Blog

Tips For Avoiding Yoga Teacher Burnout

yoga teacher burnout

Whilst yoga is all about finding peace in both the body and the mind, even yoga teachers can get stressed and experience burnout!

If you’re a yoga teacher and this sounds familiar, you’re not alone! We’ve compiled our top tips for avoiding yoga teacher burnout so you can find your zen again. 

Before we get started, why not take your career to the next level and become a Level 4 yoga instructor with OriGym? Enquire today, or download our free course prospectus here for more information about the range of courses we offer. 

What Can Cause Yoga Teacher Burnout?

yoga teacher burnout

So, what exactly is ‘burnout’?

Classified as an ‘occupational phenomenon’ by the World Health Organisation in 2019, burnout is a state of exhaustion brought on by chronic workplace stress, and it applies to every profession- even yoga teachers. 

Burnout comes in three forms: physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion. This means that it can manifest itself within the body in several different ways.

For example, a yoga teacher experiencing burnout may feel tired and unmotivated all of the time.

For many yoga teachers, they have turned their passion into their career. This can therefore put extra pressure on their ability to teach classes.

This is particularly true when we consider the fact that what makes a good yoga teacher is often measured by how many classes and students they teach, and even the number of followers they have on social media.

So, when this pressure builds up and is not handled properly, you may begin to experience yoga burn out.

Some of the other common causes of yoga instructor burnout are:

  • Running too many classes
  • Lack of good quality sleep
  • Poor self-care
  • Not keeping up your own personal yoga practice
  • Failing to reserve any free time for yourself

What is the Difference Between Stress and Yoga Burnout?

yoga teacher burnout 2

When it comes to burnout, people often get the concept confused with other conditions, such as anxiety or stress.

In fact, according to a Mental Health UK survey, when UK adults were asked to identify the symptoms of burnout, 68% mistakenly identified symptoms of anxiety instead.

Stress is the body’s reaction to the mind being put under pressure and can usually be reduced when the cause is resolved.

Burnout occurs as a result of a build-up of stress and because of long-term exposure to it.

This means that the effects of burnout are often much more intense, both physically and emotionally.

For example, you may experience stress if you’re struggling to make it to one of your classes on time. 

However, if this continues to occur over a long period of time, and you’re late due to the fact you must cycle from one class to the next, you’re likely to begin experiencing burnout.

Some of the early warning signs of yoga instructor burnout to watch out for include:

  • Feeling tired often
  • Becoming overwhelmed
  • Approaching everything with pessimism
  • Feeling alone or detached
  • Self-doubt
  • Procrastination
  • Feeling helpless

It’s important to be aware of these symptoms before they progress into burnout. 

By identifying them early on, you can keep running successful yoga classes, offer your clients the best experience possible, and continue to be a great yoga teacher!

 

Become a specialist yoga teacher with OriGym!

Enquire today about our Level 4 yoga teacher training course

9 Key Tips For Avoiding Yoga Teacher Burnout

Now that you know what burnout is, here are some tips that you should implement into your weekly routine to benefit both your mind and body.

Yoga Burnout Tip #1- Don’t Run Too Many Yoga Classes 

yoga teacher burnout 3

When starting out as a teacher, or trying to expand your business, it can be tempting to take on as many classes as possible.

Whilst you may be doing this to build up your reputation in the yoga industry and start earning money, it can actually have the opposite effect. 

This is because the more classes that you run, the more students you’ll be teaching.

Your students will have a wide variety of needs, abilities, and experience levels that you’ll need to cater for when designing and teaching your sequences.

If you’ve got too many students spread across lots of classes, you’ll need to spend lots of time planning these classes to ensure that you’re taking all of these needs into account.

This could mean that you’re spreading yourself too thinly. After a while, you’ll begin to feel both physically and mentally exhausted and you may begin experiencing yoga burn out.

Not only will this have a negative impact on your creativity and teaching ability, but this will also begin to impact the energy of your students too.

As a result, they may stop coming to your classes and you’ll lose paying students! 

The best way to avoid this is to effectively manage your class schedule.

