Motivation is what drives us to do the things that we do. As yoga teachers, when we are not motivated, we feel bored, lack creativity, and have difficulty concentrating. We may even notice early signs of burnout: overwhelm, emotional exhaustion, and heightened stress and anxiety, to name a few. All of this feels out of alignment with why we began teaching yoga in the first place!
Our ability to teach yoga suffers when we lack motivation. We don’t enjoy teaching anymore. We notice ourselves not taking adequate time to prepare for class. We may even feel resentful of our students! On top of not being motivated to teach, we feel guilty and ashamed for not wanting to do the work we know on some level we love to do.
The reasons for lacking motivation are varied and complex. Some are systemic. For example, yoga teachers are usually overworked and undervalued. They are teaching too many classes for too little pay in order to make-ends-meet. Sometimes we lose motivation during particularly stressful periods of our life. We become ill, injured, or simply need a day to rest. Sadly, most yoga teachers are unable to take a sick-day, much less take time away from teaching to relax!
As frustrating as it may be to consider the ways the cards are stacked against us as yoga teachers, it is important for us to take responsibility for the parts of our career that we do have control over! Here are three things yoga teachers can do to get motivated to teach yoga and fall in love with their joyful work all over again!
· Begin where you are.
First of all, acknowledge what you are feeling, even the ones that make you uncomfortable. All feelings are valid! You don’t have to act on your feelings. Simply respect that they are there.
One great way to stay motivated as a yoga teacher is to remember that you are a student first. The best teachers know that they don’t know everything and enthusiastically hone their craft by always seeking to learn more. Continue to educate yourself as a yoga teacher. There are so many topics in yoga to explore! Chakras, anatomy, sacred texts… the list goes on and on! If you’re feeling bored, try learning something new!
Another way to find your motivation as a yoga teacher is to spend time with your colleagues… other yoga teachers! Sharing with your peers can be cathartic. After all, who knows the struggles of a yoga teacher better than another yoga teacher? This sharing can also be insightful. They may have ways of staying inspired that you haven’t thought of yet!
· Practice balance.
You are more than just a yoga teacher! You are a human being with a variety of needs, interests, and relationships. To be in balance means tending to all of the aspects of yourself.
Begin with your body. Our bodies are the vehicles through which the teaching of yoga flows. Make good nutrition, proper rest, and pleasurable physical exercise a priority!
Next, consider your relationships. When was the last time you had a playdate with one of your friends that was not centered around yoga? If it has been too long to remember, you’re well overdue! Make room for friends and loved ones in your life.
Finally, enjoy non-related yoga activities! Do you love to sing? Dance? Sketch? Play ping-pong? If you had an hour to do whatever you like, what would it be?
Now, schedule it! Put it in your planner or Google calendar. One hour every week do something for yourself that is completely unrelated to your work!
· Make your personal practice a priority.
Many yoga teachers make the mistake of thinking they can substitute their home practice with teaching. This doesn’t serve anyone, teachers or students!
Taking the time to do your own personal practice is the number one thing you can do to stay motivated as a yoga teacher. It need not be elaborate. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time. And it certainly does not have to include asana practice (although it can, if you like).
Your personal practice -your daily Sadhana- may include meditation, chanting mantra, reading the sacred texts, or any number of things that remind you of your innate connection to the Numinous.
That is the entire point of practice. It reminds us of who we are at the deepest level. When we remember who we are, we don’t have to try so hard to stay motivated to teach. The teachings come through us making use of our devotion to study, practice, and serve. When we stay close to our practice, we stay close to our why: the reason we said “Yes!” to the joyful work of teaching yoga!
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!