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, 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.
What students don’t always see is that studio politics, drama among teachers, 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 a saturated market. There are many other studios, other teachers, other bloggers, and other instayogis out there who are trying to make it as well. You’re also teaching yoga on 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’re around other people, 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. If you’re not taking care of yourself, yoga teacher burnout is real and inevitable.
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.
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. 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.
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.
A regular meditation practice also plays an important role in grounding and filling your creative cup. Try these five meditation tips to ease into your own practice and step closer toward a clear mind.
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.
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.
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. Love and light will follow.