Why Do You REALLY Want to Teach Yoga?

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This is me in Bakasana. I couldn’t do this pose when I was going through teacher training. I couldn’t do any inversions without the wall. You don’t have to be an acrobat to teach asana, but you do need to remain a dedicated student and continue to advance your own practice. And my damn elbows are flaring out a bit. It’s always a work in progress. 

Why?

Seriously, can you answer the question?

The latest statistics tell us over 37 million people are doing yoga in the U.S. every year. The number has been growing and growing. Pretty soon, the more common question may be, “Where do you practice yoga?” instead of, “Do you do yoga?”

Supply and demand, right? If more people are doing yoga, then more yoga studios can open and thrive to accommodate this growing need. That means more teachers are required. More students equal a demand for more teachers. Simple math.

Yet, according to Yoga Alliance, there are well over five thousand yoga teacher training programs in the United States. This includes both 200 and 300-hour programs, and various different tracks. The data that’s not available is how many of these programs offer more than one training per year. My guess is the average program offers a training at least twice a year.

This means the yoga teaching field is now quite saturated, and there’s lots of competition for jobs.

It’s pretty damn difficult for a person to make a living teaching yoga. This does not include the yoga superstars such as Jason Crandell, Katherine Budig, and Faith Hunter. They are in a whole different stratosphere of financially successful, highly respected and widely known teachers. I’m talking about the average teacher who needs to teach around fifteen classes per week, run all over the city, back and forth between studio classes, private clients, gyms, corporations, and universities. It means your day might begin by teaching a 6 a.m. class and end with your evening class getting out at 9 p.m. It will frequently mean three classes a day, and often seven days a week. Boo fucking hoo, right? This is a description of the full-time, ‘successful’ yoga teacher. And s/he probably makes an average of $1,000 a week, if she’s lucky. I know because this is a very accurate description of me. Today, I have a 9:30 a.m. class, then another at noon, and a private group at 5 p.m. Not a bad schedule, right? Actually, that part is pretty great. But I’ll make about $175.00 today, driving to three different locations, and in between, I’ll be doing class prep, updating my playlists, responding to emails from those I’m mentoring in their teacher training, and hustling for more work.

Many things about this life are pretty damn spectacular. But the meager pay and time expenditure is tough. And this is what success looks like in this field. That’s why so few people do it full-time and are even able to get enough classes to be able to.

Most teachers teach 1-3 classes each week. They do it because they want to teach, but they also have another career to pay the bills. For them, it’s a pleasure and it’s disposable income. They teach because they love yoga, and they have something specific they want to offer students.

So what about all the people who go through teacher training with big eyes and goals to become the next Sadie Nardini? Well, that could happen, but it’s a pretty large longshot. It takes a giant commitment and a lot of years to get there. And you have to be damn excellent at it. No one in that world is famous and well-paid because they’re cute. They have something extraordinary to offer, well beyond what most can. Their dedication, knowledge, experience, hard work, and wisdom, plus that extra special ‘something’ is how they pull it off. Their passion created the drive to do all of the above and develop a very far reach.

How about those who obtain their 200-hour certification, but they are still at the beginning stages of their own practice? Why do they want to teach? Maybe they don’t, but believe teacher training will help them develop their own practice and knowledge base faster than practicing every day for years. There’s truth to that. The community, shared experience, and diving in will undoubtedly have a profound impact on your practice and understanding of the vastness that is yoga.

A yoga practitioner’s reasons for completing teacher training only need to be of concern to them. It’s really no one else’s business why you chose to train. But actually teaching yoga is a whole other thing.

Why do you want to teach? It’s a question you should be able to answer. Your answer will change and alter over the years, but it’s a question that needs to be asked again and again. Many people take breaks from teaching because they can’t answer the question anymore. And one day, the answer comes back, and it’s different than the one they used to operate by. My answers have changed over and over throughout the years. Yours will too.

Today, I want to teach to be of service. I want to assist in fostering a student’s desire to connect with themselves and stand tall in facing their emotions, truths, and fears. I want to drive home the importance of safety and making wise decisions in the practice that exists on the mat, and even more so off. I want to encourage nurture and kindness, yet total honesty. I want to teach to share my passion and hopefully spark it in others.

