In my first few years as a yoga student, I remember the day when my favourite teacher walked in about 3 minutes before class. He scanned the room, scowled and walked out. We could all hear him berating the front desk staff because there weren’t enough people in the room. It wasn’t worth his time.
We weren’t worth his time.
‘At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.’ ~Maya Angelou
Today, I see teachers behaving in a similar way towards one another. When I became a yoga teacher, I understood it a little better. I gained empathy for his situation. But, I’ll never forget how I felt in that moment then and, too often, today.
As teachers, we’re all hustlers. We need to get to the next gig. We need to boost our numbers. We are each an army of one.
The popularity of yoga brings great opportunity for students and teachers. But, in yoga saturated areas, it can be very difficult to pay the bills as a full-time teacher who isn’t sitting on a trust fund or big savings from a past life.
We’re all in this together.
Tips for for using your hunger to keep you energized without becoming hangry:
- Remember that all of your fellow yoga teachers are your co-workers. You don’t have to agree on everything, just work well together. Some of the best career opportunities come from your community. The bigger, the better
- If you can’t say anything nice, stay neutral. No one has to know what you’re thinking. But, if pushed, remember that it’s your experience in that situation or with that person and not everyone else’s. Very likely, someone else can tell a story about you too.
- Respect the variety. Full-time teachers are often dismissive towards part-time teachers. Traditionalists vs Non-Traditionalists. Experienced vs New. There are many ways we can divide the industry. The variety has helped it grow into a multi-billion dollar industry. Without those others, this couldn’t be a career option. The more, the merrier.
- Do the math. I taught at an Ashtanga studio for 3 months before realizing that I was actually paying $5-10 to teach each class. Commute costs and lost time wasn’t covered by what I was paid.
- Be real with yourself. Someone else’s success or failure is not yours. It does’t change your life unless you allow it in negative ways. Can you celebrate or support other teachers without being envious?
There’s so much more to say on this topic. Stay tuned.
Check out this 2015 article from the Wanderlust Blog by Andrea Rice. More real talk on the hustle and flow.