Good Morning Yogis!
Maybe it is because it is the end of the school year for many of us traditional educators that I feel compelled to write this. If you teach in a classroom between the months of August – June, doing 1 year of work in the span of 10 months, you are probably quite familiar with the below graphic…
However, the second owl is definitely applicable to teachers of ALL KINDS a some point, especially when you have been working to the point of burn out. Now, if you are lucky (or unlucky, depending on how you choose to look at it), your body will be like mine and will literally TELL/SHOUT at you before you officially reach the point of cray-cray. My glorious manifestation of stress/toomuchteachertime is the development of fever blisters. Others have tummy or digestive issues or tension headaches that radiate down the neck, back, shoulders and jaw. I never get these unless I have been stressing and simultaneously telling my stress, “Hang on, I’ll get to you in a moment,” for too long. Time to listen to our bodies and what we know is true, peeps! So, close your eyes and feel. Tension you don’t normally have? Queasiness that you can’t explain? Skin breakouts? Continual fatigue despite normal sleep? Abnormal sleep?
So ask yourself, yoga teachers, “When was the last time you rolled out your mat to be the STUDENT and not the teacher?” When you were allowed to shut up and focus on YOU, rather than communicating to the student in the room. For me, I’ve done the math, it’s been about 3 weeks. Every single yoga studio visit in the past 3 weeks has been as the teacher in the room. And my body is getting pissed that I am ignoring it and has decided to give me, perhaps its final notice of annoyedness (it that a word?), before it will most likely have a total burn out. I have the glorious bonus of having only a couple weeks left in school with some increasingly squirrely teenagers… but so do YOU, just perhaps in different ways! You have kids, chores, to-do lists and other crap that has been pulling you away from your mat. Do you teach other things? When was the last time you went to dance/painting/aerobics/piano class or lessons to just learn, absorb, and be the listener?
When we deny ourselves our personal practice, because we have become teachers, we risk the danger of going off the deep end and really losing it. This is the point where you start to snap at stupid things, forget the basics, perhaps even to start “hating” or “getting sick of” what you love to do, and/or collapse entirely because your body and mind are demanding a reboot. Many of us enjoy a studio yoga practice because it holds us responsible. For example, some people who try to roll out their mats at home turn on the TV, and then end up sitting on their mat, watching TV instead of dedicating their full awareness to their practice. So- do what you know you need to: go to a studio and be the student. Do you know some budding yoga teachers in your area who need some karma hours or want practice teaching a large group? Invite them to be your student teacher, so that you can hit the mat! If you can practice well at home, allow yourself any time, 30 minutes, 2 hours, whatever, over this long weekend to find your space and mat again. Follow the advice we are constantly giving our yoga students: close your eyes, turn your attention inward to your breath, and allow your body to do the talking and your mind to listen.
I am hoping that is the sound of you unrolling your mat for some you time. Yoga starts with the same two letters as YOU. I’m going to say that is not a coincidence.