When you just need 20 minutes to catch your breath and begin again..... I would love to share that time with you right now!
Being a yoga teacher is not easy, it's not always glamorous and there is a lot, a LOT of leg work you have to do to get to a place that you see others at. Most teachers you look out at have worked their asses off and then some and are still working 26 hours a day to get it right. And if they have not gone that road, they are the few that are just really lucky.
I started out as a yoga teacher and I was barely 19 years old. My students were mostly old enough to be my parents and I was not a collage graduate with a fitness related degree or business related degree. I had two other jobs besides teaching yoga to make sure I filled my days and could pay my bills. I lived in my car and bought all my props out of my own money so my students could have the best experience possible. I made up flyers for classes at many of the locations I taught because I saw that if I got one person from those I was ahead of the game, no one told me to do that and in less than pleasant weather I would walk the Walmart parking lot and side streets putting my flyers on car windows. I'd go to all the coffee shops around and post appropriate flyers for the classes in that area I was teaching (no one told me to do this by the way). Again if I could get one student, that was a win for me.
I never waited for someone to give me an idea or an opportunity I went out and got them myself. I never saw the studios, gyms and rec centers I taught for as responsible for my success as a teacher but rather that they were giving me a chance to expose myself to as many people as possible.
Some day's I'd wake up at 5am to drive 40 minutes to a studio I taught at to do a 30 minute private class for an elderly lady with MS, then I'd get a coffee or do a self-practice or read for an hour and a half until I had a class 8am, to then drive 50 minutes back to lifeguard and teach a few swim lessons in the afternoon. In the evening I'd be out to any of the various locations I hustled at and taught one, two even three classes for the night, and sometimes not all at the same location (hustling again).
I have never taught routines and in the first several years of, teaching I was incredibly self-critical, feeling I was not a good enough teacher, that at times broke me down, I had bouts of crying, feeling I couldn't make it, that I wasn't good enough, and oh by the way I was newly in recovery for an eating disorder dealing with all the shit that goes with that, I would have to continuously pull myself together to teach and my mat is what saved my life and has helped make me who I am today.
I guess what I am trying to say is if you are expecting that when you become a yoga teacher that it's going to be wonderful and easy, that the students will just flock to you, in kindness, think again. No one told me what to expect about anything when I went into this, I hadn't a clue how to do much of anything except for my 6, one hour class outlines I had in my folder when I left my training. Being a yoga teacher long term has to be something you feel deep in your heart, no your soul, it's something that will bring you to the pits of your being, exposing all your insecurities when students either judge you or appear to be and you have to find it in yourself to deal with it. When your class sizes swing by the tens and you must remember that shit happens and most likely it’s not you as long as you know you are doing all you can to succeed. I’d hear students comment on that their backs hurt or over hear in a crowd that their instructor does this or that, and I’d make a mental note to not do that or to learn more about what they were talking about.
It's a mind game of rejection and acceptance when your classes take months, no YEARS to stabilize and gain approval from your community. I spent months and months and months when I opened my studio building up classes, time slots and new styles of yoga. I'd come home to my husband and he'd ask how many people and I'd say one or two and after a few months maybe four, and in the following weeks the same four again, it was years later of extensive effort, trust and belief that I was able to make things work.
You can’t be wishy-washy when you decide to be a yoga teacher and you must be willing to step out and take risks and most importantly follow through; ideas are one thing but actually putting them into action is another. I am the kind of person that continuously self reflects and asks what can I do better, what am I doing wrong and how can I change this? I am an action taker and am willing to go the extra mile. Is that the description of a yoga teacher, maybe, maybe not, but when you add a side of honesty your students learn to trust you.
Being a yoga teacher cannot be about the money no matter how many yoga teachers out there are teaching you the business of yoga and how you can make a six figure income doing so, in all reality very few will (for various reasons). And again I repeat to be successful in life you must follow your heart with honesty and integrity and then the money, if it’s your path, will come. My path has taught me to rely on no one to do things for me and when necessary ask for help, but don’t expect others to do your dirty work no matter where you teach, where you work or where you live.
