Yoga Burnout

How to deal with it and prevent it.

Johnny Gillespie

Who blew out the Flame?

If you are using term “burnout” then you are indicating that at one time, the flame was lit. The question is, who blew out the flame? If you sit with the question, the answer is not too hard to find–you did. It is a painful realization yet it is true one. This brings us to the three characteristics of truth: it stings, it cleanses, and it sets you free.

Teachers have come to me over the years to tell me that they feel burned out. In almost every instance I was able to notice a common theme. That common theme was a lack of daily practice which can lead to a busy and untamed mind. Our days are so fast and so scheduled in the 21st century. If we don’t pause daily and practice, our minds get out of control.

The founder of the Shambhala and famous Tibetan Lama Chogyam Trungpa said where there is speed you will normally find struggle. Our practice helps us to slow down, relinquish the word struggle and wake up to this moment. When the mind is not trained, the present moment becomes nothing more then the past replayed and/or we see ourselves reaching for some kind of future fulfillment. The mind is uneasy and is in a state of dis-ease. We lose our sense of vibrancy and our ability to recognize the brilliance around us.

We start to look outside of ourselves, thinking that we need another teacher training, a new workshop, or maybe even a different life. We look in the wrong direction. The solution is not outside of us– it’s inside. This is what we as teachers are fundamentally teaching yet we to fall prey to not taking our own advice. We don’t need to travel to the Himalayas. What we need is to amp up our practice right where we are. Get into class 5 or 7 days in a row. Pick up an old book that previously inspired you and journal. Write down why you teach and get in touch with your intention. This can help you re-light your flame.

Keeping your flame lit is your job as a teacher. When life gets challenging, our teaching and practice can go deeper. If we don’t practice we feel burned out. I learned this early in my career. The answers are really that simple when dealing with burn out. Sit with this message and again remember the three characteristics of truth: it stings, it cleanses, and then it sets you free. Does this message sting?

Johnny Gillespie, CSCS, e-RYT
www.plexusfitness.com & www.empoweredyoga.com

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1 Comment»

  Lee Edgren wrote @

My husband is a master chef. He runs a light hearted, fun kitchen far from the unpleasant, intense kitchens shown on TV. His food is superb and he never hurries. I learned photography from a successful photographer. He never hurried. My favorite yoga teachers are those who have the skill to take me to the essence of a movement, who awaken a juicy awareness of something subtle. Delight requires presence. Burn out does not come when one is immersed in this moment. I feel it only when I am trying to push the river, to get an external result not entirely within my control, and the experience turns me back to, yup, look at what I am practicing.


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