It’s difficult to put an exact figure on the number of classes that you should be teaching per week in order to avoid burnout.

This is because every teacher is different in terms of how many classes they can teach before they start to experience burnout, such as:

  • Their level of experience
  • Whether they teach part time or full time
  • If they offer private sessions as well as group classes
  • Their other professional commitments, such as running workshops or retreats

It’s important to take these factors into consideration when trying to manage your class schedule, as the number of classes that another teacher can run without becoming burnt out may not be the same for you.

We’d also recommend trying to teach less classes per week, with more students per class.

For example, if one of your classes is only attended by 4 students, but 10 attend the next class, you could decide to join these classes together.

This will then free up some time in your schedule, which you could spend working on improving your business, gaining inspiration for classes, or simply relaxing!

Speaking of free time, it’s important that you have at least one or two full days off per week to focus on your own personal commitments. 

This time could be reserved for anything from practising yoga yourself, doing other hobbies, or spending time with friends and family.

You don’t need to spend every hour of everyday teaching to be a successful yoga teacher. In fact, you’re likely to feel more inspired and get your best inspiration during the days you use for rest and recovery!

Yoga Burnout Tip #2- Plan Ahead to Avoid Yoga Instructor Burnout

yoga teacher burnout 4

One of the best tips for avoiding yoga teaching burnout is to manage your time by planning ahead as much as you can. 

By this, we mean planning your schedule in advance, so that you know what you’ve got coming up and can therefore get everything done in the time that you have.

To do this, you could get yourself a planner and write out your schedule a week in advance. 

Begin by writing down all of the classes that you have to teach each week, followed by any other professional and personal commitments that you may have.

You’ll then be able to see all of the spare time that you’ve got, which you can use as time to relax, reflect, and work on your own practice. 

This will ensure that you are able to prioritise time for yourself and will prevent you from becoming burnt out.

Planning out your schedule in advance will also allow you to see if you need to change anything around to manage your time more effectively.

This is particularly effective if you find yourself struggling to get everything done by the end of the week, including administrative tasks such as:

  • Managing bookings
  • Planning your finances
  • Updating your social media pages

You’ll therefore be able to complete all of the essential tasks with plenty of time left for yourself, meaning that you won’t become overwhelmed with work to complete.

Yoga Burnout Tip #3- Have Your Students Pay for Classes In Advance

yoga teacher burnout 5

Another tip for planning ahead and avoiding yoga teacher burnout is to sell monthly packages for your clients to ensure that they book and pay in advance. This allows you to plan how many students you can expect at your classes and saves you time chasing up on payments! 

A package structure works by applying a monthly fee to your services, based on the number of classes that a client attends each week.

For example, if a client wants to attend 1 class per week, they can pay £20 per month, which works out at £5 per class.

However, if they were to choose the £34 package, they’ll be able to attend 3 of your classes per week, which means they’ll be paying less than £3 for each class.

The more classes they attend, the more money they’ll save. This means that they’re likely to keep attending your classes!

Check out our guide to how much to charge for your yoga classes for more information about pricing packages. 

As well as improving your client retention rates, selling monthly packages also helps with time management, as you’ll know in advance how many students will be attending your classes and when.

This means that you’ll have your class schedule arranged plenty of time in advance, so you can plan each class based upon the students that you know will be attending.

You’ll then be able to leave time for other professional commitments, personal commitments, and your own practice, so you’re less likely to experience yoga teacher burnout.

Yoga Burnout Tip #4- Keep Up Your Own Yoga Practice 

yoga teacher burnout 6

Many yoga teachers tend to forget the importance of their own personal practice, and instead put all of their energy into teaching.

This is particularly true of new teachers, who are keen to build up a loyal client base and then find that they have no time or energy left for their own practice.

Although it’s important to focus on making your classes a success, you shouldn’t forget the value of practising yoga yourself!

It’s difficult to experience the mental benefits of yoga whilst you are teaching, as you’ll instead be focused on leading the sequence and making hands-on adjustments when required.

