{video} How To Teach When Times Are Tough

I’ve taught yoga while living through so many of life’s struggles. Teaching yoga brings a special kind of challenge to showing up at work when things are hard. Our job requires presence and vulnerability from us and bringing those qualities WHILE keeping it together can sometimes feel like too much. Let me offer some love and support for teaching when times are tough. <3 

Drop questions below if they come up!

8 Responses to “{video} How To Teach When Times Are Tough”

  1. Teri Newman

    This was perfect timing. My teenage daughter is going through a hard time right now, and I’ve been questioning if I even want to teach anymore. My teaching feels stale and uninspired and now with my daughter it feels harder than ever. This video was very helpful and gave me lots to consider and reminded me to be patient with myself. Thanks so much

    • Francesca Cervero

      I am so sorry you and your daughter are having a rough time. And of course that kind of thing impacts our teaching. It is possible to continue teaching and even grow as a teacher during a time like this, if that is the right choice for our family. Sending lots of love and self-gentleness your way. <3

  2. Jo O'Neill

    Thanks for this been struggling for a while.

    You’re so right it’s beautiful work but if you’re truly connected it’s tough and gosh I always feel guilty if class didn’t feel great for me! I worry did they feel the same…

    Thanks for the nudge to get clean, on quiet days I often get wrapped up in walking the dog first thing, then breakfast and before I know it I’m like oh I’ll shower tomorrow! But boy doesn’t a shower help, it’s called cleansing for a reason.

    Thank you again for sharing.


    • Francesca Cervero

      Just doing simple things can be so hard in times like this, but putting one foot in front of the other (especially with basic self care) can go a really long way. Sending love. <3

  3. Christine

    Right on! Thank you for acknowledging the little things it takes to show up with your whole self even when that self is tattered around the edges… or even feels like it’s shredded to the core. A little bit of comedy, of beauty, of frivolity can go a long way. I’ve taught through deaths and around miscarriages and very public legal battles for a cause and it’s both tough and a great teacher in and of itself – it’s a spiritual practice. Here’s a big hug for you for showing up with this! Thanks for having our backs.

    • Francesca Cervero

      Thanks so much Christine! I’ll take that hug, and give one right back to you! Being on this path can feel lonely and I’m so happy we’re here, doing this work together. <3

  4. Sarah Kowalski

    Oh, Francesca — thank you for sharing this. I too have taught through some really hard times. All the things do help: rest (I needed mini 5-minute savasanas multiple times a day to survive some of these periods); showering; puttin’ on the whatever-helps-you-feel-cute (for me it’s teal eyeliner and big earrings); water water water; finding support.

    They help, but they don’t take it away. And it is so hard as you say to show up to teach because of the level of vulnerability, and also the level of authenticity that teaching really asks of us. And when the authentic truth is that even with this practice, I still feel like shit some days, it can feel extra exhausting to try to figure out how not to let that bleed through.

    Though the answer seems always to be saying what still *is* true, but with strong boundaries. It helped me feel authentic, when teaching through sadness or depression or grief, to hold space in a way that was tender and super invitational: inviting students to notice how they feel, and to meet themselves with kindness, because that part of the practice continued to feel relevant even when my exhaustion didn’t want to do some of the poses I was teaching in my own personal practice those days (hooray for teaching without demoing).

    And also: it has helped me immensely to really keep trying to remember (and for me meditation helps with the remembering) the paradox of: radical acceptance for your thoughts, your feelings, whatever is there. Meeting what is. Finding places (journaling, therapy, etc.) to bring it all above the line — the scary thought, the sadness, the anger, the doubt.

    AND, remembering my thoughts are patterns, they’re samskaras, like ruts in the road, and therefore they are not the only option, and they are not permanent. So it’s a need both to be fully present with what is inside myself, to make times to go through it rather than avoiding it, but also — choosing on purpose to do things that remind me that I have choice and agency. Making the gentle to-do list (the one that on the hardest depression days included things like “drink water” and “unload dishwasher” and “5 minute meditation” because I needed the dopamine hit and self-trust of checking things off and proving I can do things). Meditation aimed at choosing where to place my attention (loving kindess or guided meditation or reciting a mantra — the Warrior Spirit Prayer of Awakening from Radical Dharma has been so helpful for me — rather than open awareness, which just felt too hard). Going outside to be in nature as often as possible.

    I am feeling on the other side of it these days but also so tenderized by all that I have been through, which is a gift. Opening to be with ourselves in a loving and curious way through all different challenges ultimately makes us more expansive and better teachers for our students, I think, but it is no small feat to get through.

    As always, thank you for creating this beautiful community and sharing your path. With so much love.

    • Francesca Cervero

      Thank you so much for sharing these beautiful thoughts here Sarah. <3

      I love your teal eyeliner and big earrings..such a good look for you!
      I'm so happy that the no-demoing style of teaching felt supportive for you during these tough periods. Having to teach while I was critically injured is what made me so passionate about that topic almost 15 years ago!
      I too make to do lists with super basic things on them. (Dopamine hits and self trust can carry me pretty far sometimes. 🙂
      I also find guided meditations super helpful in times like these.

      Thanks so much for being here, in all the ways you are HERE. <3


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