Thursday, July 23, 2015

Advice for Yoga Teachers

Photos by Brynna Bryant of Respiro Photography.

Calling all yoga teachers!

Today I'd like to share three simple tips for inspiration. As I'm starting to teach more and more classes, I've found it's more important than ever to do these things...

Advice for Yoga Teachers

1. Prioritize your personal practice.
This one is pretty straightforward, but can be really hard to follow through on if you're scheduling yourself to teach a lot. Bottom line, practice yoga. Aim for a yoga practice every day (maybe one day off per week to rest). Choose a sustainable practice, where you honor what your body needs and you rest a little bit so that you have energy to get back on your mat again tomorrow. On the days when you're exhausted, do yin or a yoga nidra. On the days when you're energized, challenge yourself. Attend class at the studio before or after you teach. Also, have a studio where you practice where you don't teach. Sometimes it's really nice just to be a student, so set yourself up to be a part of a community where you can relax and be in your practice, rather than needing to hold space for others :)

2. Reflect on why you teach.
Ask yourself - why do I teach yoga? What am I really doing when I stand in front of a class? What am I hear to share? What qualities do I bring to my classes? At one of the studios where I teach, I had to write a bio and use three words to describe my teaching style. (I chose calm, heartfelt, and grounded.) What words would you choose? What is your purpose as a teacher? Lately I've been reflecting on how my goal with yoga is to bring peace to others. To give them a chance to be in a peaceful, safe space for a little while during their day. To get away from all the noise and chaos that usually surrounds us. I'm teaching yoga so I can be peaceful and inspire others to do the same. Why are you teaching? It can be helpful to sit down with your journal, talk to a friend about your vision for teaching, or sit in meditation and reflect. At the end of your meditation or conversation, take a moment to honor yourself for the amazing work you're doing. The world needs you!

3. Eat well and stay hydrated.
Just like #1, this one is pretty basic, but can also be a challenge if you don't plan ahead. Keep your body nourished with healthy foods and plenty of water. Notice your cravings. Notice what time of year it is and what the weather's like, and how that has an impact on what your body needs. Fresh fruits, juices, and nuts are a great snack for before and after class. In the mornings, pack a lunch or a bag of snacks to have on hand throughout your day. Especially if you're working in a heated space when you teach, be sure you're drinking enough water or having some coconut water each day so you're not dehydrated. Let your diet be a part of your yoga practice -- mindful awareness of what you eat and how you feel! Oh, and give yourself a break sometimes, too... indulge now and then. Last night I had a glass of wine and a piece of sea salt dark chocolate and I did not put any guilt or shame around treating myself :) As teachers, we are constantly holding space for others and we need to treat ourselves with the same love and respect.

Namaste, teachers! I honor you for what you're doing :)

PS Fresh juice recipes. More advice for caring for yourself as a yoga teacher. And an amazing guest post about finding your voice as a teacher.

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