However, when doing yoga by yourself, you can really take the time for yourself to deepen your practice. This could be working on a particular asana, or trying out a breathing technique you want to develop. 

Without this self-connection and understanding, you can easily lose your passion for yoga. This will come across to your students, making it more likely that they will feel engaged and enjoy your class! 

 

Become a specialist yoga teacher with OriGym!

Enquire today about our Level 4 yoga teacher training course

In the long run, keeping up your own practice will therefore make you a better yoga teacher and improve your client retention. 

When it comes to factoring in time for yourself, do what works best for you and your schedule. So, if you don’t have much time, not every session necessarily has to be a lengthy physical practice.

For instance, you could simply practice sun salutations, or even perform a 5-to-10-minute daily meditation when you’re feeling low on energy.

Reserving time for yourself gives you a chance to relax and unwind, which can help to clear your mind. 

This means that you’ll have plenty of physical and mental energy left when it's time to teach your own classes.

Yoga Burnout Tip #5- Attend a Yoga Retreat 

yoga teacher burnout 7

Along with keeping up your own yoga practice, another great way to recharge and prevent yoga teacher burnout is to attend a yoga retreat.

There are several different types of retreats, and the one that you choose should be based upon your own goals and preferences.

For example, some teachers may prefer relaxed retreats, where you can attend a yoga session each morning, eat plenty of food, and spend most of the day relaxing by the pool.

On the other hand, you may find attending a silent retreat more beneficial, where you can completely immerse yourself in the more spiritual side of the practice. 

Alternatively, you may find a retreat that takes elements from both types, and includes activities such as hiking, horse riding, and even sailing.

What all of these retreats have in common is that they’ll provide you with ekagrata- the Sanskrit term for one point of focus, which you’ll be able to pursue without the distractions of everyday life.

For someone looking to avoid yoga teacher burnout, this focus will be on de-stressing, relaxing, and recharging, whilst making some all-important time for yourself.

Stepping back from teaching, even just for a week, and getting to be a student amongst students again can really help to reignite your passion for the practice.

After all, the best yoga teachers are those who are still constantly learning and are students themselves! 

You’ll begin seeing yoga as something to practise for yourself and to benefit your own mental health, rather than simply a job that you must do to pay the bills.

Going on a retreat will therefore leave you feeling refreshed, reconnected with yoga, and inspired to share what you’ve learned with your students.

Who knows, you might even leave feeling inspired enough to start your own yoga retreat

To find the right retreat for you, it is a good idea to use websites such as BookYogaRetreats.

yoga teacher burnout 8

As you can see, you can either search for a destination and type of yoga retreat, or you can browse through a gallery list to find your ideal getaway.

Enjoying this article so far? Here’s 3 more that we think you’ll love:

Yoga Burnout Tip #6- Set and Maintain Boundaries with Your Students

yoga teacher burnout 9

It’s likely that many clients come to your classes in order to relax, unwind, and let go of any of the worries that they have in their everyday lives.

Many students may therefore get to the point where they feel comfortable confiding in you, because they feel so relaxed and at ease in your presence. 

However, it can be quite overwhelming when many of your students come to you with their problems. You are only human, so will likely have your own professional and personal issues to deal with too! 

Although yoga and meditation can bring up many emotions for students, it’s important to remember that you are a yoga teacher and not a therapist.

This means that you’re unlikely to have the correct qualifications, knowledge, or experience to be advising students on how to solve their issues.

As you are not properly trained to deal with these scenarios, it can also begin to take a negative toll on your own mental health.

Spending too much time listening to students after class can also mean you feel emotionally drained by the time you get home. 

This can leave you feeling stressed, dreading your sessions, and experiencing yoga teacher burnout. 

To avoid this, you will need to set boundaries in terms of maintaining a professional student-teacher relationship.

One way to do this is to change the way that you help a student who comes to you with an issue.

If they tell you that they’re not feeling good, you could provide an answer such as:

Well done for making it to class today. You’re in the right place, so please let me know if I can support you at all during practice.

