Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Balancing Teaching Yoga and Other Endeavors - Combining Passions

By Kathryn Boland 

Do you have employment apart from yoga instruction, and see ways in which both might complement each other? Do you perhaps wonder how that might work? Many yoga instructors combine teaching yoga with other career endeavors (out of choice and/or necessity). This can certainly be difficult to manage - but our practice can help us do that with  effectiveness, efficiency, and peace of mind.

Sometimes work apart from yoga instruction has not much, per-se, to do with yoga instruction. Given yoga instructors’ interests, knowledge, and skillsets, however, work apart from teaching yoga often does relate to yoga in some way - such as physical or occupational therapy, teaching other fitness/wellness forms, nutrition/dietics, and psychology/counseling. Read on for ways that the two types of work can support each other, and thus result in greater service to others and greater well-being for yourself - whichever your unique situation may be. 

1) Transfer your knowledge and skills.

Teaching yoga involves much knowledge, and many skills - creativity, clear and fluent speech, anatomy, a strong sense of how the body moves, listening, and empathizing. That's not to mention knowledge of yogic history, theory, and methodology (which, though with timeless truths, might be less directly applicable in the modern world). 

Most, if not all, of that is transferable to other work. If you're a talk therapist or psychiatrist, for example, yoga instruction experience might draw your attention to physical signs of tension, anxiety, sadness, fatigue, et cetera - such as the quality of breath, carriage of the head and torso, gaze, and muscular tension. It can also help you to more accurately read those things. Your observations and subsequent inferences can become fruitful talking points in sessions. That could lead to much progress for your patients/clients. 

In the reverse, experience in mental health work can help you learn how to hold space for those who are hurting, in non-judgemental ways. As instructors, that’s a skill that we do need in our arsenal. On the other hand, one must be careful about doing work outside of one's role in such circumstances; yoga students do not come to class to be in therapy, and therapy/psychiatry clients don't come to sessions to be in yoga class. 

Even in work seemingly less directly related to yoga instruction, such as marketing and public relations, teaching yoga can help. It can hone your skills in crafting a theme and cohesive message, and delivering it with assured language and a clear voice. In addition, the corporate world all too often engages in unethical conduct. Living yogic values can help you to encounter such behavior with grace, objectivity, and clarity. You might also be able to be a role model of ethical conduct for your colleagues, and thus help fuel a decrease in corporate misconduct (perhaps at least in your workplace). 

2) “It’s who you know.”

Every job, and through that engagement in a certain employment sector, carries with it many contacts. The whole concept behind the successful media platform LinkedIn, for instance, is to organize and activate that network. These contacts can offer useful things such as referrals, recommendations, consultation, and input for publications. 

Perhaps you're having trouble with your platform for making yoga class playlists, for instance. A colleague at your other job could perhaps help you solve the issue. That’s informal help, unless the colleague does that professionally. Some help might be more formal, with the individual having set rates and other terms for their service. Whatever the case may be, if you're going to put your network to work in such ways, take efforts to keep it professional. Ensure that everyone's clear on expectations, and that no one is compromising anyone else's paid work. 

It's similar with making sales as a yoga instructor in an alternate workplace or vice-versa. First keep in mind if you might be applying competition (such as promoting private sessions in a public yoga studio), and regard the ethical boundaries of doing so. Next, remain aware that there are times and places for advertising services. Others are not appropriate for doing that. Even so, if handled ethically and with due discretion, connections at certain jobs can lead to boosting the strength of others. 

3) Find your “slash.”

Innovation comes from developing ideas and solving problems in ways that haven't been done before. The yoga field is competitive, and bringing our own unique offerings can help ensure your business success. At the same time, you can help more fully offer yoga's gifts to more people. If you sell essential oils, for instance, you could incorporate aromatherapy into your teaching - and thus further solidify your personal brand as a teacher. If you're a musician, you could build a class form with asana as well as pranayama, chanting, other singing, and music from a harmonium or other instrument. 

These types of “slash” forms (aromatherapy/yoga, music/yoga) often work well as workshops. Those can often pay better than standard public classes, as well as boost your notoriety as a teacher. One must be careful to ensure that potential students are clear on what you're offering, if it's something notably different from a typical modern Western yoga class. 

These types of beneficial integrations and connections - as with the utilizing your network and personal attributes (as previously described) - can evolve on their own if you stay open, curious, non-judgmental, and refuse to let fear take control. We thankfully have yoga practice to help us with that. When we create and channel connections in our professional lives in these ways, we can allow the wisdom and power of yoga to channel through us. It can then to more significantly help heal the ailing world in which we live. 

© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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1 comment:

parvezbdjsr said...

Combine teaching yoga with other career endeavor is certainly difficult to manage - but our practice can help us do that with effectiveness, efficiency, and peace of mind. Thank you Kathryn Boland for writing this good article.