Honouring your threshold
Nothing will work unless you do, so be sure to take good care of yourself. By Paula Hines
In my earlier days of teaching I was at one stage teaching something like 20 times a week. This was a mix of studio and gym classes, corporates and private clients. It meant travelling around London to various locations and often it was this – crossing the city most days by tube, train, bus and on foot, often contending with rush hour at either end of the day – that took the most out of me.
We all have different thresholds. I read recently about someone who was working full-time and teaching around 20 classes a week and that seemed to work for them. For me, teaching 20 times a week (without a full-time job) turned out to be a recipe for burnout.
At the time, I felt a sense of shame and failure over this. I knew that many other self-employed teachers were doing the same thing, yet they all seemed to be coping. Or so I thought. In time, I learned that what I had experienced was a common ‘rites of passage’ for newer (and sometimes, not so new) full-time teachers. I’d wanted to teach for the love of yoga, but I had found myself feeling trapped in a cycle of overwork in order to pay the bills. My body was giving me signs that I needed to slow down, but I didn’t pay attention to them because I needed to work. So, naturally I kept on going, eventually to my inevitable detriment.
Our bodies are wise. My body knew that I was going beyond my threshold and when I didn’t take heed, it gave me no choice and it made me stop. This was a huge lesson for me that I haven’t forgotten. It can be really difficult, particularly in the current climate. I’m still self-employed and I’ve recently found myself falling into the pattern of feeling as though I need to work more for the same reason as all those years ago. The difference now though, is that I understand the importance of paying attention to the signs my body gives me.
I wrote about this subject of honouring your threshold in my book, Rest + Calm and also in my monthly newsletter. You can do anything but you can’t do everything. I’m not a machine and neither are you. To quote, Maya Angelou: “Nothing will work unless you do.”
We all have different thresholds. How do you honour yours?
Paula Hines is a London-based yoga teacher and writer. For classes, videos, workshops and more visit her yoga website: ucanyoga.co.uk
Her new book Rest + Calm (Green Tree, Bloomsbury Publishing) is out now in paperback, audiobook and Kindle/eBook