HEART: I LOVE LOVE LOVE teaching yoga! I get so much happiness from watching a new student start along this journey. I can personally relate to the feeling of being “pulled” in a certain direction, not knowing where it will lead, and being a little uncomfortable asking all the questions that are flooding the brain. Because I can relate, I know that creating that safe space and comfortable relationship with the students is one of the most important things I can do at this point in the journey. There are truly no silly questions - and it is really important for me to reinforce this with my students over and over again. To be someone that they can feel completely comfortable asking anything - is what I feel I can do to help the journey along. Being honest about what I know and do not know is also part of my role. I am honored to be trusted in this way, and it truly feels good to be able to give of what I know and help each person continue on their path.
MIND: I spend far more time than I would like marketing, promoting, finding additional teaching opportunities, and creating my own infrastructure to keep track of the organizational elements of being a yoga teacher and business owner. To spend time exploring opportunities that may not be convenient or compelling for potential students is a mixture of persistence and faith. And - I won’t sugar coat this - it is more than a little exhausting. On average, I am currently in front of a class teaching 13 hours a week. I am at the venue at least 20 minutes prior to and after each class setting up and answering student questions - for a total of at least 7 hours per week. Add to this time for selecting music, returning phone calls and emails, updating and printing of promotional and class materials, developing future marketing, updating other social media, and this easily totals more than 35 hours per week. In addition, the last 2 Sundays were devoted to promoting the business, at the local Halloween Parade and then the Holiday Bazaar. Only time will tell whether or not any these efforts result in any new yoga students.
HEART: I know that removing obstacles for someone to open the door to their own yoga practice, is the right thing to do. Offering a free lesson or workshop, or simply encouraging someone that does not have good body image might be what is needed to begin a lifelong journey towards health and healing.
MIND: On a weekly basis, the revenue to support more than 35 hours of effort is only generated during the 13 hours spent in front of students. It’s not hard to understand why many yoga teachers consider other employment opportunities that don’t involve the activities related to driving business, balancing the books, infrastructure, and maintaining the physical venue. Many yoga teachers simply cannot make a full-time living out of teaching yoga, and also need an alternate stream of revenue, in order to support some of the pricier necessities like health insurance, food, shelter, and transportation, in addition to yoga props like blankets, blocks, straps.
HEART: With each class ending in silence, peace, and smiles, the mental gymnastics related to the analysis of the “business of yoga” fade quickly away. I know there are lots of people in my area who can benefit greatly from a regular yoga practice if they can just give it (and themselves) the time to try it out. YOGA is truly transformational and life-changing.
This is my own personal battle, that of the right and left brain, the MIND versus the HEART. This is the true essence of the journey of YOGA, to find
a way back to a heart-centered life, releasing conditioned reliance on the mind.
So as long as the HEART triumphs, I will continue to hold that regular space for those that “suit up and show up” on their mats time and time again. I know this is what I am supposed to be doing. As flighty as this may sound to some, for once I am leaving it up to the universe, and also perhaps the local community, one student at a time, to decide if this community will support yoga as a sustainable business.
Heart vs. Mind vs. Heart vs. Mind vs. Heart