How I stopped burn out

I just finished attending a yoga class, then leading three. 9 hours of yoga, and I feel great.

It wasn’t always this way. When I began this schedule I was burnt out and unable to even know how to care for myself at the end of the day. Was I hungry? Tired? Did I need a bath? My energy was too diffused to even know what I needed. So much energy moves in a yoga class, it was a lot to process. Having all that energy from myself and others just swimming around my field was a disorienting place to be.

I began to fear this is what it was like to teach ‘too much’ and I would have to cut back and find other work. I feared I would no longer love doing what I loved to do. Voices of seasoned teachers echoed through my mind “I can’t teach 10 times a week anymore, it’s just too much.”

So I acknowledged the fear, the concern, the energy and asked the universe for support and guidance. I was willing to see another way. Then, just last week I began an amazing mentoring program. It is exactly what I have been calling into my life, and on day one my mentor said exactly what I needed to hear.

First of all, she said something I want to emphasize for anyone reading this on a similar path. This is even more important than the other part. She said the most important thing she takes away from trainings is the thing she already knew deep inside. In other words, I already knew all this. I was just being witnessed in my process and gently reminded of what I already know to be my deeper truth. That almost sounds like a let down, but it is much more empowering and all I could ever ask for in a teacher. Someone who points me back towards myself rather than towards them or something outside of myself.

So back to the topic of burn out.

I was getting burnt out because I am human. I was trying to hold more than a human body can hold.  Someone’s injury, marriage stress, work stress, everything that shows up in a yoga class. Along with all that goes into teaching an intelligent, intentional class. I could handle that for an hour a day, but teaching more has shown me my limits. I can only hold so much.

What I learned is that I don’t need to hold anything. All I need to carry is the 28 grams that escapes when I die. Instead of trying to grasp on to things that can’t be grasped, surrender. Surrender is actually the easy part. The hard part, as a normal human being with an ego, is to stay there. Surrendered. Undefended. Trusting. But that’s where all the true power lies.

In that state of surrender, the right words come through at the right time. The class reveals itself to everyone, including the teacher. There is an effortless flow. It feels right. When I close that space at the end of class, it feels complete. I can return to my life. Not so much recharged as much as healthy, whole and complete. Ready to be present to the next moment, then the next.

My teacher said if I could practice the yoga sutras teaching of surrender, everything else will fall into place. I may not be fully there yet, but I am at least willing to surrender to that possibility.

I’m especially curious to see what happens when I take this practice off the yoga mat, and into my life