What Teaching Means to MeOct 04, 2020
There are a lot of reasons people get into teaching yoga, but for me? I started teaching because it felt like I couldn’t do anything else. Not that I wasn’t able to do anything else with my life, because I knew I was. It was that I couldn’t. Once I started teaching, I knew it was my calling, and I knew that making it my livelihood was crucial to my happiness.
Like many, I teetered at the edge at first. I was teaching part-time and spending the rest of my time working a job I hated. I was enthusiastic about my practice, I loved studying, and I enjoyed the classes that I did teach. I didn’t want to jump in halfway, but I was scared like many of us are at the start of a huge new journey.
Then, as things do sometimes, everything came together all at once. I was in Shasta when Tim asked me when I was going to start teaching Ashtanga and I didn’t have an answer. When I returned to DC, Deb (the owner of the studio I worked at) told me that if I wouldn’t teach Mysore at Flow then she was going to have to ask someone else. And then what happened? My contract at the USCG ended.
Because of these events, I am where I am now. Much to the disappointment of my parents, I decided to focus my career on teaching yoga. Being “just” a yoga teacher. To say that things were contentious with my parents in the years that followed would be an understatement. A big one.
But, for me, teaching yoga is a commitment to what is true. And I think it’s nearly impossible to make everyone in your life happy all the time when you’re following that kind of path.
I’ve had a lot of ups and downs in my years of teaching. Mostly ups, yes, but also some really memorable hard times when I asked myself whether I could keep going, whether I was doing a good job.
For many years at the beginning of my time as a full-time teacher, things were honestly really hard. I was exhausted, lonely, and barely making ends meet - you have to really love this work to want to do it. But I was lucky to have the support of some truly amazing colleagues, teachers, friends, and students who helped me get through it.
And the rewards are amazing. To me, teaching yoga is the most precious thing I can do. It’s something that I hold as more than sacred, because I know that each individual student’s interaction with me could affect their love of the practice. If I do a good job introducing it, maybe they’ll get hooked and have a life-altering experience. If I don’t, not only might they never come back - they might never try yoga again.
I love working with students and helping them build sustainable practices. I love watching them change and transform before my eyes. I love watching their confidence grow - on and off the mat.
The reason I teach is ultimately about relationship. It’s about the connection I have to my students, who inspire me and motivate me to share what I love and to continually improve as a teacher.
I remember asking Tim for teaching advice once, and he told me that it’s mostly about coming from a place of sincerity and humility.
It’s because my teaching experience has meant so much to me that I’m bringing back my Teacher Development Program for more confident teachers and serious students.
In this two-month program I will show you the deeper elements of yoga that I’ve learned from my own teaching career. We’ll work on refining, repatterning, and understanding subtleties of body and mind. You’ll have the opportunity to observe, so you can learn to see the body in a more nuanced way. You’ll learn to see the body infront of you and to teach to that individual person. We’ll work with groups to develop relationships, connections, and accountability. And you’ll have full access to me.
It’s my hope to share as much information with you as I can, to help you develop as a yoga teacher so you can go confidently forward and share your message. I want to empower you as a yoga student so you can fully own your practice, and to offer you unconditional support in your transformation.
Having someone on your side who has gone there before you is an invaluable resource.
I hope you’ll join me in the Teacher Development Program. I look forward to being a resource for you just as my excellent teachers and mentors have been a resource for me.
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