Avoid Burnout During Yoga Teacher Training

Years ago, when people would ask me if I wanted to be a yoga teacher, I would adamantly tell them, “no.”

As the reason for this sentiment, I cited the fact that a market over saturated with yoga teachers, all churned out by yoga teacher training programs and lax certification standards, have created a hyper-competitive marketplace with minimal financial viability for individual teachers or independent studios. That’s right, I played the “business 101” card.

And while absolutely valid, this rationale was not actually the reason I didn’t want to teach yoga. I have an enjoyable career in the insurance industry for which I am incredibly grateful and I have no intention of leaving it–unless of course, they make me. This “day job” also pays the bills quite nicely; therefore, I have the luxury of practicing and teaching yoga without the dark cloud of financial return on investment. This makes it a hobby not a job.

Nor is fear of failure a reason not to teach.  I’m much too driven, and in some ways obtuse, to even register fear in many situations. This has proven to be both a blessing and a curse in my 41 years.

The honest to God reason I haven’t wanted to become a yoga teacher is the fear of burnout.

My yoga practice is the antidote for burnout in other areas of my life; namely family and that insurance career I love so much. Corrupting yoga by turning it into another job with more responsibilities, where I am expected to serve as a teacher rather than be served as a student is a risk I haven’t been willing to take–until now.

Remember that thing I said about my being too stupid to be worried; that applies here. I only worry about things for so long before I either do the thing to see what happens or I just forget it and move on.

In this case, I’ll just do that thing I’m worried about and see what happens.

Thankfully, once I’ve decided to take the risk and do the thing, I never move forward without a plan. Because burnout during teacher training is my main concern, I have developed a plan for avoiding burnout and I’m going to share it with you all here.

Avoid Burnout During Yoga Teacher Training

1. Know why you are doing it & have a plan

Believe me when I tell you that the first thing you will ask yourself when you are two days in to a five day power vinyasa teacher training is, “what the hell am I doing this for?” You will then continue to ask yourself that for the entirety of your yoga teacher training program, and then well into the future. So, you had better have a solid answer; one that will convince your hungry, brutally sore, sweat-soaked self to hang in there.

You will likely also need to have an articulate reason to present to your significant other as they will be “picking up the slack around here while you are off doing your yoga thing.” You might even feel guilty about the time you are away from your family and the financial investment you are making in this venture.

For me personally, I came around very slowly to the idea of teacher training because I didn’t want to make the time and financial commitment if I wasn’t going to use the knowledge and experience. I also wasn’t confident that I would have enough opportunity to teach after I received my certification to maintain what I had learned and improve. In short, I was worried it would all be for nothing.

Eventually (it took me 5 years to decide) I pulled together a solid cost benefit analysis around the training investment and a plan for how I would leverage the skills I had so painstakingly acquired. After that, it was an easy conversation to have with my husband and myself.

2. Do less yoga

Yoga teacher training programs are ONLY for people who want to do a lot of yoga. If that’s not you, I’m sorry, you’re out.

Here is a list of the requirements for the Yoga Alliance teacher training certifications. As you can see, even the entry level yoga teacher registration requires 200 hours of yoga philosophy and practicum education. It doesn’t require any actual teacher hours, which is unfortunate in my humble opinion. Once you get into the 300 and 500 hour certifications, your life is pretty much yoga until your trainings are complete.

So since you are spending so much time on the mat, make sure you take every opportunity to get off of it. If you don’t have to go to a practice don’t. Stay home with your family or go do something productive like running those errands you haven’t been able to get to because you’ve been at the studio, away on a retreat, or too tired.

3. Explore different forms of exercise

To save you body from the risks inherent in too much yoga, adopt a different workout or physical activity during your training.

My training program requires me to maintain my regular in-studio yoga practice while I’m in training. I have a regular Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday studio practice with a few extra days thrown in here and there.

On the days I’m not at the studio I do a 3 mile run/walk; nothing spectacular, but it’s not yoga and that’s all that matters. Weight lifting, OrangeTheory, and CrossFit are popular among my friends at the studio. This may depend on the type of yoga  you are studying and the nature of your studio practice.

The point is, let your body do something else so it doesn’t revolt during your 1000th chataranga.

4. Read non-yoga books

Teachers and teacher trainees need to be plowing through the yoga literature. If that’s not your thing, fear not. Most of the more popular yoga books are in audio format and youtube has endless yoga education content to choose from.

Yoga literature and research are my favorite parts of the practice because one resource leads to another and another and another. In the end, you see that everything is connected to a few main sources and that individuals have applied their own perspectives and creativity to develop endless variation in the practice.

