by Lacey Pruett | August 23, 2019 7:09 am
As Yoga Teachers we operate from the heart. Obviously, we would have chosen another profession if we didn’t, right? How do you welcome everyone to class, set an intention for class, nurture students from where they are to where they want to go, without a compassionate heart? In yoga teacher training, most of us learned about Karma Yoga, and it’s importance to our overall yogi life.
Karma Yoga, also known as Karma Marga, is one of the four spiritual paths, according to Hinduism. As a Christian, I believe that Karma Yoga is right work done well, as a form of prayer. If you research Karma Yoga, you’ll find various beliefs and various opinions (much like anything else you type into Google today), but after my studies, research, and yes, a little online reading, I feel confident that Karma Yoga can be any service you give to others, without focus on personal gains—money, notoriety, fame, . Several studios I partner with share a Karma Yoga class regularly to give back to the community in some way, either by donation, fundraising or awareness. The teacher may, or may not give their time and knowledge as a donation. It depends on the way the class is set up. Once I became a yoga teacher, requests came from several different sources for free yoga classes. I was so excited to teach that I accepted most of them, excited to be asked, and happy to share my new knowledge. I did this for a while before I realized that my time output and financial income were drastically misaligned. I taught yoga and I maintained a coaching business, and felt that I had a good sense of time management, but about a year after I added yoga teaching to my weekly work schedule, I realized I was exhausted all the time. I didn’t have energy at the end of the day, like I used to. I didn’t want to do much activity outside of when I taught yoga, and I started to get a little bitter toward giving my time away. I knew the answer, but I wanted to stay true to my new commitment, my oath of sorts, to being a Yogi.
I dove back into my books and training manuals to find out the rules behind Karma Yoga and being a Karmic Yogi. I realized that nowhere did it say to give away my time freely, without boundaries. How did this happen again? How did I forget to implement boundaries surrounding my yoga teaching? In corporate America, I hit a painful wall due to no boundaries. In my personal life, I hit pain due to being boundaryless. How haven’t I learned that I can do more, be more, GIVE more with boundaries? After reading and reflecting about what the world says about Karma Yoga, I decided to make some own rules for myself surrounding my give-back and my free yoga teaching time. Everyone is different, but I do feel that yoga’s rich history was founded more on nurturing and peace than on overwhelm and exhaustion. Don’t you?
This is personal to everyone, but asking myself a few questions led me to answers best for me and my family (and my inner peace.)
Finally, becoming a yoga teacher or a yogi didn’t sign you up for a lifetime of pro bono work. , and if you’ve chosen teaching as your profession, honor your finances by not giving away too much of your talent and investment. Hard work should be honored and appreciated, and you’ll give more when you feel this fulfillment. The occasional donation or free yoga class is an honorable service, while feeding your overall wellness at the same time. Find what works for you, your business, your life.
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