Like many new aspiring yoga teachers, during my first year of teaching yoga I was a YES girl. Out of my enthusiasm to get started, to share my love for the practice, and to gain meaningful experience I agreed to every opportunity that came my way. Looking at my situation through a positive lens I did gain that valuable experience I was yearning for. I had the opportunity to work in many diverse settings and situations. I got a studio job when a friend called needing someone for morning hours. I began a thriving private client business with a focus on older adults looking for gentle flows to gain mobility and strength. I participated in outdoor yoga events teaching to large crowds looking for sweaty work out flows. I even travelled to other cities for long weekends assisting at workshops.
It didn’t take long for my yoga passion to become my work life. Not only was I busy with studio classes, private clients, and events, I also began to manage a few local social media accounts hoping to expand my skills in the online world of yoga.
During this time I looked at every new opportunity as something I needed to say yes to even if it didn’t exactly resonate with me. “I’m gaining experience right?” and “You’re a new teacher so you need to work extra hard the first couple years.” These were the thoughts that kept running through my mind. Eventually I found myself becoming unmotivated to go to classes and prepare well for my students. I discovered that I felt directionless because I had been desperately trying to delve into absolutely everything. I failed to listen to my inner knowing. I began a dangerous cycle of feeling guilty if I wasn’t able to cater to every student’s needs or if my schedule didn’t allow time for that next Yoga Brunch event.
Not living your truth always catches up with you. The body will tell you physically, your friends will hopefully call you out on it, and your inner voice keeps coming back to whisper in your ear. As a new yoga teacher it’s wonderful to agree to exciting opportunities in our yoga communities however, taking care of yourself has to be a priority. Here are a few tips for avoiding that new teacher burn out phase.
Don’t be Afraid to Say No. You don’t have to agree to every yoga work opportunity that comes your way. I know as a new teacher it can seem that there is so much to learn and you should say yes because it’s incredible that you’re finally doing your dream job. However, learn to value yourself early on as a teacher. You are unique and just because you are starting out on the yoga scene doesn’t mean you don’t have something amazing to offer. It’s important to be selective with your time and energy. Before you agree to a new yoga opportunity make sure it aligns with your values and personal mission statement. Ask yourself if it something that resonates with you and if it’s something you truly have time for. Don’t be afraid to set up healthy boundaries.
Schedule “You” Time. Time for yourself is absolutely paramount in achieving success as a yoga teacher. To be the best version of yourself for your students and those around you, it’s necessary to find time in your busy schedule to chill. Clear out space in your agenda for some downtime. Whether that’s reading a good book, grabbing a coffee with a friend, or spending some time having a home spa day.
Be Silly. Go dancing, try a new recipe, and play in the outdoors. Give your pet a bath, take artistic photographs, blast your favorite music, or go on a local adventure in your town or city. Do something that breaks your routine to spark creativity in your life and in your practice. Sometimes stepping off the mat is medicine. It’s all about finding that balance and taking care of the other sides of you.