I had a moment the other night. I was putting dishes away and thought, "What am I doing?" The question didn't relate to cleaning my kitchen, it was in regards to how I've been spending all my time.
After catching up with an old friend recently it dawned on me that I'm working a full-time job and a part-time job. This is the era of the side hustle after all. I guess I needed in on the game too. I spend 30-45 hours a week teaching public classes, working at the studio, and prepping my classes. I then spend 20-30 hours a week creating content for my website, developing material for workshops, promoting my workshops and retreats, and teaching a private session or two. That's a lot of time!
After my "what am I doing?" moment I started to wonder if the part-time, side hustle stuff is worth it. The part-time stuff doesn't really pay the bills (at least not yet) and it's a lot of extra work on my plate. As I write my blog posts I wonder, "Is anyone actually going to read this?" I publish my class content so that students know what to expect and have a deeper understanding of my classes and I think, "No one actually wants to do the supplemental reading." And then I recently created a newsletter and quickly questioned, "Does anyone really care about my content enough to subscribe to my newsletter?" The thoughts are agonizing.
As a yoga teacher I'm slowly realizing how exposed I am. Although I've learned to not get so wrapped up in the numbers, smaller class sizes can feel defeating. (Side note: The educator in me actually loves smaller classes. My ego is another story.) I promote my workshops and hope people attend. If they don't the inner critic runs rampant. I have big hopes for the one week retreat I'm co-leading in Cabo next year, but I often wonder if anyone actually wants to give their time, money, and energy to studying yoga with me for a week.
I once heard my teacher say something about yoga teachers wondering when they get to work less. He answered with, 'You don't". If you're dedicated to a professional craft like teaching yoga you continue to develop your skills and put more and more of yourself into your work. I don't think I've ever worked so much in my life, but I've also never felt so fulfilled by my work. Sure my blog or class content posts might not get a lot of hits, but developing the material definitely feeds me in a way that is necessary as I creep into my eighth year of teaching yoga.
Although this relatively new process feels fulfilling, I also feel exposed. I'm slowly realizing I have to be okay with getting a little uncomfortable. If you know me well you are aware of my aggressively Type A personality. I like to be good at things. I like to follow rules. I do not like to fail. However, this process of dipping my toes into new, uncharted territories has been good for me. It most definitely increases my anxiety, but it's forcing me to slow down, focus, and stay committed even when things get challenging.
My teacher and his wife have a podcast, Yogaland. Yoga people, start listening if you haven't yet. In their most recent episode it felt like Jason and Andrea were speaking directly to me. I often get in the way of myself and need to just let the yoga do its work. It's a tad ironic that yoga is what is actually causing my anxiety and questioning my life's direction, but I have to remember that yoga is also my tool to remain calm and collected in the face of stress. Just as it took me years of practice to reliably balance in Forearm Balance or just as I'm still working on a consistent meditation practice, it is going to take time and patience to figure out where I'm going with this yoga teaching thing. And who knows? Maybe I'll never figure it out. I'll just have to enjoy the process and remind myself that I am enough and what I have to offer is enough.