by guest author Cailen Ascher
As busy yoga teachers, we wear many hats: instructor, marketer, parent, entrepreneur, personal assistant, manager, friend, spouse, confidante, errand gofer and more!
With the fast-paced nature of our daily schedules, it can seem that it’s nearly impossible to maintain any sense of balance in our lives.
And even though we yogis are better equipped than many to handle the multitude of challenges and stressors that get heaped on our plates, sometimes the whirlwind of life sweeps us up, and we feel like we’re flying by the seat of our yoga pants.
If you’re longing to restore a little more order to your currently chaotic existence, I want to share 6 simple tips that I often teach to my yoga teacher clients who are looking to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
1. Forget balance – go for harmony.
Let’s step onto our mats for this example, shall we?
Think of a yoga pose that challenges your balance. Well, if you’re anything like me, the more I focus on the “need for balance” the more rigid I become, which often results in losing my balance completely.
Instead strive for harmony.
Harmony means there’s a healthy give-and-take to things, and perfect balance is not the ultimate goal.
In my opinion, balance suggests that all elements of my life need to balanced equally: 25% of my time goes to teaching yoga, 25% with the kids, 25% taking care of the house/family/myself, 25% working on future yoga business projects.
With harmony, you can let the rigidity go. Some days will be more family-oriented, some days more business-oriented, but that’s just a natural part of life.
Redefining your concept of balance (or even letting go of the concept entirely) can be extremely freeing, and you’ll likely enjoy more harmony in your life immediately!
2. Keep practicing.
One common thing I notice is that too many awesome yoga teachers start to sacrifice their own practices.
Remember, teaching is NOT the same as practicing, and you need to maintain an active yoga practice to stay connected to yourself and the reason you started teaching in the first place.
You don’t need to commit hours a day, start with just 10 minutes on your mat daily. (That’s it, just 10 minutes!) Move your body in ways that feel good, reconnect with your breath, be inspired, or simply sit in meditation or practice a pranayama.
Take your own advice (you probably encourage your students to practice regularly, right?). Take time for yourself, nourish your body and mind – it’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity, and you deserve it!
3. Cross things OFF your to-do list.
This is one of the most fun and freeing presents you can give to yourself. Look at your to-do list. Find one (or more!) items that have been sitting on your list for weeks or even months, evaluate if they really and truly are a priority, and if not, cross them off.
Now, this does not mean cross them off only to add them back next week, this means cross them off for good. Be done with them. Let them go. If they sat on your list for that long without getting accomplished they likely weren’t that important anyway!
Now, just enjoy. Feel the weight being lifted? Ahhh…I feel better already, don’t you?!
And remember, not everything on your to-do is a top priority, and you have the power to remove it, change it or simply NOT do it!
4. Plan your week ahead of time.
If you feel like you’re constantly playing catch-up, one of the most powerful tools I can suggest for your yoga business is planning your week ahead of time.
I personally like to do this on Friday afternoons as the workweek is winding down. I take out my notebook and plan out my next Monday through Friday.
I first list anything that I know is already on the calendar so that I don’t double-book myself (like yoga classes I’m teaching), and then I carve out blocks of time (usually 1 hour to 3 hour-long blocks depending on the task), and write down precisely what I’ll accomplish during that time.
Being specific in your languaging is key, as this is the thing that’ll save you time next week when you sit down to accomplish the task at hand.
For example, I don’t just list “work on yoga business”, I’ll instead write “write guest post for The Yoga Lunchbox”! That way I know exactly how my time is going to be spent.
Try this for a few weeks, and I guarantee you’ll become much more efficient in your use of time! Plus, you’ll see where you’re wasting time and also where you need to build in a little more downtime, when you can, for example, treat yourself to a yoga class.
5. Rest well.
We are a culture of sleep-deprived people. This means that throughout our days and weeks we’re running on fumes. We don’t have enough energy to do our day-to-day tasks let alone think up creative ideas for a fabulous new yoga workshop we’d like to host.
If you think you might be one of the many who are not getting enough sleep, see when and how you can get a little more shut-eye.
Do you really need to watch that show from 9:30-10:30pm on Sunday night? It always leaves you groggy in the morning. Could you record it or stream it later?
Are you checking emails up until the moment your head hits the pillow? Make your bedroom a tech-free zone, and read before bed instead.
Or (and this one’s my personal favorite), give yourself 15 to 20 minutes after lunch on the days when you’re running on empty to indulge in a guided Yoga Nidra Meditation. It’s said that 30 minutes of yoga nidra is equivalent to 3 hours of restful, deep sleep.
6. Stop rushing!
Rushing is a choice, not a given.
Let me say that again…rushing is a choice.
Though it may not always feel like it, when we rush around, impatient, burning the candle at both ends, doing too many things at once, we’re choosing to move through the world that way.
Rushing does not help us accomplish more, it actually inhibits our efficiency. When we rush, we make mistakes, we lose our tempers, we get stressed, and all those things slow us down!
If you’re a chronic “rusher”, always zipping around, I have a challenge for you. The next time you notice yourself rushing, stop what you’re doing, take 3 to 5 deep breaths, and feel what’s going on inside your body.
Is your heart racing? Do you feel jittery, anxious? Remind yourself that you do not need to feel this way in order to be a productive person. In fact, feeling these things will keep you from reaching your optimal productivity!
Give yourself a little gift the next time you notice yourself moving at breakneck speed, and slow down and breathe. You’ll feel instantly better, I promise!
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