Recognizing exhaustion

ultimate savasana

Restorative Yoga is a great way to relax and help to reverse exhaustion and stress.

When I was still living in Oakland I had a therapist. We talked about a lot of things. A big focus was the stress coming from my work life. It was taking over other parts of my life.
My therapist and I discovered that I put too much of myself into my job/career/workplace. It never deserved what I gave it. And at a certain point I didn’t owe it anything.
It took so much out of me … emotionally, mentally, physiologically …
In January 2014 I hit exhaustion (adrenal fatigue). My body was telling me everything was too much and I needed to take care of myself. My yoga teacher training was ramping up, work stress was increasing, getting up at 5 a.m. regularly was taking its toll, long commute, transitioning at work after layoffs …
Currently I teach five cycle classes and nine public yoga classes, two office yoga classes and some private sessions sprinkled in.
I was warned in my yoga teacher training and by friends who are yoga teachers to be careful to not over do it with teaching and to make sure to take care of myself as a teacher.
I am someone who tends to commit to too much. I have a hard time saying no. I don’t always make clear what my boundaries are.
I recently started to recognize the signs of exhaustion starting to form in my life again.
I was teaching too many classes. Some way too early making some days really long. And I knew it was taking a toll on me as a person and as a teacher.
In one of my yoga classes as my students were in Virabhdrasana II (Warrior II) I was giving alignment cues. I told my students to make sure that their hips were above their shoulders. WOOPS!
I took over subbing two 6 a.m. yoga classes until a permanent teacher was found. I was also subbing a Friday night Restorative/Yoga Nidra class until the original teacher took her class back.
Luckily my lovely friend came back and started teaching her class again last week. Which meant I was able to take the class as a student. Just when I really needed Restorative Yoga I got it.
A permanent teacher was found for the 6 a.m. classes.
Someone once told me that they felt yoga teachers don’t have as much stress because they know how to relax.
Here’s the thing, yoga teachers are regular people who happen to love teaching yoga and practicing it. But we all have stress. Yoga teachers don’t make a lot of money. Most of us spend a lot of time driving from one teaching gig to another.
Teaching takes a lot out of you. Full time is not 40 hours a week. But when I break down the time I teach, prepare for my classes and travel to and from it is pretty close to 40 hours.
And when you teach you are on 100%. When I teach cycle I am physically exerting myself with basic cues. When teaching yoga I am exerting myself in a different way–not so much physically. But I am telling students what we are doing, how to check alignment, how to get into and out of a pose, modifications, etc. I give so much to my students.
I knew once I started to feel the early signs of exhaustion I needed to address it. I can’t be a good teacher when I’m exhausted. And I can’t be a good teacher if I am not taking care of myself.
No matter what we do in life we have to take care of No. 1 before we can take care of anyone else.
I’m making sure to really take care of myself this week. Because of the crazy weather this week my office yoga classes were canceled. So that gave me more time yesterday get some stuff done, hang out and take it easy until my evening classes.
Tuesdays are my regular day off from teaching (though I will be subbing over the next few weeks). I took a yoga class Tuesday morning. I spent the rest of the rainy day hanging out at home.
I am taking care of No. 1 so I can be the best yoga (and cycle) teacher I can be.