So, you want to be a yoga teacher…

So, you wanna be a yoga teacher… or maybe you already are.  Great.  It is a rewarding, inspiring, and challenging path.  Welcome.  Just be warned, there’s more to it than a sanskrit tatoo and a few pairs of stretchy pants.

IMG_20150321_085002Since I started teaching in 2011, I’ve seen various degrees of collaboration, co-creation, connection, and competition in our industry.  I’ve come to find that many of us perceive much more of the competitive part than we expected when we started on our yoga teaching journey.  And when we need it, we don’t always know where to look for guidance.

I subscribe wholeheartedly to the idea that there is enough for everyone.  I don’t believe in a saturated market, and I truly believe that most of us teachers share common goals.  We want to share our practice with others.  Many of us are trying to support ourselves financially by doing so.  For some of us, supporting ourselves also includes supporting our families.  Some of us have other people contributing as well, and some of us are working primarily solo.  All of these are factors that influence the way we teach, and the way we do business.

Some people might say that there is no place for business in yoga.  Others may hold the belief that there is no place for yoga in business.  I disagree with both.  I insist that we can use business as a force for good, and we can use good to drive our businesses.  I’ll go one step further to say that a sustainable business must be conscious of this relationship from both sides.  And this consciousness means that we will be faced with tough decisions sometimes.

If you ask me, I think our industry should be teeming with strong leaders, setting examples for new teachers and emphasizing the importance of ethics in teacher trainings.  In my travels, I have not encountered many of them (though a precious few have become trusted role models).  Not all, but most, of us hold similar values and want to support each other, but because we don’t consider the tough questions ahead of time, we are often ill-equipped to do the right thing when the chips are down.  I think this is the case in many industries– I just hold ours to a higher standard– since the practice we offer is rooted in a moral code and claims to undertake a philosophical mission.  So, if not us, then who?  We must become the example for one another.  We’ve got to call each other out, we’ve got to lift each other up, we’ve got to cooperate, co-create, and learn from one another.  A rising tide raises all boats.

I’ve certainly got a whole bunch more to say on this topic– and I’m in the process of developing a community for teachers of all levels of experience to support each other, share stories, and offer real support.  We don’t all need to be doing this on our own.  Trust me, it’s exhausting to try.

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