You know the story. You start teaching because you’re in love with the practice. You fantasise about teaching all day and enjoying the lifestyle of a dedicated practitioner. You’ll go to classes at the studio where you teach. You’ll get up at the crack of dawn and practice before you leave the house.
You have all of the best intentions but when you’re in the full-time teaching flow, you are soon confronted with the harsh reality that having your own practice requires a lot more commitment and discipline than you had anticipated.
If you’re finding it hard to integrate a regular practice, try these simple steps to maintaining your mojo.
Create the space
The first step to creating a practice that sticks is creating the space – both internally and externally. Think about when the best time is for you to practice. If you’re teaching first thing in the morning, perhaps a gentle practice before bed will work best. Visualise this in your mind. What would it look like to do your practice every day? How would it feel? Write it down. Schedule it into your diary. And make a commitment to yourself. After a week or two it will be the most natural, easy thing in the world, and you’ll feel so good for it.
Now, create the space externally. It might be a simple mat and some props in a clean corner of your bedroom, or you might dedicate an entire room to your practice. But make sure you have a space that feels comfortable and inviting. Keep the space clean and tidy so that you’re free from distractions. Adorn it with your favourite paintings, textiles and crystals, or make it outside amongst nature. Let it be a place that you enjoy and want to spend time in.
Wake up and move
When you wake up in the morning, commit to just five minutes. It could be meditation or movement. It could be one simple pose. Wake up, clean up and practice. You might find that you go way beyond the five minutes, but that’s all you need to commit to.
Let it replace the morning social media check or take your coffee with you instead of drinking it at home. If you have kids, especially little ones, you may need to be a little more flexible and make do with whatever time and space you have. Bring them to the mat with you or create a practice that you can do together. Remember, it’s only five minutes and it’s a beautiful way for the whole family to start the day.
Do this one thing each week
Make the commitment to go to one class with a teacher each week. This will fuel your enthusiasm for the practice and give you inspiration for your own classes. If you live far away from a studio, try a class online. You could choose the same class each week or mix it up depending on your schedule.
It’s all a practice
Do everything with mindfulness, allowing your practice to be infused into everything you do. As the weather warms up you might find more joy in walking than being on the mat. So let yourself walk! Start or finish your walk with a short meditation, and commit to feeling the connection between your feet and the earth. Drink your morning tea mindfully, find discipline and commitment by going to a regular fitness class. Your practice doesn’t need to look the same every day. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t make it to the mat. Simply invite your practice into everything you do.