Becoming a yoga teacher – for many people, it’s the positive achievement that comes after years of practice, hundreds of hours spent in intensive teacher training, and buckets of sweat and tears spilled on yoga mats. It’s the final culmination of hard work, something to celebrate and cherish. However, many teachers run into unexpected problems, as they become a popular yoga teacher in their community. These problems can lead to instructor burnout, stress, and even depression. Watch out for these issues many popular yoga teachers struggle with so that you can be prepared in the event they arise in your own teaching experiences.
Many people think that when they start teaching, they will have a specific time slot for their classes. This is often not the case, especially as you become more popular and grow in demand. New teachers are often overwhelmed by their schedule (or lack of!) when they start working. One studio may offer you a morning slot at 6:30, while another wants you to teach their candlelight yoga class at 8 – on the same day. Chances are, you’ll want to teach both classes, but it means your day is going to be long, with a lot of empty space in the middle of the day. The problem is that many people want to practice yoga at different times of the day, and as an in-demand yoga instructor, you’ll need to tailor your schedule around class times and openings. To make things easier on yourself, try to only take classes at times you know you will be functioning well – if you aren’t a morning person, try to avoid those sunrise classes!
If your class starts getting a lot of attention or if it is at a prime time, you may find that it gets really crowded, really quickly. Some studios have yoga rooms large enough to hold 50+ people, and it can get filled up easily. While there’s nothing wrong with a big class, it can be overwhelming for some teachers, especially those fresh out of training. When there are a lot of people, it can be difficult to pick out students who need adjustments or tailor the sequence to meet the needs of the class. It can also be easy to lose the personal, spiritual connection in a class packed with people. Many teachers aren’t prepared for this, and it can be a difficult adjustment. If you are struggling with this issue, talk to the studio to see about conducting a similar class on a different day, or talk to some of your students to see if they are available at a different time for a smaller class.
Before people begin teaching, they usually practice yoga themselves on a daily basis. However, once instructors begin teaching multiple public or private classes, their own practice may fall by the wayside. This can cause a teacher to lose what they were so passionate about before they started teaching. In order to avoid burnout, it’s important to keep up with your own practice. While you may not have as much time each day, it’s still important to find at least a little time for yourself daily. Doing some of your favorite poses on your own time can help you feel invigorated and restored, giving you the boost you need to stay excited about being a yoga instructor. Finding the balance between the business side of yoga and spiritual side of the practice can be tricky, even for the most experienced yoga instructors. If you are feeling overwhelmed or hopeless, remember that there is always a solution – you just need to find it. Don’t give up – remember why you started yoga and you can push through even the most difficult teaching problems.
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