And much like my recommendation that you vary your physical activity during teacher training and beyond, I recommend you give your brain something else to look at as well. Personally, I prefer fiction and comic memoirs as my mental break, but you do you. Here is a list of great fiction I recommend for your yoga reading breaks:

Shantaram: A Novel by Gregory David Roberts
All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
Born A Crime by Trevor Noah

5. Switch up your yoga practice

It seems to me that most people choose to certify through the yoga teacher training offered at the studio where they regularly practice.

In the past 5 years, yoga teacher trainings have become a staple in the studio business model because they theoretically offer more profit margin than regular class schedules. What that means for beginners or even intermediate yogis is that they may have a limited view of the different types of practice and teaching styles out there. Case in point, I practiced at my yoga studio with my current teacher exclusively for 6 years before I noticed there were other styles of practice and instruction.

Use this time to explore a wide variety of practice types and teaching styles. You may stumble onto something completely new that works better for you or you may just reaffirm your commitment to the practice you have come to know and love.

Either way, it’s important for yoga instructors to have a broad view of yoga practice and that can’t happen unless they get out there and experience and explore.

6. Give something else up

Adding a yoga teacher training program to your already busy life may seem like you are trying to pack 10 pounds of sugar into a 5 pound sack. You are and it won’t work unless you have less sugar or a bigger sack.

Recognize that yoga teacher training programs run for a finite duration. So determine what you can give up or stop doing during that time to make a comfortable amount of room for yoga. The best way to ruin a potentially amazing experience is to cram it in where it won’t fit.

This move is entirely dependent upon your personal financial situation and home life. If you are single and rich, you are all set. Otherwise, scheduling extra childcare, outsourcing your errands, or hiring a cleaning service so you can be at the studio more might put extra pressure on an already tight budget. It is still important to find a way to cut things out. I wish you luck with that.

7. Meditate more

Meditation practice in included in most teacher training programs and much like exploring other practice styles and studios during yoga teacher training, try to find time to expand your knowledge and practice of meditation.

They say a good meditation session is better rest for your brain than sleep. Your brain will need the rest as it absorbs new information and experiences stress related to real life and a yoga teacher training program. 

Just because your yoga teacher is a great yoga asana instructor doesn’t mean he or she is all that great at teaching meditation. So get out there and expand your horizons. 

8. Get more sleep

If it has been a long time since high school or college, you may have forgotten how important sleep is when it comes to your brain’s ability to process and retain information. Not to mention it’s ability to handles stress.

American’s currently get 40% less sleep than is clinically recommended for optimum health and wellness. Work toward 7-8 hours of good rest nightly. I’m not joking. This could be the most important change you make and be the difference between you having a pleasurable and product teacher training experience and a hellish breakdown. But you do you.

9. Learn from the burn

Explore the burnout and consider that YTT may not be for you. The experience of a student is different from that of a teacher.
If your endgame is to make money teaching yoga, then you will be in the business of creating an experience and delivering value that students want to pay for. If you plan to teach in a volunteer capacity or as a substitute, your yoga still needs to be legit or you will have trouble attracting and maintaining students.
A teacher’s role is to create and hold a space and experience for a student. A student’s role is to experience and enjoy that space. Being responsible for the maintenance of a student’s yoga experience might take the love right out of the yoga for you. If you experience burnout during a yoga teacher training program, it’s a good indicator that you may be better suited for the student side of the mat.
This article originally published on www.groundingup.com

Shakshouka with Feta and Fire Roasted Bell Peppers

A few months back, I was on a business trip in Los Angeles where I ate Shakshouka at the La Brea Bakery Cafe. It was delicious, comforting, and seemed easy enough to make at home and for the Meatless Mondays vegetarian blog posts.

Shakshouka is originally a North African egg and tomato sauce dish but has become extremely popular throughout the middle east. It is typically served in a cast iron skillet with bread to soak up the sauce.

I took some liberties with this Shakshouka recipe, mainly because I only had roasted red bell peppers rather than plain and I didn’t want to go to the grocery.

Additionally, I added feta, because I have read that is sometimes done and I’m always looking for an excuse to sprinkle cheese on things.

I should also mention that I did not even pretend I was going to feed this to the kids. My daughter doesn’t eat eggs “EVER” and my son had fallen asleep on the couch at 4:30 because he refused to nap at 2. He was still sleeping at dinner time and there was no way he was going to feel adventurous about food when he finally woke up to eat something. My husband, however, loved it.

This article originally published on www.groundingup.com

Visit the Recipes section for more vegan and vegetarian recipes.

If you’re here because you are into yoga, you might like the Tip & Hacks section or  Yoga Practice section.

