Workin’ 9 to 9!

When the movie 9to5 came out, I was a pretty excited kid. I love Dolly Parton. Lily Tomlin is hilarious.

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The lyrics seemed to describe adult life in a nutshell. Every adult I knew worked hard and played harder. Being an entrepreneur or having a “side hustle” was a way of life, not a trend. It means working long hours.

Being a yoga teacher means being an entrepreneur. Even if it is only your side hustle.

Here are some things to remember:

Keep your resume updated. Looking at yourself through eyes of a hiring manager can inform you about what’s missing in your credentials.

Network like a pro. Connect with people you enjoy and appreciate. You never know when an opportunity to work together will come up.

Act your worth. Want to be a top earner? Stay professional. Start on time. End on time. Treat yourself and all of your co-workers with respect.

Make time to rest. A burnt out yoga teacher is useless and potentially dangerous.


Check out this article on forbes.com listing 5 things every entrepreneur, every yoga teacher, should know.

 

 

Mindful ~ Schmindful

Mindfulness has become an action word in marketing and business on the same level as disruptor, hack or even metta (I still hear it used with seriousness).

So how can you bring authentic mindfulness into your classes, especially corporate clients, without sounding like a old fashioned feminine product?

  1. Be honest: Sometimes you feel, great sometimes you don’t. Did you engage in some serious road rage on the way to the studio? Well, that’s ok. We’re all there sometimes, including teachers. I once watched a teacher scream obscenities out of her car window in traffic and minutes later glide into the studio on a goddess cloud with namaste hands.  Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde don’t represent mindfulness.
  2. Be present: The Dalai Lama said it really well “There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called Yesterday and the other is called Tomorrow.” If your head is in the past or future, how can you keep your students present?
  3. Be nice: Everyone has baggage. The size ranges from a coin purse to a steamer trunk. If someone starts unpacking their baggage or setting off triggers, you don’t have to like it (remember #1?) or even accept it. Just be polite. Be nice. It only becomes your issue if you choose to pick up what someone else is unpacking.

 

Simple actions every day can set a reasonable standard that we all can strive for in our pursuit of mindfulness.


 

Check out this article on Mindful Working

with more tips for students and teachers in every day life.

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I’m not a doctor but I play one in the studio…

We’re yoga teachers…not doctors!

As teachers, we always ask if there are any injuries in the room that we should know about before beginning class. It’s a precaution and helps teachers become more responsive to the room. And, covers our asses if there’s ever a lawsuit.

The replies usually fall into two extremes. Students sit silent while rubbing the injured/tweaky body part or they tell everything that’s going on in an overwhelmingly long list.

As teachers, we’re very excited about the health benefits of yoga. Many of us teach because we’ve experienced a personal healing-physical, mental, spiritual. We want others to have the same joy.

But there’s a thick line between enthusiasm and irresponsibility.

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Someone recently posted a snarky article begging yoga teachers, specifically, to stop telling students that inversions reverse blood flow. I’m no doctor but I know enough anatomy to know that reversing blood flow is not possible.  No matter how long you hold that hand stand. Consistent twisting in a flow class does not wring out the liver and detox the body.

Many teachers believe these things and repeat them.

Too often, at the end of class students ask teachers for advice for tweaks and even chronic conditions. Typically the question is leading. “What stretch can I do to help my tweaky shoulder?” As yoga teachers, we’re not capable of diagnosing anything and risk causing harm to the students we love and care for by giving medical advice. Being proficient in the Latin names of muscles does not give teachers license to diagnose and treat.

But, it is impressive to students. Increasingly, it’s a way to fill the studio with adoring students who look to the front of the room to heal all that hurts.

I know, I know…there are yoga teachers with medical backgrounds. Former nurses and doctors who love yoga enough to share teachings. There are yoga teachers who concurrently work as therapists. That’s not the majourity.

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The more we know the more likely we are to steer students to experts. It feels great when students seek our input but we must let go of the ego.We can spread good vibes without misleading students about our expertise.

Yoga can be life-changing. Whether it’s for the better or not depends on our honest approach to the risks and benefits.

We need to stop playing doctor in the studio.

Hustle and Flow

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. 

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Tips for for using your hunger to keep you energized without becoming hangry:

  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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Be your Best

Email can be confusing. If there are multiple people copied and replying, tangent threads can turn streamlined communication into a maze.

No matter what device you use or how you check or messages, don’t forget that there are people behind the typing. Don’t forget your humanity.

Ahimsa teaches us to do no harm-period. Not just to one self but to others as well. We apply it easily in the classroom to prevent injury but sometimes forget how harmful words can be. We often write things that we’d never say face to face.

How can you communicate with Ahimsa when frustrated by or even upset with a fellow teacher, staff or studio manager? To quote Guruji, “Practice and all will come”.

Top 10 lists are popular right now. Here’s my Bottom 5 for communication.

 

Bottom 5 ways to begin a sentence:

  1. As I said earlier….

~sometimes people scan a message and ask for information that’s already included.   It’s frustrating but not a big deal. Pointing out the error isn’t taking the high road.

 

  1. I told you already…

~when you think something is complete but you get a message showing that it’s still in the air, it’s difficult to remain graceful. Would you say this to the person face to face? How would you feel if someone said this to you? Communication is a two-way street. Both parties have a hand in any confusion.

 

  1. Well, [insert boss’s name here] said….

~at times, the business of yoga is no different than other businesses. When employees feel powerless, they often use the boss as a tool to gain an upper hand. Telling “mom” or “dad” doesn’t encourage dialogue or problem solving. Including everyone does.

 

  1. Actually….

~sarcasm is never good in professional communication.

 

  1. No…

~the opportunity to say yes is a gift. It’s one that we can’t always give. Start with your heart. Do you wish that you could? Are you sorry that you can’t? Or, are you holding something negative? A positive beginning makes a big difference.