Self-Care for Yoga Teachers: 11 Tips to Avoid Burnout

Burnout is super common in today’s fast-paced world, but I think it’s especially common for those of us who have chosen to make healing work our career. This includes yoga teachers, meditation teachers, space-holders, and energy workers.

That’s because this work takes a lot of your energy and heart– which isn’t a bad thing. It’s a beautiful offering of service. But it does mean that we have to be extra diligent with our self-care to protect ourselves and make sure our work is sustainable.

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Below are 11 self-care tips to help you avoid burnout, so you can continue to do the incredible healing work you do and feel good while you do it.

 

1. Release expectations for your yoga teaching practice to look a certain way

So your yoga teacher friend or the famous yogi you follow on Instagram is somehow able to teach 5 classes a day, every day, without burning out?

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Good for them– but that doesn’t have to be you! We’re all incredibly unique individuals, and so the ways we set up our yoga businesses and teach our classes are going to be incredibly unique, too.

It can be so tempting to compare ourselves and berate ourselves for not doing what we think we “should” be doing or want to be doing, but remember– there is no should. You get to make the rules for your life.

So try releasing expectations for your yoga teaching practice and business to look a certain way. I promise, that’s the best self-care there is!

 

2. Ground yourself before and after teaching

There are a lot of ways to do this. If you can, try earthing– intentionally planting your bare feet on the Earth and absorbing the Earth’s energy. You can learn all about earthing here.

If you live in the city like me and that’s not the most convenient thing for you to do, another grounding technique I love is sitting in a chair with your feet firmly planted and eyes closed. As you breathe deeply, imagine your feet growing roots into the Earth and your crown opening to a beautiful white beam of light. As you do this, you open yourself up to spirit and ground yourself in this physical plane.

 

3. Maintain your personal practice

Your practice will probably change as you start to teach, and it will probably be different every single day. That’s not a problem. The only thing that matters is that you maintain your practice.

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This is how you fill up your cup and make sure you actually have something to give to your students– by practicing what you teach.

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4. Protect your energy

During classes and healing work, you can absorb a lot of other people’s energy. The grounding techniques I mentioned above will help with this, but you also might like to protect your energy when you feel called by using one of these techniques:

  • Have your students turn their heads toward you and feet away from your in savasana. Their energy is leaving through their feet, so point their feet away from you so it doesn’t get absorbed into your energy field.
  • Imagine yourself in a protective bubble or egg of light.
  • Call back your energy after class by planting your feet firmly on the ground and visualizing any white threads of light that belong to you coming back into a white ball of light in your navel or heart center.

 

5. Schedule in downtime

And by downtime, I don’t mean a break between teaching classes that consists of you running to the subway. Make sure you have enough break time before and after class that isn’t full of travel and work-related things. Take time to eat nourishing food, slow down, rest, and recollect your energy.

 

6. Diversify your income

Yes, this is self-care too. Why?

Because it gives you greater freedom. It makes it easier for you to make the money you deserve without running around like crazy. It can even allow you to make passive income, giving you even more of an opportunity to slow down, take time for your practice, and care for yourself.

Click here to learn how to diversify your income and click below to download your free guide, 25 ways yoga teachers can make more money.

 

 

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7. Learn to say no

When you say no to opportunities that aren’t in alignment, you can say yes to the ones that are. It can be really hard to say no to money, especially when you’re first starting out, but if you’re in the place to do so then saying no to money that isn’t in alignment opens the space for the workshop or class you really want to teach.

Opportunities that aren’t in alignment can come in many forms, and they can come disguised as opportunities that are in alignment– like teaching at an amazing studio (that doesn’t align with your mission) or teaching a workshop at a studio with questionable ethics. So remember to take time to pause and check in before giving an automatic yes to something.

 

 

8. Refill your cup

Maintaining your personal practice is an important way to refill your cup. But what else refills your cup?

Is it spending time alone? Spending time with friends? Dancing? Journaling? Painting? Hiking? Swimming in the ocean? Getting creative in the kitchen?

Think about all the things that give you energy, and make sure you’re caving out time in your schedule each day to do at least one of them. If you need some ideas, I love this list from Yoga Journal.

Refilling your cup with activities outside of yoga can help inspire your yoga practice and teaching, too. Those moments can inform your teaching even more than anything else!

 

9. Reconnect with why you love yoga

If you’re disconnected from why you love yoga, it’s going to be hard to teach it and give so much of yourself without developing some dissatisfaction over the years. If you start to feel that disconnection, just ask yourself a few questions:

  • Why might I be feeling this way?
  • Why did I start doing yoga in the first place?
  • Why did I start teaching yoga in the first place?
  • How does teaching yoga make me feel?

When you’re able to reconnect with your love for the practice, you’re able to fully show up for yourself and your students.

 

10. Create boundaries with email and social media

This is self-care in 2018! When you work for yourself, it can be hard to create boundaries. It’s tempting to want to answer every email, every Instagram DM, and every comment as soon as you see it.

But when you don’t respond right away, the world doesn’t end. It keeps spinning. No one (no one reasonable, anyway) actually expects you to respond right away. Set boundaries for yourself that help you maintain your energy, such as:

  • No checking email after a certain time at night or before a certain time in the morning
  • No checking Instagram after a certain time at night or before a certain time in the morning
  • Set the expectation with anyone you work with or for, such as studio owners and private clients, of when you will respond to them (for example, within 48 hours)
  • Be clear about how you want to be contacted by anyone you work with or for (for example, email is okay but no texts or phone calls)

When setting these boundaries, ask yourself: what drains me? What gives me energy? What is unacceptable to me? What is ideal to me?

Use your answers to these questions to set the boundaries that are really going to serve you and your work.

 

11. Create space to re-evaluate

What’s working and what isn’t? It’s easy to slip into autopilot, renewing your commitments every few months or every year without even thinking about it.

But it can be so beneficial to take the time every few months or every year to look at what’s on your plate and how you’re running your business. You’re changing and growing all the time, so are there any commitments that you’ve grown out of that are no longer in alignment? Are there boundaries you set last year that actually don’t serve you anymore, and you need to set a new boundary?

Check out this blog from Natalie Rousseau for some great advice about re-evaluating your commitments.

What are some of your favorite ways to practice self-care? Comment below and share!

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About Brandon

Former corporate sales rep turned nomadic entrepreneurial yogi. Street food ninja, avid outdoorsman, craft beer geek, and live music junkie. Co-founder of The Yoga Nomads.

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