I’ve been teaching yoga since 2005 and only now do I feel like I am really teaching. Almost a decade into it and am finally feeling like my journey just started. I’ve logged almost 5,000 teaching hours. Last year alone I taught over 1,200 yoga classes not including privates or workshops. There’s a quote out there that says “it takes roughly ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field.”
The kids got me started.
It’s not the sheer number of hours that is making me feel like I’m just getting started in my teaching career because I am still far from 10,000 hours towards mastery. For the first two years, I taught kids yoga because my tech career was beginning to nose dive and I really wanted to be home with my first born. She inspired me. She was two and the day she took her first down dog sparked this idea of becoming a kids yoga teacher. It worked. It was fun and I made some pocket change.
The kids really got me started.
Then the second one came and my tech career really took a nose dive. Lost my job. Decided to not go back and pursue more kids yoga classes. Ugh! that didn’t last long. Being surrounded by kids ages 2-6 all day and then two of my own drove me insane. Adult conversation please! That was the beginning of my yoga teaching career. Several classes a week quickly turned into 10 to 20. It definitely worked. It was definitely fun… getting paid to do what I love and still be with my kids.
Chasing yoga instead of teaching?
Then I opened a studio. It still worked. It was still fun…. that was the first year. Midway thru the second year I was faced with the reality of either renewing my lease and continuing on this path or step away from studio ownership. There were many reasons and influences on why I chose to let it go. I haven’t talked much about this reason yet until now. For the first time in the last decade, I have decided to cut down on teaching… going from full time to part time status. In the midst of the transition, I had some time to reflect on what I was teaching. Sure I was doing what I love, sharing my passion for yoga, helping people heal and transform their bodies and lives just as yoga has done for me, but I wasn’t really teaching… not the way that would carry me thru for the long haul.
I’ve heard of teachers burning out. Great teachers burning out, end up resenting yoga, and giving up their practice all together. I definitely didn’t want to be that person but yet I could sense I was headed down that road and definitely didn’t want to be one of the statistics. Somewhere in the midst of teaching, running a business, and trying to find balance in my own life, I started to feel like I was chasing yoga, as if to catch something or attain something. I wanted more classes, more students, more reach. I felt myself going down the burn out road when teaching stopped feeling like learning.
As corny as it may sound, my “ah-ha” moment came while sipping some yogi tea.. you know the ones with the quotes. This one said “To learn, read. To understand, write. To master, teach.” It sparked some questions that made me reflect on what my purpose was. I started teaching yoga so that I could learn more about it and share my experience with others. Somehow it evolved into my full time job, running from class to class, crunching numbers, managing marketing, managing teachers, etc. It all served me well but now at this point of my journey, I am looking for a new road to travel.
Be a student first.
I often share with my students that in order to teach, you first and foremost, must “be a student.” In the frenzy of teaching so many classes and trying to run a business last year, I didn’t make time to be a student. So here I am today, heeding my own advice, I’ve sold the studio, reduced my classes to only 7 classes a week so I can make time to study, be with my teachers again, and most importantly focus on the heart of why and what I am teaching…. more on this in later posts but know that I’m in it for the long haul, especially since I still have 5,000 more hours to go 🙂