Back when I was a new teacher, none of the social media measurements had existed to pressure competition and comparison with other teachers. The second-guessing, worry and comparison of only adds stress to the very people trying to share this healing art. Anticipating that your next Yelp review will be a dud, or that your performance will be a disappointment is so disheartening. New teachers don’t deserve this pressure.
Here are seven psychological and emotional pitfalls that stand in the way of genuine success in teaching yoga and how to overcome them:
1. Competition. Stop torturing yourself by comparing yourself to other teachers status updates and fancy asana photos. Put an end to trolling Facebook and Instagram for reasons to be offended. Look to these outlets for inspiration instead.
2. Comparison. Stop observing outside of yourself more than what’s inside of yourself. You can’t predict what will happen to you based on how another teacher is teaching, or how many students that person is attracting.
3. Gossip. Unless you’re giving praise or recognition, don’t talke about other teachers when they are not present.
4. Scarcity thinking. Don’t assume the worst, or think that another teacher’s success takes away from your potential achievement. Another teacher had 75 people in class? Great! There are plenty of students out there. Focus on the large portion of the population who still haven’t even tried yoga yet.
5. Fear of being your true self. Stop editing yourself down to nothingness. What works for someone else is their thing. Do your thing, whatever that is.
We’ve all seen them: Power Yoga Teacher, Vinyasa Teacher, Iyengar teacher, Hot Yoga Teacher, Hard Teacher, Sexy Teacher, etc. Drop them all. You are way more than any one label. Don’t get caught fitting yourself into a title just to make others feel more comfortable. Be yourself.
6. Perfection obsession. Tell the truth. You don’t have to uphold a façade of perfection. Don’t believe the hype about yourself. And remember that you are allowed to have bad days, too. Walking into class to teach a happy yoga class when you feel lousy sends the wrong message. This inauthenticity tells your students that perfect is the only option. It’s not. Be real.
7. Fear of making mistakes. Let them see you sweat. Literally. Talk about how long it took you to achieve certain poses, whether they’re advanced or not. Talk about the trial, effort and failure that came before the triumph. Remove some of the mystery.
What all of these pitfalls have in common is that they feed the always famished “Am I good enough?” machine that is your inner critic, always undermining your peace of mind. Listen to your heart. Move through the fear of failure, and simply do your best.
Love yourself, love your day, love your life!