Print Recipe
Shakshouka with Feta and Fire Roasted Bell Peppers
Eggs cooked in a savory tomato, onion, and roasted bell pepper sauce and baked with feta cheese. Served over mixed grains our couscous.
Shakshouka with Feta and Fire Roasted Red Bell Peppers
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Vegetarian
Prep Time 45 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Vegetarian
Prep Time 45 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Shakshouka with Feta and Fire Roasted Red Bell Peppers
Instructions
  1. preheat your oven to 375. Prepare this entire dish in a large cast iron skillet if you have one.
  2. Chop or roughly process the whole tomatoes combined with your roasted red bell peppers. Mine came from a jar but freshly roasted bell peppers work as well.
    Shakshouka is originally and North African egg and tomato sauce dish but has become extremely popular throughout the middle east. It is typically served in a cast iron skillet with bread to soak up the sauce.
  3. Thinly slice the onion and garlic and saute in the skillet with 3 tablespoons of olive oil until their are very soft and beginning to brown. You may also thinly slice your bell pepper and add it at this stage if you prefer that over the food processor.
    Shakshouka is originally and North African egg and tomato sauce dish but has become extremely popular throughout the middle east. It is typically served in a cast iron skillet with bread to soak up the sauce.
  4. Add your tomatoes and peppers from the food processor. Add the spices including the salt and pepper and mix well. Simmer for 10 minutes until the sauce thickens a bit.
    Shakshouka is originally and North African egg and tomato sauce dish but has become extremely popular throughout the middle east. It is typically served in a cast iron skillet with bread to soak up the sauce.
  5. Add the feta and stir to combine
    Shakshouka is originally and North African egg and tomato sauce dish but has become extremely popular throughout the middle east. It is typically served in a cast iron skillet with bread to soak up the sauce.
  6. Create small wells in the sauce using a spoon and crack an egg into each one being careful not to get any shells in there. Then place the skillet in the oven and cook for 7-10 minutes more.
    Shakshouka is originally and North African egg and tomato sauce dish but has become extremely popular throughout the middle east. It is typically served in a cast iron skillet with bread to soak up the sauce.
  7. Garnish and serve.
    Shakshouka with Feta and Fire Roasted Red Bell Peppers
Recipe Notes

We served this over mixed grains, but I think technically, shakshouka is meant to be served with bread. Either way, it is an easy, delicious, and healthy meatless Monday option.

3 Bullet Thursday–Yoga Tips

When I first conceptualized the yoga tips blog post called 3 Bullet Thursday, I thought I would post it twice a month because I really didn’t think I consumed enough yoga content to warrant a weekly yoga tips rundown. As it turns out, I’m a much bigger yoga nerd than I thought I was and my running list of bullets for 3 Bullet Thursday is getting out of hand. Anyway, I did my best to pare down the yoga books, yoga music, and yoga inspiration I’m currently churning through for my fellow yoga nerds.

What I’m Reading–Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

Full disclosure; you should know that when I say I’m reading something, that really just means I’m listening to the audio version of the book on audible.com. I commute about 11 hours a week and spend at least that much time in airports, airplanes and taxi cabs (okay, Ubers). To make that time feel well spent, I binge on audiobooks.Siddhartha On Audible

So about Siddhartha; it’s on many yoga teacher training reading lists because it chronicles the spiritual journey of self discovery of a man named Siddhartha. Spoiler alert, the sanskrit translation of Siddhartha is literally “he who has found the meaning of existence,” or “he who has attained his goals.”

It’s a quick and easy read (3 hours on Audible) so even though the title gives away the ending, I suggest you have a listen–even if you aren’t a yoga teacher or practitioner. It’s a classic and it won’t kill you to learn something.

What I’m Listening To–BuddahBar

Yes, I am referring to the compilation albums of lounge, chill, and world music. They are produced and distributed by the Buddha Bar bar, restaurant, and hotel franchise. It’s the company’s ambiance music and is the perfect background music for my life right now whether I’m at work or at home. No words (I get plenty of those coming my way) just chill sounds. iTunes seems to have the whole collection but I also have all the CDs (yes, actual CDs) so if you are local–that’s you Three Dog Yoga friends–and you want to borrow one, let me know.BuddahBarAlbumnsonitunes

Deep Thought I’m Pondering–“I wish I did not wish”

“I wish I did not wish” is a koan, which is a question or statement meant to test a student’s progress in zen practice. More or less it is meant to break your head.

I came across this koan on a Tim Ferris podcast where he was interviewing Gretchen Rubin about her many happiness related writing projects. That podcast is great, but too long, so I’m not going to recommend it here. I do, however, fully endorse koans.Gretchen Rubin on Tim Ferriss Podcast

This article originally published on www.groundingup.com.

