Less is more
How teaching less can bring more reward - By Paula Hines
Reading time: 3 minutes
I found an old paper diary of mine (yes, I still use those) from several years ago. In it, I’d noted down all of the weekly teaching commitments I had including studio classes, gym classes, corporate classes, one-to-one yoga classes, retreats… I marvelled at it. And I felt exhausted just reading it.
This was a number of years before the pandemic, but still less than a decade ago. All of my teaching was in-person then. As I looked through my old diary I was also remembering all the travelling from one side of London to the other on public transport and on foot, the gaps in the day spent waiting in coffee shops, the early mornings at the bus stop with only the urban foxes for company and the late nights arriving home frazzled. And I know that my experience was not untypical of many of my fellow yoga teachers in the city at the time.
I don’t miss those days. I’m glad for the experiences I had, the people I met and what I learned, but that wasn’t sustainable or healthy long term. It was also a different time.
That may sound as though I don’t like teaching but in fact, the opposite is true. I was a newer teacher then. I was gaining valuable experience and I had more energy, but during that time my energy became so scattered that it didn’t do me — or my teaching — any good. I was also working in that way because (I believed) I had to out of necessity as a full-time yoga instructor trying to pay the bills. In some ways this speaks to where many of us find ourselves now in the cost of living crisis in the UK.
Today, as I write this, I teach less than I have in a while – some of this has been by circumstance and some has been of my own design. I also think some things have fallen away naturally because they needed to. In addition, the majority of my teaching is currently online – something I would never have imagined years ago.
How do I feel about this? I feel good. I feel good because this means I can give more to myself, which, in turn, means I can give more to my teaching.
I’ve no interest in attempting to give from a place of depletion. That never ends well.