Side Hustle? Teaching yoga outside of a full-time job may not be aptly categorized as a “side hustle”, but my brother used this term once and I loved it. (I do have an affinity for ninja culture and resourceful scrappiness.) My main hustle involves many tiny young people and their families, a team of powerhouse educators, and an array of tasks that leave no room (or time) for boredom! So why the side hustle? I have always been a certain type of workaholic – that entrepreneurial bug bit me before I hit my teen years. Flash forward two decades, and it’s safe to say that I have honed this balancing act and it has been a fascinating journey of discovery and hard work.
In my early teen years, I remember scheming comic strips, craft how-to books and slideshows, and a wide variety of performance-based endeavors. In my adult life, I have never been satisfied to do one task or one job (storied tales for another time!). Two common threads that have tied my busy-bee tendencies together – teaching and self-expression. Teaching yoga has been one of the greatest gifts of my life and it pairs well with teaching children in a surprising and beautiful way. HOW? Let’s visit some of the crucial components to teaching yoga as a “side hustle”.
The Burn Without the Burnout
First and foremost, any side gig must be founded on an unshakeable dream and the desire to keep going when the “good vibes” slow down and the fatigue sets in. After a 9+ hour work day with the tiny people, arriving home covered in paint/yogurt/sneezes/snuggles, I throw on some comfy clothes and hit the mat – face down. From children to child’s pose? It’s a perfect circle. This time of stillness, silence, connecting to my breath, and turning my attention inward is the opportunity for physical and mental reset. Whether I flow through a full power vinyasa sequence with planks and arm balances or just putter through the postures and breathing that my body craves, the time on my mat between teaching littles and teaching yoga may be the glue that keeps this boat afloat.
We Are All Miracles
The beautiful photo of baby feet with the quote “If you don’t believe in miracles, perhaps you’ve forgotten you are one” floated swiftly around the internet and stuck in my mind. For any New Englander who has shopped at Market Basket, this is kind of along the same lines. I used to tell my husband that, in order to prevent seething and tearing out hair at Market Basket, just imagine every shopper there as a kitten trapped in a human body. (Ridiculous…kind of.) Take this idea one step further and remember that every person was once a child. As an educator of very young children, this idea allows time to volley – adults emerging from childhood and children embarking on adulthood. Whether you are 2 or 72, you are a miracle. This idea has allowed me to find love and levity in some fairly unpleasant interactions. Carrying through to yoga, we are all here under essentially the same circumstances. I promise that I am learning more from my students than I teach.
Reflect and Learn for Life
I reserve time each week to reflect on my classes, to assess what worked and what didn’t, and what my clients need. I subscribe to yoga and meditation/mindfulness podcasts, Facebook pages, online magazines, and my book queue is ever-revolving. To find a connection with clients at varying stages in their yoga practice, to accommodate their needs, and to constantly be seeking new and relevant info in the field is a challenge (especially when extra hours seem to shrink from year to year). Enter social media – mindfully. A huge perk to the barrage of social media is the access of digitally spoon-fed resources. Choose wisely what comes across your feeds and into your inbox and you will reap the benefits of incredible resources. Feel free to contact me for some of my favorites!
Channel Your Inner-Gym Coach Hollering “Hustle, Hustle, Hustle!”
Side hustle is not a side Selfie-and-See-What-Happens. Library, studios, you time, self care, reading, emailing, website maintenance, online profiles, networking, and throwing a smile on your face when you just want to curse – it’s tough. Stressing about your other gig, your family, romance, and just chilling the heck out – it’s tough. Maintaining two jobs, especially one that is your creative “baby”, takes true dedication and you need to be your loudest, most positive cheerleader. Finding your focus, your patience, and fueling the dream can feel like their own full-time jobs. You can do it. The power of Pinterest as a vision board or inspiration is not to be taken lightly! Going back to weekly reflection, you might also find this time kindles your inspiration. Everything you do from here on out should be in service of this dream. Get it, girl (guy).
Talk the Talk
I can not tell you how many wonderful opportunities I have been offered simply by saying the magic words “I teach yoga”. WHAT. There are so many yoga teachers in the Boston area and yet, here I am, drinking up this delicious little treat of a day and teaching to an awesome crowd just because I said I can. There is something to be said for the sheer magnitude of teaching opportunities. There are so many wonderful venues, styles, and ideas for events that someone needs to fill them. Get out there and tell someone you’re the one for the gig. That saying “I regret going to yoga….said no one ever”? That applies to teaching, too. You may find some less-than-desirable gigs, sure, but it will be a learning experience and a jumping point to something bigger and better. The good ones? They will be priceless and so juicy.
I could call out all of the trends that I have seen and thought “I need that!” or “Should I do that?”, then decided heartily against the emulation. From wardrobe to “equipment” to fonts to lingo, it is easy to surf and succumb to the peer pressure of watering yourself down for the sake of acceptance. Keep it weird and keep it good. This little mantra came to me one day when I was posting a Snapchat image. I love Snapchat and its ridiculous filters, and I use it exclusively to make cute selfies (with next to zero socialization in the app… :p) and that is fine! Tout your “goddess” status, find your “tribe”, share your favorite cult classic movie quotes, or show the holes in your socks. Whatever it is that you share with the world, IRL or online, let it be 100% unabashedly you. Personality sells, of course, but more importantly: like-minded people will gravitate towards you and these are the people who will stick. Let your freak flag fly. Or not-so-freaky-flag, if that’s what you’re about.
Down the road, I will address teaching yoga more exclusively in the context of side hustlin’ and the yoga biz. For now, go forth and do you! Seek out those who empower you to do so. ❤