Yoga Instructor Burn-out: What Helps?
Have you ever wondered if your students are tired of hearing you say the same things over and over again? Does your body ever feel like it could not teach one more yoga class? Do you ever feel like you are running out of ideas? Do some students zap you of all of your energy? If the answer is yes to any of these questions you may be experiencing instructor burn-out.
Fortunately there are ways to recharge and inspire your teaching and prevent further burnout. I have been teaching yoga for over 25 years now and have learned how to keep myself and my classes fresh. I now know how to teach and feel more energized and renewed after each class instead of depleted, tired or even just neutral.
These are three principals that I use to keep my teaching inspired, energized and rewarding:
1. I consider myself a life long student.
2. I draw energy from a higher source than myself.
3. I see teaching as karma yoga – a service to others.
Each of us as teachers need to make sure that we continue our own education. We need to have the attitude that we will always be students ourselves. By taking classes, workshops and courses, by reading and listening we can keep inspired. Inspiration helps to keep our energy up and focused, thus helping to prevent burnout.
I have found that the most effective way for me teach is to pray for guidance, and ask for divine energy to flow through me to the students, so that each student will receive what he or she needs. When I do this there is a flow of energy that comes through me that leaves me calmly energized and joyful after class. I find that students are more likely to tell me that what I taught in class was exactly what they needed. The class feels fresh and inspired – every time. I feel an increased flow of energy and consciousness.
When we teach with the thoughts “I am teaching all of these classes.”, “I have to attend to all of my students.”, “I have to create class plans and keep things fresh.”, “I have all of these other responsibilities that make it difficult for me to focus on teaching”, “Why does this student have to come to my class and ask me all of these questions?” instructor burn-out can be the result.
If we think too much about the fruits of our actions – will any students compliment me at the end of class, will they come back and take my class again – we again contract our energy and consciousness. Rather if we think in terms of what will be helpful for this student today and not be concerned about whether they like me or not, not only do we expand our consciousness, the student having received what he or she needed is much more likely to come back for more. Think of this: A student might like your personality, but if they are not receiving what they need from your class, they probably will not return to it.
If we keep the focus on serving others – “What is best for this student?”, “How can I help?” “What can I give today?” we will find inspiration and energy joyfully flowing through us.
The more that you ask (from the Divine, your higher self, master, saint or guru), for energy and inspiration, the more you will receive. Like most everything that we do in yoga, this is a practice. The more you attempt to teach in this way, the easier it will become and the greater your results will be over time.
Blessings to you, your practice and your teaching!
Nicole DeAvilla, RYT
Marin County, California
Nicole DeAvilla, certified Ananda Yoga Teacher, has been teaching yoga for over 25 years. She teaches advanced yoga therapy teacher training, private yoga instruction, meditation and yoga topics for classes, workshops and retreats.