It’s been a strange old year, hasn’t it?
But as the dog days of summer draw to a close, and September comes round we habitually get into that back-to-school frame of mind.
So how can we make the most of these light, late summer days until we get to the darker, colder days of the ‘Autumn Term’?
When did you last sort/declutter your yoga equipment? If you’re a yoga equipment junkie (like me) you’ll have piles of bolsters, blocks, chairs, back benders, wheels, and so on. You can never have too much, right? Well, yes, you can.
Are you still clinging on to your first-ever, old, faithful yoga mat out of sentiment, despite the fact there are more holes in it than actual mat? Are you keeping the blocks your kids drew on, bit holes out of, and poked with a pair of compasses as ‘backups’?
One of the unseen-for advantages of lockdown has been that we’ve all realised that what we think we need, and what we actually need are two very different things. This ties in with the yogic principle (yama) of aparigraha – non-hoarding. So get sorting!
Doing a Late-Summer Clean
Okay, it’s not the traditional time of year to do a thorough clean, but once you’ve sorted through all your yoga equipment and mats, perhaps it’s time to give them a really thorough clean – especially after the heatwave of the last couple of weeks.
You can buy mat cleaner from stockists such as yogamatters.com, but you can also make it yourself, which is much more satisfying.
- A small spray bottle, such as one you’d use for ironing
- Cooled, boiled water, or distilled water
- 2 drops of tea tree essential oil
- 1 drop of lavender essential oil
- Witch hazel or white vinegar
The water should take up about three quarters of the bottle, and the vinegar or witch hazel, one quarter. Tea Tree is a great essential oil to use as it has natural antiseptic qualities, but you can add any essential oil of your choice as well.
In this extended limbo period, it’s actually been somewhat of a relief to put goals to one side. But now that some kind of end is in sight (no one mention the potential ‘second wave’) we can start to think about setting goals.
Goal-setting is an important way to keep motivated, especially if you’re a self-employed yoga teacher. Keeping up the momentum of running and growing a small business is a time-consuming affair, and it’s worth taking stock every now and then to think about what you want for your business.
Do you want to increase your student numbers? Do you want to add extra classes? Would you like to run workshops or even retreats?
While most people are away and things are quieter, now is the perfect time to think about what is it that YOU want from being a yoga teacher.
Send out a Questionnaire
It might that you’re just not sure whether your students would actually WANT to come back to in-person classes anymore. We’ve all got so used to the convenience of Zoom classes in our spare room, that the inconvenience or indeed concerns about safety may well be a barrier to some students wanting to return.
If you’re not sure, then why not ask them? If you have a Facebook page you can create a poll, which is a great way of interacting with your audience.
If you have a mailing list you can use an app like SurveyMonkey, who have a free, basic plan which means you can send a survey with up to ten questions.
Get in Touch with Studios/Gyms/Community Halls
Even if you think you probably won’t be getting back to teaching in September, it’s worth keeping in touch with the studio where you’re employed, or any halls, gyms or studios that you hire out. It might be that some of them are very keen for your business and might be offering discounted rates.
Just keeping in touch with them and letting them know what your thoughts are mean that you are keeping them in the loop.
Deciding on what your teaching schedule will look like
This hiatus in the teaching year means that we can look back over the first half of the year to take stock of how the balance is working for you. If you’re suffering from zoom stress from too many online classes it might be time to condense your classes into just a few sessions.
Or perhaps you’re really enjoying the online teaching lark and want to focus on growing your online yoga business – there’s certainly a huge amount of scope in online yoga teaching.
Once you’ve decided, make sure you update your website and let people know about your new class schedule.
Review your own Practice
Part of being a yoga teacher is keeping up with your own practice. Without it, we come adrift as yoga teachers and our teaching becomes mechanical and not from the heart. I always think back to the aeroplane safety-briefing analogy of putting one’s own oxygen mask on first – similarly, we have to prioritise our own practice and wellbeing before that of our students.
So, how has lockdown affected your practice? Have you been making the most of all the online classes on offer? Or have you gone more introspective and quiet with your practice in this time of ongoing uncertainty?
If your practice has been suffering from working from home as well as having kids around 24/7 for what feels like FOREVER, then it might be time to make a practice calendar for the month of September so that you can tick off the days and get back into the rhythm of a regular practice.
Remember that your practice is for YOU, to explore, to guage your emotional weather, to rest and restore, and to simply be.
If your back-to-school plan includes training needs, we have specialist courses coming up soon!