When I graduated from my Yoga Teacher Training at the Integral Yoga Academy, I heard a lot of advice.
- Make a list of all the potential places you could teach – not just studios, but other spaces.
- Market your classes in this way or that way.
- Remember that not all yoga instructors can make a living teaching.
- And so on.
But the most important tidbit, to me, came from one of the teaching assistants.
“Be a yogi.”
I had just spent four weeks living at the Satchidananda Ashram; rising before dawn; practicing daily Asana, Pranayama and meditation; studying yoga philosophy; eating a pure vegetarian diet; and wrestling with my humanness amongst the sacredness of yoga. Despite discomfort and challenge at times, I was grateful for every minute of it.
To be a yogi is ALL that I yearned for.
When I returned home, I didn’t even intend to teach right away. I offered free classes in my little studio apartment (“The Urban Yoga Den”) to stay in practice. And then an opportunity to start a yoga program at DC’s SAIL Public Charter School arose. Once that assignment wrapped up with the end of the school year, I was ready to look for work teaching adults. Just down the street from me, a new yoga studio called Past Tense was opening. And in July 2010, I started teaching three weekly classes there.
On August 24th, I will end my stint at Past Tense to take an end-of-summer break from teaching (except for my three classes at Trinity University’s Fitness Center). I am grateful to Past Tense for inviting me to pass on yoga to the Mt. Pleasant community over the last two years! As you might have gathered from my last post, I have been sensing a need for change, pondering my integrity and prioritizing my well-being. Leaving Past Tense will create a simplicity and spaciousness in my schedule, life and mind. As my friend wished, “I pray that whatever occupies that space brings peace and joy.” Me, too.
“The Urban Yoga Den” blog is all about living yoga off the mat and in my every day world. So for now, rather than teaching a bunch of classes, I will be practicing more – on and off the mat.
One hope is to practice Karma Yoga by bringing morning Pranayama practice to the police officers that serve overnight in my neighborhood. In October, I will travel to Philly for a Kirtan with Jai Uttal to awaken the Bhakti Yoga spirit; then I’ll bounce over to Easton Yoga for a two-day workshop with Max Strom. In December, I will visit Sanctuary Yoga in Nashville for Seane Corn’s three-day “Detox Flow” workshop. And in between, I will be here in DC, practicing with my beloved local teachers, until I find the next right fit for a teaching location.
But my biggest wish is to simply be able to walk down the street with an inner peace and joy that shapes my attitudes and actions. That might mean embracing one or all of the many beautiful suggestions from my caring friends. For example, practicing “Samtosha” (contentment with exactly what is – i.e. acceptance of and compassion for my own humanness), sending myself Metta (sending myself loving-kindness and well-wishing), and basically, not being so hard on myself. It also might mean re-committing to the routines that without fail nourish my inner peace and joy. It also might mean falling off the yoga wagon and getting on again – and off and on again.
Because I realize to be a yogi is to – simply and honestly – be me.
I hope to see and hear from you as I take the steps to re-embrace my core motivation to Be A Yogi.
Wishing you peace, joy, love and light. OM Shanti.