This shows that you are empathetic and willing to help the student, but also sets the boundary that you won’t be taking time outside of class to let them emotionally unload on you- you will only support them “during practice”.

If you want to help a student but feel that you may be overstepping the boundaries that you’ve set, you could refer them to a doctor or therapist who can get them the help that they need.

Don’t feel that you need to find a way to personally help them if you don’t feel qualified, don’t know how, or if it’s having an impact on your own mental health.

If you feel comfortable to do so, what you can do is listen for a reasonable amount of time, and let students know that they are not alone in their struggles.

Most importantly, you can help your students more than anything by teaching a well-planned, calming yoga class- and you can only do this if you're feeling relaxed, positive, and not burnt out!

Yoga Burnout Tip #7- Take Further Qualifications To Expand Your Skills

yoga burnout

As well as feeling tired or overwhelmed, you may be experiencing yoga teacher burnout if you find yourself losing your passion for yoga.

One of the best ways to reignite your spark is to further your yoga yoga education. 

If you’re already a qualified Level 3 teacher, you shouldn’t just stop there! It is important to invest in your own professional development so that you can expand and improve your service to your clients.

Here at OriGym, our Level 4 Diploma in Teaching Yoga allows you to do just that!

The course allows you specialise in one of four different disciplines, including:

  • Hatha
  • Hot
  • Iyengar
  • Ashtanga

It also delves deeper into the principles of meditation, as well as exploring the origins of different yoga styles and the history of yoga.

This includes adaptations to make your classes more inclusive, as well as how yoga can be harnessed for physical rehabilitation.

Gaining a more in-depth knowledge of a subject that you love will not only allow you to improve your classes for students, but will reignite your own interest in yoga too.

Yoga Burnout Tip #8- Educate Yourself About Yoga

yoga burnout 2

As well as taking further qualifications, another way to avoid yoga instructor burnout is to educate yourself through the wide range of yoga resources out there. 

An easy way to do this is by keeping up to date with the latest trends, news, and research in the yoga world by reading websites and blogs such as:

These websites also have a yoga newsletter that you can sign up for, so you can get exciting yoga content straight to your inbox!  

You may also want to read some yoga books, which can help you brush up your knowledge on everything from yoga theory and philosophy, to anatomy and the business side of yoga.

Some great books to keep up your interest in yoga are:

  • The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
  • Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda
  • The Upanishads
  • Light On Yoga by BKS Iyengar

Dedicating a couple of hours of your week to sitting down and having a read can also give you a much-needed rest and the time away from teaching. This will help you recharge and feel invigorated for your next session, and avoid feeling that yoga  burn out! 

 

Become a specialist yoga teacher with OriGym!

Enquire today about our Level 4 yoga teacher training course

Yoga Burnout Tip #9- Take Time for Self-Care

yoga burnout 3

We’ve already mentioned prioritising your own yoga practice as a way to avoid yoga burn out. But it is just as important to put time aside for self-care outside of yoga too.

Whether you’re running from class to class, or supporting your students, as a yoga teacher it’s likely that you expend a lot of physical and emotional energy each day.

It's therefore important to ensure that you replenish this energy in order to continue offering the best service to your clients and prevent getting yoga burn out.

A simple but often overlooked tip is to try to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night, so that your body can rest, recover, and replenish its energy for the next day.

This will ensure that you’re able to keep planning and teaching yoga classes that will not only keep your students inspired, but yourself too!

When you’re constantly on the move, food may be the last thing on your mind.

However, keeping yourself fed and hydrated is crucial for a yoga teacher, as you’ll feel less drained and have a more consistent level of energy.

If you know you’ve got a busy week ahead, avoid skipping meals or sacrificing good nutrition by meal prepping for the week ahead.

Doing this will mean that in between classes and after a long day you’ll be able to nourish your body with food that gives you plenty of energy, doesn’t require any preparation, and won’t leave you feeling lethargic and burnt out.

Yoga Burnout Tip #10- Network with Other Yoga Teachers in the Industry

yoga burnout 4

One of the most effective ways of avoiding yoga instructor burnout is by building a solid support network around you.