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Slow Your Roll

Man, I love that phrase. It’s fun to say, and for some reason, easier to hear than, ‘Calm down.’ That’s just condescending.

Slowing down is advice we all need to talk on the regular. It never works out in yoga if you try to rush into a pose. Either you’ll fall out of it, or pull something important because you weren’t warmed up.

Being in a big hurry didn’t work when I first released my novel, Yoga Train. I hired a proofreader, but apparently, I needed to proof her work because I received a few comments from reviewers about the high number of typos. Ug, it was so embarrassing and avoidable if I’d just done my due diligence. That shit is fixed now, so hopefully, if I get any negative reviews, it’s only about the story line or a character. So far, so good!

I moved to Columbus, Ohio from Atlanta in the dead of winter in 2010. Um, yeah, not my most solid decision. But I was in one mother of a hurry to make a big change, so I ignored all the sound advice around me to just wait until May for the love. I should have listened, but it all worked out okay;-)

Now that I’m really analyzing it, rushing anything just simply goes against common sense. But there is a line when you’ve moved just slow enough, and it’s time to execute. It absolutely can go the opposite way if you move at sloth-speed, and you’re too late to the party. Find that fine line, and walk it, yo. What examples can you offer? I’d love to know. I gotta go practice now. Until next time.

 

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Are You Inquisitive?

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I’m frequently told I ask a lot of questions. And I do. I’m interested in people and many different things. Asking questions is a great way to process information and to ensure you’re not making assumptions or creating stories. And, people typically really like to talk about themselves, yo. Have you noticed?

It’s something I always notice in others too. If I meet someone who doesn’t ask any questions, I find it curious. Why don’t they? Are they just not interested? Self-absorbed? Quiet? Observatory? I try not to judge or jump to conclusions, but I definitely take note of it.

If you are someone who’s always asking others questions, taking an interest in their lives, experiences, thoughts, and passions, for once let things swing the other way. Talk about yourself, even if it’s just to yourself. Inquire how you’re feeling, what you want, need, and desire.

If your favorite topic is you, and you never tire of talking, mostly about yourself, take a break. Go a day when you don’t say one word about you. Prod yourself to ask questions, and then ask some more. See how it feels.

You can bring this onto your mat by being hyper-aware of your choices, and why. You don’t want to use a block. Why? You want to do a pose you know isn’t good for your back. Why? You resist resting even though your body is begging for a break. Why? Let me know how it goes.

My website, http://iworkbarefoot.com offers cues, sequences, and class themes. This is a class theme. If it’s speaking to you, check my site to explore others. Muah!

 

 

 

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Stubborn MF

 

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Are you stubborn? If you say ‘sometimes’, cool. If you answer no, check your pulse. If you’re shaking your head up and down so hard your teeth are clicking, well then.

Calling someone stubborn falls in the same category of labeling a person ADD or Type A. It’s one of those not stellar qualities that people seem not to mind claiming. I see it as a maturity thing, but that’s probably because I used to be fairly stubborn, and now I’m not.

I’m not gonna take much shit, but standing up for yourself, or having a superb reason for asking that things be done your way is totally legit. it’s a matter of picking and choosing what’s worth a reaction. If I wanna go to a new speak easy where there’s a secret room, and you order your drinks through a book that has a a certain page number you must slip your note inside, but you’re not feeling like driving thirty minutes away, fine then. No big. It’s not fun unless everyone giddy with the notion. But if you come to my class and I specifically say I’ll bring your ass right out of a headstand if I see you kicking up because that’s a dangerous thing to do to your neck, but you do it anyway, oh hell no. I fucking told you flat-out. Announced it to the whole room, and begged that no one put me in the position of having to bring you out of the pose. The stubborn MF’s don’t give a damn, and do what the hell they want. It’s not cute.

If someone lies to your face, call them out. If your friend doesn’t want to go to Ladies 80’s night at 11 p.m., I don’t care if it’s your birthday. Respect that she wouldn’t have a good time, and no one feels warm and fuzzy to friends who insist on shit no one else wants to do. But if you have a disagreement with someone, and they apologize, and try to work it out, don’t hold a grudge. That’s some straight up stubborn bullshit. No. Just no.

