As yoga teachers our job can be both magical and draining.
I get paid to wear yoga pants all day, create bombass hip-hop playlists and give people a break from the real world. It’s a pretty sweet gig.
But there’s also a lot that goes into to being a yoga teacher.
When we are teaching we are super ON and fully present. Otherwise that’s when you mess up your sequence — I would know from experience. For many of us we teach in heated class rooms. Heated rooms = so much sweat. In some classes we have to demo a butt ton of moves.
It’s a hard, demanding, amazing job. Really. But because it is draining it means we all need to focus on giving ourselves the proper self-care and love we deserve. Otherwise that’s when the burnout happens or the quality of our class suffers.
This is something I am actively working on right now. It’s a work in progress but I am cultivating self-care rituals that support me as a yoga teacher. That help me recharge so I can continue to lead each of my classes every week with passion and energy.
Take a full day off of teaching every week
It’s easy when you’re a new teacher to want to say YES to everything, including teaching 7+ days in a row. I’ve had those weeks where I don’t give myself a day off from teaching and it’s not fun. By the end of the week my brain is totally fried and I know I’m no longer giving 100% to my students. I learned the hard way: it’s not worth it. Even for the extra $$.
My goal in the future is to have two full days off from teaching every week. Right now that’s not possible with my Bar Method commitments so I’m really really making the most of my Sunday’s off and I do my best to avoid teaching Monday morning classes so I have a bit more time to myself.
I’ve heard this advice from many veteran yoga teachers: TAKE DAYS OFF. Preferably two in a row if you can swing it.
Create your own ritual for decompressing after teaching.
One thing I really struggle with is winding back down after teaching. Especially if I’m coming home after teaching a night class and need to wake up early the next day.
I always always always shower after teaching as a way to help me wind down. Okay also because I’m always always always sweaty and disgusting after being in the hot room 🙂
I’ll dim the lights in my bathroom and use some lavender soap [<– this stuff is from one of my favorite brands, Saje] to amp up the relaxing vibes. If I’m feeling super extra I’ll diffuse some relaxing essential oils too while I’m getting ready for bed.
This might be a bit woo-woo but I’ve also been lighting palo santo as a way to “clear energy” after I teach. Whether or not it works to actually clear the energy, I don’t freaking know. But I now associate it with that idea. Placebo effect or not, I find it helps me transition from being in “teacher mode” to whatever is next.
Be smart about your schedule
As a relatively new yoga teacher I want to say yes to EVERYTHING. Finish teaching at 9:30PM and then teach 6AM the next day? Okay, I’ll make it work! Teach 3 classes at 3 different locations around Manhattan / Brooklyn in one day? Sure thing!
I am realizing [the hard way, of course] that saying yes to everything starts to catch up to you. Before I say “YES” to subbing a class or picking up a new permanent class I force my self to take a second and really think about if it’s a good fit for my schedule. Sometimes it’s a no brainer to say yes but other times taking that extra second to think about it makes me realize I’m freaking crazy to say yes.
I know this is an easier said than done piece of advice. It’s hard to be picky when you want that additional income and also want to show your devotion to a studio. But don’t let it be at the expense of your own wellness / sanity.
Keep up your own yoga practice
Another thing I’m really really working on: keeping up my own yoga practice. Ugh, it’s deceptively hard sometimes! Just like I schedule my workout classes on Sunday, I’ve also been writing in my schedule what yoga classes I’m going to take that week. I’m so so grateful for free yoga classes at the studios I teach at, but it also means I have to show up for myself… not just because I paid for the class.
My goal right now is to take two yoga classes a week, both for my own sanity and to keep me fresh as an instructor. I’ll be honest: sometimes it happens. And sometimes it doesn’t for one reason or another.
Be kind to your body
Sometimes I have to remind myself that teaching IS super physical. Even if I’m not demo-ing a ton I’m adjusting people and standing on my feet for 3+ hours in the heat. As yoga teachers we gotta practice what we preach and take care of our bodies. It’s our instrument and our livelihood.
On Sundays I always always always take a rest day from both teaching and doing my own workouts. Even if I missed a workout during the week on Sundays I am lazy AF. Besides walking to and from brunch of course…
I also am really conscious of the types of workouts I do when I have a heavier day of teaching. It’s a big reason why I’ve been so drawn to Bar Method these days — it’s kind on my body but is still a solid workout. Find the workouts and ways to move your body that support you as a yoga teacher rather than leave you even more sore, tired and drained.
Your turn: Fellow yoga teachers chime in — what are your favorite self-care rituals?