After yoga teacher training (YTT), I got this weird glow of satisfaction. It felt like I had MADE IT.
And while that residual sparkle is still there, and hopefully always will be–shit got real.
Like, really real.
I got engaged, my writing career ramped up, and I had to start making big-money big-life decisions. The honeymoon phase of YTT was earth-shattering and illuminating, and it was time to make an appearance back in the world of overdue library books and overflowing laundry hampers. I had to sit down, shut out all the noise, and figure out a way to make this work.
Juggling a 9 to 5, teaching yoga, writing novels, and trying to be a decent friend and fiance has been difficult, and I’ve been dancing a sexy tango with burn-out.
For me, teaching is an incredible part of my life. It’s energizing, fulfilling and feels like I drank three shots of tequila, no chaser. What is it about guiding people into themselves that is so exhausting?
We all know the tenants of self-care, so here are some slightly out-of-the-box ways of preventing burnout as a yoga teacher:
1. Your Yoga Teaching Truths
I get it.
When you first start teaching, any student or potential opportunity has you ready to drop into down-dog at a moment’s notice.
There’s nothing wrong with floating in this feeling for a while, getting your teachy vibes flowin’, etc. At some point, though, there needs to be a Life Review. Yoga is in everyone’s life for a reason, and we need to make sure our living lines up with our innermost truth, with our goals and visions of the future.
C’mon, babies, that’s what being a yoga teacher is all about! Listening to yourself.
Why are you teaching yoga?
We must ask and ask and ask and keep asking until the answer makes our heart thump with something that feels like transcendence. Once we have our why, it helps to put everything in perspective. With this knowledge, we can suddenly look past the minutiae of finding steady gigs (and being paid! Hello!) and marketing our little booties off and see the big picture.
The puzzle pieces blur into the masterpiece of self-study. We can see who we are, and who we strive to be.
One of my truths is that teaching is a transaction. Not just of money, but of energy and giving. I need feedback from my students, whether it be through consistent attendance, verbal cues, or questions. I can’t teach a brick wall. If I find that certain students seem to not enjoy themselves or have an opinion of my class, I need to work with them to figure something out. Sometimes, that means they don’t continue to take my classes. That is okay! It helps me find students who I can help, who get something out of my teaching.
2. Set Your Bottom Line
No one gets to decide this but YOU.
Again, money is the big topic here, but not the only one. I work 9-5 for my income, and any money I make from yoga basically goes back into the business of purchasing props, gear, or necessary supplies. That being said, I have reasonable expectations of how much I am willing to teach for.
Guys, you gotta know.
In the beginning, some free classes can be a great way to build interest, but be careful. Setting up an expectation of free services when you’re trying to build a business can cause rifts between friends and make for some cringey and awkward dinner-party moments. Figure out your bottom line, what YOU need to feel fairly compensated, and stick to it.
- Put pricing and expectations (ie; should students bring their own mats, pay before classes, etc.) somewhere easy to find on your website.
- Consider a family and friends discount if money-talk is uncomfortable. This way, everybody wins!
- Offer a series for a discounted price, payable up front, to help build relationships and let clients see the long term effects of yoga in their life. One class isn’t always enough to make a decision regarding a teacher, style, or practice!
3. Take One Day Off
I understand that for some people, two days isn’t a reality. I sincerely hope that it does become a priority in the near future, though. We’re all humans, not machines. Some of my most creative ideas or ventures have started when I actually have time to breathe and tune in.
On my days off, I like to sleep in. Before I go to sleep, I usually throw my phone across the room. This is good, especially on my days off because I’m more likely to meditate in bed or just daydream instead of hunched over Twitter, dead-eyed and double-chinned.
Then I like to do some….
slow, sloppy yoga.
I keep my knees bent, let my head and neck relax, and do whatever sequence feels nice. Honestly guys, these freewheeling lackadaisical postures are so good sometimes I feel like I just cheated on my fiance. They are toe-curlingly good.
After yoga, I usually go to coffee with a friend, or watch a movie at the 3-dollar theater, or see where the day takes me. Let yourself deviate from your schedule. Trust that you’ll find your way back.
4. Stay Organized
Find a system of organization, and stick to it.
All of your invoices, pay stubs, and any income receipts should be kept in one physical location. I’d also recommend a spreadsheet with two tabs: one for money coming in, and one for money going out. You need receipts and proof of purchase for each item on your spreadsheet. This will save your life when it’s time to do taxes, and help keep from having various pieces of paper and reminders all over your life.
This goes for things like yoga equipment, continuing education, and gas mileage to your studio.
By treating your yoga business like a business, instead of just a fun, personal, venture, it’ll be easier to distance yourself from the stressful parts and allow yourself breathing room. Finding ways to deal with the annoying administrative parts of being a yoga teacher is key to building an empire of sustainability. And bendiness.
Let’s Talk – Are you a yoga teacher? How do you find time in your busy schedule to engage in self-care and avoid burn out?
Please chime in down below with your tips & tricks for staying inspired and avoiding burn out!
Hey! I’m Allie.
I’m a self-growth student, freedom-seeker, yoga teacher and the founder of a tight-knit online yoga community: the Body Mind Soul Studio. I’m here to teach you how to transform your life on-and-off-the-mat with a holistic yoga practice.
I wanna learn it all!
The Yoga Reset Guide is my FREE 7-step journey to deepen your practice and recenter your body, mind and soul. Self-paced, no equipment necessary, perfect for beginners AND veteran yogis.