I’ve been a yoga teacher for many years and I thought I had the experience to rock any class – even when I’m not 100%. I was wrong. And, it taught me how important it is to take care of my health.
I like to think I know what I’m doing when I step on my mat to teach yoga every day. I mean, I teach teachers how to teach! But last weekend my regular Saturday mid-morning class was awful. It was humbling and it provided me with a learning opportunity.
I have found over the years that it is much easier to teach a busy class than a quiet class because the energy and student-to-teacher interaction is greater. Teaching a quiet class is difficult especially if it’s a power class because it becomes up to you, the teacher, to get the students excited for the class. Last weekend I only had two students show up for a flow class. I was frustrated initially because I’d spent a lot of time building that class so it was humbling to only have two students show up. Then it quickly became clear that one of the students did not speak English and did not practice yoga. I realized that I would have to physically demonstrate everything for her so she could get the most out of the class. This was particularly inopportune as I had just recently injured my left foot and could not put any weight on it without pain. It was challenging yes, but I pulled it off and she even came back the next week for the same class which fortunately had more people in it (yay!).
What this class reminded me was how little support there is for yoga teachers when we’re injured. If you are thinking about becoming a yoga teacher or have just recently graduated from a YTT program, I invite you to seriously consider disability insurance. It is expensive, yes, but as yoga teachers we are usually contract employees who do not receive sick days or benefits packages. Additionally, when you’re injured or sick it’s usually your responsibility to hire someone to cover your classes. So not only are you not getting paid to teach, you’re also having to go to the extra work of having to find someone to teach the classes for you.
Every paycheck, put away a little bit of money to cushion you in case you run into a situation like I have. When you’re injured, stress levels can be high so to be worrying about money on top of your injury is not fun. Protect yourself so you are available to be the best teacher you can be.