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I’m not THAT busy

Right now, I should be sat at my desk at work, reading emails and drinking a cup of tea ready to start the first day of the new half term. Instead, I am lying in bed, writing my cover lessons, feeling guilty for having taken the day off. I woke up at 4 am this morning feeling sick and ended up collapsing on the bathroom floor. After a couple of hours of sleep, I did feel a bit better and had already decided that I would be going into work as normal. My husband, thankfully, convinced me that I needed to stay home and focus on getting better. I reluctantly agreed and now sit here with the guilt of not only missing the first day back at school but also 2 Yoga classes this evening. I know that there is nothing to feel guilty about putting my health first – I know the school will continue to run without me and my yogis will still get a great class with another teacher – and yet the feeling is still there.

I spent a little time reflecting on why I felt ill this morning. I often have bad reactions to food and had eaten out a lot over the last couple of days, so it’s most likely that. However, my husband thinks it might be my bodies way of telling me to slow down. I have just come to the end of a wonderful, but very busy half term that included teaching 8 Yoga classes over 2 days, teaching a Yoga workshop and a Yoga brunch and attending a Sober Rave in London (which was amazing!) among the usual half-term to-do list (MOT, class planning, house cleaning etc). Whilst I did find some time to relax with my husband, he did point out to me that I just don’t know how to relax. I cram my schedule with so many things and feel this urge to be busy all of the time – almost to the point of showing off and feeling pride in just how busy I am. Whilst I do love all the things I am doing and all the incredible opportunities that are coming my way, I am realizing more and more the importance of just slowing down and taking a few moments to breathe and to just be a human being, not a human doing!

During a long chat recently with my wonderful caterers, I realised that in my head, I was responding to their concerns about my wellbeing and my packed schedule with the phrase “I’m not THAT busy”. So that inspired me to sit and write out my schedule for a typical week. Whilst it may seem obvious to most people, that activity made me realise that I am essentially doing two full-time jobs and leaving myself very little ‘me time’ to just relax, catch up with friends, or most importantly, spend time with my husband.

I actually find it very hard to relax. During the half term, I agreed that for just one day, I wouldn’t do anything ‘work-related’ including yoga class planning, organising events, etc. After a beautiful walk with my husband, I came home and immediately my mind switched to “I could just do a load of washing” and “I could make a start on that Exercise to music coursework” etc – I obviously decided to do none of those things and relax on the sofa with my hub – but as I did this, I realised my mind was not in the present moment and was instead thinking about upcoming events, ideas for Yoga workshops, when I was going to get the shower cleaned, what I needed to pack for London, etc! I wonder why I find it so hard to switch off?

I read a quote in the book I am reading that really struck a chord with me:

Most of the time, most of the people we meet are at best only partially engaged in the moment. And often we find people (or ourselves) lost in thought or reverie—barely here at all. How often we miss the moment simply because we’re not here. We tune out much of the world—and much of ourselves as well…And generally we don’t even realize how removed we are from what is going on

This is so true for me so much of the time. So often my mind is focused on the future – planning yoga classes, booking in my next event, worrying about the assembly I have coming up etc. Planning is important, but I shouldn’t be focused on that all the time – the present moment is the only moment there is and I don’t want to waste that away by always living in the future. One of the few situations in life where I am fully present is when I am teaching Yoga – I am fully in the moment, enjoying the process and the connection with others. I guess that’s one of the ways I know I have found my true passion! I find doing my own Yoga and meditation practice really helps me to be present too, though I am finding it increasingly more difficult to fit this into my daily schedule.

So, I guess the take-away from all of this is I need to learn to slow down. I accept that my schedule is busy and there is little I can do to change that for the next few months, but within that busyness I need to learn to be present, to enjoy each passing moment and be grateful for all the wonderful opportunities that are coming my way. I need to learn to not fill all the gaps in my calendar and do more of the activities that help me relax, unwind and appreciate the simpler, slower-paced things in life.

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The life of a part-time Yoga teacher: Month 3

My Sunday morning Yogis completed yet another 6 week block of Yoga classes last week! It has been wonderful seeing some of the ‘regulars’ develop their practice, as well as welcoming some new Yogis. Despite the snow, and freezing cold starts in the dance studio, these wonderful ladies join me each Sunday morning to move their bodies and calm their minds.