In writing this today I hope you take some time to self-reflect, maybe you are not a yoga teacher but being one takes guts, takes real, REAL commitment and follow through. And in wanting to be a yoga teacher it’s important to decide to what degree do you really want to teach and how much you really want to do what you say you want to do. I have learned it’s not for everyone and to teach a class that is not hyped by media science (what the media says is so great, new and trendy, will help you melt pounds and make you look great) and to not fall into the latest fads (yes even yoga) means you may have a slightly harder time getting students in because helping people realize what they buy into is a totally different topic.
So to all my yoga teachers out there, hang in there and keep at it, maybe teaching eight classes is too much and you’d rather just teach one class a week and that be it, maybe you just want to teach your friends and family, or not at all anymore. Maybe you do want to open a studio, or maybe you have a whole different path in mind. I don't regret any bit of my path and have a vision and I will do all I can to make it happen in God's timing, but in the mean time I will not wait around for others to help me make it, that's no one's job but mine.
Regardless, I wish you all well and know that this message is merely from my own experience and one that will hopefully help you find what you are looking for, being that answer has to come from within you. I love being a yoga teacher and wouldn't want to do anything else in life but what I currently do, heck I teach a yoga teacher training program, but teach it with the approach of a total life transformation program first, and feel that to be a yoga teacher you must start there and that takes time.
So to all my yoga teacher friends and readers go out there and rock it, own your space and follow through, the sweat you put in will reward you fully and the the sweat I'm talking about does not come from the heaters blowing 90 degree air out on you during class.
Join me for a quick how to session. Downward Dog and Plank are staple poses in any yoga class, and many sync the two in small flows, however few really transition properly and effectively for the most core load and benefit to the body.
If you have 20 minutes you can spend with me it will change how you are practicing yoga!
We all have 5 minutes right? I know I do, and this core video is 5 minutes well spent! What would happen if you spent 5 minutes like this every day?
Love your core, abdominal's, obliques, back and smoken mid-section!
Shoulders hurt, neck tight, headache, jaw pain. You are not alone, we exercise and work out and even in the yoga community many have forgotten about release as a major part of healthy and harmony in the body. Join Hope for a detailed step by step 25 min yoga session dedicated solely to the neck and shoulders, stretched the right way. Sit in a chair, on the floor or combine them into yoga postures. Today is the day you start to feel better!
To all my friends out there that have felt this way, need not worry there is light at the end of the tunnel.
1. You find yourself or overhear others say that you are continually doing the same drab thing over and over again.
2. Your cues are monotone and very blah, there is no excitement in your voice and find you are not trying to really go that extra mile.
3. You dread coming in to teach. Yes sometimes family, and other commitments get in the way and we have to step back, but if it’s all in your head then it’s time to address it.
4. You snap at students over simple little comments or questions they have feeling as though they should already know the answer.
5. You are getting sick all the time, sickness is not random our immune system and nervous system react to how we deal with stress or don’t deal with stress, so if you’re sick your body has found a way for you to slow down the only way you will listen.
6. You yourself are not attending classes or giving variety to your personal practice, heck you don’t even have one at this point.
7. You find yourself eating junky food, and not taking the time to do to yourself what you say others should do to themselves.
8. You just don’t show up, and worst you forget or just flat out don’t get a sub.
9. Your body hurts, you are constantly hurting yourself and worse yet you are unwilling to point the finger at yourself as the teacher.
10. Finally, your personal practice is forceful, and angered or boring and unmotivated, leaving you more hostile or withdrawn than you were before.
How to fix it:
1. Cut down on the amount of classes you teach. Ever heard of burn out, well it happens a lot even in you are a yoga teacher. Every six months I have learned I need to take some time to step back and breathe and reevaluate my schedule and if I need to make a change.