As well as family and friends, this should consist of others within the yoga world who will understand the issues that you face on a daily basis, and can offer valuable advice for you to put into practice.

This may be a teacher who trained you, a fellow teacher at your studio, or instructors from your original teacher training group.

They can simply listen or provide insight if you’re feeling stuck, facing challenging situations, or are having to make important decisions within your teaching career.

For instance, you may be struggling with your yoga teacher marketing, and as a result may be finding it difficult to attract new clients. This could leave you feeling worried, stressed, and burnt out.

Speaking to a more experienced mentor or bouncing ideas around with other teachers may give you some creative ideas that you wouldn’t have been able to come up with yourself.

You may also gain inspiration for your classes from these teachers, which will keep both you and your students inspired.

For example, you may pick up some new themes, quotes, or meditations that you can implement. 

Another way to network is to attend yoga workshops, such as the ones hosted by Heather Yoga.

yoga burnout 6

At these types of workshops, you’ll meet like-minded teachers who are looking to deepen their connection to the practice and want to gain further skills and knowledge.

You’ll therefore be present at an event with a highly inspirational atmosphere, which can spark motivation and creativity when you find yourself struggling with yoga teacher burn out.

You will also get the opportunity to meet other yoga teachers who you can form professional connections with, that may lead to exciting opportunities to develop your career! 

Yoga Burnout Tip #11- Try Something New 

yoga burnout 5

One of the things that can cause yoga teacher burnout is feeling overwhelmed and running too many yoga classes. 

Whilst having a specialism is important, yoga burn out is particularly common if you are constantly teaching the same style of classes. 

A good way to combat this is to find other types of classes teaching to give yourself some variety and to avoid overdoing your yoga classes.

You may think that as a yoga teacher, you can only focus exclusively on yoga. But that isn’t necessarily the case! 

Teaching something that is completely separate from yoga classes can actually mean that when you do teach them, you will be more refreshed and excited to do so. 

For example, alongside your yoga teaching, you could become a Level 2 fitness instructor. 

This means that you can work in a gym and teach fitness classes on a freelance basis, as well as teaching yoga.

You may even then want to progress to become a Level 3 personal trainer and expand your repertoire even further!

By taking more qualifications, you’ll be able to offer more services to your yoga students and will therefore have a greater earning potential.

This can take a lot of pressure off your yoga teaching career, meaning that you won’t feel forced to run classes just to turn a profit and become burnt out as a result.

Before You Go!

So, we hope that you now know how to avoid yoga teacher burnout so that you can keep delivering the best yoga classes to your students!

Feeling inspired? Expand your skills and increase your earnings with OriGym’s Level 4 yoga teacher training course

Enquire today, or check out our full range of courses by downloading our free course prospectus here

Sources

  • Mental Health UK, ‘Burnout’, March 2021, [https://mentalhealth-uk.org/burnout/]

Written by Rebecca Felton

Content Writer & Fitness Enthusiast

Graduating from the University of Liverpool with a first-class degree in English, Rebecca’s combined passions for fitness and writing are what brought her to OriGym. Rebecca is a keen gym-goer and specifically enjoys lifting weights. Outside of fitness and writing, Rebecca enjoys cooking, reading, and watching the football.

Recommended Posts

13 Tips On How To Instruct The Best Yoga Class

13 Tips On How To Instruct The Best Yoga Class 

Whether you’re preparing for your first class or have been teaching for years, our guide to how to instruct a yoga class will help you …
How to Run a Successful Yoga Studio

How to Run a Successful Yoga Studio 

If you want to know how to run a successful yoga studio, you’re in luck! Our guide will tell you everything you need to know so that y …
How To Make Money As A Yoga Teacher

How To Make Money As A Yoga Teacher 

Learning how to make money as a yoga teacher can help your business to grow exponentially, but finding success can be challenging. This …

Get Expert Tips For Elevating Your Yoga Teaching Career!

Yoga Instructor performing scorpion pose

Get Expert Tips For Elevating Your Yoga Teaching Career!

Yoga Instructor performing scorpion pose