What Happens to your Yoga Practice When You Begin to Teach Yoga?
While the transition from yoga student to yoga teacher is a delight in so many ways, there can be some downsides. Depending on how much you teach, those downsides might include the loss or disruption to their own practice, repetitive strain, burnout, or your practice becoming a place to strategize for your next class rather than a place for you to connect with yourself.
In a recent coaching session, we shared some ideas, strategies, and tips for maintaining your practice and your passion as you transition from student to teacher and beyond.
Below I share few thoughts on what happens to your yoga practice when you begin to teach.
Your Practice Changes. You might find that you have different aims, goals, or perspectives as you learn more about yoga philosophy and history. Your practice might change, and that’s okay.
Prioritize Balance. You might find that you need to balance your yoga practice. If you teach a lot of vinyasa, you might want to add some restorative yoga, or meditation, or Core Yoga.
Consider Movement Diversity. You might find that you need more movement diversity. You might add walking, strength training, dance, swimming, cycling, soccer, etc. Having variety in your movement practice can reduce the risk of injury and burnout.
Adjust Your Expectations. You might need to adjust your expectations or your ‘rules’ for your practice. Maybe your practice won’t look the same, but it can still be useful and rewarding practice.
Remember Self Care. When we teach, we have a lot of energy going out. It’s important to also have energy coming in. To reduce the risk of burnout, engage in activities or receive support that fills your cup as you fill others’ cups.
Stay Curious and Inspired. Seek out new ideas, inspiration, support, mentoring, fresh ideas, new perspectives. Staying curious helps keep the energy in your practice.
Make Some Rules. You might find you need to make some rules around what practice is preparation for your classes, and what practice is just for you.
Have Community. Teaching can be a lonely profession if you don’t have a community of peers to give and receive support. It takes some energy to build and maintain community, but the rewards are well worth it.
Trade classes with a friend – especially if the cost of attending classes is an obstacle, make a trade with a friend to attend each other’s classes at no cost. It’s a great way to hold space for each other, share ideas, and have a backup teacher for times when you are unable to teach your class.
Acknowledge the natural ebbs and flows of practice. Practice is a fluid and organic thing. Rather than counting in days or weeks, consider the rhythm of your practice over months or years. Sometimes your practice is exciting and full, and sometimes it’s finding shorter moments to spend with yourself in time and space.