2. Take a break! Yes, maybe you need a leave of absence from teaching all together to allow yourself the time off to prioritize your schedule and maybe figure out if you still want to teach at all.
3. Prioritize your personal practice. What makes a good teacher is not necessarily the training they take (although a good one surely sets the foundation) but how they continue to stay a student. At our studio we have a once a month rule, we ask that students find time to come to a class at least one time a month at the studio, this helps get their face out there, learn new tricks and keep up their personal well-being.
4. Get involved in other activities, just because you teach the mighty yoga does not mean you can’t enjoy other activities as well, like: walking, hiking, biking, tennis, swimming, camping, crafting, scrapbooking, sewing, soccer, cooking, being a mom or dad. When you find balance you enjoy more of what you do.
5. Stop and eat, yes eat good foods, nourishing foods. When is the last time you actually asked your body what do you want to eat today. Let go of the picture that you need to be a raw foodie or vegan to be a good soulful yogi. Eating what your body needs is more important than restricting foods you think it shouldn’t have, or only filling it with well, crap.
6. Delegate, do you have so much going on that you’re drowning a slow miserable death? Dig yourself out by delegating tasks that you just don’t need to be doing. We often feel we have to do it all, but in all reality doing it all does not allow you to do what you do best to the best of your ability. God gave us all different talents so we can work together as a team.
7. Get enough sleep, harder than it looks many of us simply trade sleep for mindless activities like watching T.V. and then pay for it the next day when we don’t get up early to practice or are crabby because we short changed ourselves the deep slumber we need to recharge our batteries.
8. Practice saying yes and no. Which one do you struggle to say? Work on saying these simple yet powerful words and take note on what you need to work on saying more of. Trying to help everyone else and neglect yourself will only work for so long, so is it yes or no?
9. Establish some sort of daily devotional time. Reading the bible or yoga sutras, a daily devotional book, journal, meditate and or pray. This time will allow you the clarity as to your direction and establish gratitude for your journey, your practice, your teaching and all those who join you.
10. Finally, write down why you love teaching (yoga), why you are passionate about it, and how does it give back to you? If you can’t find anything good to come of it then maybe it’s time to shift directions, and if you have a long list of passionate answers then it’s time to reestablish a schedule and routine that will best serve and honor that.
As a yoga teacher, studio owner, teacher trainer, author and mom, I totally get balance, but I did not at first. And as my duties and life grew fuller, I was unwilling to delegate because I felt so responsible to do it all, than I would get sick, and feel crappy about teaching and was taking it out on loved ones. When I allowed myself to enjoy other things not related to yoga and came to the realization that liking those things did not make me less of a yogi then I was before, part of the burden was lifted. Remember life is always shifting us, and as we grow, things we are doing may need to fall away, teaching certain classes, being a part of certain groups or boards we sit on, friends, jobs, what your personal practice needs, regardless, we must be open to this shift.
We are only fooling ourselves if we think we can do it all, and moreover think we need to, and this goes for everyone. My best moments on the mat are when I am constantly, daily and as a devotee seeking balance in my personal practice, teaching and daily living. Make decisions based on what is best for you and in the end it will be what is best for your students (they just might not know it yet).
This has been such an wonderful summer so far! I feel so blessed at the astounding gifts the Universe has given me. I love deeply seeing so many of my students regularly on their mats even among this wonderful weather we are having!
Lately when i think about yoga, and what it offers me and those around me I am continually blown away by the benefits and how if you let yoga into your life what it can offer you. Lately in my own personal life I have been working to find balance. Not just in how things are right now but in how I know they should be. My nature is to make sure others are happy and content and then check that with myself, however lately I am finding that this method in which I have lived most of my life does not work anymore. That the things I know that must be done or must become a priority will in the end make everyone a lot happier and allow me to give more of myself to everyone than I am right now.
