Last week I was quite busy. Teaching Mysore classes in the morning, led classes in the evening, writing some guest articles for other blogs, recording an interview for a Podcast, doing my own practice, doing some works in the shala, the list goes on. Then after the whole week of busy-ness, I decided to take the weekend off, visit a new city and spend some time in nature with the person I enjoy spending time the most – my partner. In a way, that whole week was like a good Yoga practice. A lot of conscious movement and active creation, finished up with conscious relaxation, letting go and re-creation.
Pretty much any Yoga teacher will confirm the importance of taking rest or Shavasana (Corpse Pose) each time you practice Yoga. Some call it the most important asana there is. No matter if you practiced a more soft or a more dynamic and demanding asana routine or did a simple sitting practice with breath work, afterwards you should lie down and absorb the benefits of your practice.
As there is always something to take away and learn from your Yoga practice to apply to the rest of our lives, I also like to think of a “Teaching Shavasana”. Or, if we think of teaching as a profession and work, a „Working Shavasana“.
Many Yoga teachers work all year around, taking on more and more classes, sometimes teaching 7 days a week in an effort to make a living. If you never take a teaching shavasana, you will eventually burn out, loose your creativity and motivation and quite literally your inspiration.
see also inspirare, verb, to inhale; to breathe in
You cannot inhale, if you don’t exhale. In the same way if you don’t relax and take time off, it’s hard or even impossible in the long run to stay inspired.
Plus, the main foundation of our teaching power, that is our own practice and experience and our continued effort to be a student first, needs regular time that is dedicated purely to our own development. For some this could for example be traveling to India to spend time with their teacher each year.
So how much teaching shavasana is needed? I guess everybody has to decide that for themselves.
Once i heard a nice rule of thumb that I would like to share:
Every day take off 1 hour for yourself. No cell phones, no messages, just you with yourself.
Every week, take off one day to spend in nature, off grid.
Every month take off one weekend to go someplace new and spend some extended time with your loved ones.
Every quarter to half year, take a long weekend or even whole week to travel and clear your mind completely from the daily clutter.
Every year take a month to deepen your practice and experience a different culture.
Every decade take a year off, a sabbatical, to rethink your direction of life, your priorities, goals and purpose.
All these things can obviously be mixed and things that are important to you should be added as much as possible to EVERY day, week, month and year of your life.
Of course it’s not always possible to stick to this schedule, yet if we put the intention and plan ahead, it can happen. See also my article about designing your own life as a Yoga teacher.
photocredit: Sandra DB