Burnout is a term not often used inside the yoga teacher community. The reason is simple. They don’t talk much about it because it touches a sensitive topic, money.
The majority start teaching to spread the message of yoga to the world. They found healing and want others to have the same chance. It is something sacred, so it doesn’t feel right to associate it to profit.
The road most teachers take is the same, which are group classes. Although it is a tradition, they can’t make much income out of it.
Here is where the problem lies. When I began to teach yoga full-time, I earned $25 per class. Going over 2K in a month was rare. Soon enough, I was driving around town getting more work to be able to pay my bills. It means an average of 15 to 20 classes a week.
The costs were adding up daily. It was not only about spending time in traffic and physical demands but also mental and emotional fatigue.
I didn’t have time for my practice making me feeling not as authentic as a teacher. I was on the edge of burnout.
How to know you’re close to burnout
According to the Help Guide Website, burnout happens when a person stays in a high-stress situation for a long time. She becomes emotional, physical, and metal exhausted.
“It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands. As the stress continues, you begin to lose the interest and motivation that led you to take on a certain role in the first place”, says the article.
The person then sees her energy level drops. As she is not as productive anymore, negative feelings appear. Some of them are lack of accomplishment, low self-esteem, and frustration.
She may also resent work and be more cynical about it. Yoga teachers are not free from it.
Many won’t speak up the truth because they feel in debt to yoga. But, I met teachers from 20 to 30 years who struggle financially the whole time, and I could sense the resentment when they talked about it.
How to avoid a yoga teacher burnout
Yoga brings so much light on how to live a more balanced and healthy life. It may be the reason the community won’t think yoga teachers could suffer from something they try to prevent.
The first thing we need to change to avoid burnout is to work on our beliefs. Here are three to start:
1 – Change the way we see money allow us to find other options to work smarter.
Yoga teachers are not swamis, who have been taking care of by their people. It is a western cultural practice.
People are not giving to yoga teachers in the same way where we live. They are not providing them food, shelter, or donations because they see it in a different light.
2 – We should feel it is ok to charge what we deserve for transforming our students’ lives.
Doctors, therapists, and coaches are some professionals who put a fair price on their service because they help people to fix a problem or bring a positive change to their health, business, or other areas.
As yoga teachers, we also assist people in dealing with pain or become better at something, but we don’t admit it. We need to make a switch to understand we have value as experts.
3 – Group classes are not the only way to reach more people through yoga and mediation.
Many teachers have been taking their businesses online. So, they are reducing their work hours and having some time off to rest their mind and body.
It is essential to discuss these topics and clarify some old myths around yoga, so we can stop our teachers from getting sick.
Are you ready to have this conversation with your fellow teachers?