But like I am sure all of you know, change is not easy, in theory yes, but in action not always. In my head my fears often speak up and say "Oh, they won't like that", and I wonder if the choices I am making are the right ones. So time and time again I am back to the philosophy of yoga and reminded continually of the guidance that has yet to fail me (when I actually listen)
Through Yoga we are offered what is called the Yamas & Niyamas or the Ethical Standards on how we conduct ourselves in life and our Self-Disciplines.
The one thing that I personally love about yoga philosophy is that we are not told we are bad, or sinners or that something outside ourselves is the root of the issue, but rather we are asked to look within, and at our actions out on others for solutions towards balance, love and harmony.
I will just pull from a few of the Yamas (actions towards others) today in the hope's of clarity.
The first two Yamas are Ahimsa or nonviolence and the second one is satya or truthfulness. When I initially look at these two yamas I am thinking O.K., don't kill your neighbor, I can do that. And secondly, truthfulness, O.K. don't lie.
"sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me".
In remembering this saying, and applying it to the Yamas of Yoga, I am brought to the conclusion that this saying is crap. Yeah a stick to the eye hurts, but a harsh word to the heart hurts worse. I am by no means perfect, as just this weekend I unintentionally said something in the heat of a simple moment that I should not have said to someone I love deeply, afterwards my ego got in the way and my apology was a bit lame at first, but after a few moments and my heart felt horrible, and I had to step back and learn from the situation and also learn from the other persons reaction as well.
"Do onto others as you want them to do onto you".
How true that is. Now in Satya, or truthfulness, we are asked to act honestly, and we can do this by owning up to our actions, words or shortcomings. The ego would prefer us to stay ignorant and prefer us not to change, the ego likes you acting blindly in life, however, once exposed to the elements of a yogic lifestyle we are not just asked but required by our higher consciousness to own up to what we now know.
I find it extremely challenging to call myself out on my faults and shortcomings, however the more I do this and do this honestly and nonviolently, I find it becomes easier and as a result the hurt that may have come back your way through sticks, stones or words has been stopped dead in it's tracks.
So as you go out today ask yourself in all you do, is this helping or hurting, who benefits from these actions or words, and who is hurt? Yes, some things must be said, but though ahimsa it is how you say it, something that I have learned to do much better than in my past. And finally, be honest, if you have wronged someone, don't cover it up or white lie about it, sure the ego will be bruised but it is much easier to keep track of the truth than it is of all your lies, no matter how big or small, take it from me, it's exhausting.
In Health and Harmony on and off your mat!
Everyone is busy, and not everyone has time for double workouts, join me for this sweaty class featuring the best of yoga combine with light hand weights. Do you think you have what it takes to follow through the entire 75 min class? Lets find out. Get ready to burn calories, build lean muscle, cultivate core strength, gain flexibility and enrich your mind-body connection. Enjoy!
Enjoy a great class right at home! Start your day out right or close out your day with a class to meet everyone's needs. This class focuses on "stiff" bodies. Namaste
Anjaneyasana or what I like to call Deep Lunge is a core staple pose in yoga, one that many will practice several times within a class.
I think for many it's a pose we fly into and fly out of never really noticing what exactly is going on in our bodies in the process.
I remember one of my first yoga DVD's by Shiva Rea, a Sun Salutations Vinyasa, I did love that DVD, however after a while and after I began to dive into learning more about asana and my body I began to recognize that I was falling victim to my tightness and the speed of that DVD.
For many of us, we have landed tight hips, a tight lower back and a weak core, for a number of reason that I am not here to discuss, but lets just say that it is very easy for our practice to start to dance around our limitations, restrictions and weaknesses without even knowing it.
So here is a question "What qualifies as going deeper into the pose?" I use to think that it meant dropping as deep as I can, I never really drew a relationship to what my body was doing to what I needed to be doing or was avoiding.
Let me help you, look at the two pictures below, the one on the left is me sinking deeply in the lunge, and the one on the right is me working more diligently in my restrictive areas of my hips.
The picture on the right is:
So on the left:
To practice this pose: