5 Steps to Moonlighting as a Yoga Teacher

Moonlighter. Sounds so sexy, right? A word that screams 1950’s secretary turned burlesque dancer when she leaves the office at 5. “Moonlighter” also invokes the lunar cycle, which us yogis can be rather nerdy about. The term also makes me think of Superman (by night) who is actually Clark Kent, big shot journalist, by day. While I believe that this is a term that will fade as my generation grows up, the time for its demise is not yet here. While many of us work a “day job” followed by a “passion job,” only one of those professions is recognized as the money maker or the “real job.” What is beginning to happen (and this is really why I think this term is gonna phase out) is that a) people are trying more and more to erase the work/life divide and choose to follow their passions both day and night and b) the idea that people can have multiple dominant professions concurrently will become the norm.

Yoga teaching is a MAJOR moonlight profession. So much so that most teacher training programs are designed around the schedules of those who work 9-5’s in fields other than yoga. Even more so, Yoga Journal published an entire cover story issue that interviewed moonlighters about 2 years ago. Yoga teaching in itself is a profession that combines many others.

This summer, I enter the work world…for good. Because I love to see how yoga (and yoga teaching, which can be it’s own practice) infuses and impacts all other parts of my life, I am not only teaching yoga. Like the majority of yoga teachers out there, I will get on the mat (and instruct others to do the same) once I leave the office (which, for me, is often classroom – yay!). Because having two jobs can feel stressful, I am compiling a guide below for myself and for some of you to use in the quest to bridge two worlds and to “have it all.”

Without further adieu…

1. Infrequent,  but consistent wins the yogis. This is a variant on “slow and steady wins the race” and is absolutely true. Yoga teacher celeb Amy Ippoliti offers an e-course for yoga teachers called 90 Minutes to Change the World. The premise of this course is to show yoga teachers that it’s not about the number of classes they teach a week; it’s about the quality of the select few classes they teach and how that quality, in turn, brings greater quantity per class of students. This is so true of successful moonlighters!
2. Costume Change. Let dressing up be fun and an expression of your own unique self! Let it also symbolically – like the sound of OM at the beginning of a yoga class – represent a shift of activities, focus, and mindset. This is what Clark Kent did when he took off his plaid shirt and put on his Superman jumpsuit and cape. Wake up and put on your work outfit. Go to the bathroom before you clock out and change into yoga clothes. Know what that means? Leave the rest at the office! Your yoga identity has begun for the night!
3. Learn to Pack Well. Have a checklist for when you pack your bag, which includes:

  • A bag with lots of pockets (tote or backpack)
  • Pens
  • Notebook/journal
  • Digital device: small laptop or iPad
  • Yoga travel mat
  • Yoga mat carrier
  • Water bottle (fold-up ones are fantastic for keeping things light)
  • Wallet
  • Snacks – LaraBars are great for the go!
  • A full yoga outfit (pants, shirt, bra)
  • Planner/calendar
  • Reading material

4. Plan Well. Become friends – not enemies – with your iCal. Purchase a paper planner too. I highly recommend the Tranquility du Jour Daybook, which very much so incorporates yoga into the day-to-day planning. Carve out some sacred time on Sundays to meditatively look at the week ahead. Map out first what you absolutely have to do (this can look like the day job + the yoga classes you are teaching afterward). When you map this out, write down the addresses of each place. Factor in commute time and then begin the oh-so-fun planning around those times. And remember that in terms of calendars, white space is your BFF.
5. Don’t think of it like 2 jobs. Bridge the gap. Let your yoga inform your other work and your non-yoga work experiences inform your teaching. Be a constant observer of the world around you…this means that yoga alone cannot be your whole world. Have a reason to get on that mat in the first place!

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