It’s been 7 months since I brought my teaching to a screeching halt.
I have been teaching yoga for 6 years at what started as a nice, steady and balanced pace. Then, somewhere along the line, I began picking up more and more classes. One day, I realized that my severe forgetfulness was no longer fair to classify under “mommy brain syndrome” this was a red flag that I needed to slow down. I was teaching more than double time, caring for my three little children and working part-time. I was tapped out, emotionally, spiritually and energetically.
I remember driving to class one day thinking about the students who would be looking forward to their morning yoga and what I would have to share with them. I had this sinking feeling that…I had…nothing. Sure, I had yoga poses I could sequence together to nurture, strengthen and challenge them, but this has never been enough for me. I found myself struggling to come up with a genuine theme. A theme to help connect them to their practice and to their lives. Most of all, I wanted to offer authenticity (never under estimate a students ability to identify truth or lack thereof). I was running on fumes and I knew it. This was not good.
Any yoga teacher knows this feeling. We’re a compassionate kula of individuals who believe in offering our hearts and spirits to our students. I realized I was not living my yoga any more. I had become so focused on my teaching and trying to keep up, that I had completely abandoned my own practice! I realized without nurturing myself, and building my practice, I was not honoring myself or the tradition of yoga.
I knew I had to let go of teaching some of my classes, maybe all of them, in order to create space for myself, but leaving my students was a hard decision. I had come to know and love my students. I had watched so many of them grow their practices-becoming more passionate, dedicated and confident. One of my students had come through depression and was delighted in the space she created for herself in class to work through her hard times, another student was battling cancer. I didn’t want to abandon them-not now. But I realized that sometimes we have to let go of ego and leave space for what might be a wonderful opportunity for students to expand, and grow. I realized my students might like me, but they didn’t need me. What they needed was their practice, much the same way as I needed my practice. It was time to return to my mat… at home.
I’ve spent these many months practicing anywhere and everywhere I could from the banks of a tranquil lake nearby, to almost every room in my house. I kept only one class. I finally took a formal meditation training and implemented a solid meditation practice into my daily routine. I feel full. I feel refreshed, and most of all, I am bringing a new richness and depth to my teaching that comes from within, and it feels fantastic!
Fewer classes… better classes!
For me, anyway.
Julie Konrad is a yoga teacher and the author of this posts. A CYT and RYT, she has studied yoga from some of the foremost yoga teachers of our times. She has graduated from Bowling Green State University with a BA in Theater and Communications and has spent many years enjoying the world of professional theater. Julie lives in Shaker Heights with her husband and three budding yoginis! You can find her blog here. This post has been reposted with permission. You can find the original here.
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