Remember how I said I wasn’t going to quit my day job and teach yoga full time?
Well, I lied.
My last day at my current job will be August 28. I’m officially leaving because of a teaching assistantship at Butler University, but I’m also leaving to be a full-time yogi. More specifically, to devote more of my time to being a yoga teacher/writer/enthusiast/activist. This should have been the obvious outcome to me from the second week of yoga teacher training, when I turned to my fellow teacher trainee and suggested we start a yoga blog.
From there, I was off to the races (except not, because yoga’s not a competition). My life began to revolve more and more around yoga. At that point, I was already practicing six days a week and reading as much Yoga Sutra/Ramayana/Bhagavad Gita/Hatha Yoga Pradipika/Yoga Mala as I could gets my hands on.
Suddenly, I was consuming other yoga blogs like a teenager scarfing down Pizza Rolls. The Confluence Countdown. The Ashtanga Dispatch. Kino. Grimmly. Yoganonymous. Yoga_Girl. The thoughtful topics appearing on these and other blogs informed and shaped the way I created posts for this blog. I commented and clicked and linked and shared. I was joining a living, breathing community of people who love this practice and write about it and I took it seriously.
Next, I found a way to weave yoga into not one, but two highly academic classes for my MFA in Creative Writing. Marxism and yoga, anyone? I’d read that paper. How I convinced my professor to go along with it is another story (full disclosure is that he practiced Iyengar yoga back in the 90’s, so he gets it).
Then I noticed how beautifully my twelve-step program tied in with the yamas and niyamas, and was more grateful than ever to have found it. The surrender, the service, the freeing from the bondage of self…it all tied in. That little bit of serendipity will have to be a topic for another post because I can’t do it justice in a paragraph.
Then came the yoga selfies. I’m still firmly entrenched in that phase. If you don’t like it, that’s fine. I get it and I don’t blame you. This isn’t supposed to be a practice of showing off your assets in an asana. But I’m the daughter of two ballet dancers who performed all over the world before retiring from the stage to teach. Performance is in my blood. So, wanna follow me on Instagram?
And then I started teaching. First just a free class here and there. Then a long-term subbing gig. Then another, with one more in the works. And then I found myself emailing the group class coordinator at my local gym, meeting with the department head of my MFA program, and calling a studio owner to pitch classes for their schedules. And now I’m facing a fall teaching schedule with seven group classes and one private client and I’m looking for more.
I love this yoga stuff, every part of it, all eight limbs of it, and even the bastardized expression of it that we practice here in the States. A few years ago, my stepmom gave me a book called Finding Your Own North Star. It’s one of those career guidance-type books that gives you a lot of quizzes about what you don’t like about your boss and what facial expressions you make when you think about working in an office versus working outside. Many of the questions revolved around finding sensations that expressed an underlying emotion. For example, I press the heel of my hand to my head when I’m stressed, and I draw my shoulders down my back when I’m happy.
When I think or talk about yoga, my eyes widen and I smile. When I think or talk about grantwriting, I scrunch my shoulders up and lower my eyes. When I walk into the office, I slouch and move slowly. When I walk into the yoga room, my head stays centered over my chest and my gestures are animated.
If I listen to the advice in that book, I think my bodymind has been trying to tell me something.
I’ve also heard that how a person chooses to spend free time can be an indicator of what he or she should do for a living. I look back at the hundreds of hours of practicing, blogging, reading, talking about, and watching movies about yoga, and the time spent in feeble attempts at a pranayama and meditation practice, and it sure looks like I devote most of my free time to yoga. So maybe it’s okay to give it space in my professional life, too, even if it seems too good to be true.