How affirmations can cure the Yoga teacher blahs
Even yoga teachers get the blahs.
The blahs are not the same thing as yoga teacher burnout (that’s another post). I recognize the blahs in my teaching on the days when I can’t think of anything new to say to my classes. I’m sick of repeating the same old thing. I’m sick of hearing myself cue Warrior I, not to mention the rest of the class.
How could I get excited about teaching yoga again?
The first thing I would tell any yoga teacher experiencing the blahs is to take at look at your own practice. And mine has been suffering lately. I hurt my wrist, and I can’t put any weight on my hand. Thus downward-facing dog, hands/knees, plank — I can’t do any of those. I especially can’t do any vinyasas. But I went to yoga class anyway, confident in my ability to modify my practice. Well, that resulted in my whole body protesting! Nothing felt good, not even dolphin pose in place of downdog.
This was discouraging, and rather unsettling. It’s bad when yoga doesn’t make me feel better. It wasn’t just my wrist, either–it was my left hamstring protesting, my neck complaining, and my feet cramping. What was happening to me?
Clearly my body wanted a break from yoga. Which is fine — we all need a break sometimes. But I couldn’t take a break from teaching.
Another remedy for yoga teacher blahs is to get back to source — pick up your favorite yoga book and re-read the underlined passages. Remind yourself of the times you were inspired by other yogis. I did this, too, and I also went online.
Then I stumbled upon a website about affirmations. How To Write Affirmations That Really Work! was the headline. Idly I started reading. I often talk to my yoga classes about affirmations. Usually, at the beginning of class, I encourage them to think of some positive affirmations to keep in mind during practice. I love the one I learned from my mentor, Pam — I look great, I feel great, I am a success!
For those of you new to affirmations, they are positive statements, written in present tense, and they usually begin with “I am.”
What was missing from my own affirmations was the emotion. Here’s how the article describes it:
When you describe your feelings about your affirmations, you connect with them more deeply. Your affirmations will actually have more power if you experience them on both a thinking and a feeling level.*
That idea lit a spark, so I started to write my own affirmations about teaching yoga:
I am a yoga teacher.
I am excited to teach yoga.
I am so grateful for my students!
I am so thankful for my opportunities to teach!
Could it really be that simple?
I wrote these affirmations on a 3×5 card. I read them to myself several times a day. I carried the card around with me so that I could look at it often.
And, amazingly, the fog lifted! Suddenly I really was excited to teach.
The simple act of writing those affirmations helped me to get back to the reason I wanted to teach yoga in the first place. The affirmations helped me transform my thinking pattern. Instead of being bored with my own cueing, I was able to tap into my intuition and use different phrases. I heard myself cueing a “confident” Warrior I pose, and that word made a huge difference. That’s just one example of how my teaching got more fresh, and I could hear the excitement in my own voice.
How can you use affirmations to get through your blah days? Leave a note in the comments section–I’d love to hear from you!
*Article by Christopher Lloyd Clarke from www.The-Guided-Meditation-Site.com.