A lot of information gets thrown at you in a 200-hour yoga teacher training. In my training, I learned everything from the anatomy of the lungs to the origins of Yin Yoga. However, looking back on my journey as a teacher, I learned a whole lot about supporting my students and not enough about supporting myself.
Now that I mentor yoga teachers and help them take their passion for teaching to another level, it’s clear to me that teacher training programs are falling short in giving teachers the tools to manage stress and negative thoughts while teaching.
The fears and discomforts of teaching yoga is paralyzing instructors.
78% of the teachers in my program went over a year after getting certified not teaching due to personal fear and self-doubt.
Commit to Always Being a Student
This is the most important piece of advice I can recommend to yoga teacher. Keep going to classes and learning from other teachers. Have an active membership to a studio that you do not teach at.
Continuing to be a student in addition to a teacher will help you:
Far too often I work with teachers who are focusing on the nitty-gritty details of a class from a student’s perspective — do not matter. For example, they stress about the lights, the temperature, accidentally messing up a sequence. These details are important but they’re not important enough to be actively stressing about during class.
By tapping into your inner student, you can teach your students more effectively, stay centered, and focused on your mission. Commit to always being a student so that you can serve from a place of authenticity and not habit.
Keep it Simple
Teachers tend to feel this pressure to teach really creative, complex sequences to keep their students engaged and inspired.
It’s a huge misconception that a good class needs to incorporate complicated sequencing. Some of the best yoga teachers lead very simple, straightforward classes that still incorporate all of the important class elements.
Lastly, always remember that you are human and while you may be your biggest critic — you are adding value to your students’ lives. As long as you are teaching from a place that is true to yourself, you’re never a bad teacher.
The New Moon marks the beginning of a new lunar cycle — a time for letting go of the past and setting fresh, new goals. It’s the Universe pressing a giant RESET button on your life and is the perfect time for you to call in whatever kind of energy you need this month.
Self-care during the new moon is extremely important so that you can enter the new lunar cycle with a clear mind and open heart.
Sage Cleansing Ritual
After setting your intentions, plant a seed in a pot or in your garden
The goal of these rituals is to connect with yourself and reflect on what kind of energy you would like to call in. So as you choose your ritual, ask yourself “What am I drawn to in this moment?”
This time in quarantine can be a huge challenge for those of us with people-pleasing tendencies. Being a people-pleaser often yields wonderful short term results — people like you, you’re helpful and competent, and you tend to genuinely like others. These byproducts are great until you start to feel the burnout from constantly trying to please everyone around you.
It’s not sustainable to be a people-pleaser long term.
If you’re a people pleaser, you must learn to be mindful of the energy you’re giving away. Be careful not to overextend yourself and continue to prioritize yourself in your routine.
Now that many of us are living, working, and balancing families, relationships, and independence all in the same space — boundaries are more important than ever.
With work, family, relationships, and home-life all running together in the same space, people-pleasers are being pulled in a million different directions. Whether it’s feeling obligated to be “on-call” all-day for work or constantly catering to your family -- it can be extremely draining.
Implementing boundaries can keep us from giving away all of our energy and allows us to be intentional with where we put it. The goal isn’t to stop helping everyone, it is to make sure you’re giving yourself space to recharge.
Remember — you can’t pour from an empty cup.
Ask for Feedback
When too many opportunities to people-please present themselves, many of us often start to fall into the “I’m-never-doing-enough” mindset. Sound familiar?
It’s the idea that if we can’t help everyone, then we are helping no one.
This is a dangerous line to cross and can lead to even more overextension. A simple fix is to check-in with the people in your life — family, coworkers, partners — and ask them for feedback.
If you’re a people-pleaser, chances are you’re doing more than enough to help the people around you.
This validation can really help you gain better perspective and release any guilt or shame that accompanies people-pleasing. It will also weed out the people who don’t appreciate you and your helpfulness.
Be Kind to Yourself
Lastly, remember to be kind to yourself. Remember to do whatever it is you need to do to recharge.
Remember: you can’t pour from an empty cup.
If you’re a people-pleaser, it’s probably because you care deeply about others. It’s time to also prioritize self-compassion and self-love.
Now that many of us are living, working, and balancing families, relationships, and independence all in the same space -- boundaries are more important than ever.
If we let every aspect of our busy lives run together in one space, we’ll be living in a mess of anxiety and chaos. Work will fill every crevice of space we offer it — relationships will start to feel smothering (if they don’t already), and connection to yourself will fall by the wayside
If you’re working from home, there needs to be a physical boundary between your life and your work. You no longer have that morning and evening commute to check you in and out of work mode. Or that happy hour after work where you aren’t checking your work email. If you let it, work will consume your entire home life.
If you have the space in your home, set up a room specifically for work and leave work in that room. If possible you should separate work from the spaces that you eat, relax, and sleep. Don’t let work infiltrate the other spaces of your home. If you don’t have the space, try to keep a physical boundary in place like working at a different table or closing up your laptop and putting it away when the workday is over.
In addition to physical boundaries, it’s important to keep mental boundaries in place. When you physically step away from work you need to also mentally step away from work. Just as your physical body needs time to recharge, so does your mind.
