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
First published in November 2009, OM Yoga magazine has become the most popular yoga title in the UK. Available from all major supermarkets, independents and newsstands across the UK. Also available on all digital platforms.