By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
During the course of a lifetime, most of us have heard the saying,” Do as I say, not as I do.” We see this kind of leadership everywhere we go. All politicians, religious leaders, police, sports professionals, parents, academic teachers, and Yoga teachers, lead by example, even if the example displayed is not a good one.
So, how does this concern you? You may not be a public figure, but your students, and the general public, know who you are. Some may even know more about you than you would like. As a Yoga instructor, you want to keep your health, behavior, and your ethics at a high standard – if you are going to be in the “public eye.”
As far as health is concerned, you should maintain your practice and meditate daily. This is an irony with many Yoga instructors because your time is also consumed with the business of Yoga, scheduling clients, maintenance of the studio, advertising, paying the bills, and many more aspects that keep a business going.
My personal estimate of time that I spent on vacuuming, cleaning, and maintenance of the studio is thousands of hours before I hired someone else to do it. This does not account for any of the time spent on the many other duties that go into running a Yoga studio.
The average student has no idea of the preparation and support services involved before they come to a typical class. In reality, you want them to feel relaxed, and you don’t want your students to feel stressed out over or aware of the bookkeeping, marketing, and maintenance of your studio.
Therefore, you have to put your best “game face” on during class time. This is one very powerful reason for taking the time to develop your own personal practice. You still must expand your depth of understanding Yoga’s many facets.
Why do, or did, you want to become a Yoga instructor in the first place? The most common reasons for becoming a Yoga teacher are your passion for Yogic methodology and to share the gift that has changed your life. Your health and your personal practice are an integral part of the Yoga teaching vocation.
Maybe you don’t have a staff and you are busy all the time preparing for the next class. What can you do? Budget your time and make time for a personal practice or meditation session for yourself. Spending thousands of hours on bookkeeping, marketing, cleaning, and maintenance is a natural part of many Yoga studio owners’ lives, but you must also make the time to become a better practitioner and teacher.
You can also offer reduced rates to volunteers or “work for trade” programs to those students who help you with “domestic chores.” You should consult your accountant to make sure everything is legal and “above board.” You don’t want to violate any child labor laws or set yourself up for any legal problems, so make sure you are following the law “to the letter.” Remember also, that laws vary depending upon your location.
It’s too easy to let the business of Yoga become your new reality. The business of teaching Yoga is more time consuming than any of us can imagine as students. If you are spending so much time working on your business, that you have little time to practice, you must re-evaluate your reason for teaching Yoga.
Make time every day to expand your knowledge about the many aspects of Yogic methodology. If you don’t take the time to be a Yoga student and engage in learning, continuing education, and nurturing your passion, you risk burn out. The best Yoga teachers are students for life, who love to practice this wonderful discipline we know as Yoga.
When your studio, teaching position, or ashram becomes a daily burden, and you cannot expand your knowledge; the end result is no different than any other job. As a Yoga instructor, you owe it to your students to maintain your “internal flames of passion” for a Yogic way of life. If you lack the time to take a Yoga teacher training course, you could set aside one hour per day for learning new aspects that will help you and your students. Within one year, you will have studied over 350 hours and still have time to rest on holidays.
© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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