What some bloggers write about now I wrote about 3, 5, even 7 years ago: ageism, diversity, “slow yoga.” “Slow Yoga” is a thing now (Google it) and I’ve been teaching slow since 2005 when I first came back from the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram in India. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
But sometimes things scream to be called out and discussed.
A long time, old school yoga teacher told me that where she’s from a yoga studio requires newbie teachers to “brand” themselves before finishing a one month yoga teacher training, i.e., make a website, a Facebook page, social media presence, etc., etc. etc.
Do the math. If a large city has 1000+ YTTs, old school teachers like her and I are doomed.
BRANDING before teaching.
BRANDING before experiencing.
BRANDING before Living Your Yoga.
When I did my first website it took me 6 months to write my yoga bio. Even after I studied in India the first time I thought that if I wrote too much about myself it would look like I was bragging.
Some people say that social media is the new normal. But I believe in what Buckminster Fuller said:
“In order to change an existing paradigm you do not struggle to try and change the problematic model. You create a new model and make the old one obsolete.”
Believe me, I try. But I’m tired. Damn tired. I believe in old school yoga teacher training, mentoring. But my mentoring page is the loneliest page on my website. I am not concerned with offering a standard 200 or 300 hour training because I believe in quality, not quantity. Unfortunately, that’s not good for business because people chase the piece of paper that proclaims them a certified yoga teacher. I can easily put together a 200 or 300 hour training based on 10 years of notes from the Mandiram alone. But frankly, no one is interested. Here. I believe it takes 10 years of yoga teaching to learn how to teach besides having a dedicated personal yoga and meditation practice. No one wants to hear that.
Like in real estate, it’s about location, location, location. All I know is that in my area yoga teachers are a dime a dozen. With yoga studios cranking out new teachers every week, there is no place for Yoga Elders. I’m not whining, I’m just being realistic.
So I’m leaving. Done, baby. I’m going somewhere where what I teach is valued and appreciated. One of my students gave me a testimonial:
“Linda is Yoga. Living, breathing, in every aspect. Caring, supportive, knowledgeable, fun-loving, she walks the talk.”
That’s why I’m leaving. Because I have too much passion for what I do if that makes any sense.
Goddess willing, I’ll live in Kerala, India by the end of next year and into 2017. I’ve already started to look at houses to rent with space to teach. I’ve been asked to do teacher trainings in India. When I’m in India and I am asked what I do and I say “I’m a yoga teacher” people actually have respect for that. They ask me who my guru is instead of telling me, “I do Pilates.” No one asks me what style of yoga do I teach. I’m asked not to leave, to stay and teach, to help people. No one pillories me for using the phrase “real yoga.”
Yeah, I said it. REAL YOGA. I’ve always said the real yoga kicks in during a health crisis or dealing with your own mortality. My yoga sadhana helped me through an ovarian cancer scare years ago. It made me realize that “I am not this body” and it brought me peace. When my time comes I’ll be chanting and doing pranayama, Goddess willing. Thanks to my friend Cora Wen for making this beautiful video.
But what Cora talks about in her video, you can’t brand it. You can’t Instagram it, You can’t trademark it.
You can only live it. Because Yoga is Life.