I once had a friend tell me that teaching yoga was not a “real job.” I was, at the time, working 40+ hours a week managing a yoga studio and teaching full-time, so it sure felt like real job to me. When she said this to me, I had been contemplating going back to the stability and steadiness a corporate job provides. Money was tight and I had bills to pay. She thought “my break” in the yoga world would keep me from building a resume employers were seeking.
Like other jobs, you put yourself out there to create offerings and opportunities, but they don’t all fly. Rather than having a company or team to fall back on, your successes and failures are all on you. You are your own CEO, COO, PR & Marketing and Web team, as well as the Administrative Assistant and Bookkeeper too.
There is an incredible weight to bear in creating and holding the space for transformation. It’s a great honor to bear witness to a soul unfolding. It’s awesome and beautiful, but also can be very messy. You have to be ready for whatever comes and not take it on, no matter what. Sometimes you are, and sometimes you are not. That’s part of the process too. As much as people are wonderful, people say and do unkind things all the time, even in yoga. Usually it’s nothing to do with you and more with them, but it still hurts all the same.
Some students forget that you are human just like them, and many times hold you up to incredibly high standards. Standards that no one can meet. If you falter, even just a little, you fall.
But then you get back up and carry on like the spiritual warrior that you are. You have no choice, you can’t explain it. You just do, moving forward, processing the energy and hopefully coming out cleaner on the other side.
I like to think that teaching yoga is one of the most real jobs I’ve ever had. Not because it’s conventional, but because when you’re truly teaching, and not just guiding exercises, you are opening yourself up to a multitude of possibilities and experiences. This work is not for the faint of heart. You become the rock in the storm that everyone and everything circles around, while you reach outward to hold it all steady. It’s incredibly personal because good teaching comes from the heart and soul. You have to be steady, grounded and prepared. You have to be in touch with your Self, the inner-guide that’s bigger than the “I,” but all the while hold the “I” and “me” as sacred as the rest. In order to move through this human experience, there has to be balance between both.
You know that saying–love what you do and it won’t feel like work. It’s true. If you truly love it, then teaching yoga doesn’t feel like a real job, but it is and all this stuff fades in to the background. It becomes part of the joy and love, the passion and the inspiration. It’s fun and light and you are, hopefully, always learning. It’s creative and liberating. It’s scary and awesome all at the same time. It’s moving and touching. It’s being the light and honoring the shadows. It’s authentic and raw. It’s life changing. It’s truly is amazing and oh, so very real.