Three Ways to Bring Tapas to Teaching Yoga.... Without Burning Out!

Updated: Mar 17

The Yamas and Niyamas are the ethical precepts of Yoga. The Yamas inform us regarding right action in the world. The Niyamas are observances we keep to be in right relationship with ourselves.

Tapas is the third Niyama. It means “fiery discipline.” Whether we are teaching class in a studio, workshops online, or writing our weekly newsletter to our students, every professional yoga teacher navigates the tenuous terrain between lack of motivation and burnout at one point or another. On downward-facing days, here are three ways you can continue to inspire your students that will cultivate enthusiasm in you, too!

1. Have a mantra.

If you’re in a teaching rut, first monitor your thoughts. What are the messages you mentally repeat to yourself? Are your thoughts fearful or empowering? For example, are you constantly ruminating about money worries or feelings of inadequacy as a yoga teacher? It is difficult to inspire and uplift our students if we are constantly tearing ourselves down!

The word mantra means “mind-training”. If you’ve been lost in negative thinking, don’t try to just stop and think happy thoughts! The mind takes time to adjust and synthesize new information. Instead, create a mantra for yourself around what you would rather be thinking. (In a pinch, “I am good enough” works well for me!)

2. Set an intention.

When we teach yoga classes, we ask our students to set an intention for their practice. But what is your intention for teaching? Some teachers have the same intention every time they teach. Others find their intention changes from class to class, session to session, offering to offering. Either way works. The most important thing is that you know what your intention is before any offering you make. Why do you do what you do as a yoga teacher? What or to whom do you devote your teaching?

3. Let go of judgements and expectations.

Be honest… When was the last time you had a day off? How are you sleeping? What are you doing to balance teaching with self-care?

Lack of motivation is a sign of burnout. As yoga teachers, we want to give our very best to our students. However, many of us have difficulty giving that same level of care to ourselves. This shows up in our teaching…

We all have an off-day every now and then. A string of off-days may indicate we are in need of greater self-care. Let go of judgements and expectations around what you think you “should” be doing. Heed the call for rest. Do what you need to do to stoke your inner-fire: spend time outdoors, take a nap, read inspiring sacred texts, or whatever it is that brings you bliss! Your students will thank you for it!

Would you like to learn more about how you can create a sustainable yoga-teaching career that won’t burn you out? Book a Yoga Teaching Strategy Session with me and I’ll help you get started!


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