Go to Yoga Tips & Hacks for more of this from GroundingUp

Barley Stuffed Peppers

These barley stuffed peppers from ThugKitchen are a staple at our house. I posted them on the blog about a year ago, but wanted to repost with a few additional notes.

A couple of thoughts regarding these barley stuffed peppers

In our humble opinion, it needs cheese. So, we add 1/4 cup of shredded parmesan to the actual stuffing mix and then we sprinkle shredded parmesan as a garnish. Obviously, doing this makes the recipe “non-vegan” but we are cool with that.

Technically, the ThugKitchen version of these barley stuffed peppers calls for white OR kidney beans. We always use white beans because they are smaller than kidney beans, which just seem to bulky to be stuffed into small places.

Also, the barley stuffing can be used to stuff much more than just peppers. We have used it to stuff zucchini, acorn squash, and tomatoes.

The kids, age 3 and 11, have a great time selecting their bell peppers. Audrey usually goes for green and you can’t really count on John to be consistent with the color of pepper he chooses. I usually buy a few extra peppers because the kids manage to eat them raw before I even have time to get the stuffed peppers in the oven.

Print Recipe
Barley Stuffed Peppers
These barley stuffed peppers from ThugKitchen are a staple at our house. I posted them on the blog about a year ago, but wanted to repost with a few additional notes. Bell peppers with a vegan barley stuffing. Serve as a main dish for a light meal or as a side for a colorful and flavorful addition to any meal.
barley stuffed peppers
Course Dinner, Main Dish
Cuisine Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings
Stuffed Peppers
Ingredients
Course Dinner, Main Dish
Cuisine Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings
Stuffed Peppers
Ingredients
barley stuffed peppers
Instructions
  1. 1–In a medium pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it starts turning golden, about 3 minutes. Add the celery, carrot, garlic, thyme, and oregano and cook for another 2 minutes. Throw in the barley, tomato, and vinegar and stir. Add the broth, salt, and pepper and let it come to a low simmer. Cook, uncovered, until all the broth is absorbed and the barley is tender, about 15 minutes. 2–While the barley is simmering, heat your oven to 375° F. Cut the tops off the bell peppers and scrape out the seeds. Place them in an oiled pie place or loaf pan, something where their asses won’t be sliding around once they’re stuffed. 3–When the barley is done, fold in the beans and turn off the heat. (This filling can even be made a day or two ahead of time, no fucking problem.) Fill the bell peppers up to the top with the filling, cover them tightly with foil, and bake until the peppers are tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let them rest for 5 minutes after coming out of the oven, ’cause those fuckers are hot. Top with the parsley and serve.
Recipe Notes

Thanks to ThugKitchen for the recipe. I didn't technically ask them for permission to publish their recipe, but those assholes can just fucking get over it.

For more vegan and vegetarian recipes, visit the recipes are of this site here. Check out the homepage for additional yoga information and inspiration. Namaste!

This article originally published on www.groundingup.com

3 Bullet Thursday–Yoga Tip Resource

Welcome to the inaugural “3 Bullet Thursday” your yoga tip, information, and inspiration resource.

What I’m watching

Does anyone even have cable anymore? Why would you when there is endless content to stream? Anyway, I’m currently working my way through a 13 episode Gaia mini-series on the origins of yoga called YogicPaths. For new yoga nerds, it’s a great primer on where yoga comes from. For advanced yoga nerds, it might be fun to compare and contrast with what you know about the practice. It is interesting and visually beautiful. So check it out.

YogicPaths
Yogic Paths, a Gaia mini-series

When I’m not watching something yoga related, my husband and I are deep into the Longmire series on Netflix. Based on the Walt Longmire mystery novels a dedicated sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyo. Longmire patrols the county, which seems to have a shockingly high murder rate as far as fake rural counties go. Each episode pretty much begins with the line, “Sheriff, we’ve got a body.”

What I’m listening to

I would imagine a lot of you have made resolutions to start or expand a meditation practice in 2018. Mindfulness and meditation are both hot buzz words right now. The Breathing Club podcast is great for beginner meditators or those looking to explore other forms of meditation and expand their knowledge of the practice.

Breathing Club Podcast
Breathing Club Podcast with Patrick Beach and Carling Harps

Hosted by renowned yoga teachers and wellness consultants, Patrick Beach and Carling Harps, the podcast covers meditation (obviously), related books and content, and provides regular guided meditations in a variety of styles.

 Quote I’m pondering

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards”– Soren Kierkegaard.

This article originally published on www.groundingup.com