keep practicing yoga.
Keep stepping onto your mat – for you and your students.
Yogis – thank you for reading this special, personal piece.
I hope if you’re a teacher this helped shed light on what the behind the scenes is like. And if you’re interested in becoming a yoga teacher, use this piece as a guideline for the future.
Let’s Talk – How do you balance teaching and practicing yoga? Do you work full-time and teach yoga too? What are your biggest challenges when it comes to balance? Do you have special tips for yoga teachers?
As always yoga babes – questions, comments, suggestions, feedback, or general yoga love, please leave it down below.
Until next time – xoxo.
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