I mean. I wish it was just three. But like any coach worth their salt – I could write a book about all the “oh crap” moments I had as a baby yoga teacher. If there was a mistake to be made, I’m pretty sure I made it at some point.
And I still make mistakes, all the time. I still catch myself falling into a self-sabotage pattern. I still hide from admin days, and I still have to pep-talk myself to outsourcing things that I know I can do, but shouldn’t.
But hopefully, the mistakes I made up till now can help someone along the way. Because smart people learn from their mistakes, but wise people learn from the mistakes of others.
So. Be a wise teacher. And, in no particular order:
Amy Winehouse wasn’t talking about yoga teaching, but she could have been. It’s a beautiful thing to fall in love with yoga. And it takes a special soul for someone to realise that they want to spend their life healing others through mindfulness.
But when you love something, it’s easy to do too much of it.
That saying “do what you love, love what you do” works fine as an Instagram quote. But as a life strategy – it needs to be tempered. No matter how much you love doing something, if you over-do it, you will burnout.
If I could speak to my younger self, I would tell her: “Danielle, get a grip – you may wish you were, but you’re not superhuman. Neither are you a robot, so check yourself before you wreck yourself.”
This means different things to different people. For me, it meant not saying yes to classes at both 7am and 8pm every day. It meant creating a yoga program like Yoga Unravelled, rather than doing weekly Zoom classes. It also meant not saying yes to clients 7 days a week.
For you, it might mean only committing to creating videos once every week. Or making three valuable IG posts and not worrying about “filler” posts. It might (should) mean putting in place a cancellation policy. But whatever it means for you – it’s worth thinking about.
Love what you do, yes, but please, love it hard enough that you don’t have to do it 24 hours a day, 365 days a week. Because boundaries can be – wait for it – a MASSIVE vibe.
Like most air-headed Gemini’s – I hate rules. I hate strict timelines, and I hate scheduling. But unfortunately, when you’re in this profession, life runs on slotting into other people’s schedules. So we’ve got to suck it up and schedule.
I used to only count the hours I was actively coaching as “work.” I discounted the time I spent creating classes, or writing programs for clients, or crafting playlists, or researching themes for yoga workshops, or following up on invoices, or traveling to and from teaching.
Gorgeous teachers. Value your time. Take it from a girl who started out charging less than a manicure for an hour of her time – PLUS I travelled to the client. I’m not ashamed of it, because I’ve learnt to charge my worth – but no thank you, I will not be doing that again.
Again – it’s your life, so make it work for you. I like to block out several days a week as just “client facing” days and keep other days relatively free for programming, online work, and admin tasks. Some people like to spread it out a bit more. But know your worth.
A little formula I use to help me figure out if I can commit to a class/client/project is:
(nb: hours required involves all time required: including session planning, session delivery, and travel)
When I first did this, I found I had several sessions that were paying me less than minimum wage. And the worst part was I couldn’t even drop them, because I didn’t have enough other income sources coming in. But it was the driving force I need to help me start finding new opportunities, reaching out to new clients, and ultimately valuing my services more.
Coaches and guides – what you are doing is bespoke, unique and priceless. You are literally healing the world through teaching yoga – and we need you to keep doing what you’re doing, now more than ever. Now is the time to harness your inner self-belief. Now is the time to trust that the universe will meet you where you’re at.
And trust me: as you value your gifts, others will value them too.
Before you get all up in arms over this one – hear me out. I love a good handstand. And it’s something I’ll probably always be working on. Some days they feel fun and easy, and some days they absolutely suck.
But I used to measure my skills as a yoga teacher based upon how good my handstand was. Seriously. I used to be scared of applying to yoga studios because I couldn’t hold a clean line. I used to think that I couldn’t up my prices for clients until my “yoga skills” improved.
If you’re an ex-dancer like me, this is going to hurt, but honestly – (almost) nobody cares if you have a flat split, or a straight handstand, or if you can transition from forearm wheel to scorpion. It’s amazing if you can coach those things, and definitely do, but just remember – it’s only 1% of what you do.
Because it’s actually not about you. It’s not about what you can do, it’s about what you can make people feel. People come to you because you help them remember how to feel good again.
You teach them how to close the stress cycle. You guide them to build patterns of self-care to make their lives happier, kinder, calmer.
There’s a joke in the dance world: “splits for claps” – in that you can bust out some amazing technical skill and no one blinks, but throw in a split leap or fake tilt off a partner and all of a sudden everyone is screaming. It’s similar in the yoga world – doing some fancy shapes might make people double tap your IG post, but it won’t necessarily make people trust you more, or make them believe that the truth you have can change their lives.
Here’s to feeling all kinds of magic x