SUP BITCHES?! I’m baaaack! I’ve been uber busy with teaching about 15-20 classes a week for the past several months and writing was one of the things in my life that sadly slipped through the cracks. Anyone that teaches that many classes a week knows the drill—the classes are all at slightly off times so that you can get absolutely shit accomplished between them except quick errands and prep work. I’ve barely been able to harness enough energy to teach all my classes, let alone take any for myself. Something had to give because I was honestly miserable teaching that much every week. I never wanted teaching to become drudgery and it totally did. Once I was there—teaching, in the zone, I was fine. But how many times did I dread putting on another pair of fucking yoga pants and a sassy tank top and roll over to class, peppy and ready to rock? Honestly, only the morning class I taught after my day off. I was so burnt out that I actually described the feeling to a friend as a giant hole in my stomach with a vacuum attached to it, sucking all of the energy out of my body. Just when I was at my wit’s end and I couldn’t do it anymore was exactly when everything changed. I was offered a staff position at one of the studios where I taught, and jumped at the offer. The chance to teach 4 (!) high quality classes a week, along with the opportunity to mentor new teachers, be included in our in-house teacher trainings, and work with the athletes of Indiana University? Ummm, yes please! It was a no-brainer decision for me, though I definitely cried a few times leaving behind my other bangin’ studio that I grew to love so much. There comes a point when you want to focus on quality over quantity as a yoga instructor, and the chance to dive deeper into my practice of teaching just lit me up.
Today, I’m currently in a lull between schedules, having a break for the first time in years, really. I have a couple private sessions next week, but otherwise I only have one class to teach. The past couple weeks over the holiday break (I live in a college town) have been the same. I’ve taught maybe two or three times and each time felt weirder than the last. I thought a break would refresh me, but instead I’ve just been feeling off—disconnected, in a way. With yesterday being the first day of the new year, I recommitted myself to practicing every single day. For years I practiced daily, diligently, without missing a day. Though I wasn’t able to get to public classes a lot in this past year, I tried to hit my mat at home as much as I could, but I fell short. My daily practice slipped through the cracks as well. After a full day of giving and giving and giving by teaching too much, all I wanted to do was come home, put my sweatpants on, turn on Netflix and go to town on a bag of popcorn. As such, I’ve gained almost 5 pounds, lost some flexibility, and have been having trouble sleeping, which ceased being an issue for me since I began practicing yoga.
I remember in my 200 hr training hearing stories about teachers burning out and losing their connection to their own practice. I thought to myself, “well that will literally never happen to me. I love yoga so much and it has become part of who I am. I can teach all day every day and never get sick of it!” Ha. Ok, so I got a big fat piece of humble pie slammed right into my face. NOW, WHAT? Well, for now, my plan is to practice. To practice every single morning for at least 20 minutes. Whether that takes the form of asana, be it handstand drills or yin stretches, or maybe just sitting quietly in meditation with my cats, I’m recommitted. In the past I’ve never really bought into the whole New Year’s resolution crap, but this year, it just happened to sync up with me and my needs perfectly. I think any time, any day, any month is a great time to do a check-in. How are you feeling? Are you overwhelmed? If not, what can you change? Are you happy? If not, what can you change? What do you need to do to nourish yourself—body, mind, and soul? These are the questions I’ve been asking myself the past couple weeks and will continue to sit with. I’m excited to see what 2016 will bring, armed with the knowledge of what my limits are, what my intentions are, and a clearer picture of who I am and what I want to be doing.
Follow along on my journey this year! I promise to post more regularly on here. Additionally, catch me every morning and sometimes evening on Instagram (@elliebernsteinyoga) and if you are interested in traveling with me, My friend Pat Bailey and I are hosting a cycling+yoga retreat this July in Hungary/Austria. Head to my website for more information and a link to register. (www.elliebernsteinyoga.com) Happy New Year, yogis and friends! <3