We are humans, too
When I tell people that I am teaching Yoga, the reaction sometimes is oh so you must be very zen or something similar to that. Then again, these comments usually come from someone that either doesn't practice Yoga or isn't very familiar with it. I admit that sure, teaching Yoga for living definitely helps to keep yourself calm as well and you couldn't be teaching students if you yourself as a person don't know what it is like to let go and fully relax. But after all, every teacher is a human, too, and therefore we as well have emotions and can experience a bad day.
The decision I made to become a Yoga teacher is by far the best decision I have made in my life so far. But there are days where it is not all sunshine as well and life can be tough for sure. It is normal. Something that I have experienced so far is that my mood is highly influenced by the people you are working with and where you teach. Looking back, I had the greatest fun and highest success teaching in places where I got along very well with the owners of the place or the person that is in charge. Usually, they themselves are a Yogi as well or are at least quite familiar with its philosophy and benefits. They understand that it is a mental, physical and emotional effort to teach a Yoga class and that it is not something you can just do non-stop for hours without any breaks. As in any other job as well, we are no machines that just constantly function on the same level and speed the entire day. Not only your physical body, but also your mental self becomes tired after a while and needs to recharge to function properly and to avoid mistakes.
I know that everyone has to earn money in some way to survive, but my decision to become a Yoga teacher was not a financial decision. The salary I used to earn before becoming a Yoga teacher was two to three times higher than my salary is now. I became a teacher because I wanted to help people that need it. To see them light up and grow in their practice and personal self. To help them with their journey, their pain, their understanding and this is something that is priceless for me. I am well aware that it may not work for everyone in my class, but even the chance of it is enough for me. When I attended my Yoga Teacher Training, I was taught about the difference of being a Yoga Teacher and a Yoga Instructor. A teacher is someone that wants to help you beyond the actual practice. It is someone that helps you discover the benefits of what you do and to understand why you do it. An instructor on the other hand is often someone that is guiding you through a practice but does not go further. They watch you closely while you go step by step through a practice, but they don't necessarily go deeper beyond. Every job besides the last one I had until now as a teacher, I felt really as a teacher. It did not matter how slim, how flexible, how fit you are or look in general. It was more important to be yourself and to be a real teacher. And these were the jobs where I loved my work and enjoyed every lesson of it. There was no room really to be unhappy or dissatisfied, as I felt blessed to even be there. In my last job, it was the first time where I have experienced being seen more as a Yoga Instructor than a Yoga Teacher. It was more important how you look like, what trends you follow and how much revenue you can make. And even though this did not keep me from being myself as a teacher in classes, it was following me constantly as a shadow. And as we as teachers are humans, too, it also affected my personal life. Up to a point where I was really not enjoying work anymore.
I highly live by the saying to think positively and then you will attract the positive things in life as well. That's how I have been living my life and it has been a very pleasant journey since then. But sometimes the negative can just take you over and takes all your resources to get you out of there again. Since I quit my career as a software developer, I dedicated myself to follow a path that I love. Therefore, I am not ready to settle for anything that makes me less than 100% happy in my job. And neither should anyone else. If you feel that your bad days at work are becoming more and more compared to your good days, this may be a sign to change direction towards something better. For myself, I discovered that something needs to change when I just started to feel miserable almost on a daily basis and I couldn't feel much happiness at my job even though I did something I loved. I knew that it was not my place to be and it is time to move on.
Every teacher is still a student and being in a surrounding where you can grow is a key aspect as well for your own teaching and personal knowledge. Having other teachers around, where you can also take classes on your own, is a great thing that I missed a lot when I was the only teacher around. Even though I practice mostly on my own, I felt as if I don't develop myself further and just tread on the same position. And this was something that also affected my mood in general.
To every Yoga Teacher out there, I am highly grateful and appreciative of the work that you all do. And as with any other jobs, there are ups and downs, and it is totally fine to not be zen all day and every day. If there is something you can change about that, go ahead and do so. It is not a failure to not succeed, it may just be not the right place for you and you belong somewhere else in order to succeed. After all, we are all human.