Teaching yoga is an act that serves others. The Bhagavad Gita says that it’s not the ‘fruits’ of our actions that matter, but rather the intent and action we take. Being able to offer a yoga practice is being available for others, helping them gain trust and knowledge, and ultimately helping them improve their lives. It can be very rewarding to teach yoga. Teachers often form strong relationships with their students. We have the chance to help people and make an impact.
Yoga teachers often feel exhausted and burned out after assuming so many responsibilities. It’s common for teachers to feel lost, lonely, depressed, or empty after teaching a lot of classes and 1-to-1s.
The Yoga Teacher Self Care Checklist is important because teachers must be fully themselves to give their best. Caring for others requires first taking care of yourself and then being fully present for others.
Take a look at this list. Do you make sure to check each one of these regularly? Let’s share our thoughts in the comments below!
Checklist for Yoga Teacher Self-Care
Take the time to practice your art.
You should do something every day, even if it’s slow breathing, five Sun Salutations or one round of chanting. Teachers often find it difficult to make time for their practice. However, practice doesn’t necessarily involve spending hours on the yoga mat. Any activity that keeps you energized, present, and focused is worthwhile.
Learn when to say no
Many people advise you to seize every opportunity, pay for everyone’s classes, and do it all for free. Yoga teachers cannot survive on their own. We must pay for food, shelter, and other necessities. You might consider cutting back on the activities that consume too much of your time and affect the quality of your classes. It’s great to help as many people as possible, but it shouldn’t be if you are causing harm to yourself. Ahimsa is the first Yama of Patanjali’s Eight Limbed Yoga system. This is something you likely learned during your yoga teacher training.
Take care of your health.
Although the ‘Clean Eating” movement started with positive intentions, it has been criticized for encouraging us to swap healthy calories for empty meals. Many people turn to yoga for solace from the pressures of looking good. However, they aren’t immune to body image problems. The ‘Insta-yogi” image we all know on social media can worsen matters. It’s important to remember that your body needs fuel. It would help if you chose fresh, vibrant, and healthy foods. You get what you put in, so eat well to live well.
We all know that sleeping well is important. Having a busy schedule with evening classes and early morning practices can be exhausting. So, create a routine that gets your body and mind into bed quickly in the evenings. If you have had a long night, permit yourself to go to bed a bit later in the morning. Your body will be grateful. Sleeping well can be achieved by eating foods like cherries, nuts, almonds and walnuts, organic dairy products, and especially the nutrients magnesium, tryptophan and kiwis. Ayurveda recommends not napping during the day as it can disrupt your body’s rhythms, making it more difficult to fall asleep at night. Yoga Nidra is a great alternative if you feel tired during the day. It can be done for 10 to 20 minutes and is as effective as a whole night’s sleep. Keep your eyes open!
You can rest easy.
We are not sleeping. Instead, we are dreaming, processing, turning, and dreaming. It is crucial to spend quality time getting good sleep. Yoga Nidra, a great way to reset your brain and body, can also be used. Many yoga teachers notice that their practice changes after a while. They often want a gentler, still, approach to teaching and appreciate Savasana much more.
Look for a great bodyworker.
If you work every day, it is almost certain that you will experience aches and pains. Yoga teachers often suffer injuries from not paying enough attention to their bodies when demonstrating something. You should find a massage therapist or osteopath who can help you when you most need it. You might also consider self-massage techniques such as Yamuna Ball rolling.
You can explore other movements with your mind:
Flexibility is great, but it shouldn’t be the only thing you do. Long-term stretching without strengthening can cause a weakened body and even serious injuries. It would help if you balanced yoga with other forms of movement such as swimming, cycling, resistance training, weight lifting, hiking or martial arts. Enjoy what you do!
Try something other than yoga.
The mind requires different stimulation, just as the body needs different types of movement. Reading poetry or fiction, going on a walk and taking in the scenery, reading poetry or watching films, and even learning new skills can help create neural connections that will give you fresh air.
You can get help from a friend, mentor or fellow teacher. They will be able to share their experiences, and you can discuss your progress. Many yoga teacher support and mentoring groups in cities have yoga. If you don’t know one, consider starting one!
Be true to yourself.
It’s important to balance doing what the studio requires and selling your soul. You might lose sight of what you want to do in teaching. Are you repeating the same old routines that are so dated? Do you worry about your students being bored by fast-paced classes when you could be teaching slower, more alignment-based classes? You will find your teaching career more enjoyable and sustainable if you allow your heart to guide your actions.