A yoga teacher becomes a yoga teacher because they love practicing yoga, right? What’s amazing is that you get to share it with others. It is a passion that you feel others need. And that is why we decide to get certified and teach. Not everybody wakes and says “I wanna be a yoga teacher!” So when you do, you clearly have a passion for the practice.
So far too often, I hear yoga teachers telling me that they are teaching too much and not practicing enough. You can hear it in their voice and see it in their faces. You can feel the energy. They are not practicing because they are teaching too much. I find that is a really fine line. To be a good yoga teacher, YOU need to practice. I’ve been teaching for over 12 years and really make it a point to commit to getting on my mat AT LEAST 3 times a week no matter what. I know if I don’t, everything suffers, including my teaching. So as a teacher, it’s really important to stay committed to your practice.
It took me a long time to decide if I was going to open a studio. I wasn’t really sure if that was the route I wanted to go because I was nervous it was going to become a “job” and not be my passion anymore. Working at Merck at the time, I wasn’t loving my position there so that is when Sol was born. I was nervous because I was afraid my passion, something I loved SOOO much, enough that I wanted to share it with as many people as possible, was going to become just another “job”.
When the studio first opened, we didn’t have as many instructors as we have now and I was teaching a lot. Like 10-12 classes a week and running the business. I was burning the candle at both ends. As we grew, and we brought more instructors on board, I was able to cut back on my number of classes per week.
Since those days, I know my boundaries. I need to keep teaching to about 5 or 6 classes a week. You have to know your boundaries. So for me, to stay present and to keep continuing teaching and to still LOVE it, as much as I did from the first class I ever taught, I also need to be on my mat three times a week. And I commit to that. I make sure I do that. It helps in SOOO many ways. It not only benefits me, but all the people around me.
In the past, I’ve had new instructors ask “What happens if class is full? Do I take myself out so another student can practice?” My answer is always “NO! You need to practice just as much as everyone else, if not more!” I really believe it is really crucial to stay on top of your yoga teaching to practice. As much as you can. If you fall off that wagon, your teaching suffers and so does everything else.
We have to remember why we did this in the first place. Why did we become teachers? Because we LOVE this practice, right? And if you aren’t practicing, the love for it dims and it becomes just another “job”. That’s the last thing you want to convey in your classes too because students can feel that. It has to stay a passion, a fire within.
And it’s fun! You are making people feel good about themselves and helping them smile more, feel a little more calm and less reactive. You’re really making changes and effecting lots of people! It is crucial that you stay on top of your practice. Crucial.
We need to be reminded why we love this practice. Get to classes. Instructors need to be the students too. Commit to taking class, make it work regardless of how busy you are or how much you are teaching. It will keep you in check with why you got certified in the first place. Because in reality, you were where your students are now… loving this thing called yoga.