One of the most serious challenges yoga teachers might face today is burnout. Like with any helping profession the chances that you will also experience burnout as a yoga teacher is high. Will this happen in your first year of teaching? Most probably not. But down the road in a few years’ time, you might also feel drained and simply exhausted as a yoga teacher.
Why do yoga teachers burn out? All the attention and focus given to your valued students might leave you unable to care for your own self. You might feel having no time to have a self-care practice. You might also feel selfish to think about taking care of you when you see all those students expecting you to nurture them first. While caring for somebody else’s needs, you deny yourself the same treatment.
But how can you be the caring yoga instructor when you feel empty inside? How can you teach an excellent class when you dread the next class you have to teach? What remains when all the joy of sharing the light of yoga is gone from your eyes?
Our best advice after teaching yoga for 14 years consistently: make self-care part of your teaching from day one!
A few easy ways to guarantee that you love teaching yoga for a long time:
Be honest! Being totally transparent with our own selves is the first step. Why do you want to teach yoga? What challenges will your work help to solve for your students? What clients would you like to have? You must know your preferences in order to make choices. There are so many different ways you can be teaching yoga. Think outside of the usual choices. You can teach at a hotel not just at a gym. You might prefer working with CEOs one-on-one in their offices. Or you might want to bring yoga to the neighborhood school. What is calling your name? At the beginning you may decide to experience a few different options to see which fits your special talents.
Respect your limits! Depending on your life situation teaching only a few classes per week might be the best way to go for you. Who said you must teach 15 classes per week in order to be the perfect instructor? Can you call yourself a yoga teacher if you teach only one class a week? Of course you can! Many new teachers will begin teaching part time before making a career change and totally concentrate on yoga teaching. Do not stress yourself with following some ideal way of how your yoga path should evolve. It is essential to know and respect your limits when setting up your teaching schedule.
Act fast! If you feel dread or procrastination coming up around yoga teaching…. If you feel low on energy or too tired to focus on your students…. You need to stop and look at what is going on exactly. Why do you feel the way you feel? What happened or changed that brought out those feelings? Look for solutions to get out of the rut, too. Have another teacher sub your classes for a few days or weeks. Take time out for yourself, go walking, listen to music or cook… whatever fills up your energy reserves.
Never give up on your own yoga practice! This goes without saying: you need to practice yoga yourself in order to be an authentic instructor. You need to be your own priority! Take classes with different teachers, schedule your at-home practice or go to special workshops – no matter which path you take, keep practicing consistently.