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True Life: I Beat Yoga Teacher Burnout

From the eyes of a yoga student, the life of a yoga teacher can appear pretty amazing: teaching private clients, creating new sequences and playlists, jetting off on exotic retreats, teaching online classes, reading spiritual books, chanting mantra. It reads like a dream and to be fair, it is glamorous. But like anything else, it’s a job—and it can be a tough job especially during times like these, where you are having to always keep things fresh and extra engaging. 

What students don’t see is that studio politics, behind the scenes online class setup, barely making ends meet, and feeling uninspired are all realities of being a yoga teacher. I personally didn’t grasp the extent of it until I took the leap to teach yoga full-time.

The best way to describe the lifestyle of a yoga teacher is that it’s a hustle. You’re trying to make a name for yourself in an over saturated in person and online market. There are many other studios, other teachers, other bloggers, other instayogis, and not to mention other teachers beginning their virtual studio who are trying to make it as well. You’re also teaching yoga in the mornings and evenings when you used to be practicing, so you have to squeeze your personal practice in whenever you can.

The biggest struggle I faced personally when I shifted to being a full-time yoga teacher was the reality that teaching yoga is an independent position. Even though you interact with other people constantly, you’re teaching them, so it’s not a give-and-take relationship like in a work environment. It’s mainly you giving your own energy. You have to find your own inspiration and fill your own cup on top of the quick attention spans of your online and in-person class attendees.  If you’re not taking care of yourself, yoga teacher burnout is real and inevitable.

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Here are some tips to inspire you, help you stay grounded, and preserve your energy so that you can be of service and share your passion with others.

Personal practice

You love yoga. That’s why you teach it. Make time to take classes on your own with teachers who you love, so that you keep your classes and teaching fresh. It may inspire you to think in a different way when approaching class planning. You gotta do you.

If classes don’t fit in your schedule, take a walk, go for a jog, or move your body in a creative way to get the endorphins flowing. We need more than teaching classes to keep us in shape mentally. 

Check out our Yoga Podcast playlist

Mantra

Mantra is an incredible way to ground, especially chanting mantra and singing kirtan. One mantra that has helped me is sat nam which simply means “I am that,” as in “I already am everything I am seeking.” I also use chakra meditations to clear my chakras and allow energy to flow smoothly.

Think about introducing chanting to your classes to add a new spin and keep your content fresh for your online classes. 

Meditation

A regular meditation practice also plays an important role in grounding and filling your creative cup. Try these meditation tips to ease into your own practice and step closer toward a clear mind.

Ritual

Starting your morning off in a certain way sets the tone for the rest of your day. Whether you journal in the morning or pray, setting some intention for your day will keep you focused and on track. 

It is important to develop and schedule for yourself. Make sure you have a start and end time to your work day. If you do not, you could lose sight in the joy being a yoga teacher brings to you. Create a schedule and stay with the schedule. 

Community

Make time to connect with friends on a daily or weekly schedule. Teaching yoga is a very independent job so make sure you are maintaining your social connections and sharing your time with people. Your classes aren’t going to provide that close social engagement, so make sure you keep some lunch dates on the calendar. Find the balance between yoga and work.

Ultimately, teaching yoga is a huge gift to the world and anything on that scale requires dedication and work. Even on the tough days, remember that you are sharing your passion. Inspiration and new ideas will come when you give your body and brain a break. Especially in this time, give yourself as much passion and love as you give your in-person and/or online classes.

If you follow these tips and do your best to stay balanced, love and light will follow.

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Amy Dannheim
Amy Dannheim
A creative leader in the Miami yoga community, Amy Dannheim is passionate about yoga, plant-based recipes and healthy living. With her degree in journalism from the University of Florida, Amy is a yoga writer and blogger as well as the co-host for Radio 1Om8, a weekly live yoga radio show. After years of working with lululemon, Amy established herself as the go-to person for yoga consulting in Miami, with her finger on the pulse of the yoga community. When she’s not strategizing or cooking, Amy teaches dynamic vinyasa yoga classes that are layered with hip-hop and spirituality, drawing inspiration from her frequent travels. Amy sits on the Green Monkey Yoga teacher training faculty and leads regular workshops and innovative events throughout South Florida. Amy is also a VitaCoco and Funky Yoga ambassador and has appeared on the pages of Wall Street Journal, on lululemon.com and shape.com. She lives in Miami Beach with her husband and fellow yogi, Mike, where they run their bike centric community & clothing company Purdy Ave. Follow her blog at www.miamyyoga.com or find her adventures on Instagram @miamy.