Breaking Up With Teaching Yoga
This past year I made the decision to stop teaching yoga full time. I had never planned on teaching full-time. In fact, I never planned on teaching yoga in the first place. I took a teacher training with the teacher I had been practicing with for a couple of years as a way to learn more about my own practice and find connection with a community after a horrible break-up and impending mental life crisis that happens to so many of us at age 27.
In training I discovered that I really enjoyed teaching and, with a little practice I might be pretty good at it. One thing led to another and about a two years later I found myself teaching 14 classes a week, teaching privates, leading workshops and guiding retreats. I really don’t know how it happened. I had came to the conclusion that letting go of my other job that paid my bills, allowed me plenty of time off to travel, and was pretty fun would be a good idea.
Maybe for awhile it was a grand plan, but looking back those were some of the hardest years of my life emotionally, mentally, and financially that I have experienced yet. It’s hard to make a living as a yoga teacher; continuing education is expensive and taking time away from your students is challenging for many reasons.
It was great at first but life became, for me, very imbalanced. My personal practice dropped off to next to nothing while the classes I taught swelled in numbers. I worked very hard and felt incredibly appreciated but I was broke. I had a sense of purpose yet the amount of time I was able to spend with my family and loved ones was extremely limited.
So, I gave it up. Classes that I had been teaching for 5 years, students I had developed meaningful relationships with and hardest of all, my identity as a yoga teacher. It wasn’t easy, I struggled immensely with this idea of who I was, my sense of purpose and my own notions around commitment. It took me awhile but I stepped back from the idea of teaching for a living and it was amazing.
I miss my old studios and students but I have balance now. I practice on a regular basis, I have most evenings and weekends off to adventure with the people I love, and I don’t have to think about whether to fix my car or pay a bill. I couldn’t be happier. I work in a job I love and still teach a couple of times per week…but not as a job…as something I love.