Stick to a routine. I’m not saying your routine needs to be the height of fitness and health but try to find some consistency in your home life. There needs to be a clear signal to your brain when work is starting and stopping. Whether it’s working out in the morning before sitting down to work or having a massive glass of wine when work is over, let your brain recognize the signal of work starting and work stopping.
My morning routine goes something like this:
My routine is simple and pretty dull but it allows me to find consistency in my life. When my coffee is brewing my brain feels calm and peaceful because it knows that it will be getting a nice relaxing meditation soon. When I step into my office, my brain knows that it’s time to start diving into my work.
Emotional boundaries can be tricky. If you’re living in close quarters with family or friends, it’s really important to put up emotional boundaries to ensure you are not taking on more than you can handle.
Emotional boundaries involve holding space for the ones around you without taking on the negative thoughts or feelings that they are projecting into your home. It’s important to know when external emotions are affecting you and taking time to recenter and recharge.
Meditation can be really helpful with emotional boundaries. I recommend Insight Timer free meditations for releasing other’s emotions while also holding space for them to share and feel safe.
Mental and physical boundaries take discipline. It’s easy to be lazy and neglect boundaries especially at a time like this where everything feels uncertain and out of control.
Implementing boundaries gives us some control over our life. At a time when we feel so out-of-control, it’s important to prioritize your boundaries.
Your altar is a sacred space in your home used to cultivate good energy and peace. Whether your space is used to honor the full moon or used for offerings to gods and goddesses, this space is a spiritual center in your home.
1. Start Collecting Items
Before you do anything else, start to find items around your house that have meaning to you. Anything that you associate with good, pure energy works.
Some ideas include:
Take the time to really invest in this first step. These items fill the core of your sacred area and should be chosen intentionally.
2. Find a Space
Next you’re going to select a location for your altar. Typically you should try to find a spot in your house that has less energy traffic — in other words, not many people or animals come into contact with it.
You want to create boundaries for your space — the fewer energy exchanges that occur here the better. Your space should remain pure and clean, far from the hustle and bustle of your home life.
That being said, don’t overthink it. Choose a space that’s big enough for your items and move onto step 3.
3. Build Your Altar Intuitively
Start by placing a cloth over your surface to keep a barrier between your items and the surface. This allows for your altar to be energetically isolated.
Grab the items that you collected and start to arrange them intuitively. Again, don’t overthink it but try to be intentional. Put on some of your favorite music and take the time to arrange your items.
As your altar starts to become a part of your home, don’t become too attached to the way it looks. If you feel the urge to rearrange, go ahead and mindfully move your items around.
You are a fluctuating being so your altar’s energy will shift as you do.
As a yoga instructor, I have students ranging from beginner to experienced practitioners. Across the board, every single student struggles to practice yoga in their home.
The most common struggles I hear from students are
Why is it so difficult to step onto your yoga mat at home?
I’ve learned that struggling to practice yoga at home often has nothing to do with a lack of strength or flexibility. It’s not from being “bad” at yoga.
Students struggle to practice yoga at home because they have unrealistic expectations for what their home yoga practice should look like.For beginners, they expect to see results instantaneously. For experienced practitioners, they expect it to feel the same as the yoga they do at their local studio.
In order to build a sustainable home yoga practice, it’s essential to be aware of the expectations holding you back and turn them into realistic, tangible goals to move you forward in your practice.
I’m going to outline the 3 steps I teach my students to build a consistent, sustainable home yoga practice.
1. Create a Space That You Want To Return To
You can’t expect yourself to come back to your yoga mat every single day if you don’t have a good space at home. Many people go to yoga studios because they are clean, uncluttered, inspiring, and have good energy.
You need to create this space at home.
You don’t have to create a home studio — just be mindful of the area you’re practicing yoga in your home. Even if it’s just a corner of your bedroom, take some time to make it nice. Add things that bring you joy such as candles, plants, essential oils, crystals, books. Set yourself up in a space that you enjoy spending time in!
If you don’t — spoiler alert — you won’t spend anytime there and swoosh there goes your home yoga practice.
2. Set Healthy, Sustainable Boundaries
In order to find consistency in your home practice you have to set some strict boundaries. Something to note: students tend to find more consistency in a studio setting than at home. The reason is that studios force you to adhere to their set boundaries.
Some examples of boundaries found at a yoga studio:
Without set boundaries in your home yoga space, you’ll be back to square one before you know it. Clean out your space of distractions. Try not to bring electronics or distractions into your space while you’re practicing and commit to practicing for a certain allotment of time.
A great way to hold yourself accountable while your in your space are following online videos and committing to the entire class.
3. Check-in With Yourself Periodically
Student’s feel this sense of blockage on their yoga mats because they hold themselves to unrealistic expectations every time they go to practice. It’s important to be aware of your energy level and check in with yourself.
If your expectation is to get an intense workout in every time you walk onto your mat, you’re going to be let down. That’s not realistic. Some days you might need meditation. Some days you might need relaxation.
Give yourself permission to hold any feelings or emotions on your yoga mat without expectation.
Check-in — what do you need today? And then move on from there. This will keep you coming back to your yoga mat day after day.