I was truly humbled at the end of our last class, when one wonderful Yogi baked the class vegan friendly blackcurrant crumble bars and lemon slices! The crumbles were delicious! Another lovely yogi bought me some wonderful beauty gifts to say thanks for introducing her to Yoga. Such kind, thoughtful offerings. I am truly grateful for our Sunday mornings together

I love my Friday nights at the moment – teaching a sweaty, power Yoga based class at the gym, singing my heart out in my car as I rush back to my local Yoga class afterwards, giggling along and relaxing with them and then coming home for some well earned food and a nice hot bath! It was wonderful to see some new Friday Yogis come along on Good Friday – it would be great to see this class’s numbers grow.

I am feeling very inspired about my Yoga teaching right now. I had the privilege of attending a wonderful Yoga retreat last Friday, which involved 3 chakra themed Yoga classes, sleeping in a Yurt, eating delicious vegan food, rainy walks and chats in a hot tub, all alongside 10 wonderful ladies. This really has inspired me to start looking into setting up some Yoga events / retreats of my own – especially as I love planning parties and bringing people together! If anyone has any ideas / suggestions then do let me know!

I spent the whole of Good Friday planning lots of new Yoga sequences, meditations, breathing activities and class themes for my upcoming classes. I can’t wait to share these with my yogis! I have had to get a little more organised with my class planning as, due to teaching 5 classes a week, I was starting to forget which sequences I had done with which students! I have now set up a planner that logs what sequences I teach and when, kind of like my school lesson planner, so I can keep on top of everything!

I think the true highlight of this month had to be the kind, thoughtful words one of my Yogis left as a review on my Facebook page. How wonderful of her to take the time to share her thoughts. I am so glad that Yoga is having such a positive effect on her well-being. What a wonderful journey this is.

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The life of a part-time Yoga teacher: Month 1

After some initial ‘market research’ in December (ie lots of posts on local Facebook community pages!) I decided there was enough interest to set up my first local class – a ‘6 week Yoga for beginners course’. I found a wonderful local dance studio to hold the classes in and the course booked up pretty fast. I am 4 weeks into the course and am loving seeing the progress my 15 students are making each week – it’s a pleasure spending my Sunday mornings with them.

I used the money gained from my beginners course to purchase my own set of Yoga mats and Yoga blocks. I got my equipment from yogamatters.com as they offer an excellent bulk buy discount and their sticky mats come in a great range of colours!  Buying the equipment was the easy bit… working out where to store everything has been fun (bye bye boot space in my tiny car!). It turns out yoga mats are heavy, and I have come to be known as the ‘trolley lady’ in school as I wheel my mats and blocks from one classroom to another between the staff / student classes I teach at the secondary school where I work.

It has been wonderful providing the stressed out, exhausted staff at school with an hour a week where they can forget the troubles of the day and just focus on their body, mind and breath. Yoga has been so powerful for helping me manage my own stresses as a Secondary School teacher / Head of Year, so it’s great to be able to pass this on to other staff. One lovely lady said to me “After our first session, I just went home and cried – I felt so emotional”.

I am also working with a fab group of Year 10 and 11 students who are busy preparing for mock exams. Sessions with them are great fun with lots of giggles – they particularly love the ‘bit at the end where we get to lie down and do nothing’. At the end of one class, a Year 11 stayed behind and said “thanks so much Miss, I haven’t felt this relaxed in ages”.

I must admit that this month wouldn’t have been so productive without the help of my wonderful husband. He has been so supportive and has helped me with all the ‘marketing’ aspects of my yoga business, such as redesigning my Facebook page to match the wonderful flyers, website and business cards that he designed for me. He’s also helping me keep track of my finances via a very detailed spreadsheet. What a legend!

The highlight of this month had to be leading an assembly on mindfulness, in which I lead a 10 minute meditation with 600 Year 9 and 10 students and their tutors. It was nice to start the school day with a moment of calm.

January has been a busy and super enjoyable month and I can’t wait to see what adventures next month brings!