Don’t be stubborn about the way you move your body either. Try, try hard even. Persist. Put effort forth. But if your forward bend is barely any different from what it looks like when you stand upright, maybe Hanumanasana isn’t an appropriate goal pose for you. If you have a shoulder injury, why the hell are you doing side plank? Vashistasana is no joke, and needs to be done if and only if you have healthy shoulders and are willing to commit to proper alignment.

I like talking about my partner, Jason. I dig him, and he is constantly growing. He’s pretty damn stubborn himself, but he softens all the time. I live in a hipster neighborhood near downtown with a fair amount of crime. I’ve learned after having my windows busted to keep my car unlocked with nothing of value inside. If someone wants to Hotwire it and commit Grand Auto Theft, have at it. But typically, people are just looking for change or something they can use or sell. Bring your Ray Bans, fifty quarters, and laptop inside, yo. From time to time, I get in my car and it’s obvious someone has been inside looking for something interesting, but had to leave empty-handed. And my windows remain dirty and intact. Jason has always argued with me about this, but after we walked by a girl standing outside her car, passenger window busted, on the phone with Safe Auto, he decided to change his mind. That’s all it takes. A willingness to sometimes change your mind. Yo stubborn folks, try it. You will like it, I promise. Muah!

 

 

 

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Persistence is cool. Insistence sucks.

Persist in your belief that you can do anything you set your mind to. Persist in trying new things, and staying with the things you try that you like and want to improve upon. Persist in your pursuit to be the coolest mother fucker alive. Persist in opening your mind, heart, door, and life to those who lift you up, and make you better.

Insist on respect, but don’t bitch about it. Just walk away from anyone who is disrespectful and shut that door with your actions. If you insist on interrupting whomever is talking to you, I hope they walk away from you and don’t look back. Don’t insist on trying to convince people to see things your way when it is beyond obvious that they don’t. Don’t insist on yourself. Be supremely mindful of the way your behavior affects other people. Don’t insist on controlling everything. Control yourself, and everything will be fine. Yo. Word.

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Goal!

That’s what they scream at soccer (or football) matches, right? I scream it in my head when I’ve done something to reach one of mine.

I’m an impatient MF, yo. I set a goal and want it to magically come to fruition. No, I don’t want to do the work, dammit. But obviously, that has to happen if the goal ever has a shot (see what I did there?) at being met.

Current goals:

  • Don’t eat all the carbs. Only some. I’d give myself a C- on this one right now. Why must they be so delicious, yet offer pretty much nothing else?
  • Ween off LaCroix. I get a B. I’m down to two a day. Don’t ask how many I was drinking.
  • Go to five yoga classes a week. I get an A, but I’ve only had this goal for two weeks, so don’t be impressed.
  • Sleep more. I also get an A here.
  • Write five blogs a week. B+!
  • Curse less. F-.
  • Stop talking so f’ing much. (I’m trying with the cursing). C at best.
  • Get much more diligent at advertising my website.

 

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Opportunity knocks, screams, texts, whispers, nods, waves, and taps. Sometimes she’s napping but will wake up with a gentle nudge.

This morning, I had the opportunity to really sleep in. This is only something I can do once a week. I coulda, and maybe I shoulda. But I got up relatively early, and as a result, I’ve been productive. I’m not writing this to get a ‘yay, me!’ I’m simply using it as a tiny example of how opportunity and possibility work.

Opportunity: You get invited to attend a yoga conference for free. Two of your favorite instructors are teaching there, and you’ve only ever practiced with them online.

  • You bet your ass you’re going! You have enough time off from work to take a couple of days off, and you have enough money to pay for flight/hotel/chow.
  • You’re excited, but there are a few other things you want to do, and you don’t have the budget for it all. You’re going to let this one go.
  • You really want to go, but can’t quite justify spending the money necessary. You email a few yoga-loving friends and find one who wants to drive, and is game to share a hotel room. Hurray!

Shit, I know this is all very basic. But the point is, how much time do any of us spend considering all of the possibilities before impulsively saying yes, or immediately dismissing with a no?

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