Ten years ago, when I stepped towards teaching yoga, my father gave me career advice by recommending I look around and check out who was doing what I wanted to do. I was at a loss, as many of my most inspiring mentors had many ingredients I was looking for, but something was always missing. One mentor was traveling, attaining accolades and success, but not rooted in a home. Another had a home, amazing wisdom, but was struggling with marketing and reaching new students. When I open up most yoga magazines, there is often a photo or article by yogalebrities like Seane Corne, Shiva Rhea or Kathryn Budig. These ladies have their pick of teaching engagements, a seemingly satisfying home life (as per social media) and are incredibly prolific, and very influential in this field. They have achieved a level of success by modern standards, but there seems to be space at the top of the proverbial yoga pyramid for only a few.
How does a yoga teacher qualify success? It is not an easy answer and is certainly not addressed by most 200 hour teacher trainings.
I spent five years teaching 15-20 classes a week all over New York City tucking more trainings under my belt as I went. I was making "it", but I got burnt out. Then, I took a part time administrative job to balance having a stable income with the fluctuating yoga-career one. After two years, my soul felt stifled while my bank account was healthy. Last year, I committed to traveling, teaching and writing full time. At times, I was on the road for 10 out of 12 weeks. For the most part it was inspiring and exhilarating. I had the honor to work with an incredibly talented group of performers for the Wanderlust Spectacular, teach AcroYoga to hundreds of people and enjoy the delight of more "first time" flights than I can count. I am beyond grateful for each and every community I have encountered.
There were so many incredible connections, transformative moments and then I would have to say," I hope our paths cross again one day. Good bye." This was the one, seemingly tiny aspect that was intrinsically unsatisfying, especially when the heart connections were strong. I can say I gave the "traveling yoga teacher" paradigm a 100%, and I am really excited to get back to my roots this week and return to teaching regular weekly classes.
I thought that I could achieve success by traveling. And from the outside, it seems there may be a lot of glory, and there is a lot of excitement. My friends and colleagues don't seem to ask each other with an air of enthusiasm, "how was your Wednesday class?", the way we inquire about a festival class, but I think we should. Whatever path you choose, it is really difficult to forge a career as a yoga teacher. I celebrate everyone who is making a go of it, every single one of you. Good job on following your hearts desire and showing up every week. Thank you to every student who commits to regular classes.
There are also a lot of work, energy and resources that go into planning workshops in other locales: traveling to get there, plane ticket costs and so much more effort into promoting. Being a home-owner yogi and traveling teacher can be a little stressful. I now have the opportunity my focus back to my personal practice, writing more and who knows-- I may even have time for some hobbies. I will travel again, but my priority, at this moment is in rooting down and digging deep at home.