Many of yoga professionals are now coming back to work where possible after a holiday hiatus or a COVID lock out. Our friends over at Yoga Alliance Professionals put together the below to help you all set boundaries and protect yourselves as you jump back into your craft.
There is a tendency to perceive yoga teachers as effortlessly calm, immune to emotional distress or anxiety. In reality, those working in the profession are subject to multiple stressors such as burnout, job insecurity, and lack of community. The conflict between their external image and internal experience can contribute to declining mental health among yoga teachers.
Managing this pressure by cultivating healthy habits and taking actionable steps to reduce work pressure will protect your wellbeing and ultimately enable you to pursue a longlasting, fulfilling career in yoga teaching.
While many yoga teachers seek to help and inspire others through the practice of yoga, the issue arises when the wellbeing of students is prioritised at the expense of personal mental health.
Establishing professional boundaries is crucial to preserving your mental wellbeing as a yoga teacher. This requires recognising the limitations of your job role, and when it is more appropriate to direct your student to alternative resources, counselling or professional support. Doing so will relieve the teacher from an emotional burden they are not trained to bare, and provide the student with qualified, therapeutic advice.
In the absence of a “traditional” 9-5, yoga instructors often find themselves without the office culture that characterises many industries. The irregular class schedule and necessary travel can conjure a sense of loneliness, now considered a serious threat to mental health.
To combat this, a wide range of yoga communities, online groups, social meetups and mentorship programmes have been set up, encouraging fellow yogis to network with one another. Such groups offer an alternative to office colleagues, providing that invaluable element of connection at work.
Your Own Practice
Many of us turn to the mat as a means to destress and disconnect with our external world. The mat is a place of restoration, healing and strength. However, when a studio schedule demands more time, our personal practice is the first thing to be sacrificed, at a time when we arguably need it most.
Contrary to common belief, excessive “busyness” or productivity is counterproductive, in actuality hindering work quality and mental health. Establishing a regular personal practice will both nurture your mind and your classes, inspiration most often found through our own movement on the mat.
Looking after your mind will ultimately allow you to thrive both on and off the yoga mat.