In the dentist’s chair yesterday, the hygienist asked: so, what do you have going on for the rest of the day?
My response: I am going back to work and then I teach a yoga class tonight.
She replied: Oh, cool! So what does that mean? How does someone become a yoga teacher?
Me: Well, you start with a year-long training. Then if you want to advance you go through another 1-2 year training.
Her: So, then it stops and you can just teach?
Me: Well, kind of. I’m in my third training now. So for three solid years I have been in yoga trainings. I’ll complete this one next year.
Her: Dang! So you get to do this full-time?
And that’s when I wanted to cry. I don’t think of all the training hours and all the costs that have gone into me teaching. I always have said that the money I make teaching yoga goes into more and more trainings. It never ends. I like that though, I love to learn.
If this were a real job, my three years of trainings could be spent in learning to be a school teacher, and then I’d be left with a salary and benefits and paid time off. Or I could have spent the three years starting a dietician program, and gotten a job in a hospital, with again, a salary and benefits and paid time off.
I did not. I chose to teach yoga. So that means I will not have any full-time jobs with salaries or benefits or paid time off, focused around yoga at least.
I chose this path. I love this path. I truly do.
And sometimes, it is still a slap in the face.
I have spent over $7,000 on trainings, not including the travel costs of my year-long training in Albuquerque. That’s just the certificate trainings: 200-hour, senior yoga, 300-hour. That doesn’t include all the workshops and retreats and additional trainings I do on my own just because I’m interested in learning. All of those easily double the cost above, especially if you consider my travel costs to said training centers.
I wrote about what I made in a year teaching yoga full-time at some point last year; you can find it on this blog. It’s a damn slap in the face. So I stopped – I went to teaching about 3 times a week. And that’s where I am now.
There’s simply no way to successfully do this without extra income or a rich person who wants you to have all of his/her money. You can see it: look around in any city and notice the amount of people who go to yoga classes. It is dwindling, big time, unless you happen to have gotten into the hot yoga scene, which is still a scene I am not interested in. Studios are closing, incredible teachers are with limited work, this is not a good time for yoga.
And still, we learn, and we teach.
We do it because we must: it is in our bones. When I did all of my soul searching in 2015, this is what I came back to, over and over again: I will teach the things that need to be shared. Our world needs some more damn love and acceptance, look around. We need more teachers, more artists, more musicians. We don’t treat these people well, and we never will. Our society values money and status and rising to the top. It values hot yoga and triathlons and strength building. It does not value the soft, the sweet, the thoughtful, the creative.
And still, we teach. We share. We carry on.
We must. Teaching is an art. Creating a sequence is a damn art. Go to any top teacher in the city you live in and watch them. Here in Fort Worth, go to Sandra Vanatko. Go to Kaci Ford. Go to Missy Shaw. Go to Surya Barrow and Angel Brownlee and Tiffany Denny and Lauren Wessinger. Go. Support these women and their teachings and all they offer. Watch how they lead a class, how they teach from their heart, how they offer intuitively what the room needs. Watch all of the work that it takes to build a thoughtful, careful, safe sequence. Watch these women lead.
Teaching is a damn ART. You can’t rush through it. You can’t just teach what those before you taught. You must teach from your heart, from your soul.
And that requires the type of person who is not going to be driven by status, or money. It has to be there, as we all have to make money. But it’s secondary. Teaching is first.
That is why, $7,000 later, I’m happy to be here. I’m proud of my varied trainings. I’m thankful to have made enough money teaching yoga (and thankfully I have a great full-time job outside of yoga) that I can continue learning and training and sharing and volunteering. I’m thankful to have a core group of students who like my teachings enough that they’ll go with me from random place to random place, wherever I can find to make decent money to offer this craft.
These days, I’m looking elsewhere for yoga, and I’ll be writing about that in the weeks to come. I’m changing course and taking some things into my own hands, the only way I know how. Stay tuned.
NEXT WEEK! I’ll be publishing my end-of-year plan for setting and keeping goals. Stay tuned. This system has WORKED and I can’t wait to share the details with you.
For now, I hope this post resonated with some of you. I’ll be making more soups and trying to make some Christmas cookies and prepping for my next Beer Yoga Class this Saturday 12/8 at HopFusion! Come see me – this one will be all slow/restore in prep for the holidays. 10:30, $20, 3 beers – custom pint glass – fun yoga.
So How Long Have You Been Training to be a Yoga Teacher? + Indian-Inspired Soup
- 1 white onion, diced
- 1 large shallot, diced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 c. chana dal beans, rinsed
- 1 and 1/2 tbsp. garam masala
- 5 russt potatoes, chopped
- 1 cauliflower, chopped
- 5 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 tsp. turmeric
- 1/2 tsp. cayenne
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 10 c. water
- 1 15 oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed
- 2 13.5 oz can coconut milk, full fat
- Get your largest soup pot and start cooking the onion, garlic and shallots over medium heat. Stir for about 5 minutes. No need to add oil unless you simply want to.
- Add the chana dal (no need to soak before as cooking time is long) and the garam masala. Stir constantly for about 2 minutes.
- Then, add the veggies, other spices and water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 50 minutes.
- Stir in the garbanzo beans and coconut milk, and cook for a final 10 minutes.
- Enjoy with your favorite naan bread and over a bowl of rice if you wish!